Your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and your doctor has suggested ABA therapy. Naturally, you have questions. Is it effective? Will my child benefit? How long does it last?
Parents are often anxious about what an autism diagnosis means for their child. Although the diagnosis may seem scary at first, it does give you a better understanding of your child’s behavior. Now that you know what’s going on, you can look for ways to help your child on the path towards independence..
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy can help your child improve learning, increase communication skills, social skills, help with school readiness, and much more. Here’s how ABA therapy works:
Why Choose ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy is considered one of the most effective therapies for children with autism. It’s the leading evidence-based therapy for autism and the only treatment recognized as a “best practice” by both the American Psychological Association and the United States Surgeon General.
ABA therapy is designed to improve or replace specific types of behaviors by reinforcing and rewarding specific behaviors. It helps your child get past problematic, maladaptive behavior and function better in common social situations and learning environments.
What Is ABA Therapy?
No two treatment plans are alike. ABA therapy is customized to each child’s unique skills and challenges. We help change the behaviors that make it difficult for children with autism to learn social and self-help skills and perform academically.
At Behavioral Innovations, your child’s ABA therapy experience begins with a comprehensive behavioral assessment performed by a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA). The assessment serves a different purpose than the Autism Screening Assessment that was already performed for your child. The screening your child received provided the diagnosis of autism, while our assessment looks at the severity of the symptoms and identifies treatment options.
It’s like going to the doctor to find out if you’re feeling sick because of seasonal allergies, the common cold, or strep. Once your doctor diagnoses the problem, she’ll then design a treatment plan based on the diagnosis and severity of your symptoms. In the same way, we design a treatment plan that is unique to your child, based on his assessment.
The CBA evaluates where your child is in terms of:
- Communication skills
- Adaptive and self-help skills
- Social skills
- Mal-adaptive behaviors
It includes a 30-60 minute parent interview where parents identify barriers to independence and learning that their child may be experiencing. We also encourage parents to discuss self-help skills that may need improvement. Any skills that are observable and measurable can be part of the treatment plan, including potty training, dressing, eating, school readiness skills, learning to learn skills, food acceptance for “picky eaters, rule-following, responding to safety directions, etc. These types of self-help and safety skills are fundamental in creating independence in the child.
Parents are involved throughout the assessment process. After your child’s comprehensive behavior assessment is complete, the BCBA will schedule a summary meeting with you to explain the entire assessment, answer questions, and recommend goals and treatment schedules for your child during ABA therapy.
Parents As Partners
Parents help set goals, so they’re involved in ABA therapy throughout the process.
Parental involvement is as important as the therapy because one can’t succeed without the other. We want the child to take the skills he learns during the therapy sessions and “generalize” them by applying them outside the clinic setting, with people other than his therapist.
For example, the BCBA will teach parents how to reinforce the targeted behaviors practiced during therapy sessions. If your child needs to learn to ask for help or work on self-help skills, we’ll help you set up opportunities at home where your child can practice those skills. This type of “ABA homework” is vital to the success of the therapy.
How Long Does ABA Therapy Last?
ABA isn’t meant to be a lifetime therapy. We teach children the skills they need to live more independently and integrate with family and peers.
The assessment completed by the BCBA evaluation sets a baseline for us to measure your child’s progress. We evaluate your child every six months to determine the success of the treatment and adjust therapy strategies as needed. It’s always so exciting to see how quickly children progress!
Once your child reaches the desired level and demonstrates skills comparable to his same-age peers, the transition out of the program begins.
“During transition, we begin fading ourselves out. We help parents and teachers gain the skills they need to make kids successful in family settings and general education classrooms with minimal support.” ~Kelly Walker, Clinical Director, Allen, TX ABA Center
The transition process includes:
- Develop a transition plan
- Family training
- Community outreach
As part of community outreach, our clinicians will work with your child’s teachers and caregivers to teach them the skills needed to support the child in the classroom and in other situations away from home.
Behavioral Innovations and ABA
Behavioral Innovations is committed to ABA therapy and your child’s success. Our founders were among the first board-certified ABA therapists in Texas.
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires 40 hours of training for a Registered Behavior Therapist, BCBA, but our RBTsclinicians receive 80 hours of instruction prior to completion of training. While, this certification only requires a high school diploma, but most of our technicians are college graduates.
Your child deserves the best and we give him our best. We are committed to delivering the highest quality of service and professionalism as we work to eliminate boundaries for individuals with disabilities.