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What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

Quick Facts:​

  • Applied Behavior Analysis is the positive use of human behavioral science in real-world settings to build meaningful skills.

  • Scientifically-validated through hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, ABA is the leading evidence-based treatment for ASD.

  • Endorsed by authorities including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, and the U.S. Surgeon General.

  • Learn more about ABA from Autism Speaks

What is ABA?

Skill Acquisition 

'Safety. Fun. Learning. In that order'. One of our BCBAs picked this phrase up years ago as a snowboarding instructor, and it is an often-repeated credo within our practice. Feeling motivated, supported, and in control are essential to the learning process. This is why we prioritize patient understanding, choice, and assent at every stage of treatment. 


By taking a trauma-informed approach and carefully tailoring sessions to each individual’s unique history, preferences, and learning style, we have the best chance of building functional skills that will endure across all areas of their expanding lives. 

Areas for Acquisition/Expansion of Essential Life Skills

  • Communication
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Executive Functioning
  • Health and Safety
  • Play and Leisure
  • Social Interaction
  • Flexible Thinking
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Social Referencing
  • Adaptive Skills
  • Self-Awareness and Mindfulness
  • School Readiness
  • Community Integration
A child exploring a museum
Skill Acquisition
Children laughing together on a hike

Behavior Intervention/Functional Skill Replacement

Everyday life is full of significant challenges. What may seem like minor inconveniences for some can be deeply upsetting for those who have not developed the skills to navigate these barriers. This can result in behavior patterns that interfere with one's ability to pursue personally meaningful experiences.


By designing a behavior intervention plan centered on understanding what is important to the patient, and getting to the root of why interfering behaviors are occurring, we can work together to help the patient build the replacement skills necessary to move toward goals that are valuable to them. These skills might include effective communication, emotional regulation, problem-solving, and coping strategies, each tailored to empower the patient to overcome specific obstacles and engage more fully in their own lives. 

Behavior Intervention/Skill Replacemnt
Core Values

Core Values:

  • Choice, Growth, and Independence: These are the values our practice was founded upon. Our mission is to teach the skills needed to navigate a complex world, and to experience the joy that stems from independent choice and personal growth.​

  • Individualized Treatment: Therapy achieves success only when it is meticulously tailored to each patient’s unique profile, which encompasses their diverse interests, skills, and learning histories. This personalized approach not only ensures that therapy is relevant and effective for each child but also fosters a safe environment where growth can flourish, paving the way for meaningful progress and development.

  • Collaboration: Individualized treatment hinges on a commitment to teamwork, involving both family and key professionals integral to each patient’s care. Crucial for a trauma-informed approach, this collaboration combines diverse perspectives and expertise, thereby enhancing our understanding of the patient's needs and experiences. By working together with educators, psychologists, counselors, physicians, and other key providers, we establish a supportive network essential for helping each patient achieve their personal goals and increase their engagement with healthy and positive experiences in their daily lives.  ​

  • Integrity and Excellence: Our science is constantly evolving, and our education never stops. By integrating our extensive clinical experience with the latest evidence-based treatments, we not only stay at the forefront of our field but also ensure optimal outcomes for those we serve.

A child running and laughing
Meet the Team
David Hughes, M.S., BCBA

David Hughes

Director, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (M.S., BCBA)

I've had the privilege of working with neurodiverse children, adolescents, and adults for over 15 years. As a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), I am passionate about blending the extensive science of human behavior with each person’s interests and abilities to help bring the joys of growth and independence to the patients I serve.

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2007, where I studied education. After graduation, I developed a passion for supporting individuals who were not being optimally served by a typical mainstream classroom experience.

As a lover of the great outdoors, I moved to Denver in 2010, where I was fortunate to find a position as a behavior technician at a small center serving autistic children. I vividly recall the happiness and engagement on each child's face during my tour of the center. I could see they were receiving truly individualized and engaging therapy. I immediately knew the direction I wanted to take my career and I've never regretted my decision.

In 2012 I became a board certified assistant behavior (BCaBA) analyst following graduate level coursework through the Florida Institute of Technology. In 2016 I graduated with a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University and became a BCBA. 

I had the privilege of working in the greater Washington DC area for three years while my wife pursued her own graduate education. While DC was an incredible experience, we always knew our hearts were in Colorado. We moved to Fort Collins in 2018, and I founded Passport with the vision of bringing highly individualized and effective home and community-based ABA services to Northern Colorado.

In our free time, my wife and I enjoy sharing our love of adventure and the great outdoors with our young son. 

McCaili GiauquE

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (M.S., BCBA)

In my early education, I volunteered as a peer counselor and a teaching assistant for students with disabilities. The best part of the experience was the ability to see each student grow and gain independence from new skills.


I received my bachelor's in psychology from Colorado State University and completed a master's degree in psychology with a specialization in ABA through Capella University.


In this position, I am passionate about fostering an environment built on communication, creativity, and overall support. I believe that education and understanding of one another is the best way to foster change, both on an individual level and on a big picture scale.


Outside of work, I like to spend my time with my family and friends, and my wonderful pup. I love being outdoors, usually on a lake, and my favorite activity is going to concerts. 

McCaili Giauque, M.S., BCBA
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