Welcome to Carolina Coast Behavioral Services, LLC!

We develop and implement unique programs for social, language, academic, self-help, motor, and related skills. 

Applied Behavior Analysis

What is ABA?

ABA is the study of socially-relevant behavior in the natural environment. Professionals use ABA techniques to increase desirable behavior and decrease undesirable behavior in the home, school, workplace, and in other social environments. Behavioral techniques are used with children and adults who are typically developing or developmentally disabled. These techniques are based on the basic principles of behavior science and behavior analysts examine the environment to enable the desired behavior change. These techniques are among the relatively few supported by research and sound scientific study. Applied behavior analysts work with a client’s natural support systems to provide training and feedback to allow for positive behavior change (increasing appropriate behaviors and decreasing inappropriate behaviors) and help clients reach their fullest potential.

Who are Certified Behavior Analysts?

Nationally board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) are people with advanced degrees (Master’s or Ph.D.) in psychology or a related field who also have taken certain specialized courses and have supervised clinical experiences to be able to sit for and pass the certification exam by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. A BCBA-D (“Doctorate”) specifies a certain amount of experience and a Ph.D. It is the highest level of board certification. BCBAs have Bachelor’s degrees, have passed an exam, and have fewer experience requirements. To her knowledge, Dr. Doughty is the only BCBA in coastal South Carolina providing ABA services with a PhD in psychology (behavior analysis).

Will my insurance cover this service?

In July of 2008, Ryan’s law went into effect in South Carolina, requiring some private insurance companies to cover the costs associated with ABA. Dr. Doughty is an innetwork provider for some of these insurance companies. You should contact your insurance company and she may already be or may be able to become an approved provider. For example, Dr. Doughty already contracts with APS Healthcare (BCBS-SC), Tricare, and SCDDSN (MR/RD Medicaid waiver). Services may be fully funded through BabyNet until age 3. Additional funding may be available through Carolina Children’s Charity and Walk for Autism. Some insurance companies still do not cover ABA. If all other sources are exhausted, Dr. Doughty offers reasonable private pay contracts.

What should I know about ABA?

Tiered Service Delivery Model

Myths About ABA

I have been told my child is too high/low functioning for ABA.

Research has been conducted with children all along the autism spectrum, and I personally have worked with individuals with very high functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, and typically developing children as well as individuals with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. ABA is based on the principle that if we change the environment and the way we teach and interact with the individual, so that his or her learning and behavior will change! It is often said, ABA is not just for children with autism; it can be used on typical kids, animals, spouses, all ages and populations; it is simply good teaching (www.autismtreatment.info). “None of the As in ABA stand for autism!”

I have been told that ABA involves sitting at a table all the time and the skills learned are not useful.

I would argue that that is not very good ABA if that’s all that’s involved. ABA often involves learning prerequisite skills at a table or on the floor, in an area with little distractions. However, (a) the structure of therapy depends on each person’s individual needs since programs are individualized and (b) there always exists a plan for generalizations and short-term goals for reaching the long-term aspiration of acquiring more challenging, natural social and communication skills. Some of my programs are 1:1, some are at school or camp, some involve structured play-dates with friends. Most are a combination of those. Importantly, generalization is programmed for and all programs are individualized.

ABA is experimental.

ABA is based on 40+ years of psychological research. ABA is the only method proven effective with individuals with social/communication deficits correlated with developmental disabilities. ABA is so effective that there is a mandate in South Carolina requiring some insurance companies to pay for this medically necessary treatment.

I’ve heard ABA uses aversive punishment, such as spanking.

This is completely untrue. ABA does use consequences to reinforce appropriate behaviors and extinguish inappropriate behaviors; however, corporal punishment never is used as a consequence.

Doesn’t ABA just use bribes to change behavior?

This is a misrepresentation of the concept of reinforcement. All of us exhibit behavior that is under the control of reinforcement. We go to work and we get paid, we go to a party because we enjoy the company of our friends…no one would argue that these reinforcers are bribes; they are natural consequences that influence how frequently we engage in these behaviors. When we do something and “good things” result, we want to promote it and keep acting in this manner.

P.O. Box 80901
Charleston, SC 29416
phone: 843-259-8853; fax: 888-808-4249
email: shannon.doughty@ccbs-sc.com