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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – How to Choose a Provider

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs are behavioral interventions based on scientific evidence and designed for children with autism. However, providers of these programs vary in different ways, so there are factors you should consider before selecting one.

Defining ABA

It’s not always clear what people mean when they mention ‘ABA.’ After all, it can be used for any length of time, occur in different settings (home, school, clinic, etc.) and include a wide variety of techniques. In any case, ABA should always be based on concrete data collected in an effort to make program decisions that improve people’s lives.

Staff Credentials and Qualifications

Before you decide to go with a certain ABA provider, inquire about their personnel’s credentials and qualifications, making sure a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst is on board. Additionally, know how much experience they have as ABA providers and working with children with autism.

Background Research

Pick a provider that conducts background checks before hiring new personnel. If you’re bringing the provider home or you want to hire your own front line therapist, check if they’ve been background-screened as well.

Forget Promises!

If you meet a practitioner who gives you all kinds of promises, be suspicious. There’s no way ABA will work like that. Maximizing children’s potentials is the work of so many people, including parents themselves. If someone promises you unrealistic results, don’t waste time with them and start exploring other options.

Skill Expansion

If the skills taught in the program could not be applied to various settings, like at home or in church, then no learning really occurred and the so-called “skills” have zero value. Intensive ABA programming is not a therapy for life. The child should be able to transition to a more natural setting after a certain point.

Data Gathering

Choose a provider that will regularly submit data on your child’s performance in the program using language you understand. This should be presented as a summary that includes patterns telling you if your child is improving or not.

Outside Collaboration

Lastly, pick a program that encourages collaboration among all those who are working with your child. For instance, if your kid also goes to school, pick an ABA provider that is willing to sit down and make plans for such collaboration. Avoid those who speak ill about other programs while elevating their own. The idea is to get the best from every school or provider to work together for the benefit of your child.

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