A Parent’s Guide to ABA Therapy Basics – Part 2

Welcome back! We hope Part 1 of our guide was helpful and answered some of your basic questions around what ABA therapy is and why it’s important to start children early.

In this article (Part 2), we’re going to talk a little more about ABA therapy techniques. We mentioned them briefly in Part 1, but wanted to give you a better idea of two techniques in particular that are widely used by ABA therapy providers – Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and Natural Environment Training (NET).

Both DTT and NET are methods of teaching children with autism through ABA therapy. In a practical sense, these methods are what you would see if you were to watch an ABA therapy session with a child. Along with data collection and analysis, they are the nuts and bolts of ABA therapy.

We use both techniques here at The Behavior Exchange because they provide greater flexibility for teaching behaviors and skills that align with the different needs of children as well as with the different ways they learn.

Let’s look at DTT first, then NET.


The Basics of Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

  • DTT is all about making a new skill or behavior easier to learn. Discrete Trail Training has been around since the 1970s and is based on the idea that children with autism can learn a behavior or skill if it’s broken down into smaller, “discrete” or separate steps. The skill or behavior becomes easier to learn that way.
  • “Trial” refers to giving children lots of chances to try and master the smaller steps. DTT is a time-intensive and structured technique used most often in One-on-One Therapy, where one therapist works exclusively with one child. Repetition is key, because children with autism learn best when they can repeat a new skill or behavior over and over.
  • During DTT, ABA therapists prompt and reward children. If a child is learning their colors, for example, a therapist may ask the child to point to red. If the child doesn’t, the therapist will point to red or prompt them in some other way, then ask the child again to point to red. This back and forth continues, with the therapist reducing the prompts and rewarding the child with each near miss, until the child independently points to red when asked. By rewarding behavior, the idea is that it will happen more frequently.
  • DTT can help children in many areas of development. Children can learn simple to complex skills and behaviors through Discrete Trial Training, including speech and language skills, self-help skills, fine motor skills (for example, writing or using a spoon), and more.


The Basics of Natural Environment Training (NET)

  • NET is a method of teaching children in the context of their natural environment. Natural Environment Training is less structured than DTT. Although it may look like play, NET is a methodical and organized approach to creating opportunities for learning in natural settings. An important goal of all ABA therapy is to help children generalize skills, so they can apply them to different real-life situations beyond therapy. With NET, generalization of skills is built into the equation.
  • It uses whatever motivates and engages a child and incorporates targeted skills. NET encourages children to learn new skills and behaviors in a context that’s meaningful to them, like playing with a particular toy or participating in an activity they enjoy. As a result, it heightens their engagement and motivation to learn. With more motivation and engagement, fewer prompts are needed to learn.
  • NET reinforces communication and social growth. Interacting in natural settings, like when a child is at play, enables children to initiate conversations and navigate social cues more effectively and naturally without any external pressure. They’re actively learning, but to them, it’s just having fun.

We incorporate fun into everything we do at The Behavior Exchange! If you’d like to learn more and get started on a brighter future for your child and family, contact us today. We’re proud to be a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® with the highest accreditation possible and in-network with all major insurance providers.

In the meantime, watch this space for Part 3 next week. We’ll tell you more about our process, from assessing your child to helping them become more independent. Talk to you then!





Ashvina attended University of Bombay and graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce. She got her Montessori Diploma in 1985 and taught ever since. Ashvina came to TBE in January of 2016 as Admin Assistant. During the years she got the opportunity to learn and work in different departments such as HR, Finance, Office Manager and Executive Assistant. Last summer TBE bought billing in house and her current focus area is Revenue Cycle Management. She is detail oriented and enjoys working with people. Ashvina volunteers to deliver meals to seniors and local shelters on the weekend. She loves to spend time with her family and grandkids. Ashvina loves her job because she enjoys hearing different points of view, and she feels her contributions help fuel the direction of our company.

Working with children comes naturally to Angela. Her mom was a special education teacher for 30 years and often had Angela join her for Take Your Child to Work Day. And in high school, Angela spent every summer as the nanny for a little boy with an autism spectrum disorder. It was this experience where her passion for working with children with autism started to blossom.

From there, she went on to graduate from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. She learned about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a non-normative development class and from that moment knew that ABA would be her life’s work.

Angela moved to the DFW area shortly after and began working at The Behavior Exchange as a therapist. She worked on her Master’s in Behavior Analysis at the same time. A year after graduating, she earned certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Now, as a Clinical Director at The Behavior Exchange, she brings a life-long passion to her work, holding a special place in her heart for children with limited language skills and working closely with families to develop healthy sleep habits.

Danielle’s passion for working with families is deeply personal and from the heart. Her younger brother has an autism spectrum disorder, and through their journey as a family, she found her purpose in life as an advocate for individuals with special needs.

After graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Danielle began volunteering at The Behavior Exchange. She saw passionate therapists, meaningful change for clients, and families with hope for the future. After a summer of volunteering, she officially joined the team as Director of Admissions and found her home with The Behavior Exchange family.

With her extensive experience working as a client advocate with insurance providers, Danielle perseveres to help individuals of all ages and abilities receive the services they need to reach their full potential. She feels truly honored by each and every family who entrusts The Behavior Exchange to be part of their journey and is committed to the organization’s core values, mission, and goal of being a beacon of hope for the community.

Adam has always had a passion for helping individuals of all ages thrive and reach their full potential. He’s also an enthusiastic musician, songwriter, leader, and devoted family man, who has been helping children and team members grow with The Behavior Exchange since 2010.

Prior to joining the team at The Behavior Exchange, Adam was a mortgage loan consultant and grad student, pursuing his master’s degree in Education at the University of North Texas. He graduated in 2013 and also earned a graduate academic certificate in Autism Intervention. The following year, after years as a Behavior Therapist and seeing first-hand the power of ABA and the meaningful impact it can have on children and their families, Adam became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He then commenced from the Stagen Leadership Academy after completing the Integral Leadership Program (ILP), a 52-week practice-based program designed to develop executives serious about transforming themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

Adam is truly grateful to be a part of a dynamic, inspiring and compassionate team, and he’s dedicated to bettering the lives of all children and their families through the delivery of the highest quality of ABA services, while supporting the amazing team at The Behavior Exchange.

Soraya is from South Africa and moved to Texas in 1996. She graduated from The University of Texas and pursued a career, at that time, in Education. Soraya taught at a Montessori school for a few years and then took on a leadership role.

During her time in the education system, Soraya realized her passion was to assist children with special needs. So she joined The Behavior Exchange as a therapist, transitioned into a supervisory role in 2017, and a year and a half later, was promoted to Clinical Operations Manager.

She quickly learned the ins and outs of ABA operations and scheduling and successfully collaborates across departments to ensure The Behavior Exchange continues to provide quality services to clients and their families. She’s thankful to be part of such an amazing organization and excited to see what the future holds.

You could say Walter’s career started when he spent hours as a young child drawing superheroes and coloring maps. This passion, along with extraordinary swimming skills, landed him a full swimming scholarship at Texas Christian University, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Graphics.

During the next 13 years, his design and art direction skills, conceptual-thinking abilities, and marketing-savvy know-how were honed at a few prestigious advertising and marketing agencies around the Dallas area. In the mid 2000s, he helped his wife Tammy Cline-Soza (founder and CEO of The Behavior Exchange) create a unique and concise brand for her new business. From logos and websites to uniforms, brand voice and visuals, Walter has been the main creative force for all things The Behavior Exchange.

Aside from giving birth to The Behavior Exchange brand, Walter is helping Tammy raise two amazing, beautiful children, River and Sierra. In his spare time (the two minutes he’s got per week), you can find Walter illustrating iconic landmarks of Dallas and Texas or looking around for this next open-water swim. Once he gets back in shape.

After 20 years of building The Behavior Exchange, literally from the ground up,
Tammy couldn’t be more proud of the team, culture, and organization that it has become.

As a family helping families, The Behavior Exchanges looks for opportunities that will make the biggest impact and produce life-changing outcomes – for clients, families, and even for team members. Tammy believes that if a team, a family, a community takes care of each other, the possibilities are endless and the relationships built along the way can make life more enriching and challenges easier to navigate. You could say her goal has been to build a kind of utopia full of support, love, and expertise that brings the best services possible to the community and ensures more families have access to those services.

Tammy and her family have dedicated their lives to the mission of The Behavior Exchange and continue to grow, learn, cultivate, challenge, support, and create better models for success. To that end, she is committed to her own leadership development and actively participates in advanced training, mentoring, and deep self-exploration on how to live out her purpose to love and support her family and help others reach their full potential. She takes her position very seriously and tries to serve as a channel for what the universe wants to come to fruition.

She also loves travel, gardening, being creative, MUSIC!, tennis, yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, being in nature, adventures, and more than anything, spending time with her husband Walter and their two beautiful children, River and Sierra.