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Nov 30, 2022

When people hear ABA, they usually think of Autism. However, social skills training is a component of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy that can help students with social skills deficits. ABA social skills training offers a set of techniques designed to strengthen an individual’s social skills. Neurological, emotional, and developmental disabilities are often marked by a lack of social intuition.

Most people learn social rules and conventions naturally, but they are foreign to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. Some students find it impossible to master even seemingly simple social interactions.

They are identifying social cues, understanding other people's intentions, and knowing when and how to respond and interact with others in social situations are not innate abilities. Individuals often referred to as 'socially blind' lack inherent skills in interacting with others in social situations.

Justyna Balzar, M.Ed. BCBA LBA (CT) joins me today to discuss social skills rooted in ABA. Justyna Balzar is the Co-Founder & CEO of The Hangout Spot (, a center that offers specialized play and social skills instruction based on Applied Behavior Analysis. They offer thoughtfully structured, experiential small-group learning through on-site programs and remote teaching.

Justyna has over 15 years of experience working with learners of varying profiles between the ages of 3 and 18 across multiple settings. She received her Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification in 2014 from the Florida Institute of Technology, her Master's in Curriculum and Education in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University, and her BCBA certification in 2016. Her publications include Behavior Science of the 21st Century blog posts and articles for Autism Parenting Magazine.

Driven by a passion for educating others about the wide-reaching applications of ABA, Justyna founded @Behaviorchik, an online persona intended to disseminate behavior analytic resources. She also created the @Theabaadvocacyproject, an initiative spearheaded by The Hangout Spot founders and a fellow BCBA that unifies the advocacy practices of parents and professionals using ABA.

You can reach Justyna here:
You can reach me here:

FLASHBACK: I’ve spoken with Justyna before! She and Hangout Spot Co-Founder, Meghan Cave, joined me previously to discuss the benefits of teaching social skills through the ABA lens. Check that episode out here!