Autism Therapy Programs
Based on ABA Therapy
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Based on ABA Therapy
If you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism, you probably have dozens of questions running through your mind. Does autism have a cure? What does this mean for your child’s future? And, most importantly, how can you help your child?
At Ascend Autism ABA Therapy Center, we understand that each family has unique needs and challenges. We are here to help. Ascend Autism provides a range of treatment options for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), all based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. While there is no cure for autism, scientific studies report that children who receive ABA therapy see improved outcomes in terms of cognitive development, communication, social skills, and functional skills, which can improve their lives dramatically, especially if started at a young age.
Autism therapy programs at Ascend Autism are not one-size-fits-all. Every child with ASD is unique, and the therapy they receive should also be unique. Our services use evidence-based practices to provide individualized treatments to support every child and their family’s journey.
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 seven 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 has 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 15 to 25 hours).
Children participate in an engaging social curriculum with similarly aged peers to learn and develop important social skills. Opportunities for social interaction are incorporated in all center-based programs at Ascend Autism.
Participation by the parents is inherent to the core set of therapy services. Additional sessions targeted toward parental-driven activities in the home can further assist the child’s development with regard to autism therapy.
Applied Behavior Analysis is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. ABA therapy includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between the environment and a child’s behavior.
In an autism spectrum disorder treatment program, the principles of ABA can be used to teach new skills, shape existing behaviors into new ones, and reduce the frequency of problem behaviors. Encouragement and positive reinforcement – not punishment – form new behaviors that help your child navigate social situations and gain independence.
While Ascend Autism’s treatment programs are comprehensive, they are entirely based on Applied Behavior Analysis autism therapy, which is accepted as the most effective intervention for treating ASD in children, adolescents, teens, and even adults.
Our therapy sessions are conducted at our early childhood center, in the child’s home, or in the child’s school/daycare (if they allow outside therapists). Working in a safe, comfortable space encourages functional learning and helps them feel more confident with the skills they learn during and after the session.
The goal is to make ABA sessions resemble the child’s everyday activities. At Ascend Autism, we utilize a naturalistic, play-based approach to ABA that uses Natural Environment Teaching while still rooted in the evidence-based and data collection-intensive principles of applied behavior analysis.
Most children start ABA treatment between the ages of two and six. At Ascend Autism, we offer an early intervention program for children between 18 months and seven years old. Experts agree that starting therapy as soon as possible after an autism diagnosis is the best way to support your child. This early intervention is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of their treatment.
During the early stages of development, children go through critical periods where they are highly receptive to the world around them. We aim to make a significant difference in their long-term progress through ABA therapy by introducing specific concepts at an early age. Early intervention equips your child with the necessary skills to engage with their social and learning environments as they grow.
Goals are developed during the initial assessment conducted by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The initial assessment involves a parent interview plus specific evaluations and observations of your child. Based on the assessment results and feedback from the parent interview, the initial goals are developed and documented in the treatment plan.
Parents have significant input in determining their child’s goals and treatment plan. Our BCBA can only spend a few hours with your child; therefore, they rely heavily on your feedback and observations. You spend the most time with your child, so you will be able to identify areas where your child has made significant progress. Even after the initial assessment, our BCBA will rely on your feedback when it comes to mastery of skills beyond ABA sessions.
Goals and progress are constantly being evaluated. The beauty of ABA is that data is collected during every session. As such, the BCBA assesses progress and mastery of specific skills or programs within the treatment plan on an ongoing basis. Insurance companies typically authorize treatment plans in six-month increments, so a more in-depth evaluation of goals and progress that culminates in an updated treatment plan is conducted every six months.
The length of ABA therapy varies for each child. At Ascend Autism, it is determined on an individual basis by the BCBA and the treatment team. ABA is an ongoing therapy that can adapt to your child’s changing needs as they grow. Some may utilize therapy for a short time (6-12 months), while others may continue for years.
More than 20 studies have established that intensive and long-term ABA therapy treatment improves outcomes for many children with ASD. These studies show gains in language development, social functioning, intellectual functioning, and daily living skills.
Though some predatory companies claim otherwise, there is currently no cure for autism spectrum disorder. While that may seem discouraging, there are effective autism treatments to help improve your child’s overall functioning by reducing challenging behaviors and supporting their development and learning.
Experts have cited early intervention and ABA therapy as one of the most effective treatments for ASD. ABA therapy can significantly impact your child’s life by helping children improve their communication abilities, feel more comfortable in social situations, and reduce challenging behaviors.
If your child has received an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, it’s important to consult experts who can help you create a personalized treatment plan. Building a team of professionals will ensure that your child’s unique needs are met and provide the best possible support. Remember, there is hope for your child’s future, and with the right strategies and support, they can thrive and reach their full potential.
Step 1: Contact an ABA Services Provider
After receiving an autism diagnosis, you should contact a clinical professional to set up an initial consultation for ABA therapy. For this meeting, you should be prepared to answer several specific questions about your child and your family. This information will be used when developing the most appropriate treatment plan.
Step 2: Assessment for a Customized Treatment Plan
Once your insurance benefits have been verified, you will schedule an assessment with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The BCBA will determine which assessments are the most appropriate for your child.
After 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.
Once a plan is ready, the BCBA should schedule a meeting with the family/caregivers to review the treatment plan and make any final tweaks before the first therapy session.
Step 3: Begin Therapy Sessions
Usually, “direct” Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is performed via recurring, 1:1 sessions with behavior 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. At a minimum, the BCBAs should be supervising the 1:1 sessions at least once per week.
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.
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.
At Ascend Autism, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst is responsible for evaluating your child and determining the most appropriate treatment plan for their needs, as well as making any necessary updates to the treatment plan over time.
A BCBA is an individual with expertise in the field of behavior analysis. They are responsible for designing targeted intervention and assessment plans while also overseeing and providing support to the behavior technicians.
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 to help 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.
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 and interest in furthering their ABA knowledge, many pursue the additional 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 standardized training, pass a competency assessment, and a proctored exam. RBTs are required to complete annual competency assessments to maintain their credentials.
Enroll with Ascend Autism either online or by phone. To move forward with the registration process, parents must submit:
Our office will contact your insurance company to verify benefits and we will send you an intake packet for your child.