Cancellations and ABA Therapy: 7 Powerful Things to Consider


Cancellations in ABA therapy are bound to happen! Often children with Autism Spectrum Disorder receive anywhere from 20-40 hours of ABA therapy a week, which means there are times when treatment will have to be postponed, cut short, or canceled altogether. However, this reality can be problematic. Consistency is important in ABA therapy, and children with autism frequently are upset when a routine is broken. In some cases, missed sessions result in increases in problem behavior. On a more practical level, if an ABA clinic cannot fulfill therapeutic sessions, it cannot keep its doors open.

There is no uncomplicated answer to the problem of cancellations, but there are a few things parents and guardians can do to minimize the impact. The bottom line is this: cancellations are inevitable, but they don’t have to be disastrous. With a bit of consideration and cooperation from all parties involved, it is possible to ensure that ABA therapy sessions remain effective, even when life gets in the way.

This blog will discuss the importance of not missing a session and ways to avoid cancellations. ABA therapy is essential for children with autism! Don’t let canceled sessions get in the way of progress.

7 Things to Consider Before a Cancellation

1. Negative impact on child’s development.

Studies have shown that ABA therapy can significantly diminish autism symptoms, but it requires a high amount of commitment from both the child and the family. Missing ABA sessions can adversely affect a child’s progress and development, so it’s essential to make every effort to attend each session. ABA therapy sessions are typically held regularly, and missing even one session can have a negative impact on a child’s development and progress.

This is because ABA therapy is incredibly individualized, and each session is designed specifically to meet the child’s needs. If a child has a cancellation, they may miss vital instruction and necessary practice time. Additionally, ABA therapy often relies heavily on visual supports, such as flashcards and picture schedules. Missing a session can disrupt the flow of this visual information, making it more difficult for the child to learn and remember new skills.

2. Regression in progress.

ABA therapy typically involves a series of one-on-one sessions between a child and an ABA professional like an RBT (registered behavior technician) or BCBA (board-certified behavior analyst). However, missing even one session can disrupt the progress made and lead to regression. This is because each ABA session builds upon the one that came before, and interruptions can make it difficult for the child to catch up. Cancellations should be avoided whenever possible, as they can derail the child’s progress and make it more strenuous for them to reach their full potential.

When a child with autism misses an ABA session, they may not be able to practice the skills they have learned and may forget some of what was previously established. As a result, concepts may need to be repeated and relearned. This can be frustrating, repetitive, and boring for the child. Attending ABA sessions as scheduled prevents regression and ensures that the child with autism continues to make progress. Additionally, missing sessions can cause setbacks in behavior modification that may require more time and effort to correct.

3. Missing insights and feedback.

ABA therapy is an essential tool for helping children with autism learn new skills and progress. However, if sessions are canceled or missed, it can be difficult for therapists to provide valuable insights or feedback on progress. Data goes undocumented when there is a string of cancellations, and opportunities to record new findings are lost.

Missing data points can lead to a lack of clarity and difficulty managing behavioral programs. To ensure all ABA programs run as effectively as possible, be diligent about your child’s attendance. Be sure to discuss any behavior changes with providers at the next ABA session when therapy is canceled to ensure everyone is on the same page.

4. Skills build upon one another.

ABA sessions are often structured so that skills build upon one another. Too many missed sessions can make it difficult for children to grasp techniques and concepts. This can lead to burnout during sessions or even total shutdowns. It’s vital that routine is established and attending therapy becomes a regular and expected aspect of each day. Parents should avoid cancellations, if possible, as disruptions to the schedule can be very difficult for children with autism to process. ABA Therapy is a vital part of treatment for autism and should be given the same priority as other medical appointments.

 5. Consistency and follow-through.

For ABA professionals to provide effective therapy, therapists and parents must maintain a consistent schedule. This means being punctual for appointments and following through with scheduled sessions, even when it isn’t convenient. ABA therapy should be done every day, at the same time, and for the same duration. This consistency is important because it helps create a routine for the child that can be calming and reassuring.

In addition, following through with ABA therapy sessions shows the child that there are individuals who are committed to helping them, which can build trust and rapport. When cancellations occur, therapists should aim to reschedule the session as soon as possible to minimize the disruption to the child’s treatment plan. By consistently following through with appointments, therapists can help ensure that children receive the full benefit of ABA therapy.

 6. Children may feel left out.

Missing an ABA therapy session can be disruptive for children with autism in various ways. Not only does it mean they miss out on the chance to learn and practice essential skills, but it can also make them feel left behind by their peers. This is especially true if other children in their class are making progress while they are not.

Additionally, cancellations can disrupt the child’s routine, which can upset them. Lastly, unexpected changes to the schedule or lack of consistency in routine can provoke a child with autism to experience more stressful social interactions with peers, groups, and other professionals. This can further complicate their ability to communicate and cooperate with others, negatively affecting their ability to practice essential skills and cultivate relationships.

7. Providers will work with your schedule.

Families shouldn’t have to stress about cancellations because BCBAs and RBTs will work with them to make sure their child still gets the necessary treatment. Sometimes delaying a session for just a few hours or changing the time can prevent a total cancelation, so it’s vital to communicate and explore your options.

How to Handle Cancelations:

For the child’s development, both parents and providers must be on the same page regarding ABA therapy goals. Being consistent and showing up for therapy is a huge part of any therapy plan. If it is unavoidable and you must cancel, notify your therapist ahead of time so that a plan can be made to make up the missed session.

If you are having difficulty making it to therapy sessions, you can do a few things to make it easier. You can talk to the therapist about scheduling changes or use visual supports to help remind you of upcoming appointments. You can also create a regular schedule that is established and easy to remember. Finally, understand when scheduling conflicts arise, communication and understanding are critical.

ABA Therapy and ABA Centers of America

Committing to ABA therapy can be challenging, but it’s essential to stick with it to give your child with autism the best possible opportunity for a successful future. If you are interested in learning more about our autism treatment options, call us at (844) 923-4222 or visit us at

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