ABA THERAPY FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
When you have a child with autism, finding the right therapy can feel overwhelming. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of autism spectrum therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviors, including the skills and actions needed to talk, play and live. ABA therapy is a key therapy to improve the quality of life for children with autism.
Our office in Columbus, Ohio provides some of the best ABA therapy in the area. Built on a foundation of decades of experience, Kadiant’s goal is to provide the highest-quality ABA therapy and related critical services to individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our professionals are passionate about delivering excellent client services based on the latest research-supported interventions.
HOW DO YOU FIND ABA THERAPY SERVICES?
If you’re typing into Google “ABA therapy near me,” the first step is to talk with your pediatrician or other medical provider who knows your child’s medical history. They will know best if ABA therapy is the right option for your child and can refer you to qualified therapists in your area, such as the experienced team at Kadiant. Check whether your insurance company covers the cost of ABA therapy. An ABA therapist can write a prescription for ABA therapy if it is necessary for your insurance provider.
WHO PROVIDES ABA SERVICES?
A qualified and trained Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) provides ABA services at our office in Columbus. Certified ABA therapists design and directly oversee the ABA therapy. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is the professional body responsible for certifying behavior analysts. In order to be eligible for the certification examination, individuals must have earned at least a master’s degree in behavior analysis or a related field approved by the BACB, such as education, psychology, or social work. Those seeking certification are required to complete specific graduate-level coursework in behavior analysis, as well as several hours of supervised experience. Parents or guardians should make sure they find someone who is accredited and trustworthy.
WHAT IS ABA THERAPY FOR AUTISM?
Many people wonder how ABA therapy for children works. The first step is a consultation meeting where the ABA therapist will conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA). The therapist will ask about your child’s strengths and abilities, as well as things that challenge them. A good ABA therapist will spend time interacting with your child to make observations about their behavior, communication level, and skills. Observations from the initial consultation help the BCBA create a formal plan for ABA therapy.
Behavior analysis methods have been used and studied for decades. Therapists have used applied behavior analysis to help children with autism and related developmental disorders since the 1960s. According to Harvard Mental Health, current ABA programs are focused more broadly on developing a child’s motivation and abilities, to increase the chances that a child can apply skills learned during therapy to life at home or at school.
“There is a lot of good clinical evidence that it is effective in helping little kids learn new skills and can appropriately intervene with behaviors or characteristics that may interfere with progress,” said Susan Levy, a member of the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, of behavior therapy.
HOW DOES ABA THERAPY FOR CHILDREN WORK?
Autism Speaks defines ABA as a flexible treatment, with benefits that include:
- Treatment can be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person
- Provided in many different locations – at home, at school, and in the community
- Teaches skills that are useful in everyday life.
- Can involve one-to-one teaching or group instruction
To get the most benefit from ABA therapy, your child will need extensive one-on-one therapy for as many hours as a BCBA recommends a week. It is also most effective if you, as a parent, receive training in ABA yourself; that’s why our Kadiant team will work with you to teach you the needed skills and approaches so that we can be successful together. With this instruction, you can teach your child and constantly reinforce positive behaviors using ABA therapy at home.
ABA therapy has benefited many children living with autism spectrum disorder by helping them learn developmental skills. It can help improve communication abilities while reducing harmful behaviors, including self-injury.
HOW MUCH DOES ABA THERAPY COST?
Treatment can be expensive. Assuming your child needs an average of 10 hours of ABA therapy per week at a rate of $120 per hour, treatment would cost $1,200 per week. Many children show improvement after a few months, but every child is different, and ABA therapy can last up to three or more years. ABA therapy can be expensive, but most families don’t end up having to pay for the entire cost out of pocket. There are a few options that can help, including insurance plans, and many ABA centers offer financial assistance.
A PROGRAM TO MEET EACH CLIENT'S NEEDS
The ABA therapy plan should align with your child’s unique needs and include concrete treatment goals. These goals generally relate to reducing problematic or harmful behaviors, such as tantrums or self-injury, and increasing or improving communication and other skills. The principles of ABA therapy can be applied through interventions to help individuals learn and apply new skills in their daily lives.
ABA therapy programs can help to:
- Increase language and communication skills
- Improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
- Decrease problem behaviors
Parents are an integral part of the assessment process. Your input is vital and integrated into the individualized therapy program, designed specifically for your child. Positive reinforcement is one of the main features of ABA therapy. When an improved behavior is followed by something that is valued (a reward), a person is more likely to repeat that behavior. Over time, this encourages positive behavior change.
IS ABA THERAPY EFFECTIVE?
Evidence shows that ABA therapy is effective. ABA is considered an evidence-based best practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. “Evidence based” means that ABA has passed scientific tests of its usefulness, quality and effectiveness.
ABA therapy includes many different techniques. All of these techniques focus on antecedents (what happens before a behavior occurs) and on consequences (what happens after the behavior). More than 20 studies have established that intensive and long-term therapy using ABA principles improves outcomes for many but not all children with autism. “Intensive” and “long term” refer to programs that provide 25 to 40 hours a week of therapy for 1 to 3 years. These studies show gains in intellectual functioning, language development, daily living skills, and social functioning.
According to Harvard Health, the research suggests that about half of children with autism spectrum disorders who participate in an ABA program improve IQ scores, language skills, school performance, and an ability to adapt, as well as socialization skills, when compared with control groups.
IS ABA THERAPY EFFECTIVE?
Applied Behavior Analysis has been proven effective, according to the American Psychological Association and the U.S. Surgeon General. This evidence-based practice has a rich research literature with decades of use and thousands of studies documenting remarkable effectiveness.
Numerous studies in peer-review research journals have shown Applied Behavior Analysis can improve outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities, particularly autism. Studies documenting the effects of early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) have demonstrated gains in the areas of language development, intellectual functioning, social functioning, and skills needed for daily living.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK?
Once you secure the best ABA therapy option for your child, here are a few questions to discuss with your therapist at your first meeting:
- How many hours of therapy do you think my child needs each week?
- Do you offer any special funding or scholarships (for schools and centers)?
- What methods do you use to discourage unwanted behaviors?
- How will you address self-harming behaviors?
- How many people will work closely with my child? What training do they have?
- Can you teach me how to use ABA techniques at home?
- Can I watch the therapy sessions?
- Are there other approaches, such as skills training groups, that could help my child?
FIND THE RIGHT HELP FOR YOUR CHILD
As the parent of a child with autism, you will always want to the find the right help for your child. ABA has benefited many children living with autism spectrum disorder by helping them learn developmental skills. It can help improve communication abilities while reducing harmful behaviors, including self-injury.
Contact the professionals at Kadiant in Columbus, Ohio, today to learn how we can help.