The ABC’s of ABA Therapy for Autism
Choosing the right treatment for a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be complicated. Although there are many different treatment options available, most are ineffective at best, and some may even be harmful.
While there are no miracle cures, ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy is the most frequently recommended option for the treatment of ASD. It is the therapy most endorsed by reputable sources, including:
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- The U.S. Surgeon General
- Most major insurance companies
- State health agencies
- The American Medical Association
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
For these reasons, ABA therapy is the preferred approach practiced by the Butterfly Effects team members.
The role of ABA therapy in a child’s successful development.
ABA therapy has been endorsed by many respectable sources based on its proven effectiveness. According to a report from the Department of Education, “Children with disabilities who receive early intervention services show significant developmental progress a year later, and families report increased confidence in their ability to deal with their child.” In a 1999 report, the United States Surgeon General concluded, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior.” In addition, a number of completed studies have demonstrated that ABA techniques can produce improvements in communication, social relationships, play, self-care, school and employment. These studies involved age groups ranging from preschoolers to adults. Results for all age groups showed that ABA increased participation in family and community activities. According to ASAT (Association for Science in Autism Treatment), “ABA therapy is intended to support persons with autism spectrum disorders in many ways:
- To increase behaviors (e.g., to increase on-task behavior or social interactions) and to teach new skills (e.g., life skills, communication skills, or social skills)
- To maintain behaviors (e.g., self control and self-monitoring procedures to maintain and generalize job-related social skills)
- To generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another (e.g., from completing assignments in the resource room to performing as well in the mainstream classroom). To restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur (e.g., modifying the learning environment)
- To reduce interfering behaviors (e.g., self injury or stereotypy).”
As reported on the ASAT website, “Many studies show that ABA is effective in increasing behaviors and teaching new skills (National Autism Center [NAC], 2015; Wong et al., 2014, 2015). In addition, many studies demonstrate that ABA is effective in reducing problem behavior (NAC, 2015). A number of studies also indicate that, when implemented intensively (more than 20 hours per week) and early in life (beginning prior to the age of 4 years), ABA may produce large gains in development and reductions in the need for special services (Reichow, 2012); however, large studies with strong experimental designs are needed to confirm the results reported for intensive, early intervention.”
ABA therapy in action.
Specifically, the Butterfly Effects team uses ABA therapy to improve the lives of children with ASD by helping the child:
- Increase communication
- Increase independent daily living skills
- Increase age-appropriate social skills
- Decrease problematic behaviors while teaching functional replacement behaviors
Other goals of ABA therapy include equipping parents and family members with valuable tools to help them better communicate and cope with the everyday challenges of raising a child on the spectrum.
The Butterfly Effects step-by-step approach to ASD treatment.
At Butterfly Effects, we recognize that every child with Autism is different. This is why our step-by-step approach to treatment is so essential in the effective implementation of ABA therapy.
The following six steps will set the stage for your child’s successful development
- The Interview
- We will schedule a phone interview between the family and a member of our Access Team to determine whether your child will be a good fit for ABA therapy services.
- A Butterfly Effects team member will discuss your family’s availability and scheduling needs.
- We will conduct a complete insurance-benefits assessment and gain authorization prior to the assessment.
- The Assessment
- An initial clinical assessment will be completed in-person, employing a variety of industry tools and best practices.
- The assessment is an ongoing process rather than a one-time event. Through weekly communication, therapy services, data review and supervision, the treatment plan will continually evolve to fit the child’s and the family’s needs.
- Treatment Planning
- The treatment plan is focused on the client and family as a unit.
- Parental or caregiver participation is essential to the creation of a meaningful plan for the child, family and ABA therapy team.
- Therapy/Data Collection
- Therapy visits and activities will be developed based on the treatment plan goals.
- Data and notes are documented at the end of each visit and are accessible by the parent or caregiver through our web-based electronic health record.
- Reassessment/Progress Measurement
- The Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) serves as the Care Manager, communicating with the parents each week, either by phone or through an onsite visit.
- This scheduled communication encourages discussion related to goals, progress and the implementation of the treatment plan on a 24/7 basis.
- Most insurance companies require a formalized reassessment of the child’s progress and goals every six months.
- Goal Adjustment
- Goals are always open to discussion and review, particularly at the time of reassessment.
- The most important goals are those that are most meaningful to the family.
The sooner therapy begins, the better the outcome.
For the best results, ABA therapy should start early and remain an integral part of your child’s development. Study after study has shown that early intervention leads to more successful outcomes.
If you have questions regarding therapy or would like to learn more, please call. Our team members will be happy to explain the Butterfly Effects process in detail.
Contact us now to schedule a phone interview.
Call 1-888-880-9270 for more information.