Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.

In other words, ABA uses strategies that are research based to teach a child new skills and to reduce behaviors that are interfering with the child’s quality of life. Our focus is teaching the child skills that will help them continue to learn from their environment when we are not present. A critical piece of ABA involves using objective data to drive decision making about an individual’s program. If the child isn’t making progress, we need to change the strategy we are using to teach that skill. Some of the strategies are simple, and are probably things you do naturally now and then. However, in an ABA program we will use a strategy thoughtfully, consistently and we will check to make sure whether it is working; this will help maximize your child’s opportunities for success.

FAQ

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Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.

What does that mean?
In other words, ABA uses strategies that are research-based to teach a child new skills and to reduce behaviors that are interfering with the child’s quality of life.  Our focus is teaching the child skills that will help them continue to learn from their environment when we are not present.   A critical piece of ABA involves using objective data to drive decision making about an individual’s program.  If the child isn’t making progress, we need to change the strategy we are using to teach that skill.  Some of the strategies are simple, and are probably things you do naturally now and then.  However, in an ABA program we will use a strategy thoughtfully, consistently and we will check to make sure whether it is working; this will help maximize your child’s opportunities for success.

What does it look like?
Our trained behavioral technicians will come to your home and work with your child doing many of the things that your child would be doing if they were not there, or possibly activities that you are unable to do because of your child’s skill deficits or behavioral excesses.
However, during the course of these everyday activities the technician will be employing carefully planned strategies in order to help your child develop the skills to participate more fully in these activities.   Sometimes preteaching may be necessary, and the technician may work 1:1 with your child in an isolated and undistracting area to help the child focus on very specific skills.  Other times your child may be working on skills in the natural environment.
Our top priorities for your child will be those skills that will enhance their ability to learn independently;  communication, social and play skills. We will also target skills that will lead to age appropriate independence such as fine and gross motor skills, and adaptive skills such as toileting or eating.

What insurance do you take?
We are currently in network with Tricare, Blue Cross Blue Shield and United. Families with other insurance companies are encouraged to call and inquire. Medicaid is preparing to cover ABA therapy. This system is expected to be operational by Fall of 2016.

What is my role?
As a parent, your role is very important both during sessions and outside of sessions.  During a session your role initially is to continue engaging in the activities you normally would while allowing the therapist to be responsible for providing the support that your child might need to engage in those activities.   If your child has behavioral excesses that are interfering with his or her daily living, we will develop a behavior intervention plan that will be used both in and out of therapy.  Your job will be to implement this plan to the best of your ability in order to ensure its success.  With this in mind, any behavior intervention plan will be designed in collaboration with parents and will be specifically designed around what you are comfortable and able to implement.  We will talk more about your roles as parent as therapy begins, so don’t worry!

How Many Hours of ABA Therapy Does My Child Need?
ELE cannot predetermine the number of hours that your child may require from an ABA program. After the initial assessment, the BCBA will be able to make the recommendation as to how many hours are appropriate to meet the specific needs of the child.  Our hour recommendations will not take into account insurance coverage or family desired hours; they are pure reflections of the students needs, however actual service hours will obviously take these two factors into account.

What about Assessments?
Assessment is ongoing. In addition to 1:1 therapy sessions, ELE may provide client advocacy, IEP goal development consultation and integration of goals from other professionals (OT, PT, SLP), family training, and social skill groups as part of creating a comprehensive coordinated program your child.
Assessments will be chosen specifically for your child based on the BCBA’s determination about what will best measure progress and guide instruction.  Feel free to ask your BCBA about the assessments that are chosen specifically for your child. The assessment most commonly used by ELE is the VB-Mapp – Verbal Behavior Milestones, Assessment, and Placement Program.

How Long Does it Take to Conduct the Assessment?
The assessment is conducted over two to three sessions, which are each about one to two hours long. Duration of sessions will be determined by age, functioning level, and attention span of the child. Parents will often be interviewed as part of the assessment and they are encouraged to share their concerns and to identify their priorities regarding the objectives for intervention. The assessment results will be used to develop the treatment program. This usually takes an additional five to ten hours in office time.

How Long Will It Take Before My Child will Speak/Use the Potty/Stop Throwing Tantrums?
No professional can or should give you absolute guarantees about any aspect of your child’s development or behavior. We will use the science of ABA to collect data, which guides our decisions to select techniques and strategies that will assist your child in acquiring effective behaviors and skills for independence. We will use the regular meetings as a time to share information, raise questions or concerns, and plan intervention strategies. You can absolutely expect your child to show progress in the areas of his/her goals over time and we will monitor the progress with regular data collection.

Isn’t ABA just sitting at a table with flashcards?
No! Many people’s only exposure to ABA is discrete trial training, which is often done at a table and involves repeated practice. DTT is just one tool used in ABA. ABA also includes strategies like natural environment training, which can be done anywhere. At ELE we don’t expect kids to sit and work at a table any longer than we would expect a typical child their age to enjoy doing that. This means a three year old might sit and work on a task for ten minutes or so, then move on to playing with a toy farm.

Is my child too young for ABA?
No! If your child is old enough to have a diagnosis they are old enough to benefit from ABA. In fact, the earlier the better! At ELE we are early educators first so we ensure activities and goals are developmentally appropriate for each child.

My child doesn’t have many behavior problems, do we need ABA?
Maybe! ABA isn’t just about reducing inappropriate behavior, although we definitely work on that. ABA can also be used to increase appropriate behavior and teach all kinds of important skills.