What Happens in an ABA Therapy Session?

If you are exploring ABA therapy as a potential service for your child, you may be wondering; what typically happens in an ABA therapy session?


Building BLOCS uses the Early Start Denver Model as a model for therapy sessions. This model of therapy emphasizes play, building social relationships and child choice combined with ABA principles and techniques. This means that the therapist focuses on building a positive relationship with the child, the child chooses play materials for activities, and their goals are targeted within the play activity. You can read more about the Early Start Denver Model here.

When clients have choices, they are more likely to engage in the session. They have control over the activities that occur in their sessions and learning opportunities can be presented within the activities of their choice.

When therapy happens in play, motivation is high and learning new skills can be fun and enjoyable.

Examples of Session Activities

Below is a list of common session activities and just some of the many skills that might be targeted in that activity

Social games- Focus on joint attention, taking turns and sharing enjoyable social interactions with a partner

Dancing and music- Great for imitation goals

Toy play- Offers opportunities for expanding play skills, imitation, and cognition targets

Art- Fine motor goals are naturally targeted

Snack- Offers opportunities for personal independence goals and communication goals

Gross motor games- Gross motor goals, taking turns and social interactions with a partner are naturally targeted

Outdoor Exploration- Great for providing language opportunities, gross motor targets and joint attention

Cooking and Science experiments- Offers opportunities for communication skills, imitation, and cognition skills

Sessions will be Individualized

Session activities are dependent on the client’s preferences, interests, unique strengths and needs. Each client has an individualized program of goals. One child may participate in a play dough activity where imitation skills are targeted, while another child may participate in a play dough activity where pretend play skills are targeted. One child may be interested in making slime during their session, while another child may not like slime and may want to play cars instead.

No two sessions look alike, but they will all include working on the individual child’s goals within play-based activities, to maximize engagement and learning opportunities for new skills.

Where do sessions happen?

ABA therapy sessions typically take place at the clinic in a group or one on one setting, or in the home. Providing therapy in multiple settings supports the generalization of skills and is recommended.

Building BLOCS strives to build a positive partnership with their clients, focused on learning new skills within natural play. If you would like to learn more about ABA therapy sessions with Building BLOCS, contact us here.

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