A Closer Look at ABA Therapy for ADHD

A Closer Look at ABA Therapy for ADHD

Written by :

Arooj Anjum

Arooj Anjum

Biomedical Engineer


A Closer Look at ABA Therapy for ADHD


ABA therapy is commonly used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. It is a powerful method to treat children/adults with ADHD. ABA, initially developed for children who have autism spectrum disorder, can also be used for adults and children with ADHD. The ABA therapy for ADHD focuses on 

  • Analyzing the individual’s present behavior 
  • Changing negative thoughts to positive ones 

ABA therapy uses methods like 

  • positive reinforcement, 
  • behavior management, 
  • skill building. 

Results have shown significant improvements. Let’s go into detail to learn about why you or your loved ones suffering from ADHD can benefit from ABA therapy.

For professional help and support, just contact Therapyfleet and get an online consultation today!


What is ADHD?


ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect adults and children alike. The symptoms include inattention and hyperactivity. Children often find it challenging to complete their tasks on time. ADHD can drastically impact lives as these individuals are unable to maintain academic excellence and social interactions and live their lives independently.


The first line of treatment is medicine. However, recently, ABA has shown promising results as it instills positive behavior. If you want to learn more about how  ABA therapy for ADHD  can help children and adults follow the blog.

What is ABA Therapy?


ABA, also known as applied behavior analysis, is a proven method for managing and improving behavioral issues in people with ADHD.


It involves segmenting tasks into smaller ones that offer positive reinforcement and encourage desired outcomes—an organized approach to teaching new skills while eradicating problematic behavior. However, the treatment plans vary for young children and adults.


The goal of ABA therapy is to develop essential skills and manage symptoms in children with ADHD. To achieve this, they are taught self-regulation skills that improve attention, eliminate hyperactivity, and control impulsive behaviors. It is an effective treatment for ADHD. People often ask if ABA therapy is safe for ADHD. The answer is YES!

Benefits of ABA Therapy for ADHD


As mentioned, ABA therapy is an efficient method to manage ADHD symptoms. Different studies suggest it enhances attention. The therapy sessions time will vary and parent training is important.


Some of the benefits of ABA therapy are mentioned below.

  1. Reduced hyperactivity
  2. Improvement in attention and focus
  3. Better development at handling challenging situations
  4. Acquisition of life and academic life
  5. Better at handling social gatherings and communications
  6. impulse control, and reduced disruptive behavior/harmful behavior.

ABA therapy is usually customized for individual children and involves a range of activities like training social skills, interventions based on playing, and academic support. 


The success of ABA therapy solely depends on the involvement of the families of children with ADHD. The homes and parents only implement these strategies and offer outside support. Creating a supportive environment is essential.


ABA therapy for ADHD is highly beneficial for children with ADHD; it is essential to consider the individual’s preferences. It is always helpful to find other treatment options as well. Consult with professionals to help determine the best treatment plan for the individual.


Different ABA techniques for ADHD


Different techniques can be used to manage the challenging symptoms of ADHD. However, the common factor among all these techniques is empowering positive behavior from the individual and teaching them crucial life skills.


Now, we are going to look at the four most common techniques for ADHD. All four are powerful techniques. Keep reading if you wonder how ABA can help a child with ADHD.

1. Differential Reinforcement


As the name implies, differential reinforcement is one of the most effective behavioral interventions that offer positive behaviors to the individual by lessening unwanted behaviors. It is achieved by providing rewards once the desired goal is achieved. The harmful and undesirable behavior is also ignored throughout. This technique helps the individual to understand how their actions affect the environment and that they need to foster positive changes in all their actions and behaviors.

2. Discrete Trial Training


DTT, better known as discrete trial training, is an organized method of teaching utilized in ABA therapy for individuals with ADHD. The technique breaks down more extensive and complex tasks into smaller ones that can be easily managed. Then, a single step is taught again and again for practice. DTT aims to allow people with ADHD to learn new skills efficiently by putting their focus on a single skill/step individually and offering immediate feedback as a reward.

3. Pivotal Response Training


PRT, pivotal response training, is a child-directed method for enhancing the development of crucial areas like social initiation and motivation. It focuses on promoting social interaction, communication, and self-regulation skills. It is usually achieved by utilizing activities children prefer and reinforcing positive behaviors. PRT improves motivation in individuals while promoting the generalization of skills in different situations and environments.

4. Self-management Training


As the name suggests, self-management training empowers individuals to manage their behavior. This is usually achieved by teaching them to self-monitor and self-regulate, thus controlling their emotions and behaviors. Some joint self-management training includes goal setting, making visual aids, checklists, etc. Self-management training creates a sense of independence in individuals.

When the above ABA techniques are used in ADHD therapy, the individual’s behavior changes positively. Plus, they improve different life skills, helping them in daily life. As mentioned, ABA therapy is customized to the individual’s needs. And it can be applied in early childhood.

ABA therapy for ADHD- Yes or No?


Now that we have seen different ABA techniques, the question is- can ABA therapy be used for ADHD?


Although ABA therapy is mainly for autism, it is also successful for attention-hyperactivity disorder. Over the years, ABA has earned itself a name in the industry. Likewise, ABA can be used for children and adults. There are several clinics around the USA because these developmental disorders are rising.


Do you know that studies suggest that adverse symptoms of ADHD are eased when ABA therapy is practiced along with medicine? Many ABA clinics recommend ABA and medication to handle the symptoms successfully.


If you are a parent worried about the level of medicine your child takes, try incorporating ABA therapy and see the astounding results for yourself.


ADHD Therapy for ADHD Children


ADHD is usually identified early in the childhood. Toddlers have difficulty controlling impulses and acting before they typically think they are the ones with ADHD. Other symptoms include being unable to pay attention and easily getting distracted.

Symptoms of ADHD in Children


Some common symptoms of ADHD in children are;

  1. Inability to pay attention
  2. Acting on impulse without thinking
  3. Hyperactive in nature, always on the move
  4. Talking too much
  5. Difficulty in socializing. Along with the symptoms above, these children have difficulty maintaining social relationships. 
  6. Poor communication skills

Different Types of ADHD and its Impact on Learning


ADHD is a heterogeneous disorder, meaning it is characterized by three types, namely, inattentive, impulsive/hyperactive, and combined.

1. Hyperactivity


Also called impulsivity, it occurs when the individual cannot stop unwanted movements. They find it challenging to be in one place without a need to move around. ADHD kids also talk excessively, cutting others in between. These children are constantly fidgety and squirm around the room. Due to this hyperactive nature, these children find it difficult to list and follow instructions, thus making it difficult for them to participate in school activities. Remember, the symptoms can occur anytime, alone or around people.

2. Inattention/Disorganization


 Involves difficulty managing time and completing tasks on time and in an orderly manner. When these individuals are around others, they decipher issues, waiting for their turn to perform a task. Such individuals find it challenging to focus and pay attention. They need help paying attention to minute details and might often misplace items. Since ADHD children find it hard to concentrate, they usually fall behind in education.

3. Combined ADHD 


Combined ADHD is when hyperactivity and inattention co-occur. It is pervasive in children with ADHD. The treatment offers controlling symptoms. It is crucial to pinpoint the type of ADHD in children for the best treatment plan.

 How Does ABA Therapy for ADHD Work in Kids?


ABA therapy lowers unwanted behaviors in patients with ADHD. According to different studies, when combined with medication, the symptoms of ADHD are drastically reduced. However, there is an age limit for this treatment.


Please consult a doctor for more information on medications. Meanwhile, you can always try ABA therapy to ease the symptoms.

Combining Therapy with Medication


  • We have already mentioned that ABA therapy combined with medicine shows promising results. 
  • The medicine used here is Adderall. It helps eliminate symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, etc.
  • The therapy foils along by targeting specific actions and behaviors. Therefore, the combination of ABA with medicine is very beneficial for people with ADHD. 
  • ABA is the ideal method when you want to instill new skills in ADHD individuals. So, if your child has negative behaviors and you are worried about their specific behaviors, go for ABA.
  • Do not solely focus on and rely on medicine. The goal is to control the symptoms immediately while gradually teaching the individuals different ABA techniques. In the long run, the drug can slowly be dissolved.
  • Research shows that medicine with therapy is suitable for most people
  • There is an age limit we need to follow.


One of the biggest wins of ABA with medicine is that people with ADHD find an inclusive method that focuses on the neurological factor combined with the specific unwanted behavior. The combination of both is customized according to the individual’s needs, helping the person lead a fully functional and quality life.

Improving Coping Methods and Social Skills


Along with enhancing behavior, ABA therapy for ADHD helps individuals develop social and coping skills in different environments. It, in turn, allows individuals to sustain themselves in social gatherings by controlling their emotions. ABA therapy is a customized method that is planned according to the individual’s requirements. The process involves creating goals, tracking progress, and changing the treatment plan if required. All this ensures that the treatment the individual receives is effective in the targeted area.


By incorporating these techniques, you can see improvement in their academics, social, and overall behavior. Note that ABA is not the only treatment for ADHD. Please consult with your doctor about a treatment plan for your loved one.

Customizing ABA Therapy for ADHD


The key to effective ABA therapy is customization. Since every person has different needs and symptoms, the treatment plan must be tailored to overcome the difficulties the person is facing.

How to Tailor the Treatment Plan?


The focus is on breaking down more complex tasks into smaller, manageable ones for the child. Gradual learning helps the child dramatically. When you break down complex things, the child learns new skills one at a time, something they can manage. This can lead to a sense of win.


  • The doctor conducts deep research on the child’s challenges, strengths, and goals for tailored treatment.
  • The ABA therapists closely monitor the child and the family, which helps them pinpoint the area that needs improvement. 
  • The customized therapy method considers that child’s needs, helping them promote positive behavioral changes and independent living.
  • Studies suggest that parents’ involvement plays a pivotal role in the overall success of the treatment. 
  • Every ADHD patient needs support, and parents and caregivers offer it along with positive reinforcement outside. They must work with ABA therapists as they provide reliability in reinforcing different techniques and strategies in various environments.


ABA therapy usually includes training for the parents, too. They are taught about the tools required to manage their kids, which helps support the child’s progress. The training includes:

  • Techniques to manage challenging behavior.
  • Promoting the generalizations of the skills.
  • Methods to apply reinforcement techniques.


Caregiver and parent involvement creates a positive environment as the child feels safer, resulting in an inclusive approach to the treatment. 


Tailoring the treatment is a highly efficient way of addressing the individual child’s challenges and difficulties. 

Pros and Cons of ABA Therapy


Aba therapy for ADHD has proven to be extremely useful in controlling the symptoms. But, there are a set of cons to it, too. Read further to find out.

Pros of ABA Therapy


Some of the benefits of ABA therapy are mentioned below.

  1. Customized plans for the individuals
  2. The efficacy is research-based
  3. ABA therapists are easy to find
  4. Symptoms can be recognized easily with ABA
  5. Parents are involved throughout
  6. It improves cognitive skills and abilities
  7. It helps children/adults to lead more or less an independent life
  8. ABA teaches the children/adults ways to manage and cope with their symptoms.
  9. ABA therapy is designed to teach kids functional skills at an early age.

Cons of ABA Therapy


Aba comes with some drawbacks, too. Keep reading to find out more

  1. Finding a well-qualified therapist is difficult
  2. Time-consuming to see the results
  3. Expensive
  4. Not covered by insurance
  5. Timely courses
  6. A lot of patience is required from the parents and caregivers.

When to Seek Professional Help?


Dealing with a child with ADHD can be devastating for the parents. Their disruptive behaviors can be difficult to manage. 


There are ABA therapists who specialize in this field. They can review the medical history and assess your child’s needs, offering their expert opinion. They will be able to guide you further regarding interventions.


  • It is helpful if you consult with a professional, as they have the desired knowledge in working with and dealing with ADHD patients. 
  • Professionals can answer your questions, provide information on the latest research, and tell you about the resources available in your country.
  • You aim to offer the best support for your child. By customizing and realizing their needs and exploring different treatments, you are making an informed decision that helps promote your child’s full development and well-being.
  • Consulting with professionals with experience working with individuals with autism can also help address any concerns or questions you may have.
  •  They can provide information about your community’s latest research, evidence-based practices, and resources.



In conclusion, ABA therapy for ADHD has its own set of pros and cons. Although the techniques of ABA have shown drastic results in individual lives, it is still crucial to contemplate whether it is the right treatment plan. Always consult and work with an educated and certified ABA therapist.

Medical Disclaimer:


At TherapyFleet, we strive to enhance the quality of life for those dealing with mental health issues. Our licensed medical professionals meticulously research, edit, and review all content before publication. Nonetheless, this information should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical guidance, please consult your physician or reach out to TherapyFleet’s qualified staff.


ABA therapy can help individuals with ADHD improve focus and self-control through tailored behavioral strategies. This structured approach addresses specific challenges and enhances overall functioning.



1. Does ABA Count as Healthcare?


Yes. Although ABA is also education, the therapy is customized for the individual’s needs.

2. Can ABA Remove Unwanted Behavior?


Strategies like behavior modification and positive reinforcement help to eradicate unwanted and aggressive behavior.

3. What is the Cost of ABA Therapy?


Generally, the hourly rate is $120, although it can vary.

4. Is this therapy only for children?


No, ABA can be used for children and adults with behavioral or developmental challenges.

5. What is the Timeline for ABA Therapy?


The duration depends on each patient’s need and goal. Sometimes, only a few months of training is enough, while for others, it takes a few years.

6. What are the Qualifications of an ABA Therapist?


A well-qualified ABA therapist has a license, is certified, and has experience working with ADHD patients. Always choose someone who has been trained at a reputable institution.

7. Can my insurance cover ABA?


No, unfortunately, not many insurance companies cover ABA therapy. However, please check with your insurance agency for more details.


Prioritize your mental well-being

Consult a healthcare professional online and receive a treatment plan tailored to your needs.