My child has just been diagnosed or is showing early symptoms of autism. What things can I do at home to help?

Following an assessment by your Behavior Analyst, we will work collaboratively with you and others involved with the child to provide support for creating a beneficial home program for your child.

What is ABA and how does it work?

Applied behavior analysis or ABA is a research-based process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).

These improvements in behavior are accomplished by breaking behaviors down in their component parts of Discriminative Stimulus (Sd), Response (R), and Reinforcing Stimulus (Sr) and tapping into motivation to adjust behaviors step by step so that over time desirable behaviors are increased and undesirable behaviors are decreased. Good ABA is done by reducing the prompts so that the Sd’s and Sr’s become more and more natural over time.

Will my insurance cover ABA services?

OPTIMA Behavioral Consulting is contracted with most commercial insurance payers to see our extensive list please go to our insurance page. If your child has a diagnosis of Autism or a related disorder, we will work diligently to help you understand what your plan covers for ABA therapy.

How much therapy should my child get?

Research, including several meta-analyses, show that 30-40 hours per week (6-7 hours daily, 5-6 days/week) of intensive ABA treatment is needed to show significant progress. Hours generally decrease as the client progresses in independence and generalizes behavioral changes to other critical settings. Our BCBA’s develop each child’s Care Plan individually and make recommendations based upon your child’s individual goals and development.

What does an ABA session look like?

An ABA session is typically a high energy interaction between the client and the therapist. These sessions can include some discrete trial work which might occur at the table, lots of positive reinforcement using whatever is motivating for the child: praise, tickles, hugs, high-fives, opportunities to play, sometimes edibles. Often there will be a mix of tasks that the therapist is practicing in order to assure that there is focus and mastery vs. rote repetition or boredom. A portion of the session will be spent in the natural environment, away from the table, doing incidental teaching of skills.

What goals are considered part of ABA therapy?

Goals are individualized for each client and are based off of the needs and desires of the client / family. After an assessment is completed, the team will work with you to determine specific goals that are a priority for you as a family. Many times, families identify goals related to the reduction of problem behaviors (tantrums, aggression, non-compliance, etc.), appropriate play skills, social skills, and expressive/receptive language development.

How do I know when my child is making progress?

You will identify progress in the way your child engages the world or demonstrates a new skill. Most likely, you will recognize progress through the gradual lessening of tantrums or aggressiveness. Interactions at school and at home become less stressful for both you and your child. Progress is as individualized as goals, interventions, and services.