With so many different ABA providers out there, it’s important to know what to look for. You want a provider that provides a highly effective treatment model that is correctly utilized and produces the wonderful results that ABA often boasts. There’s plenty of research on the internet that may suggest that your child needs 40 hours a week, or that clinic-based therapy is the best, or RBT’s are a must…the research is endless.
So what should you be on the look out for?
All treatments in behavior analysis are individualized and research is the single subject design that sets ABA apart from most other therapies. When you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve done just that, so treatment plans should be personalized to fit each child’s needs. Interventions MUST ALWAYS be research based. If you’re not sure, ASK!
DRIVEN BY ASSESSMENT
When you start with ABA Therapy, you’ll meet with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) that will conduct assessments that are most appropriate to your child’s needs. You may hear about the VB-MAPP, ABLLS, AFLS, PEAK, etc. These assessment tools will help your team determine what your child’s deficits and strengths are. The primary goal is to create programs that will work on decreasing your child’s deficits and reduce any gaps between strengths and weaknesses. The assessments completed with your child will help your BCBA make educated decisions about your child’s treatment goals. If you’re not sure about the assessments chosen, don’t forget to ask questions!
SHOW ME THE DATA
Every session your child has in ABA should include data. The data is collected on a wide-variety of things such as your child’s behavior, language skills, life skills, and responses to targeted program goals. Data is often reviewed daily to seek out trends that help predict that your child’s team is on the right treatment path. Your child’s therapist will be in close contact with their BCBA to seek guidance on their data trends. Changes will be made based on data collection and to ensure your child s making progress.
The most important thing to know about ABA is that skills must be generalized in order to be proven successful. Just because your child can brush their teeth during therapy sessions doesn’t mean they have the skill, but when they can brush their teeth in the natural home environment independently, that makes all the difference. It is important that all programs have access to generalization. This might require the involvement of parents, caretakers, siblings and other family members. Your child’s team will help guide you to generalize skills to make their treatment plan as successful as possible. You can also ask for Parent Training to enhance generalization of skills for the most optimal results for your child.
It’s ok to ask what type of training and background your ABA therapists have. Some may be backed by the RBT credential, some may have a variety of other credentials to back up the quality of services they provide and many others have years of hands-on experience. Ongoing practice in ABA therapy is the key to making sure an ABA therapist is well-trained for the position.
If you really want to be sure you are hiring a qualified ABA team, ask questions…lots of them. And if you’re still unsure, ask more questions. Go with your gut, but never forget about the research!
Guide by Ms. Michelle , RBT, Senior Behavior Therapist