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Autism Therapy

Direct Therapy

Direct Therapy entails one of our highly and uniquely trained technicians working directly with 1 client. During direct therapy, each client is matched with 1 or more technicians who prioritize building a trusting and safe relationship with their clients. The rapport between client and therapist is essential for successful progress. Direct Therapy allows us to target behaviors such as decreasing maladaptive behaviors, increasing social skills, perspective taking, language development, conversation skills, and replacement behaviors (coping skills). Direct Therapy can be funded through insurance providers, private pay or, the Ohio Autism Scholarship, among others. Families can also choose to utilize a combination of direct therapy and our pods program to allow their child to target both academic and medical interventions!

What does a Direct Therapy what session look like?


Playing Uno with an egg carton to increase independence and autonomy, and to learn turn taking, matching, number identification and sharing joint attention during a game.

Direct Therapy Sessions are as unique and different as the clients participating in them. But there are some common strategies and evidence based practices across any therapy session. The therapeutic journey begins and revolves around the process known as ‘pairing’, that is, creating a positive bond between the client and the therapist. During a therapy session, therapists can utilize a multitude of approaches to target behaviors of concern and teach new skills or behaviors. We meet each child on their level, using the strategies that best support where they are in their development. 

For clients who need more structure, we start with basic breakdowns of target skills and behaviors, to ensure our clients are able to master the skill in a stress free environment. As each client grows and develops, our strategies grow and develop alongside them, using both orchestrated and spontaneously occurring situations and interactions.

We integrate play and social activities with peers into direct therapy to ensure generalization across children and other adults not only in our clinic, but in home, school and community settings.

We especially enjoy creating fun and novel scenarios in which multiple clients can join together as they work on their individual goals. Many clients even generate their own ideas for therapy! Some of the exciting activities our clients and staff have designed include creating and navigating yarn laser mazes as teams, targeting communication between peers; creating a sensory circle to target following directions and other language skills; community outings to nursing homes to practice communication skills; pumpkin carving to target joint attention and sharing materials; and games to target perspective taking, emotions, social skills and turn taking.


Regardless of age, developmental ability or communication preferences, our therapy is always geared towards supporting each individual towards their goals and values, in order to improve their quality of life.

What makes Direct Therapy at ATBS different?

Our services start with individualized assessments and treatment planning with evidence based practices, tailoring each client program to fit our client’s unique needs. We prioritize client involvement in how goals are targeted, structuring our programs primarily around each person’s intrinsic motivations and needs. As a result, our clients are engaged in a therapeutic process of which they genuinely want to be a part. We want our clients to be excited about therapy with us! 


We practice trauma informed therapy. Our clinical team recognizes that any person that walks through our doors may have any number of painful or traumatic experiences in their past that can cause triggers in the present. We work to minimize those triggers and take a compassionate and accepting approach when someone experiences a trigger that could not be avoided. We never shame or blame our clients when they demonstrate distress behaviors, even if that client’s goals may include collaborating as a team to make that behavior less necessary. Our clients’ input is prioritized when addressing these behaviors and creating strategies for better emotional regulation or coping. 

Our staff receive regular training on identifying assent and consent across a wide variety of communication styles. Whether a client uses spoken language, gestures or body language, or a communication device, we believe our clients have the right to set boundaries with their own treatment.  This creates a safe and warm


Creating a fun scavenger hunt to learn colors, greetings, following directions, receptive identification.

environment that honors the inherent dignity of each client and allows our clients to be active participants in navigating behaviors of concern. 


We operate with a clinical understanding of double empathy and common communication errors between different neurotypes. Our goal is not to make our clients communicate according to societal norms, but to find effective ways of communicating that bridge the gap and allow for mutual understanding and connection as each person desires. 


We are highly collaborative with parents and caregivers. We offer tailored parent meetings, ranging from once per month to multiple times each week. We can meet you in your home, in our clinic or even in school settings. We prioritize collaboration with as many caregivers and providers for each child as the parents desire. We will meet with and support our families and caregivers in the capacity that they need us. This is not a cookie cutter approach. This is a collaborative journey together.

Who can benefit from Direct 1 on 1 therapy? 


Teens working on having conversations,

making requests and bidding/

responding to joint attention made these fun Halloween Treats!

  • Clients who are struggling with dysregulated or distress behaviors, such as aggression, meltdowns, shouting and screaming or eloping

  • Clients who are struggling with navigating daily situations in the home, school, or community

  • Clients who need support identifying and implementing coping strategies and/or alternative behaviors 

  • Clients who need support and assistance with self advocacy

  • Clients who need support playing with others and making friends

  • Clients who are learning how to effectively ask for or tell people what they need in complex social situations such as conflicts with others, with authority figures, and with their peers

  • Clients who need support communicating and collaborating with others effectively to maintain and build relationships​


Do you accept physically aggressive clients? 

We evaluate each client on a case by case basis to determine whether we are equipped to meet that client’s needs. If we are not equipped to meet the needs of your child, we are happy to make recommendations to help you find a provider who is equipped to meet your needs. Please call us to find out if we are equipped to provide services for your child and to meet their needs. 


What does a typical therapy schedule look like? 

We have full day, half day and evening programs. We use a block scheduling system in order to make scheduling as predictable and consistent as possible for all of our clients. Our Full day program runs 9am-3:30pm. Our half day program is either the morning (9am-11am or 9am-12pm) or the afternoon (12-3:30pm or 1-3:30pm). Our evening sessions run from 4pm-6pm. Whether a client is enrolled in our full day program, half day or evening program will depend on the level of support that they need as well as the needs of the family. We will mix and match blocks to accommodate individual schedules and provide flexibility as much as possible for our clients and their families. 


I think my child needs a full day program, but I don’t want them to lose out on academics and school. What can you do to help? 

There are many ways to incorporate academics into ABA! 

We are an approved provider for the Autism Scholarship. If you so choose, you can utilize the autism scholarship and we can target developmentally appropriate academics for your child.  We also have many families who choose to enroll in our half day program while their child attends public school for the other half of the day. Finally, we have our Learning Pods Program, specifically designed to provide academic support and training within the context of ABA services. 

If you are looking for a full day program, but are concerned about academics, please give us a call to see how we can support you and your family! 


Do you offer services in school or in-home? What about in the community?  

In addition to our clinic services, we also offer services in-home within 20 minutes of our clinic, or in the community as funding sources allow. Additionally, we are happy to provide services in school for schools and funders that allow it. Check with your school to find out if they permit ABA services to be rendered in class. 

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