We know it’s hard to believe, but about one in every 54 children is diagnosed with autism and the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder continues to increase. Here’s the great news: there are early intervention treatment options available! Applied Behavioral Therapy, better known as ABA, can really help children with autism improve their ability to communicate, learn, and socialize! In order to create the best plan for your child, it’s important to choose your ABA therapy provider wisely.
We’ve put our heads together and come up with 7 great questions you might want to ask when interviewing an autism therapist. Take a look!
1. What Is Your Training Like?
Start by searching “ABA therapy near me” or “BCBA near me.”
BCBA stands for Board Certified Behavioral Analyst. Finding an experienced, board-certified specialist will give you peace of mind. They’ll ensure your child receives the best possible care.
As you research each autism center, take the time to learn more about the therapy team. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions!
- Is there a BCBA on staff?
- What training policies do you have for your BCBAs and therapists?
- Does your team continue receiving training and education?
- What’s the current staff turnover frequency?
- How much supervision do the therapists receive from BCBAs?
- How often will I meet with the BCBA assigned to my child’s treatment?
Ask the autism center about how they plan to make sure your child stays safe. For example, maybe they:
- Complete initial and recurring staff training regarding health and safety
- Use windows to allow BCBAs to watch over therapy sessions
- Use video surveillance for all therapy sessions
- Prioritize clear management
- Learn from incidents by using robust reporting
2. What are the Goals for ABA Treatment?
We all have goals! Before choosing an autism treatment center, take a moment to think about the goals that you might have for your child. Feel free to discuss these goals with the ABA therapist that you are talking with. How does the plan for therapy help your child meet these goals?
You might find that different autism services prioritize different goals. For example, some programs focus on reducing challenging behaviors. Others prioritize improving your child’s language and communication skills.
3. How Will You Individualize Treatment for My Child?
All kids are uniquely different and their therapy plan should be too. It’s important to find an autism treatment center that understands this and is ready to customize a treatment plan to nurture your child in the best way possible.
Look for an autism center that starts with a functional behavior assessment (FBA). The FBA appointment will allow a BCBA to get to know your child better! A BCBA will seek to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses. They’ll consider your child’s abilities, behaviors, communication skills, and also your child’s day-to-day challenges in an attempt to help them learn, grow and become more independent.
Once their assessment is complete, the BCBA will come up with a structured plan for your child. They’ll customize the plan based on your child’s goals and distinct needs. At Dream Big, it’s important to us that this plan includes play and a whole lot of fun!
The BCBA will be paying close attention to your child’s progress. They’ll adjust your child’s therapy program as needed to be sure that your child is making progress and working towards meeting their goals.
4. How Do You Measure Progress?
In addition to setting goals, an ABA therapist should set benchmarks along the way. These benchmarks will help you determine your child’s progress. It’s ok to ask what will happen if your child isn’t meeting those benchmarks. The center should be constantly evaluating and making adjustments to make sure your child is making progress.
5. What’s My Involvement?
No one knows your child better than you. Be sure to ask the autism center about parent involvement in a child’s treatment. For example, you can ask:
- Do parents participate in sessions?
- How much training do parents receive?
- Do you help parents make changes at home?
- How will we communicate regarding my child’s progress?
- How often will we communicate?
- Who should I contact to discuss my child’s progress?
Still not sure? Let’s talk! Ask about our in- home services, too.
At Dream Big, we want you to be involved every step of the way.
6. Let’s Talk Dollars and Cents!
As you start narrowing down your options, you’ll need to consider costs as well. Ask each provider:
- What will insurance cover?
- What are your billing practices?
- Will I need to purchase equipment for therapy?
- Are there any other expenses we’ll need to take care of?
ABA therapy can cost around $17,000 a year. Different factors can impact the costs, including:
- Which autism services are offered
- The type of ABA intervention used
- What your child’s needs are
- How often your child needs treatment
- How experienced the ABA technician is
Take the time to review these costs before choosing a provider.
7. What If This Isn’t Working?
You know your child best, and you should never feel locked into a service.
Talk to the early intervention autism center about the specifics of their contract. Make sure you can terminate services if needed.
At Dream Big, we want you to know that you’re not alone. We’re here to help! Contact us today