WHY AND WHEN ABA IS WORTH IT
Andrea Talpos, BCBA
December 19, 2020
2 minute read
If your child was recently diagnosed with Autism, I am certain that you have already researched what the best next steps are for your child. I actually see this question asked almost daily by parents on the “Autism Parents Support Group for Families” group on Facebook.
Should you enrol your child in speech and language therapy?
What about occupational therapy?
What about Applied Behaviour Analysis?
Benefits of SLP & OT
For children with language and communication deficits or delays, parents often opt for speech therapy. Speech therapy is invaluable to families as they get to participate in the sessions and learn all the tips and tricks!
The same applies for occupational therapy, which parents opt for if their child has motor difficulties (very typical of children diagnosed with Autism!).
So, what about ABA? Is it worth it?
The answer is a big YES! And that answer isn’t just because I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®), it’s actually because I am, first and foremost, a mom. I use a lot of ABA strategies with my son and many parents do the same with their children, but they just don’t always realize it. If ABA strategies are used the right (evidence-based) way, children are setup for lifelong success.
ABA uses a child’s naturally occurring motivation to help foster intrinsic motivation, retain focus on a given task, teach delayed gratification and how to follow routines and expectations; all of which are extremely important for building learner readiness skills and ultimately skill acquisition.
Speech and Language therapy and Occupational therapy are absolutely fantastic, but unless a child has the foundational strategies to be an active learner, SLP or OT therapy becomes ineffective since there are many factors that impede a child’s ability to focus and learn and it is those factors that an ABA program addresses.
Think of it this way, if your child does not have the core muscles required to be in a sitting position, he/she will never be able to learn to ride a bike.
So YES, ABA is for sure worth it. HOWEVER the reality is that ABA providers are not currently regulated in Canada, so not all ABA programs are created equal.
What should you look for in an ABA program?
Opt for service providers that offer evidence-based ABA programs and are competent in the programs they are offering. Be actively involved in your child’s treatment plan and program. If something doesn’t feel right, ask for a second opinion. Ask to sit in sessions, ask to be coached. At the end of the day, your child will see his/her therapist for maybe 10% of the day, so family involvement is VERY important!
If your child has language or motor deficits/delays, locating an ABA agency that offers a multidisciplinary model as part of a treatment package for children diagnosed with Autism is a bonus! These agencies consult with SLPs and OTs to provide your child a comprehensive treatment program. It also takes the stress out of having to locate and organize 3 different clinical teams.
MEET THE AUTHOR | ANDREA TALPOS, BCBA®
Owner & Clinical Director, Superminds Inc.
Hi, I'm Andrea! I coach clinical teams and parents on how to help children manage their bigger emotions, enhance their language and communication skills, and become independent little people.
I absolutely love shaping more difficult behaviour, developing social programs, working with AAC tools, coaching parents on sleep and toilet training, and researching evidence-based treatments.
The truth is, raising a little one of my own is teaching me first hand of the challenges parents face and has empowered me to become a powerhouse paediatric clinician.
MENTORSHIP + SUPERVISION
Group, individual, or remote mentorship, training and supervision available for therapists looking to pursue their RBT®, BCaBA®, BCBA® certification.