Frequently Asked Questions

How are these services paid for?

What is Discrete Trial Training?

Why is this necessary and important?

Do you only teach them at the table with discrete trial and don't they become 'robots'?

What is ABA?


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based approach to intervention that is based on the science of learning and behavior.  treatment is driven by assessment and guided by data collection and on-going analysis of that data to determine if treatment is working or if adjustments need to be made and then the same data collection & analysis is used to make sure that any adjustments are working.  Skill deficits and behaviors that are targeted for treatment are ‘socially significant’ for the client, meaning that they must improve their enjoyment of life, their independence, and/or their ability to function in their greater environment whether that be home/family, circle of friends, school, a job, etc.

  • Motivation is highly considered and incorporated; paired conditioning to gain participation rather than coercion

  • Positive approach using reinforcement, shaping, prompt & prompt fading instead of punishment

  • Individualized, not ‘one sized fits all’

  • Includes discrete trial training and natural environment training

  • Includes client and family input on skills and targets that are most functional

What services do we provide?


We currently serve kids who have a diagnosis of Autism or other Developmental delays. 

We provide ABA-based Intervention to help a child start to meet developmental milestones and shape other skills that they were not otherwise acquiring on their own.  

We do this by first running an initial assessment to determine existing skills and skill deficits and then using a child’s strengths/skills as a foundation on which to teach new skills that they haven’t yet acquired on their own.


Skills we address: communication, visual motor, fine/gross motor, play, pre-literacy, activities of daily living / life skills, joint attention, participation (i.e.: learning how to learn).  We also address problem behavior and work to reduce the incident of problem behavior through both behavior management and increasing the skills whose deficit is leading to the problem behavior.

We provide these services in-clinic, in client homes, in daycares/preschools, and in school aged programs.

We are now looking to serve kids whose parents are not sure that they are meeting developmental milestones or who know that they are not but are on a waiting list to be seen by a developmental pediatrician, neuropsychologist, or psychiatrist for further evaluation.  If you have a need, please talk to Cindy, Owner/Director, or Joy, Business Manager, and they will work with you to create a plan to address your child’s needs.


We also have more services in development for 2020 that include parent/community education classes on Early Childhood Development, Behavior Management, and other guest speakers from the field; parent support group (just giving them the space to meet); and parent-child play groups.

How are these services paid for?

Private health insurance, private pay, and through public school entities. 


Private Health Insurance (with a diagnosis)

In the state of Pennsylvania, private health insurance companies are required to provide ABA coverage to member children who have been diagnosed with Autism (there are some exceptions). We are currently credentialed with several of the major private health insurance companies and the possibility to contract out-of-network can be an option. 

We do not currently take M.A. [Medical Assistance] or any of the M.A. Managed Care Providers, due to the additional resources necessary.


Private Pay and Additional Funding

Parent or caregiver agrees to pay the full cost of services out of pocket. Private pay is accepted and SESD is willing to work with families in regards to additional funding sources.

Public Schools

Public will deem whether ABA services are of benefit to the child. The child would then receive services through their current school entity. This is at the discretion of the school and is not in the power of SESD to advocate for school-based services on your behalf.

What is Discrete Trial Training?

Is this training necessary and important?

Discrete Trial Training is a condition in which many trials are practiced in a short period of time. Yes, training is a necessary and important part of teaching and acquiring skills.


At Swank ESD this training is used within ABA services. Often the child will briefly be sitting at a table in a more focussed environment and then move to a free play environment to help generalize the developing skills.

Discrete trials are used to facilitate learning and are necessary and important to a child's overall retention. They allow our staff to isolate particular behaviors and the preferred responses within a controlled environment.

Discrete trial training is necessary and important for...

  • developing skills that have not been acquired in the natural environment under naturalistic conditions.

  • supporting the child who does not yet understand exactly ‘how’ to learn. The controlled environment helps to teach learning skills.

  • allowing the interventionist to gain and maintain attention of the child more effectively in order to teach important skills and ‘how’ to learn.

  • allowing multiple opportunities for repeated practice on targets; multiple practice trials needed for skill acquisition.

Do you only teach them at the table with discrete trial and don't they become 'robots'?

No, we also work on generalizing the skills taught at the table in the natural environment (ie: play area, books, bathroom, group, life skill activities, etc.)


Our clients will go back and forth between short spurts of learning at ‘the table’ and the other more naturalistic environments within the clinic.  Ideally, we would then work in the home with the child & family to generalize the skills across this environment too.  

There are no robots here! We interact ‘naturally’ and playfully, varying how we present our instructional targets (targeted actions, verbalizations etc.) and how we reinforce their preferred responses. Children then begin to vary their responses and respond in a more natural way.

Why do and should children receive services in the clinic?

The Clinic is a very unique, new and special environment where teaching can be excellerated in a more controlled environment.


  • The Clinic is a new environment where the conditions and ‘rules’ can be set right from the beginning to be conducive to the child receiving direction and engaging in interventionist-directed activities.

  • Children are used to being ‘non-directed’ in their homes. This refers to how the child may play and have alone time and time to rest in the home. This makes it difficult for our staff to come in and begin to help change pattern behaviors and routines; expecting them to now pay attention and participate in work that is difficult for them, especially in the early stages.

  • The clinic allows us to ‘control’ the contingencies and this is required for effective teaching of new skills.

  • The clinic allows direct intervention staff to have more frequent access to the master’s level clinicians who supervise the cases since they are there seeing multiple clients- they are there more often/longer than one visit a week to one client.

  • The clinic allows us to have more intervention materials and motivators/reinforcers at hand and be shared across staff/clients in this common space.

  • The clinic allows for social interaction with other children and the opportunity to work on social skills and group skills.

Where are services provided?

At our Swank Early Skills Development clinic located in Lancaster, PA:

1630 Manheim Pike Ste 2

Lancaster, PA 17601


We also provide in-home and in-daycare/in-school services for our clients, however, in order to experience the most benefit of what Intensive ABA Intervention can do for your child, we find that starting services in our offices helps to more effectively shape the initial behaviors that we are seeking to bring about. 

The reason for this is that it is an environment which we can control and manipulate which is much more difficult to do in a clients home or school.  After trying a short-term clinic, if a family would like to continue ABA services with us, we would develop a plan together that would include where and when services would best be provided to suit the therapeutic needs of the child, and the practical needs of the family.

How are clinics paid for?

Swank Early Skills Development

1630 Manheim Pike

Ste 2, Box 16  

Lancaster, PA 17601             

Lancaster Office and Center:

8am to 5pm - Monday through Friday*


Home and Community Service Hours:

8am to 5pm - Monday through Friday**

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* Due to the current pandemic and the need to keep Employees and Clients safe, please call for an appointment before coming to our offices so we can be prepared and use precautions.

** Where the client’s home or place of service is located within a county that the PA Health Department has classified as in the “Green” Phase, we are currently providing one on one client intervention services using Health Precautions, including that it is mandatory for all household members to be in good health and free of any symptoms of Covid-19 or any other contagious illness such as the flu, stomach flu, etc.

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