Austim Diagnosis: How Assessment Guides Our Intervention
How is autism diagnosed? Our comprehensive assessments cover a wide range of areas.
With a specific focus on areas of difficulty for individuals with Autism. Communication, social, and behavioral skills are a common focus. Assessment of behaviors at Acuity Behavior Solutions includes a functional behavior assessment. This is crucial to intervention. Autism is considered to be a spectrum disorder because some individuals may have autism with cognitive limitations, while others are only mildly affected by autism. Although ASD is a life-long disability, many children show significant progress with treatment, and have the ability to independently participate in learning, social, and community activities with typically developing peers (e.g., attend typical learning environments). For some individuals with autism, early intensive behavioral intervention can result in growth and learning so that, eventually, the individual no longer meets the criteria for autism.
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Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy (ABA) is a type of intensive therapy focussing on learning theory principles and techniques to help improve social behavior. ABA counseling allows (1) the creation of new abilities, (2) to mold and improve previously developed skills, and (3) to reduce socially relevant patterns that cause issues.A highly-trained Board Certified Behavior Analyst will conduct an interview, observation, and direct testing with your child to fully assess the behaviors of concern and the areas where additional skills are needed.
ABA therapy is a clinically-based approach to explaining thinking and behavior by analyzing the role of the behavior and the context it happens within. Anything a person does is a behavior (talking, eating, coloring, tying shoes, etc.) and ABA looks at the purpose behind those actions and under what circumstances they occur, to change them or to teach new, more functional ways of doing something. For example, if a child screams when eating lunch, ABA would look at the surrounding environment to determine why he's screaming and then determine what would be a more appropriate way to do the same.
Assessment of problem behaviors at Acuity Behavior Solutions includes several components:
- Defining behavior clearly - through something we call an Operational Definition
- Determining common triggers and events surrounding that behavior – often referred to as analysis of the Antecedents and Consequences
- Seeking to identify the reason the behaviors appear to be occurring – technically referred to as the function of the behavior
- Collection of both reported and observed behaviors to support the analysis of the behaviors
Additionally, our experienced BCBAs will ask you questions and assess your child directly through the use of some of our standardized and developmental assessments including, but not limited to:
- Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales – Edition 3 (Vineland-3)
- Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP)
- Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS)
- Developmental Assessment of Young Children-Second Edition (DAY-C 2)
- Behavior Assessment System for Children 2 (BASC 2)
- Other assessments, as needed
Our clinicians/BCBAs determine which assessment(s) are the most beneficial for your child’s therapy, as well as which assessment is required to request services through your insurance company.
At the end of the Functional Behavior Assessment with the BCBA, we will create a comprehensive report including a full analysis of the child’s problem behaviors, a plan for intervening on those behaviors to reduce them, a list of the top prioritized goals for increasing your child’s skills, goals for parents/caregivers, and a set of recommendations for how many hours of ABA is medically necessary. For starters, if the team decides that a suitable target for your child is to tie their own shoes, they may start by going and finding their own shoes. Once this behavior is learned, the child will be taught to find shoes independently. The next move after that could be to cross the lines. This will proceed until the child finishes all of the phases individually. For each child, these steps may be different but the idea is the same, starting at the beginning and building from there.
Recommendations for the number of hours of ABA by the clinician are typically based on:
- Clinical need
- Skills to be acquired
- Child’s estimated rate of skill acquisition
- Severity and number of problem behaviors to reduce
- Overall assessment of child’s needs and levels of functioning
Goals will be objective, measurable and achievable. Goals are often in the areas of:
- Behavior Reduction
- Social Skills
- Independent Living Skills
- Play Skills
- Leisure Skills
- Community Integration
- Cognitive and Pre-Academic Skills
- Coping and Tolerance
Our comprehensive reports typically exceed the minimum report requirements for each of the insurance companies we are contracted with. This means our reports have more information and resources than required, to ensure the highest quality of care.