Progress towards goals is because of ABA

November 21, 2019

People unfamiliar with how effective ABA (applied behavior analysis) is, often comment that it is “too intense” and “too much work.”

We disagree.

The students we work with are capable of so many things, and ABA is the necessary door to enter in order to help them achieve their full capabilities.

For readers who are looking for ways to implement ABA, or for testimonial proof of its effectiveness, our site is filled with stories about how our students are progressing and learning here at this school where all of the interventions are research-based, where ABA is our philosophical cornerstone. We know, too, that some of our readers look to our stories for how to implement activities in classrooms or at home, how to make the nuts and bolts of ABA actually work. This update is for these folks, to provide an exemplar for morning work in a classroom.

The goals of each student are specifically designed to help increase desired skills and behaviors of the individual. Each student has different needs and goals. But Room 13 has a great way of  targeting a group of skills through morning work.

Students in this room work in their morning work books each morning.

Each student’s book is created specifically for that child, and is set up with many tasks that he or she is working on. In this classroom, some of the goals students are working on are labeling parts of the body, matching letters and numbers, sequencing letters to spell a name, selecting the correct day and number for today on the calendar, and so on.

The books are made with laminated pages, and Velcro is used to hold the response choices in place. Teachers provide prompting as needed and will fade over time as the student becomes more independent with completing the pages addressed on a particular day. As well, teachers provide reinforcement based on each student’s individual preference and schedule of reinforcement, in order to shape the desired behaviors of accuracy and effort.

Data shows increases in performance of skills class-wide. While teachers are providing guidance individually, they are noting independence with completing pages is rising, along with improved attending and pro-social behaviors. From a visitor’s perspective, it appears that students enjoy this time and the work they are doing.

Discrete Trial Training

10.4.19  Our ABA Clinic is providing services beyond the regular school day.

This little story tells of one student’s growth because of her work in the Clinic. 

Asking for what we need and want is so important in life, isn’t it? Among other skills, “L” has been working on learning to use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to communicate needs and wants. 

Over the course of time, students who are learning to use PECS will come to understand that the picture symbols have meaning. They learn to associate a given symbol with its object or person. They learn to exchange it for the item it represents, and then, when this action is reinforced, the student learns to use if for making other requests, or communicating other information. Oftentimes students will also begin to verbally reproduce the word that the symbol represents as their teacher or therapist is modeling the word repeatedly.

Part of ABA instruction is to find the items and activities that are highly reinforcing to the student, and provide those reinforcers as the student engages in the skill in the manner in which the therapist requests. This process of determining the child’s preferred reinforcers is called a preference assessment, and is an ongoing process, since interests are ever-changing.

Ms. Laura, Ms. Meggie, and Ms. Breanna have been working with “L” and part of their teaching has been to find the items and activities that are highly reinforcing for her. Early on they discovered her excitement over the fish tank, and when she eventually requested “fish” and did her work for feeding the fish as her reinforcer, there was much celebration!

Now, just about a month later, she requests “fish” as her reinforcer commonly, and along the way has also learned to feed them with less assistance, to get the food, open the sliding tab, and to put it back. While there, she has worked on other skills, too: counting, tapping, and high fives are a few to name.

Awesome job! #ABA #PositiveReinforcement #Jobs #LifeSkills #FunctionalCommunication


Crossroads operates on the science and methodologies of ABA – Applied Behavior Analysis. It’s been the foundation of the program for 20 plus years, and it’s one of the aspects of the organization that makes this school unique.

We believe in ABA because of the wealth of research backing its effectiveness.

Research supports ABA

National Standards Project Phase 2

The school’s classrooms, therapy departments and the clinic, all utilize the techniques and principles of ABA in creating and implementing individual education plans and lesson plans.

This is the case whether students are working in groups….

making a special visit to the Executive Director.

Whether they are learning to label objects…

or to put animals in, on, or in front of the barn. 

Whether they are learning to jump …

or to deliver healthy foods to other classrooms. 

Whether writing words……. 

or making a healthy food….

…whatever it is, it’s being done ABA style.

The structure with which activities are presented, with tasks broken down into manageable sets and steps, and various levels of prompting and reinforcement is all based on the individual needs of the participants. This is how the students make observable and measurable gains with their skills. 

If you are interested in learning more about our school or clinic, we’d love to hear from you. Call 518-280-0083 today!


Interested in learning more about our school’s SERVICES?

Crossroads is located at 1136 North Westcott Road in Rotterdam.

Team Member AchievementsHealthy Food Program – Getting Kids to Eat New Foods