How we help

Our Methods

Spark uses a variety of treatment techniques based on the principles of behavior; interventions range from highly structured (e.g., discrete trial teaching), to more naturalistic (e.g., incidental teaching). While ABA is typically conducted in a 1:1 setting, providing center-based services allows the opportunity to also focus on the necessary skills for transitioning, and targeting the barriers that may prevent a child from being successful in a less restrictive setting (e.g., a classroom), such as self-management and forming relationships with peers.


Every child with autism is unique, and so every intervention at the Spark Center is uniquely tailored to your child’s specific needs. Through years of practice, we’ve perfected our techniques to match what is most effective for the individual and will give them the best chances of success long term.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a scientific discipline that studies the relationship between the environment and behavior. As a field, ABA has a commitment to bringing about changes in behavior that enhance and improve people’s lives (applied). Behaviors are defined in observable and measurable terms, and ABA employs objective, data-driven decisions to determine if progress is being made or not on an individual level (behavioral). Data are constantly reviewed to identify systematic, predictable patterns that can be attributed to specific variables in the environment (analytic).


When used for skill acquisition, ABA is an approach that breaks down complex skills into small components, and teaches them through repetition and the principles of reinforcement. It also employs other behavioral principles to shape and maintain socially significant behaviors, and decrease challenging and undesirable behaviors. ABA focuses on improving adaptive behaviors and decreasing behaviors that may interfere with daily living.

What is ABA used for?

ABA can be used for almost anything. If it is behavior, and it can be observed, the principles of ABA can be used to increase or decrease that behavior. Behavior analysts are committed to improving socially significant behaviors, which can include communication and verbal behavior, social skills, academics, gross and fine motor skills, reading, toileting, dressing, eating, personal self-care and other activities of daily living, and work skills. Many of these skills are delayed or non-existent in individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ABA is recommended and endorsed as an effective intervention for ASD by the US Surgeon General, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Research Council, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Academy of Neurology, among other national medical organizations and associations.

For more information about our credentialing board, please visit The BACB.

How much ABA is enough?

In 1987, Dr. Ivar Lovaas published a study that reported that 48% of participants, children with ASD, were able to achieve typical development and become indistinguishable from peers, with 40 hours a week of intensive behavioral intervention for at least 2 years. The study also reported that as little as 10 hours a week can still result in socially significant improvements. While there is no single study that can determine the optimal number of hours for each individual child, research does support a minimum of 25 hours per week.

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurobiological developmental disorder that is characterized by language impairments, impairments with social interactions, and repetitive or stereotypic behaviors. The extent of these impairments and how they are represented can vary greatly from one individual to another which is why autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder. Symptoms typically appear before the age of three.


The current diagnostic criteria can be found in the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

What causes autism?

To date there is no single identifiable cause of autism. However, the general consensus is that most cases of autism are probably a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

What do the numbers say?

The current statistic released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that 1 in 59 children in the US falls on the autism spectrum. This statistic has increased significantly over the past few decades showing an overall rise in prevalence across time. Only a portion of this increase can be attributed to better diagnostics alone.