Home-Based or Center-Based ABA Therapy: Which One is Right for Your Child?

Hands using Autism Treatment Learning tools

So you’ve decided on ABA therapy for your child with autism, but you’re not sure whether you should choose home-based  ABA therapy or center-based ABA therapy. First off, kudos to you for choosing ABA therapy! As one of the most researched and evidence-based autism therapy methods, you’re setting your child up to successfully achieve their full potential. 

Secondly, as with anything, there are disadvantages and advantages to both options, whether you choose home-based or center-based ABA therapy. What works best varies significantly from one child to the next. But the good news is, both are excellent options!

Home-Based ABA TherapyLittle boy playing with blocks

If you choose home-based ABA therapy, a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) will come to your house regularly to work through your child’s individualized autism therapy plan. Your BCBA will help you design the perfect space for them to work with your child. Of course, they’ll also use other areas in your home to help them with specific skills such as feeding and self-care and toilet training. But it’s a great idea to have a designated area for your child to meet with their BCBA so they can associate that area with “learning time.”


Benefits of Home-Based ABA Therapy

  • Familiar Environment: Perhaps the most valuable part of home-based ABA therapy is how comfortable your child will be with autism treatment right from the get-go. While we ensure your child is perfectly comfortable and secure in our center, there’s nothing like being in the comfort of your own home. 

Because your child is in their natural environment at home, their BCBA can observe their behavior and get a good feel for how their typical day goes. And because your child gets to meet with their therapist or our team members in a comfortable and safe space, they may be more apt to cooperate quickly. 

Home-based ABA therapy also eliminates distraction and any need to adapt to a new space.

  • Convenience: Another great benefit of home-based ABA therapy is the fact that you don’t have to go anywhere to get the autism therapy your child needs! Our BCBA comes right to your door, eliminating the possible struggles you might have if you had to transition from home to a new environment. 

Your child’s ABA therapy appointments are scheduled to meet your needs. And because you stay right where you are, the rest of your family’s schedule remains uninterrupted.

  • Family Involvement: ABA therapy is most effective when the family is involved. Our trained therapists not only provide quality autism therapy for your child, but they also teach parents and other members of your child’s support network how to continue ABA therapy daily. Young boy and young girl playing with blocks on the floor for home-based therapy

When you chose home-based ABA therapy, it’s easy to involve siblings and other family members in each session. Your child can work on their communication and social skills with the family while your child’s therapist observes and coaches you through each interaction. 

  • Ability to Address In-Home Behaviors: Sometimes, certain behaviors mainly occur while your child is at home. With home-based ABA therapy, your therapist can address these behavioral issues in their natural environment. Some of these issues can include:
    • Getting dressed
    • Toileting
    • Mealtime
    • Bedtime routine
    • Teeth brushing

Benefits of Center-Based ABA Therapy

  • Structure: Some studies suggest center-based ABA therapy may help children learn and grow faster than home-based therapy. This may be because when your child is in their home receiving ABA therapy, they are more tempted by familiar distractions and have a more challenging time focusing. 

While in-home therapy may have a designated therapy space for your child, a center embodies just that – it’s a place for therapy. When your child comes to our center for ABA treatment in Lombard, IL, they will associate it with “therapy time,” meaning “it’s time to focus and learn.” 

  • Heightened Supervision: In center-based ABA therapy, you have access to a greater number of BCBA’s. While one of our BCBA’s coming to your house is perfectly acceptable and delivers excellent results, with more than one therapist observing your child, they can collaborate and discuss opinions on the spot. Here at ATG, we get together and collaborate regularly, but when your child is in our center, we’re able to discuss options right then and there.
  • Aids in Transitioning to Mainstream Environments: Most families of children with autism want their child to transition to mainstream environments like a classroom. In center-based autism therapy, your child can practice that transition much more quickly than at home. Social play area at ATG Center-Based ABA Therapy

Your child’s individualized treatment plan will include 1:1 time with their assigned BCBA, but they will also be able to practice what they learn with others in fabricated environments. Our highly skilled therapists can create many situations in our center, including a classroom environment for them to practice their communication and behavior skills. 

  • Social Interaction: One of the most significant benefits of center-based ABA therapy is the ability to practice social interaction. Our new center’s safe and clean social interaction space allows your child to practice what they learn in their Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) without having to leave the building! 

Because social interaction is a big part of helping your child reaching their full potential, practicing what they learn will prepare them for school or other social settings.

Either Way, You’re Making a Smart Decision

We know choosing between home-based and center-based ABA therapy can be overwhelming. But we’re here to help! We have years of experience working with children with autism in their homes to help them reach their full potential. We’d also love to show you around our brand new, 16,000 square foot autism therapy center

Simply contact us, and we can show you around! Or, we can get the ball rolling with your initial consultation, your child’s initial assessment and then help you decide which route to take. Either option you choose, you’re making a wise decision for your child’s future.