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What is ABA?


ABA or Applied Behavioral Analysis is a scientific, evidence-based discipline that focuses on meaningful changes in behavior through the analysis, design, implementation and evaluation of social and other environmental modifications. ABA therapy is most frequently used as a behavioral intervention for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA uses the science of motivation and reinforcement to both increase and decrease targeted behaviors while working to improve socialization, communication, learning skills, and other developmental milestones.




Who is ABA for?


ABA is most frequently used as a behavior intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders and typically requires a diagnosis of ASD in order to qualify for insurance coverage, however, the principles of behavior are consistent across people regardless of neurodiversity and ABA techniques can be utilized to address challenging behaviors across all populations regardless of age or diagnosis.




How much ABA therapy will my child need?


The Nation Research Council Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism states that in order for treatment to be effective, ABA therapy “should include a minimum of 25 hours a week, 12 months a year.” The typical number of treatment hours recommended by our team falls between 10-40 hours per week dependant on your child's unique strengths and deficits and will be discussed during your intake meeting.




My child already receives speech and OT services. How is this different?


Unlike other therapies, ABA is not focused on the physical mechanics of making sound or movement. Instead, Behavior Analysts, use observation, data collection, and assessments, to determine the function of the behavior and what environmental factors may be contributing to the presence or absence of a behavior. They then use this information to modify the environment in a way that increases or decreases your child's motivation to engage in that behavior. Additionally Speech or Occupational therapy programs typically provide an hour or two of therapy per week as opposed to 40 hours per week with an intensive ABA program. If your child is receiving speech or occupational services from another provider, we seek to partner with them in order to provide a comprehensive treatment plan.




Does my child need a formal ASD diagnosis to receive ABA therapy?


You are not required to have a formal diagnosis to recieve services, however a diagnosis is typically required by your insurance provider in order to recieve coverage.




Is there an age requirement?


Our practice currently treats clients who range in age from 2-13 with a focus on early intervention. When it comes to treating developmental disabilities it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Research has shown that children who start ABA therapy as early as possible (~2 years old) make the most significant improvements in their areas of deficit.




How can ABA help my child?


ABA therapy will address your child's unique developmental deficits that are identified during an initial assessment. With children on the autism spectrum, this often includes working to increase verbal communication, social skills, play skills, potty training, self-care skills (brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.), and day-to-day living skills (getting dressed, table manners, etc.) and decreasing undesirable behaviors including agression, tantruming, and self-injurous behaviors.




How long does it take to see results? How long will my child need therapy?


Every child is different so the exact length of treatment will be estimated based on their unique skill set and needs. Most of our families see a noticable difference in their child within the first two weeks of beginning daily therapy.




What does a therapy session look like?


A typical session takes place over the course of 4 hours. Your child's RBT will arrive at your home and help your child to transition to their teaching area (this is usually a playroom, an office or another area in the home where they can work without distraction.) Our sessions typically combine two ABA teaching methods called DTT (discrete trial training) and NET (natural enviornment teaching). DTT is done at the table and is used to errorlessly teach new targets. NET is play based and child-led and used to generalize previously taught skills as well as teach play skills and verbal behavior skills. Your RBT will rotate through your child's programs providing them with regular work breaks. At the end of the session your RBT will debreif you about the days activities and then write session notes to submit to your insurance provider.




What areas of behavior can you address with ABA?


Using ABA we are able to address all types of behavior including: aggression, tantrums, property destruction, and elopement, listener responding, early learner skills, toilet training, picky eating, verbal behavior and more!




What role do caregivers play in ABA therapy?


As caregivers you play a critical role in your child's success in therapy! For children to gain the most from ABA it's crucial that everyone in their life is meeting them with the same expectations that exist during session. Through regular parent trainings you will be given the skills to continue implementing your child's programming after your team leaves for the day. Additionally, you will occasionally be asked to collect data on specific targets that the team is working to generalize.




My child is already in an ABA classroom at school. How is this different?


If your child is in an ABA classroom at school their teachers and classroom staff will use ABA techniques and behavior supports during the school day, however the classroom setting is not as effective as one on one therapy due to the ratio of students to teachers. During at home therapy your child will receive between 4-8 hours of personalized, direct, instruction without the distraction of a classroom setting or other student's behaviors.




Do you offer after-school hours?


Autism Behavioral Solutions does not offer after-school hours for our clients. We strive for our clients success and find that asking them to engage in learning beyond the 8-hour school day leads to ineffective treatment and overtired kids. Instead we use a block scheduling system where clients are seen between 8-12 or 12:30-4:30 by their providers. If your child is currently attending school we ask that they attend half-days to make time for effective therapy.




Can you seen my child in their daycare or school?


We are able provide treatment within daycares and some private schools with prior consent from the school! However, we are currently unable to see students within Alexandria City Public Schools or Fairfax County Public Schools.




Will ABA be fun for my child?


YES! ABA requires a lot of effort from our learners and our providers make sure that effort is rewarded! Although the focus of ABA is learning, our providers work hard to incorporate special interests and create games out of he skills they teach. At the end of the day we want our clients to feel loved and supported by their treatment team.




What's the difference between an RBT and a BCBA?


RBT's and BCBA's are both integral parts of your child's teaching team. RBT's provide direct day-to-day treatment to your child. RBT's must be high school graduates (all RBT's at ABS hold a degree in a related field), have completed a 40-hour training, and pass a competency exam to provide services. RBT's are also required to have 5% of their working hours supervised by a BCBA. BCBA's must hold at least a graduate degree in a related field, complete 1,500 hours of fieldwork, and pass a competency exam.





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