When to Stop ABA Therapy

When to Stop ABA Therapy

parents with ABA therapist

Are you thinking about stopping your child’s ABA therapy sessions? Before you do that, check out this article where we will discuss:

  • The signs that ABA therapy is not working
  • Why ABA therapy is not working
  • The reasons to stop ABA therapy
  • How to stop your child’s ABA therapy sessions

Let’s begin.

Signs that ABA is not working 

It is important to remember that ABA therapy is not a quick fix. You should expect your child to be in therapy for a couple of years at the minimum. The time that your child will spend in therapy will depend on their level of functioning and skills that they are working on. 

However, there are some signs that you should look for that can help you decide if your child’s therapy is not working.   

1. Lack of progress – If your child is not showing any real progress or is regressing in some areas.

2. Increased negative behaviors – If your child is showing more negative behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, or tantrums.

3. Lack of engagement – If your child is not engaging with their ABA therapist or is not showing interest in the activities.

4. Your child is not having fun – ABA therapy should be fun for your child. 

5. Excessive stress – If your child is showing signs of excessive stress from the therapy.

If any of these signs are present, it is important to consult with the ABA therapist and discuss possible alternatives or modifications to your child’s current ABA treatments.

Why is ABA therapy not working? 

Now that you can recognize the signs for when ABA therapy is not working, it is important to figure out why it is not working. Below are some of the possible culprits: 

  • The therapy may not be tailored to your child’s needs. ABA therapy is highly individualized and must be tailored to each child’s specific needs. If your therapist does not properly assess your child’s needs and goals, the therapy will not be effective. 
  • Your child’s environment is not conducive to learning. ABA therapy requires an environment that is free of distractions and other stimuli that can interfere with learning. If the environment is too chaotic, your child may not be able to focus and learn the skills they need. 
  • Your child is not motivated to learn. ABA therapy requires reinforcement, such as rewards, to help motivate your child and reinforce positive behaviors. If your child is not motivated, the therapy will not be effective. 
  • Your therapist does not have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively teach your child. ABA therapists must be highly trained and experienced in order to effectively teach the individual the skills they need. 

So before you decide to stop your child’s therapy you should make sure that they are with the right provider in the proper environment. If you suspect that they are not, then you should talk to other providers to get a second opinion. 

Reasons to stop ABA therapy

Ok. So now we get to the main point of the article. Let’s examine some of the reasons that you should stop your child’s ABA therapy.

  1. It is important to evaluate the progress of your child and determine whether the therapy is helping them or not. If your child is not making any progress, then it may be best to discontinue the therapy.
  1. ABA therapy can be expensive and the cost may not be feasible for all families. Additionally, ABA therapy can be time consuming; you may not have the ability to commit to the necessary hours of therapy. 
  1. ABA therapy can be very overwhelming and stressful for your child. Your child may be resistant to the therapy sessions and become agitated or aggressive when faced with the demands of the therapy. 
  1. There may be other strategies that can be used to help your child with their development. For example, some children may benefit more from occupational therapy, speech therapy, or other types of therapy such as music therapy, art therapy, or animal-assisted therapy

It is important to reiterate that if your child is not having a positive experience with their ABA therapy then you might need a new provider. Most parents are thrilled with the results of ABA therapy and regret stopping their child treatment

The best way to stop ABA therapy 

When stopping ABA therapy for your child, it is important to do so in a thoughtful, careful manner. 

In general, it is best to gradually reduce the amount of therapy over a period of time, rather than suddenly stopping. This will allow your child to adjust and make the transition easier. 

You should spend some time discussing the changes with your child so they feel included in the process. 

It is also important to have a plan in place to ensure your child’s progress is maintained. This may include continuing to work on skills in different ways, such as through activities or play.

You should also be aware of any potential regression and be prepared to address it quickly. If your child is rapidly regressing then you may have pulled them from their therapy too soon. 

Finally, staying in contact with the therapist and having them available to provide support during the transition period is beneficial.


We hope you found this resource on when to stop ABA therapy useful. If you have any comments please let us know below.  

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