5 Easy At-Home ABA Techniques
for Kids on the Spectrum

See also: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

If your child has autism, by now you might have probably heard of ABA therapy. And maybe you are even already going to ABA sessions. However, you may not have a strong understanding of exactly what ABA is, or its true potential to assist your child’s development.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that relies on a basic concept of human psychology: positive rewards encourage behavior, while negative consequences discourage it.

For example, if a child always gets to enjoy a snack after they clean their room, they will be more willing to clean up because they know it will result in a positive outcome. In contrast, if they don’t get to play with their favorite toy if they act out in the supermarket, being reminded of this negative consequence may make them less likely to throw a tantrum to get what they want. By consistently applying these principles, ABA therapists and parents can help to shape positive behaviors in children.

One of the strengths of ABA is that therapists and parents can work to break down complex behaviors, like engaging in a back-and-forth conversation or noting social cues, in a way that an autistic child can understand. By providing positive feedback with each step, therapists and parents can build on a child’s strengths until they are consistently performing the desired behavior.

By using psychology and breaking down difficult tasks into smaller, more manageable goals, ABA therapy helps treat kids with autism to learn or improve their communication, social skills, and daily living tasks.

Additionally, it is also really helpful to start practicing what your child learns in therapy at your own home.

Doing ABA exercises at home reinforces what they have already learned in therapy and helps you support their progress.

It can speed up their learning too!

Without further ado, here are some exercises you can do at home to help your child keep growing and learn new skills.

1. Sitting in a Chair

Teaching your child to sit still might seem simple, but it can be incredibly hard for kids with autism who are hyperactive or easily distracted.

Thus, by helping them sit calmly during meals or activities it can greatly improve their focus.

Here's what you can do about it:

  1. Sit your child in a chair.
  2. Ask your child to sit beside you.
  3. Give praise when they stay seated and let them take breaks.
  4. Gradually increase sitting time by praising them every few seconds they stay seated and spacing out breaks. Include snacks or fun activities to make sitting longer more enjoyable!

2. Looking at You

Children with ASD may find eye contact challenging, which is something to work to a great extent. This activity helps them practice this important skill for better communication with other children, as well as adults.

Here's how you can conduct this exercise:

  1. Use something fun to draw your child's attention to your face and your mouth, like holding bubbles near your face.
  2. Ask your child to look at you.
  3. Once your child makes eye contact with you, blow the bubbles immediately and praise their efforts. Doing this quickly after eye contact reinforces the behavior!

3. Matching Colors

Color matching is a valuable skill that is being taught in ABA therapy. You can help your child practice this skill at home with this simple game.

Let’s take a look at how you can do that:

  1. Take a few various and familiar objects from around the house (like a ball, crayons, or clothing) that lays in plain sight on a daily basis.
  2. Then, show one object to your child and ask your child to find other objects that are of the same color. You can help by showing how to match a few items first, then let them do it on their own.
  3. Use words like "Green matches green!" if your child is quite vocal.
  4. After each match they make, make sure to praise your child immensely. This could be done with words, high fives, or something they like!
  5. Start with matching the same shade of colors, then try different shades as they improve.

4. Identifying the Emotion

Kids with ASD sometimes struggle to understand emotions, both their own and others'. A good ABA therapist for autism knows this well, identifies it, and addresses it during their sessions. But it is also imperative for this exercise to also be initiated at home.

This activity helps a lot and here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Print out emojis showing different emotions (happy, sad, angry, etc.).
  2. Put them face down on a table and have your child look at them at first.
  3. Then, have your child pick one up and say what emotion it shows. Always make sure to praise them when they get it right!
  4. Encourage them to name emotions as they happen, like "Daddy looks happy! What do you think he's feeling?

5. Fun Activities

Last, but not least, engage in fun activities of all sorts. Ensure there are plenty of engaging activities that will help your child to learn how to play by itself and with others.

Fun activities will also help the child to hone their social skills, which is very important, especially in playground and schoolground settings.

That said, try games like tag, taking turns by blowing bubbles, play with swings and encourage your child to ask for pushes, sliding, and crawling through tunnels.

Pick lots of activities that involve sharing with others, asking for various things, and communication with others.


Implementing ABA techniques at home can greatly support and improve the development of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

These exercises reinforce what they already learn in therapy and empowers parents to actively contribute to their child's progress.

There’s no greater pleasure than seeing your child improve when you work with them daily. That said, when you incorporate activities like sitting in a chair, practicing eye contact, color matching, identifying emotions, and engaging in fun social activities, you can create a nurturing environment that focuses on growth, communication, and improved social interaction.

Consistency is key, so frequently practicing and ensuring positive reinforcement can significantly improve the skills and abilities of children on the spectrum, paving the way for their continued learning and development.

About the Author

Mr. Mark San Juan is a highly accomplished business author with a passion for sharing knowledge and insights in the world of commerce. With a background in business administration and extensive experience in the corporate sector, Mark has developed a deep understanding of various industries and possesses a keen eye for emerging trends.