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Learning about ABA can be overwhelming.  Not all parents are made aware of the options that are available to them.  Additionally, the field of Autism is only now becoming regulated by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO).  Pivotal Minds wants to help make this journey a more knowledgeable one for you.  We have created a chart below that outlines an example of evidence-based practices available under the umbrella of ABA.  Think of it this way - ABA is the "theory", the umbrella.  How you deliver this "theory" as a treatment is up to you, the parent.  For the purposes of this chart, we have included the three most evidence-based practices for you to compare. 

What is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)?

Child at Psychologist
What is ABA?

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a theory based on the science of learning and behaviour.  Behaviour analysis helps us to understand how the principles of learning occur, how behaviour works and how it is affected by the environment.  ABA interventions are based on scientific evidence-based research with measurable outcomes.  ABA programs involve learning proper communication and language skills, social skills, self-care, play, motor skills, learning and academic skills.     

How does ABA therapy work?

ABA treatment can be customized to meet the needs of each learner.  ABA can be used at any age to teach essential and purposeful social interactions improving the overall quality of life for not only the learner, but for the family as well.  Instruction plans break down skills into small chunks and steps.  The therapist teaches these steps one-by-one so that the learner can go from simple tasks to more complex tasks.  For instance, imitating single sounds to actually carrying a conversation).  A BCBA and therapist will measure progress.

Happy Little Girl
Mom and Son
Is ABA covered by insurance?  Is it funded?

Kindly check with your insurance provider to see if this treatment option is covered.  A funded model, you will be required to register with the Ontario Autism Program once your child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.   A Behaviour Certified Board Analyst (BCBA) will determine the amount of hours required for your child upon an assessment that will determine their skills.  Caregivers are very much a part of the process in determining goals for their child.  

Why choose Pivotal Minds for ABA?

We make certain that every child receives a tailored and personalized therapy planThe benefits of a customized and personalized therapy plan for your family include:

  1. Optimized Progress: It allows for a focused approach, addressing your child's specific needs and challenges, which can lead to more efficient and effective progress in their therapy.

  2. Enhanced Engagement: Tailored plans are more likely to engage your child, as they are designed to align with their interests, preferences, and abilities, making therapy sessions more enjoyable and motivating.

  3. Improved Results: Personalization ensures that therapy interventions are in sync with your child's developmental stage, maximizing the potential for positive outcomes.

  4. Increased Confidence: As your child experiences success and progress in therapy, their self-esteem and confidence can soar, contributing to their overall well-being.

  5. Greater Family Involvement: Customized plans often involve families more actively, allowing you to participate in your child's therapy journey, learn effective strategies, and provide essential support.

  6. Tailored Support: It helps you address the unique challenges and goals of your family, offering solutions that fit your specific circumstances and preferences.

  7. Long-Term Benefits: A personalized therapy plan can equip your child with valuable skills and strategies that extend beyond therapy sessions, benefiting their daily life and future development.

In summary, a tailored and personalized therapy plan is a powerful tool that can positively impact your family by optimizing your child's progress, enhancing their engagement and confidence, and providing the support and skills needed for their ongoing development and well-being.

Happy Family

Examples of ABA

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Applied Behaviour Analysis



Clinician-led Therapy


  • Often referred to as "ABA" in Ontario, however this is inaccurate.  This treatment option is actually called "Discrete Trial Training".

  • Costs are upward of $80,000 per year

  • Evidence shows that 20 hours/week are required to receive full benefits 

  • Funded by the Ontario Autism Program

  • Therapy is Clinician + Child (No caregivers involved)


Child-led Therapy


  • Targets "pivotal" areas of a child's development (can target more than one thing at a time)

  • Parents are central to the treatment

  • Cost effective option (most often, less hours required)

  • Funded by the Ontario Autism Program

  • Generalizes very well


Child-led Therapy


  • Effective between 12-48 months (4 years)

  • Some similarities to PRT

  • Therapy is with child and therapist

  • Funded by the Ontario Autism Program

  • Emphasis on social skills as the child approaches the age of 4

What are my options?

Often when a family receives a diagnosis of ASD for their child they are directed to seek out Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) treatment.  Families aren't always informed of the options available to them or even have a grasp of what Applied Behaviour Analysis is.  

ABA is the theory behind modifying behaviours.  This theory can then be executed in different modalities of treatment. The choice of treatment type is up to the parents, and families have options.

At Pivotal Minds we believe that a well informed family can make a well informed choice, regardless of whether they are our clients or not.  Our goal is to teach families how to make a decision based on what is right for their family.

Things to consider before seeking treatment:

  • Consider treatment as soon as possible.  Research has proven that early intervention means better outcomes for your child.

  • Ensure your treatment of choice has evidence-based research behind it.  An evidence-based approach is derived from informed objective evidence (not opinion) and should be published through proper research channels such as universities and colleges.

  • Do not mix treatment options.  Although you want to do the utmost for your child, mixing therapies can lead to conflicting expectations placed on our child, which could be more confusing.

  • A reputable treatment centre should have a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) to supervise therapists who implement behaviour based interventions.  This is a specialized supervisor that has had significant training in the field of Autism.  In Ontario, the field of Autism Services is in the process of being regulated.  It is imperative that you have the appropriate supports in place, such as the BCBA(s).

What treatment looks like


Initial Consultation

A meeting with the Clinical Supervisor (BCBA) with parent/child.  The Clinical Supervisor will obtain history and observe your child.



This assessment differs from a Diagnostic Assessment.  This will determine therapeutic goals based on the strengths and needs of your child.  This assessment is administered by a trained Instructor Therapist.



The BCBA creates an Individualized Service Plan for your child and the program in which the Instructor Therapists will follow.



Therapy commences with the parents, child and Instructor Therapist.

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