ABA Therapy FAQs
ABA stands for applied behavior analysis focusing on behavior as what someone does, this can include skills that are expected for their age that they are not yet doing as well as behaviors that occur that are not desired-challenging behaviors. For skills that are not yet occurring we focus on teaching them new skills using the principle of reinforcement to increase desired behaviors. If there are any challenging behaviors that are occurring more often than expected for a child their age, we work to determine the reason or function of why they are occurring & work on teaching them other behaviors to do instead to have their needs met.
Since there can be a variety of skills that are worked on in ABA therapy, there is a range of service frequency from a few hours/week focusing on using parent coaching to intensive services working with child directly as well as caregiver for 20+ hours/week. To determine service frequency, an ABA assessment is completed with a comprehensive treatment plan provided.
ABA services are often provided in the child's natural environment (e.g. home, childcare center, etc.). In light of the pandemic & decreased in-person opportunities, we have expanded our ABA services to include clinic-based services in a safe environment which also allows for generalization of skills outside of the home.
Obtain a copy of insurance card to confirm ABA benefits, copy of ASD diagnostic report (within 2 years), obtain assessment authorization, complete intake paperwork, complete assessment (4-8 hours divided up into multiple sessions working with both you & your child), assessment report w/comprehensive treatment plan reviewed, obtain ongoing services authorization, begin ongoing services.
Direct ongoing services are usually provided by a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). A RBT has education of at least a high school diploma, which the majority of NTC staff have a bachelor's degree. A minimum of a 40-hour curriculum training is completed with on-site implementation of curriculum & feedback provided by a BCBA. After completing a competency assessment of assigned tasks, a national exam is taken which is maintained annually through a renewal competency assessment. Assessments, treatment plans & supervision is provided by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). A BCBA has a Master's degree in ABA or a related field. Experience fieldwork hours are completed which a national exam is also taken. Certification is maintained bi-annually through continuing education units. The BCBA serves as the supervisor/primary contact of ABA services. Supervision is provided to the RBT for at least 5% of the total hours your child receives, which will consist of the BCBA working with you & the RBT to make updates to goals, strategies, etc. for continued progress.
National Therapy Center provides ABA therapy primarily using a natural environment teaching (NET) approach. We focus on increasing your child's participation during naturally occurring routines. For example, if your child usually has a snack during the scheduled session we will incorporate snack time into the session. During this activity we may work on a variety of skills including: communication, fine motor, etc. Depending on your child's age a natural environment teaching approach may look like "play" at times, but it is focusing on using their interests to teach them a variety of skills so they are more engaged while learning.
Most commercial insurance companies will only cover ABA services if a child has an ASD diagnosis.
If your child is receiving direct services, we also love working with parents/caregivers & providing them with strategies & opportunities to practice implementing strategies with feedback provided so when the session ends, skills are continuously practiced. In addition to working with you during direct services, we will also schedule parent/caregiver coaching sessions which usually occur monthly focusing on working with the caregiver rather than with the child as directly. As a team, we will work together to determine goals that as a family you will continue working on with your child outside of sessions. We will ask how things are going at home working on these goals. We may ask you to collect some information to be able to provide us more information in order to better support you and your child.