You already know what ABA therapy is, and what is expected of you as an ABA parent. But if you’re child is recently diagnosed or has recently been prescribed ABA therapy, you may be wondering: what should you look for in an ABA program?
What to look for in an ABA program
Applied Behavior Analysis is known to be an exact science that uses proven techniques and principles to be effective, but this does not mean that all ABA programs will be identical or created equal. There are a wide range of services and methods of delivering those services that range from clinic to clinic and practitioner to practitioner. Parents should identify some key components of an effective ABA program or behavior change program and educate themselves as to the techniques and methods most commonly used in ABA therapy.
Components of a good ABA program
- Your program should be designed and overseen by a qualified professional. Typically, the professional overseeing the behavior change program will have earned a certificate that identifies them as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This certification, though not required, indicates that the practitioner has completed a quality standard of education and training.
- Your program should be individually designed and begin with a detailed assessment. One of the hallmarks of ABA therapy that sets it apart from other treatments is that each client is treated for their specific needs based on an extensive assessment to identify the behavior changes that need to be made.
- Your program should have meaningful and precisely defined goals. The individualized program created for your child should contain goals that will make a positive impact on your child and your family and they should be goals that you agree are meaningful. Additionally, any behavior goals should be clearly defined, so that they can be measured objectively and changes can be tracked.
- Your program should have a consistent measurement to track progress. Data should be collected each and every time your child is in a session. That data will be used by the behavior analyst to track progress and make changes to the program, if needed. This data should be available for review by the parents at regular intervals, so that they can be aware of progress and make requests for program changes.
- Your program itself should also be consistent. Therapy should be offered on a regular basis to ensure consistent improvement. Parents should also expect that techniques will be applied consistently each time their child is in the clinic and across practitioners.
- Your program should use a variety of techniques and offer multiple opportunities for learning. ABA offers a standard set of principles in which many different techniques can be applied for learning. Parents should expect that practitioners will use many different techniques and that each session will include creative and carefully planned programs that will give your child the best chance at maximal learning.