Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of evidence-based Autism treatment and is one of the most effective types of therapeutic interventions for individuals on the Autism spectrum. Early intervention is especially important for children who are diagnosed early (around two years old). There are many things you should consider when looking for a professional to provide Autism treatment for your loved one and taking the first steps to finding an ABA provider can feel extremely stressful. The following are some things to keep in mind when you take this initial step.
ABA is individualized.
There is a common misconception that ABA is a one size fits all therapy, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every individual who receives ABA therapy has different needs and each program should be individualized to fit those needs. It is rare that an ABA clinic will only offer one single approach to treating your loved one, but if this is the case you should be prepared to ask questions like “How will this approach fit my loved one’s needs?” or “Would you be willing to adapt this program to my loved one’s needs if necessary?”
You want to make sure that the staff that will be working with your loved one is properly credentialed. There are many programs that claim to be ABA programs but employ traditional teachers who use a few ABA techniques. In a true ABA therapy program, there should always be a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) overseeing your loved one’s case.BCBA’s have master’s degrees in a related field, have taken extensive coursework in ABA therapy, and have completed a minimum of 1,500 hours providing ABA therapy.
Additionally, there should be properly trained therapists or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) running the programs created by the BCBA.
You may also want to ask what experience the BCBA has with working with children that have the same challenges that your child has. Previously working with similar behaviors may help significantly in understanding your child better.
Therapist to Client Ratio
The number of clients to therapists is an important factor to consider. Depending on your child’s skills and behaviors, your child may benefit from the support of a one-on-one therapist. Make sure the program you enroll in provides the level of support that your child needs. Putting a child who has challenging behaviors and needs one-to-one support in a group setting can be both unhelpful for the child and disruptive to the group of learners.
Additionally, it’s important to ask how many children your BCBA oversees. A BCBA with a large caseload will have less time to give to each child.
Each program is different, but it is important to explore your options to find an ABA clinic near you that best fits your financial needs. In New Jersey, almost all health insurances will help cover a certain number of hours of Autism treatment if your child has an autism diagnosis. If this is the case for you, make sure that the provider accepts your insurance.
Collaboration is Key
There should be constant communication between you (the caregiver) the ABA provider, and any other types of health providers (speech therapists, developmental pediatrician, occupational therapists, physical therapists, etc.). This ensures that the treatment that is being provided is consistent, thus allowing the individual to practice new skills in different environments and with different people. Make sure that the ABA clinic or provider that you are planning on working with has a collaborative mindset. Do they offer parent training? How often will they communicate with your other health providers? These are all things that you should keep in mind when determining if the center has a collaborative mindset.
What skills do you want them to work on?
Autism treatment providers will likely ask you “What skills do you want your loved one to work on?” So, it is imperative that you are prepared to answer that question or bring it up if you aren’t asked. It is a good idea to make a list of both the skills that need to be worked on and the behaviors that you would like to be reduced. For example, if your loved one does not use the bathroom independently you may request that toileting be included in treatment.
What to look out for
While most autism treatment providers have the best intentions it is important to be weary of those who make unrealistic promises. Watch out for anyone claiming they can “cure” Autism or can “guarantee results” within a short period of time. While these things sound appealing, they simply aren’t realistic and will likely leave you feeling disheartened when you realize that they can’t deliver on these promises.
Questions, Questions, Questions.
Ask a lot of questions! It may be beneficial to have a list of questions ready before you even reach out to an Autism clinic near you. Autism treatment professionals are some of the kindest and understanding people, so they will likely be happy to answer your questions and hopefully make your search a bit less stressful. Below is a list of questions that may be helpful!
- Is there a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) on staff?
- What types of training do the Behavior Technicians/Behavior Therapists have?
- Do you offer parent training? Is the BCBA available consistently for meetings with parents/ other service providers? If so, how often do you expect that we will meet to discuss progress?
- How much supervision hours will my child get each week from the BCBA?
- Do you have a high turnover rate with staff?
- What types of therapy services are offered?
- Will my child have a one-on-one therapist? If not, how many children are assigned to each therapist?
- How many students does each BCBA oversee?
- What does a typical session look like? How long are the sessions?
- Do you offer social skills programs?
- How many hours per week will my loved one qualify for?
- How do you decide which skills are going to be taught?
- What is the assessment process?
- How do you ensure that the skills will be generalized?
- How is data collected?
- How do you determine when services are no longer needed?
- Which insurance providers do you accept?
- Which insurance providers are you in-network with?
- How much will my copay or coinsurance cost for services?
- What is your intake process and how long will it take for my child to begin services?
- What are your hours of operations and at what times will my child be receiving services?
- What are your covid-19 protocols?
Meet the Experienced ABA Therapists at Capable Cubs ABA Therapy Center in Bergen County
At Capable Cubs, we believe that selecting an ABA therapy center near you is an incredibly critical decision with lasting consequences. As a leading ABA services provider in Bergen County, we encourage parents to always ask questions and evaluate our services and therapists without any hesitation.
Our team of highly trained ABA clinicians includes experienced and qualified BCBAs and RBTs who specialize in combining various ABA methods for providing the most effective treatment to your child with ASD. We create a structured roadmap for every child, including extensive initial assessments, comprehensive ABA treatment plans, critical learning milestones, and effective discharge plans to successfully transition out of our care. Our goal is to help your child build the skills needed to increase independence, build meaningful relationships, and connect with their community.
Select an ABA therapy center that works best for your family’s priorities, needs, and goals. Get in touch with the Autism specialists at Capable Cubs. Call 201-786-6280 or contact us online to learn more about our quick intake process.