ABA treatment is most effective when deployed as early as possible upon diagnosis. Early Intervention is typically utilized when treating children from ~18 months to 7 years old. The therapy is usually more intensive and consists of a weekly program of 20 to 40 hours of treatment.
If the child is older or if the broader set of autism behavioral challenges have already been met, an autism spectrum disorder treatment program can be pared down and focused on more functional activities including hygiene, feeding, chores and social interaction. This level of targeted intervention usually requires fewer hours of therapy per week (typically 10 to 25 hours).
Our staff works directly with each child as well as with their school to ensure the behavior modification being addressed as part of our autism spectrum disorder treatment program is also effective in the school setting.
Additional or Ancillary Services
Social Skills Group Activities
Children participate in an engaging social curriculum with similarly aged peers to learn and develop important social skills.
In general, participation by the parents is inherent to the core set of therapy services. However, additional sessions targeted towards parental-driven activities in the home can further assist the child’s development with regard to autism therapy.
How Our Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Program Begins
Regardless of where you live, Ascend Autism is here to help families and their children through Applied Behavior Analysis.
Families begin the process by registering with Ascend Autism either online or by phone. In order to move forward with the registration process, parents must submit:
- Their insurance card
- A prescription with an ASD diagnosis (applicable in New York)
- Evaluation report with an official ASD diagnosis
From there, our office contacts the family’s insurance company to verify benefits. If we are able to confirm benefits, we send the family an intake packet for their child. If the benefits are denied, family members have the option of either private pay or speaking to their HR representative about changing insurance coverage options.
Once we receive the intake information back from the parents, Ascend Autism will seek assessment authorization from the insurance company. The assessment authorization can take up to two weeks.
Child Assessment and Services Authorization
Once we receive authorization for the assessment, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will follow-up with the family to schedule an assessment. After the assessment, the BCBA will submit a service request to the insurance company to recommend the child’s specific hours or therapy. It generally takes about two weeks to process this request.
Once services are authorized, Ascend Autism will contact the family to coordinate a start date.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. ABA is the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior. ABA includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between the environment and the behavior. During an autism spectrum disorder treatment program, the principles of ABA can
be utilized to teach new skills, shape existing behaviors into new ones, and reduce the frequency of problem behaviors.
How Do I Start Autism Treatment? What Happens Next?
As soon as possible, you should contact a clinical professional at Ascend Autism. Then, we will set-up an initial consultation. For this meeting, you should be prepared to answer several specific questions about your child and your family. This information will assist the BCBA in developing the most appropriate treatment plan.
The BCBA will determine which assessments are the most appropriate for your child. A blend of 1:1 direct assessments, observations, data collection, and interview-based assessments will determine the treatment plan. Depending on your availability, we estimate all assessments and the initial draft of the treatment plan will take 10-20 days to complete. Once all assessments are complete, the BCBA will develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Included in this will be assessment results, treatment goals, therapy schedule, as well as teaching procedures and data templates used to track progress during therapy. Then, the BCBA will schedule a meeting with the family/caregivers to review the treatment plan and make any final tweaks. Following that meeting, therapy will begin as soon as possible.
Usually, direct 1:1 Applied Behavior Analysis therapy performed via experience technicians or RBTs (Registered Behavior Technicians). The BCBAs are also intimately involved with all of the programming and treatment planning evaluation for tweaks and improvements. Throughout therapy, the entire team will provide updates and feedback regarding your child’s progress. Generally, the BCBA will set-up monthly meetings to provide formal updates regarding progress and the treatment plan, as well as implement family training.
How Long Do Children Typically Need ABA Therapy?
There is not a standard length of therapy recommended for every person. Instead, need is determined on an individual basis by the BCBA and treatment team working directly with the child and family. ABA is an on-going therapy that can grow with your child catering to their ever-changing needs as they continue to grow older. Although, some people may utilize ABA therapy for less than one year and some may utilize ABA therapy for 10+ years.
How Long Will It Take to See Results? What are the Outcomes?
Similar to the above question, there is no single correct answer for how long it will take to see improved outcomes from Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. ABA is considered an evidence-based practice (“EBP”) treatment by the U.S. Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. More than 20 studies have established that intensive and long-term therapy using ABA principles improves outcomes for many, but not all children with ASD. “Intensive” and “long-term” refer to programs providing 25-40 hours per week of therapy for 1-3 years. These studies show gains in language development, social functioning, intellectual functioning, and daily living skills. Studies with adults show similar results.
What is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?
A BCBA is an individual with expertise in the field of behavior analysis who is responsible for designing targeted intervention and assessment plans while overseeing Registered Behavior Technicians (“RBTs”) and other therapists. All BCBAs are required to possess a Master’s Degree in ABA, Psychology, or Education. They are also required to complete over 1,500 hours of direct fieldwork with ABA programs spending about 50% of those hours learning how to work on ABA programming and data analysis. During the fieldwork, existing BCBAs supervise BCBAs in training helping guide them through their fieldwork. After all coursework and fieldwork are complete, BCBAs are required to pass the BCBA examination through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services.
What is a Behavior Technician (BT) or Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)?
A BT or RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services and practices under the close supervision of a BCBA. Behavior Techs typically work one-on-one with the child in therapy sessions but do not design the intervention or assessment plans. Following successful performance as a BT, many pursue the advanced step of becoming an RBT. RBT is a nationally recognized certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). To achieve the certification, one must complete 40-hours of training, pass a competency assessment, and a proctored exam. After receiving the certification, an RBT is cleared to work with children with ASD. RBTs are required to complete annual competency assessments to maintain their credentials.