ABA therapy can help children diagnosed with Autism in so many ways. No matter the level of “functioning”, every child has the potential and readiness for learning- BCBAs have the job of discovering the optimal ways for each individual child to learn and thrive in their environment. ABA is all about discovering how children with Autism learn best and then customizing their therapy programs to their exact needs.
ABA therapy can help:
- Language and communication skills
- Improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
- Decrease and reroute aberrant behaviors such as hitting, screaming, kicking, throwing, etc
- Increase independence and autonomy in your child
- Build confidence to help your child thrive in their environments
ABA therapy is one of the only evidence-based treatments for individuals with Autism that is approved by the US Surgeon General and American Psychological Association. “Evidence-based” refers to the studies of ABA therapy that have successfully shown that this practice is useful and effective. Children who receive intensive, long-term services, 25-40 hours per week for 1-3 years are said to have better learning outcomes and academic success than their same-age peers with Autism who received no services. ABA is not a one-size-fits-all approach and various techniques are used to achieve program goals for children.
Please see the following links for scientific study results regarding the efficacy of ABA therapy in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder:
One of the areas that demonstrates the most improvement for individuals with ASD receiving ABA therapy here in Las Vegas is that of social skills. BCBAs implore a variety of techniques in order to help teach children with Autism to be more social individuals.
Examples of social interaction skills that may be written into your child’s program are:
- shaking hands
- social greetings
- eye contact
- taking turns
- saying “please” and “thank you”
- asking someone’s name / stating one’s name to a peer
Your child’s ABA team will typically be made up of the BCBA supervisor, your child’s assigned BCBA, one or more RBTS, depending on your child’s therapy schedule, and your family. Others who may be included in some circumstances could be your child’s school teacher or counselor, if the child is receiving services at school simultaneously.
The Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, or BCBA, has the unique job of discovering function(s) of behavior via direct and indirect assessments and tests and then using this information to create behavior intervention plans and/or skill acquisition programs for each individual child on their case.
The BCBA oversees the RBT directly working with your child and ensures that programs are being run according to the specific instructions they intended. Your child’s BCBA is your main contact point for any concerns or comments regarding treatments and programs, your child’s behavior (new behaviors, concerns for safety, etc.), or progress. BCBA’s have received a graduate-level degree or higher, earned a set amount of hours (1,000 or above) of supervision and practice, and successfully passed the BACB BCBA exam.
As briefly mentioned above, the Registered Behavior Technician, or RBT, works directly with your child during sessions. They have at least a high school diploma, have done at least 40 hours of ABA training, and successfully passed the RBT exam offered through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). They work on the programs designed by the BCBA and track your child’s progress throughout each session. Should they have any concerns regarding progress or a particular program or behavior, they will consult with the BCBA.
All professionals, as you likely know, have their own unique personalities and ways of doing things. You want to find someone who not only seems dedicated to their job but is friendly and communicative with both you and your child. Here are some other important qualities in an ABA therapist:
- Personality – your therapist could be the most educated in the State, but if she/he doesn’t know how to communicate and engage with you and your child, it’s likely not an optimal pairing
- Experience – this is one of those fields where experience matters. Knowledge of how to interact and engage with children with Autism is imperative and sometimes only comes with experience on the job. Keep in mind, that experience doesn’t just mean on the job. The therapist could be the parent or sibling of a child with Autism and therefore, offer a unique perspective on working with children who have ASD.
- Work ethic – this may not have been the first thought in your head, but we can promise it’s an essential quality of a good ABA therapist! Try to observe small details early- like if he/she arrived at your home with a bag of their own toys and supplies ready to go. Or if they rush into the session, just about to be late, or if they’re there waiting for you when you get to the center. These details matter because it demonstrates their commitment to their job and ultimately, their commitment to your child’s progress.
Like most concepts relating to your child, when you know, you know. Go with your “mom (or dad) instinct” and if you don’t feel as though the relationship will work, ask to meet someone else or look at another center. The critical, sometimes overlooked influence on your child’s progress is often their relationship with their therapist.
Besides ABA, Nevada Autism Center uses other evidence-based, scientifically proven methods such as neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is not new, but the concept is gaining speed in the research community and with clinicians. Neurofeedback involves understanding and manipulating brain waves to slow down to help with processing information and feeling calmer. The patient receives an EEG – a brain wave scan- via electrodes placed on their head. It is important to note that this practice does NOT involve any stimulation or electricity given to the brain like other treatments such as TMS therapy. The use of Neurotherapy is rapidly evolving in treating patients with ADHD, depression, anxiety, and even Autism.
Check out the design and research behind Neurofeedback here.
The answer to this depends on who you ask. Clearly, according to your child’s PCP, waiting out slow development is the best route. However, if you were to ask a professional in the ABA practice, they’d say the earlier, the better for treatment. Research has shown that addressing issues such as physical delays or language development as early as possible gives the child the best chance of success.
Early intervention programs were developed to help parents catch and begin treatment with a child who may not be meeting typical milestones. Children can be diagnosed with Autism and begin ABA therapy as young as 18 months. From an ABA clinical standpoint, it is NOT advised to wait and to seek resources as soon as possible when you notice something may be delayed in your child’s development.
Absolutely! Children who receive a variety of necessary services are given the best chance of success in mainstream schooling later in life. While speech therapy addresses how a child forms and pronounces words and occupational therapy works with fine and gross motor skills, play skills, etc., ABA focuses on behavior and its main functions. All of these therapies working together will help your child overall in various areas of their development.
Our trained and experienced BCBAs can write a skill acquisition program for helping a child sit at the table, absolutely. However, it is important to note that their approach is not a “one size fits all” and they will dig deeper into the “why” of why your child won’t stay at the table and work through the reason(s) with your child.
It’s not a quick fix and will take time and patience, but yes, ABA services can most definitely help a child who cannot remain at the table for any duration of time.
Unfortunately, no BCBA will be able to predict if or when your child may talk. However, ABA services can absolutely help your child learn language and communication skills in various forms! If your child is currently nonverbal, the BCBA working with you can help with AAC communication devices or programs such as PECS to guide language development.
It would be recommended to try giving your child choices and present opportunities for him to vocalize how he’s feeling when he’s told no. Offering your child choices whenever possible helps to reduce the power struggles between yourself and your child. If the situation escalates, it is best to contact a professional to help with the aggression or self-injurious behavior.
As soon as a child is suspected to have a developmental or language delay, they should receive an assessment from an early intervention specialist. The sooner the child can begin ABA services, the better for the child and their progress outlook.
The age range of children in our center typically receiving full time services range from 18 months to 6 years old. Children ages 6-12 typically receive services after school in our clinic or in-home settings.
Children receiving services in our clinic are typically those who need full-time therapy and fall under the age of 6. When the child reaches school age, if they are still receiving services, they typically do so in-home. In other circumstances, your child may be able to receive in-school services from our clinic.
Yes. All children receiving ABA services have a one-on-one therapist during almost all sessions. Exceptions are when children are working on social skills or working in a group setting and may spend part of a session communicating and/or playing with another therapist or child.
To determine the current requirement of hours for your child to receive ABA services, the BCBA must do a full evaluation of your child’s skills. Typically, children receiving services at our clinic need up to 40 hours per week and spend the duration of the day working with a therapist. In-home sessions can range anywhere from 2 to 6-8 hours, again depending on the suggestion of the BCBA.
We are doing our best to get all insurances to accept ABA therapy at Nevada Autism Center! For now, though, please visit our insurance coverage page to determine if your insurance is on the list. If not, please send us a message and we will do our best to prioritize a potential contract with that company.
If your insurance covers ABA therapy, it will be important to understand many hours they will cover. If they decide not to pay at any point, the full financial responsibility will be yours. Otherwise, there are no additional costs associated with ABA therapy.