Local Resources for ABA Therapy in Birmingham


As a parent navigating the delicate and variable world of the autism spectrum, I am learning as I go along. I want to briefly define Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and how it is working for us. Please understand that ABA is not a cure, and it is not for everyone. 

I have no degree in child behavior. I am simply a mother, who fell into this when her child was diagnosed with autism. Everything I have learned I have learned through going to classes that his school offered. and doing my own research. I also have friends in the career field who have been more than kind to teach me.

Autism ABA therapy, Birmingham Alabama
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Applied Behavioral Analysis 

Autism Speaks describes ABA as a therapy used to help people with autism and other developmental disorders learn behaviors that help them live safer and more fulfilling lives. ABA focuses on teaching necessary skills and stopping dangerous behaviors rather than preventing harmless self-stimulatory behavior (stims). The goal is not for someone to appear neurotypical. The goal is for their life to be improved in a way that is meaningful to them. 

Therapists work with autistic people to improve skills including: 

  • Communication and language abilities 

  • Social skills 

  • Self-care and hygiene routines 

  • Play and leisure skills

  • Motor abilities 

When my son Emmett was diagnosed with Autism, it was recommended that he receive ABA therapy. At the time he was not able to communicate well. We were literally counting how many words he could say together, and that number was usually two and rarely three. Emmett had horrible meltdowns that were often very violent to himself and to me. He could not do basic things like dress himself or use the bathroom or drink out of a cup without supervision and assistance.

Life was difficult at times. There was frustration for both him and me. My heart hurts thinking about that time and how upset he would get. I look back and realize he was trapped in his own body and not able to understand or communicate his thoughts and feelings. 

A positive change

Once he started receiving ABA, we noticed an immediate change. Some changes took time, but the behavior began to quickly change. A lot had to do with learning to communicate and finding the “why” behind the behavior. ABA does go off a reward system it took some time, but the therapist and I were able to learn his motivations.

Emmett’s a helper and I noticed if I asked him to help then we were able to get things done. It was not long after that he started receiving assistance that he became more independent and requesting to do things on his own and asking for help without screaming and having meltdowns. 

After almost two years he is getting so much better self-regulating. If he feels over stimulated, he will go get his headphones and put them on or request them. I have seen him get into a meditative state to take calming and deep breaths. He is able to do many things on his own. He is using the bathroom on his own, dressing on his own when prompted, and get the food he wants eat. I can say he is definitely talking and becoming sassy and quick witted. He will tell his sister she needs to hush when she gets upset and that we need to use our inside voice. The sweetest sound is him saying “I love you mommy! Mommy I love you” and him saying his bedtime prayers.

The meltdowns are few and far between thankfully. When a meltdown occurs, both of us are able to work through it. The violence in them is definitely gone. School readiness is a high priority where Emmett attends therapy. So, in a lot of areas Emmett is ready to start kindergarten. 

Research and ask questions

There are quite a few pros and cons to ABA therapy, and I strongly encourage parents to do the research and talk to other parents and therapists. A big thing for me was the realization that IF I was no longer comfortable with him being in ABA therapy, I could pull him out and look at a different approach but for us it has worked well. I felt at the time that it was worth a try, and I am so glad that I did. 

As a parent, that society and social structures can be very hard to navigate. They are for us as adults anyways, but especially for children who are growing up in a world that is social media driven, and also about fitting in. Having a special niece child, I want him to be able to navigate this world as best as possible with every resource that I have available. I know that the world will not always be kind to him, but my hope is he will always show kindness to everyone. 

Here are some local resources if ABA therapy might be best for you or your loved one:

The next steps

Emmett will soon be leaving where he goes to school and starting actual school. My prayer is that what he has learned will carryover with his new peers. That his therapist and I have provided him with the resources necessary to be able to navigate this new stage in life. It will be a very hard and tearful day. Many of his therapist have become like family to me. I know we will stay in touch and his birthday parties will include these therapists showering him with love. 



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Brittany L
Brittany Leverett is originally from Snellville Georgia but moved to Birmingham with her family in 1999. She attended high school at the newly opened Oak Mountain. Brittany is a 39-year-old single mother to two children; Emmett is 5 and Elianna is 1. Her son Emmett was diagnosed with autism in 2022. She and her kids reside in Pelham with her mother. She devotes her time to raising her children and bringing awareness to autism and special needs children. She enjoys reading and writing and all things outdoors.


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