How Many ABA Therapy Hours Does Your Child Need Per Week?

Photo of author


Posted On

Every child with autism is unique, and parents will often find that their child’s therapy needs vary from the standard hours to a more intensive treatment plan. The goal of ABA therapy is not only to help children learn new skills but also become less dependent on routines in order for them to feel comfortable and confident.

The “aba therapy during school hours” is a type of therapy that helps children with autism. The ABA therapy can be done in the morning and evening, or at home.


When your kid is diagnosed with autism, their doctor or therapist will most likely prescribe an applied behavior analysis (ABA) provider for evidence-based behavior therapy.

Your kid’s ABA treatment plan will be prepared when you meet with the therapist and schedule the first session, depending on the length of time the therapist feels your child requires involvement. This is determined by the severity of the autism diagnosis, the use of supplemental medical therapies, the educational support system for your kid, and other things.

This might imply up to 40 hours of ABA treatment per week is required. While this treatment plan is rigorous at first, it usually lessens in intensity over time until the kid no longer requires it. 

It’s critical to maintain your kid in ABA therapy for as long as the ABA therapist suggests. ABA therapy is widely recognized for helping individuals with autism live happier lives, and those who get extensive treatment have better results. 

The Length of Treatment is Determined as Part of a Personalized Plan 

Early intervention is needed for children with autism to help them minimize maladaptive behaviors, establish good behaviors, and manage communication, socialization, and cognitive challenges. Because autism is a developmental illness, there is no cure, but there are various supportive treatments that may help alleviate symptoms, particularly when used as part of an early intervention therapy program. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is one of the most used therapies.

According to medical experts, the American Psychological Association, and the US Surgeon General, ABA therapy is an evidence-based treatment. An ABA therapist collects data on your child’s behavioral requirements as they relate to the severity of their autism diagnosis. The severity level is decided by information you supply as well as evaluations of your kid and is based on the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria.

A treatment plan with clear objectives and quantifiable milestones will be created by the therapist. If your kid is having trouble meeting one of the objectives, the therapist might change their approach to encourage good behavior.

Because ABA treatment is tailored to your child’s specific requirements, each therapy session and the number of sessions required per week will be different. While there are some general guidelines for determining the number of hours required, the specific procedure will be tailored to your child’s requirements and availability.

The duration of ABA therapy is determined by the severity of autism.

ABA is suggested as a long-term, intense therapy regimen for most children with autism. This implies that the kid will attend treatment sessions on a regular basis, for many years, for several hours each week. This usually entails 25 to 40 hours of treatment each week, spread out across multiple days of the week.

The whole therapy process might take anything from one to three years. The suggested number of years is determined on your child’s age and the severity of their autism diagnosis. 

The DSM-5 categorizes persons with autism into three severity categories.

  • Degree 1: Also known as “requiring help,” this is the least severe level of autism. However, the diagnosis might still indicate that the individual has difficulty communicating in social circumstances, which can cause worry or tension. They may be rigid in some situations and have difficulty moving between pursuits. They may find it difficult to organize or plan, which may make some elements of everyday living difficult. They may, however, enjoy normal, balanced lives with the right treatment and other measures.

  • Level 2: Inflexible habits, communication problems, and social impairments lead to difficulties in employment, school, and relationships. Even with supports in place, isolation, difficulties with verbal communication, compulsive interests, and outbursts may restrict social contacts at this level. Although behavior treatment is beneficial, the individual will still need ongoing assistance in a variety of areas.

  • Level 3 is characterized as “requiring extremely extensive help,” which encompasses more than simply behavior treatment. Medical procedures, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, will be required. Because of their motor skills and neurological impairments, they may need assistance. They will struggle to stay focused, avoid repeating activities, and communicate both vocally and nonverbally. Behavior therapy may assist with a variety of social and communication challenges, but it is just one treatment option. Depending on the characteristics of the particular situation, it may not be the major emphasis of the therapy strategy.

Level 1 children may only need one or two weekly treatment sessions, particularly if the therapist can teach parents or school authorities on how to continue certain ABA practices outside of therapy. Level 3 children, on the other hand, may need up to 40 hours of ABA treatment per week, indicating that they should be enrolled in a special education program.

Long-term, intensive ABA treatment is supported by scientific evidence.

Many research have been done on the efficacy of ABA therapy, but one recent study looked at the direct effects of both weekly treatment hours and treatment length over months. The purpose was to see how long-term, intense therapy compared to short-term or restricted treatment affected participants. The researchers looked at eight treatment categories to see how the quantity of therapy access influenced progress.

  1. Academic

  2. Adaptive

  3. Cognitive

  4. Executive

  5. Language

  6. Motor

  7. Play

  8. Social

More time spent in treatment enhanced research participants’ behaviors in each of these eight dimensions, according to the findings. With additional access to ABA treatment, academic and linguistic domains improved significantly. Nonverbal IQ, everyday living skills, and social functioning all had modest but still beneficial effects.

Treatment time was also shown to be helpful for acquiring executive function abilities, however clients would benefit from doctors reducing the intensity of these sessions. Children with autism learned executive functions better and maintained behavioral improvements for longer when they spent less time each week but added additional weeks throughout the treatment plan.

According to this research, restricting the amount of therapy hours your kid gets may be harmful.

Taking Care of Business Finances

You may be apprehensive about the price of such intense therapy, which is understandable. The good news is that, in most circumstances, insurance will cover a considerable portion of the cost of ABA treatment. For families coping with autism, this means lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Get your health insurance involved by working with your doctor and ABA therapist. Most states require autism treatment to be covered by health insurance, and ABA therapy fits most insurance companies’ requirements.

The most crucial thing is that your kid receives the prescribed amount of ABA treatment hours per week for their condition. Although there is no definitive answer to how many hours a kid will need, an ABA therapist may provide a suggestion after assessing your child.


The “how long are aba therapy sessions?” is a question that comes up often with the ABA Therapy. It’s important to know how many hours your child will need per week for their treatment.

Related Tags

  • aba therapy schedule
  • how much does aba therapy cost
  • when to stop aba therapy
  • aba therapy success rate
  • how many hours of therapy for autism