FAQ About ABA

How do I get started with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for my child who has Autism?

Give us a Call! We are happy to walk you through the process. Once you send us the required documents, we can take over and complete the process for you.

How will ABA help my child?

The families we work with often say they’re extremely happy with the progress their child made in ABA therapy. Our main goals in ABA are to improve “appropriate behaviors,” which we call skill acquisition, and to decrease “inappropriate behaviors,” which we call problem behavior reduction. The science of ABA includes hundreds of extremely effective techniques for changing behavior. We often see the reduction of these inappropriate behaviors and increases in skills across all areas.

Does my insurance company cover ABA services for my child with autism?

This is something we can check for you through a complimentary benefits check. You can also call the insurance company using the numbers on the back of your card to verify benefits coverage for intensive behavior analytic services.

Will ABA help get rid of my child’s “bad” behavior?

One of our main goals in ABA is to reduce inappropriate behaviors. We don’t call these behaviors “bad” in ABA, because we come from a perspective of understanding why these behaviors occur. We typically call these behaviors inappropriate or maladaptive behavior. Most of our cases experience a reduction in inappropriate behaviors, or behaviors of concern.

Can ABA cure my child of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

ABA is a science that helps us to change the behaviors of others. While your child may act much differently after ABA intervention, we don’t say a child is “cured” of autism. Typically, we say that children who no longer require ABA after treatment are rehabilitated or are recovered. ABA can help your child to effectively manage the symptoms of autism to better function as a member of society.

Is ABA Based on research?

Yes, ABA has been proven by years of research to be the most effective treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. There are thousands of research studies done in the field of ABA showing that it helps children of all kinds to improve their skills and to decrease their problem behaviors. Research studies have shown the effectiveness of ABA to improve a wide variety of behaviors, both increasing positive behaviors such as language, social, play, leisure, self-help, and academics, as well as decreasing severe behaviors such as aggression, tantrums, self-injury, and repetitive behaviors. This is true across a wide range of ages, from toddlers through adulthood, and in nearly every setting, from schools and homes to institutions, hospitals, as well as in community settings.

How long is a typical ABA session?

A session can be anywhere from 2 to 8 hours long. The length of the session is based on what is appropriate for your child. This is a decision the team can make with you and your family.

How many hours per week will I get for ABA therapy? Will I be authorized for a certain number of ABA hours?

Hours are often given or authorized on a weekly basis. When the funding source for ABA is an insurance company, the weekly hours authorized will depend on how many hours the child requires. Our assessment will determine how many hours we ask the insurance company for and the insurance company will authorize hours after they review the report we send them. Children who have more behaviors of concern and more skill deficits often require more hours of ABA therapy.

What does ABA teach?

ABA therapy programs are comprehensive and cover a variety of areas. Skills are broken down into small steps and taught systematically through “Programs.” At Acuity Behavior Solutions, we have hundreds of Programs that teach critical and pivotal skills.

When will the ABA sessions be done?

We work with you and your child to determine a schedule that works for your family. The schedule will often be during afterschool hours or on the weekend, depending on your available hours. Morning and afternoon hours can be arranged depending on when you are available for the Behavior Interventionist to attend sessions. We have therapists available at a wide variety of times.

Do Acuity Behavior Solutions’ Behavior Interventionists work on weekends and/or evenings?

Our Behavior Interventionist staff are available at a variety of times, depending on your schedule.

Where does ABA therapy take place? Can ABA be done in my home?

Therapy can take place in your home, in your community, an after-school setting, in multiple homes, and many other locations depending on what is appropriate for your child.

Why is ABA done in my home? Do we have to do ABA in our home?

ABA in the home can be quite beneficial, because it helps your child to learn and use those skills in their natural environment. Sometimes, when you teach a child a skill, they may not use that skill in other settings. Our goal at Acuity Behavior Solutions is to ensure that skills we teach are used in as many environments as possible. This is commonly referred to as generalization. However, ABA does not have to be done in the home. Sometimes, other settings allow us to work on important skills.

Can we do ABA in an afterschool program or a daycare center?

Yes, typically we are able to provide ABA in after-school programs or daycare centers. We ensure that the setting we do ABA at allows us to effectively work on the child’s goals. Doing ABA in a location where your child is exposed to other children gives us the opportunity to work on social goals which are medically necessary.

Who will oversee my ABA Program? Who will supervise the ABA program?

All of our cases are supervised and managed by an experienced Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). BCBAs have a minimum of a master’s degree, ABA coursework, and extensive supervised experience prior to certification. Our BCBAs are highly experienced with a variety of children and programs. Depending on the funding source, some cases may also have an experienced Program Manager, who serves as an assistant supervisor on the case. The supervisor(s) will manage and train the Behavior Interventionist staff.

How is ABA supervised?

A quality ABA program must be directed by professionals with advanced and formal training and experience in behavior analysis. The amount of BCBA supervision and parent consultation will vary for each individual child and their needs. Supervision in the home often includes: changes to individualized programming, the addition of new strategies, changing current strategies, demonstration of new techniques, changes to the environment, addition of new teaching materials, training and consultation, and many other activities. Supervisors often observe the implementation of intervention related to each skill or goal, as well as the inappropriate behaviors. They will also review all performance data written by the intervention team, and then will make adjustments to the program based on the observations, data, and team input. Sometimes, this is called protocol modification because they are changing the protocols done by the team.

What is ABA? Can you explain what ABA is?

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is a science which focuses on human behavior, to systematically use research based techniques and principles to improve socially significant behaviors. In ABA, we focus on the environment, especially the things that occur prior to and after the behavior. We change behavior by systematically modifying the environmental factors around that behavior. Numerous studies demonstrate that ABA is effective for increasing new behaviors, reducing existing behaviors, teaching new skills, and maintaining existing behaviors. We focus heavily on data collection and analysis of data, to ensure that we track progress and change course if progress is not being made in a particular area. We focus heavily on reinforcement.

How many Behavior Interventionists will be on my ABA treatment team?

This depends on the number of hours your child requires, as well as the schedule. The ABA treatment tam can include 1 – 3 therapists working directly with your child, in addition to supervisory staff.

What is a Behavior Interventionist?

A Behavior Interventionist (BI) is the professional who works directly with your child on a weekly basis. They are sometimes also called a Behavior Therapist, a Behavior Technician, or a Paraprofessional. The supervisors on your case lay out the programs and goals for your child. The Behavior Interventionist will implement the programs and goals set by the supervisors on the case, as well as keep you updated on how things are going during therapy. Behavior Interventionists also collect data throughout the session.

I can't imagine my child sitting at a table to learn for many hours a week. How will he or she have fun?

An ABA program is not just sitting at a table doing drills. If you look up ABA online, this is often what you see. However, ABA provided at Acuity Behavior Solutions focuses on play-based therapy. Our goal is to use the activities that the child likes, and to embed teaching into those activities. Many teaching trials or opportunities can be imbedded into play to ensure that the teaching is fun. This also helps the child to generalize their skills. While trial drills may be done depending on how the child learns best, the goal will be that your child likes ABA therapy and prefers that we come to your home.

Is ABA effective with older children? Can ABA be used for “high-functioning” children? Can ABA help with my child who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome?

Yes, ABA therapy is used all over the world to help people overcome all types of social and behavioral problems. Behavioral principles became a treatment option for children with autism in the late 1960’s. Additionally, many studies support the use of ABA programming with children affected by a number of different disabilities including Downs’ Syndrome, Cerebal Palsy, Emotional Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Delay, etc.

Does ABA lead to robotic behavior?

Sometimes, parents are concerned that ABA will teach a child to respond in a robotic fashion to others. While their responses may look like this at first, when they are just learning a new skill, this is not what their behavior should look like at the end of ABA therapy. If a child appears robotic or has robotic behavior, we would consider their skills as emerging, and would recommend more therapy to make the skills they have learned appear more natural and fluid. ABA will maximize a child’s ability to express their own personality and preferences by teaching them the skills they need to communicate, play, and otherwise enjoy life…by teaching through play.

Will ABA take my child’s childhood away?

Just the opposite – with ABA therapy, we are striving to give childhood BACK to the child by them the skills that they need to communicate with others (adults and children), to play, to understand what toys are for and how to use them, and to generally be able to access the community and enjoy life

I’m afraid that having to place so many demands on my child will harm our relationship?

It is true that ABA does place demands on your child. It is also true that for the program to be effective, you (the parent) have to place many of the same demands. This is so the demand can be generalized. Does this affect your loving, trusting relationship? The trust and love that you and your child feel for each other is built on thousands and thousands of positive, successful, joyful interactions. It would take a far greater effort to undo something so deep and powerful. Being firm when it is appropriate is the quickest path away from unwanted behaviors and situations, the best route to positive, happy experiences.

Can the intervention team collaborate with other professionals like speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, or school district staff?

Yes, we are able to collaborate, discuss goals, review effective strategies, and create intervention plans that other non-ABA professionals can understand.

Can’t I just teach my child on my own? Can I use a “do-it-yourself” approach?

While ABA principles can be implemented by many individuals, it takes extensive training and education to become an expert in the science and implementation of ABA. All of our cases are managed by a trained BCBA, and BCBAs have extensive knowledge of the principles of behavior. If done incorrectly, ABA can cause problems or make inappropriate behaviors harder to get rid of. ABA is not simply really good teaching; it is much more than that. Many parents feel that they don’t have the knowledge, experience, technical expertise, time or patience to do it themselves. However, when we start ABA therapy, we provide parents with a full training manual and resources to ensure that any parent who wants to be engaged in their child’s therapy has the ability to do so as much as possible.

Can I be taught to conduct ABA Therapy? Are parents trained in ABA methodology?

Yes! A strong ABA program is one where the parents are highly involved.  We train parents to teach ABA therapy techniques to their child in addition to the specific programs their child will be learning.  This allows for improved consistency and communication about the child’s program and progress.

Acuity Behavior Solutions

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