Has your child, or someone you love, recently been diagnosed with autism? The feelings of anger, sadness, and confusion, to name a few, are normal. Therapy, specifically ABA therapy, may have been recommended by the diagnosing physician. The process of finding a quality therapist or treatment team, whom you can trust with your child, can be overwhelming. To help you feel more comfortable in this process, I’ve complied some FAQs for you to ask potential providers. We understand how a quality ABA provider makes all the difference in your child’s progress!
1) What will sessions look like?
ABA therapy sessions can look different based upon the teaching approaches being delivered. They can look very structured to play based. It's important that the treatment team be aware of and prioritize your child's motivation within sessions and always make learning fun. Ensure the team takes accountability for the success, or lack thereof, with your child's learning. It's important that therapists teach the way your child learns best. Remember, your child CAN learn new skills; make sure the treatment team believes in your child and is creative in finding the most appropriate and effective ways to teach him/her.
2) Where will sessions be conducted?
ABA therapy can occur in any environment where learning can occur, such as the home, community, or a center. An agency with a center is a great asset as it allows for frequent staff training and observations. Additionally, a center allows for a controlled environment where appropriate learning opportunities can be created. While it's important that all newly acquired skills generalize to the home and other common environments, a center is often times a preferred place to start therapy and offers many benefits that may accelerate the learning process.
3) Who will be directing and overseeing my child's program?
It's important that your child's program be overseen by a board certified behavior analyst or BCBA; that is, someone with specific training and certification in behavior analysis. It's also important that the direct treatment team have specific training and competency in delivering evidence-based teaching procedures derived from the science of ABA. The registered behavior technician or RBT is a professional who has recognized competencies in ABA. They practice under close supervision of a BCBA. You can find BCBAs and RBTs on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board registry here: Bacb.com.
4) How do you determine when my child no longer needs services or would benefit from a reduction in services?
While it’s important to celebrate the accomplishments and gains your child makes early on in therapy, it's important to consider their future. The skills a 3 year old needs are different from that of a 14 year old and therapy hours should be recommended based upon the therapy plan developed that will address the identified skill deficits. This is why it's important that the program you choose supports ongoing evaluations of your child's skills as they grow and develop. This information, along with your child’s rate of skill acquisition, should be taken into account when making decisions around increasing or decreasing therapy hours.
ABA therapy is the most effective therapy for individuals with autism and the only therapy shown to lead to lasting improvements in the lives of individuals with autism. With knowledge, you can find a great provider. If you have additional questions, we are here to help! Feel free to call us at 224.326.2206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used to replace consultation with your doctor or qualified mental health professional. Always consult a mental health professional if you are experiencing symptoms and/or before making any decisions regarding treatment for yourself or others.