ABA Therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA, is recognized as the most effective special needs therapy treatment for children with autism and other developmental delays. ABA therapy can reduce problem behaviors, increase communication, and improve functional and social skills. Play-In, under the direction of Nina Ginatta, utilizes the applied verbal behavior model to teach acquisition of new skills. Ginatta, who has specialized in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders for 20 years, works with children with a wide range of abilities and ages. Her developmental and behavior therapy systems, along with her practical, child-centered approach, has helped countless children with their behavior challenges and improvement of life skills.

Ginatta develops skill acquisition programs for each individual child targeting deficits in areas such as:

  • Expressive and receptive language
  • Functional play
  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Adaptive or daily living skills
  • Social skills
  • Pre-academic and academic skills

She also offers functional assessment of behavior and behavior intervention plans, social skills dyads, parent training sessions, toilet training, school observations and IEP support.


1:1 Session
Monday – Friday
30 Min / 1 hour session

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Learn more about the ABA approach and systems used at Play-In

Verbal Behavior Model

Based on the book by behaviorist B.F. Skinner, Verbal Behavior, this approach motivates a child to learn language by teaching them to use words to get what they want. Children learn to use language to make requests and communicate effectively.

ABLLS Functional and Educational Assessments

Pronounced “ABLES,” short for Assessment of Basic Language & Learning Skills, was developed by doctors James W. Partington and Mark L. Sundberg. ABLLS assesses children in 25 skill sets, each of which is further segmented into multiple skills. This system uses reinforcer effectiveness and looks at behaviors such as imitation, making requests (mands), labeling (tacts), spontaneous vocalizations, intraverbal behavior or the ability to answer questions, and also academic skills.

VB-MAPP (Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program)

Another system based on B.F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior Model, the VB-MAPP is designed for children with autism and other individuals demonstrating language delays. The VB-MAPP is comprised of five components, which collectively provide a baseline level of performance (assessment,) a direction for intervention, a system for skill acquisition, a tool to measure language improvement and a framework for curriculum planning. Ginatta employs the VB-MAPP for children up to age four.

Behavior Reduction

Behavior reduction is the process of reducing problem behaviors. There is a relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, which means that in order to implement an effective behavior reduction plan, we first need to understand what purpose the behavior serves for the child. We do this by conducting a Functional Assessment of Behavior (FAB). Using the FAST – Functional Assessment Screening Tool – we are able to determine which of the following four functions the behavior serves:

  • Attention
  • Escape
  • Access (to a desired tangible such as food or a toy)
  • Sensory stimulation/pain attenuation

Once the FAB is completed, a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is implemented.  In most cases, parents, caregivers, school personnel and the therapist will all work together to implement a BIP in order to provide a consistent experience for the child to reduce the undesired behaviors.

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