How To Choose the Right ABA Therapy Center for Your Child


How To Choose the Right ABA Therapy Center for Your Child

In searching for the best ways to provide a healthy, learning-based environment for your child, you’ve likely discovered ABA therapy

As the premier therapy model for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ABA therapy can be a vital part of your child’s development. 

Here are a few items to keep in mind while you’re making your decision on which ABA therapy center to enroll with:

ABA Therapy Defined

Applied behavior analysis, or ABA, is a behavioral health treatment for ASD. ABA therapy helps individuals with ASD learn and practice new skills, become independent, and encourage positive social connections. 

ABA therapy focuses on how cognitive cues and environment affect behavioral responses to certain stimuli. ABA therapy addresses the ABCs of behavior: antecedent, behavior, and consequence. Essentially, the ABCs of behavior are actions and consequences taught with positive reinforcement.

ABA therapy relies on positive reinforcement. Research shows that positive reinforcement (rather than negative) is more effective in encouraging people to learn new skills or behaviors. Learned behaviors might include self-care practices like teeth brushing, crossing the street safely, waiting in a line, and many more. Since this module is highly individualized, skills and sessions can change from person to person and day to day. 

ABA therapy can be done in a one-on-one setting, a group setting, and a home setting. At an ABA therapy center, children typically engage in a combination of one-on-one therapy sessions, group play (play-based learning), and small group therapies. 

Finding the Right ABA Therapy Center: 4 Questions

Here are four questions to ask as you look for the ideal fit for your family:

  • “What Are the Provider Credentials?”

ABA therapy centers often employ teams of licensed clinical psychologists, behavioral specialists, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). These individuals are highly educated and trained to work with children with unique abilities. 

Look for therapy centers overseen by a licensed clinical psychologist and who employ teams of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). Clinicians should also be trained to work with children with ASD. It’s preferable that all frontline therapists are Registered Behavioral Technicians (RBTs) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCABAs).

  • “Is the Center Family Focused?”

Decisions about your child are your responsibility, and being able to make the best decision relies on the information you are given about your child’s progress. Find out how frequently you’ll be engaging in sessions with your child, if at all, and how frequently you’ll be given written and/or oral progress reports. 

Changes in your child’s treatment plan should be thoroughly discussed with you prior to the change. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the communication policies of the therapy center. 

Beyond working with families, you might want to see if the center would also be willing to partner with the school district as your child transitions from the ABA center to a school environment. 

  • “What Does the Facility Look Like?”

A therapeutic environment should encourage learning, but should also be comfortable and cheerful. When you tour the ABA therapy center, inspect it for cleanliness, size, and safety as well as a supportive and positive environment. If outdoor programs are available, find out if the playground equipment is inclusive for children with all levels of abilities. 

  • “What Programs Are Available?”

From individual therapy sessions to group therapy, review what programs are available and how frequently your child might be able to use them. You’ll also want to know how the facility sends bills and expects payment, including what types of insurance (or Medicaid) are accepted. 

Additionally, if you need all-day care, learn what the structure of an entire day looks like and how after and before-care are handled. 

Brad Zelinger is the Founder and CEO of Stride Autism Centers.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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