10 TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING AN ABA THERAPY SERVICE PROVIDER
Andrea Talpos, BCBA
March 21, 2021
3 minute read
There are many different ABA therapy programs available for children with Autism. We outline 10 tips to help guide your decision-making process when selecting the best ABA therapy program for your child.
#1. Review the credentials of the ABA therapy clinical team
Your child’s ABA therapy programs must be developed by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and supervised for at least 10% of the time, ie. for every 10 hours of direct therapy, a child receives 1 hour of supervision. For more information on the roles and credentials of therapists on an ABA therapy clinical team, click here.
#2. Interview the ABA therapy service provider
Meet with the ABA therapy service provider to determine if the provider is a good fit for your child’s needs and goals. Be sure to ask questions pertaining to the experience of the therapists, the model of therapies provided, amount of family involvement in the ABA sessions, and opportunities for parent-child coaching. In addition, determine the provider’s ABA practices; many families today are opting for more natural ABA therapy programs rather than repetitive discrete trial models of ABA therapy.
#3. Ask for an assessment before the ABA therapy program begins
A child’s ABA therapy program is developed in reference to a curricular, behavioural, social, and/or self-help/life-skills assessment conducted by the BCBA. After the assessment, the BCBA recommends the number of ABA program hours and develops an Individualized Student Plan (ISP).
#4. Ask for and review the Individualized Student Plan (ISP)
All ABA therapy programs must be individualized. The ISP is a report that outlines the immediate and future goals of your child’s individualized ABA program. Be sure to ask to be involved in selecting and updating the goals in the ISP.
#5. Ask to see how goals are progressing
Data informs decision making in all ABA therapy programs. Ask your BCBA for an updated ISP and a re-assessment of skills regularly. At Superminds Inc., we update ISPs every 3 months and re-assess skills every 6 months.
#6. Learning skills with the therapists is not enough
A skill is only considered learned when it is displayed, i.e. generalized, with different people, in different environments and different types of stimuli.
#6. Be involved, ask questions
Ask your ABA therapy service provider how you can be involved in the sessions and practice the learned skills at home. For example, at Superminds Inc., our families participate in the sessions, observe sessions in the next room via a camera, or receive one on one parent-child coaching. Our families also receive a list of learned skills that is updated after each session.
Be sure to question anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or that may be seen as dangerous.
#7. The goal is always short-term ABA therapy and inter-disciplinary collaboration
Ask your ABA therapy service provider how long their ABA program is intended to run and their process for transitioning your child out of the ABA program. If your child attends a school or other program, discuss how collaboration between school and disciplines will occur.
#8. Each ABA therapy provider has different rates
Costs vary greatly and there are no standard fees. Please do not assume that more expensive ABA therapy providers provide better service.
#9. Ask around and read reviews
Take advantage of Facebook groups to ask other parents their opinion on the ABA therapy service provider you are considering. Read reviews on Google, Yelp, or Yellow Pages.
#10. Bonus points if you locate a multi-disciplinary ABA therapy provider
If your child benefits from other types of therapy, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or respite care, locating an ABA therapy provider that offers those services is ideal. It saves you time, ensures collaboration across disciplines, and the therapists in a multi-disciplinary team have more experience working with children with Autism.
For more information on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), click here.
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.
Group, individual, or remote mentorship, training and supervision available for therapists looking to pursue their RBT®, BCaBA®, BCBA® certification.