Questions to Ask When Looking for an ABA Provider
Your child was just diagnosed with autism and now you’re looking for a treatment center, but there’s just one problem – you don’t know how to choose the best one. Here, you’ll find several pertinent questions that you should ask each prospective Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) provider. They’ll help you decide which center may be best for your child and your family.
If you still have questions to ask when looking for an ABA provider, reach out to us at Therapeutic Pathways. We’ll answer your questions and help you get started on the path to treatment.
1. How experienced are your BCBAs in working with children with autism?
We pride ourselves on having a team of strong clinical staff members. On average our- BCBAs have held their certification for over 4 years and have worked with more than 75 children with autism. And they do not work alone! Each child is supported by a BCBA and at least one additional assisting clinician along with experienced leadership at each of the sites.
2. What types of training does your client-facing staff receive prior to working with children?
Effective Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) receive training in both the technical and social aspects of ABA therapy. They need to know the ins and outs of autism, but they also need to have sophisticated communication skills to interact with people of varying emotional, intellectual, and physical abilities.
The BCBA developed training and supervision procedures are designed to teach employees how to best treat and support clients to achieve their treatment goals.
3. In what ways do you expect or encourage families to be involved?
A respectable ABA provider will encourage families to play a role in their child’s treatment. Watch out for companies that discourage visitors or don’t allow parents to sit in on therapy sessions. Chances are, they know their methods are questionable or their staff unable to lead each session effectively.
Therapeutic Pathways doesn’t just encourage families to participate; we expect parents or caregivers to undergo training and to come to us with any questions or concerns. We know that treatment doesn’t end when the child leaves the center for the day; enormous progress can be made at home, so we provide resources for parents to continue treatment.
4. How many employees will work directly with my child?
Children with autism are often overwhelmed by the presence of multiple people, so it’s important to form small, focused treatment teams for the child to receive the best care and feel comfortable.
At Therapeutic Pathways, children only work directly with RBTs. We try not to place more than one RBT with each child unless severe behavior problems require an additional adult presence. In group settings, you can expect two or three RBTs to be present.
5. How long have you been practicing ABA therapy and what results have you seen?
The best ABA centers are well-established and trusted in their communities. It’s best to choose an ABA provider that’s been around for at least five years. Any less than that and they probably won’t have sufficient results to show, especially since most children in their care won’t have grown up enough to know if their methods are really working.
Of course, not every child is going to respond to ABA therapy. When you’re choosing a provider, the important thing to look for is whether most children show at least some improvement in several important areas (speech, socialization, emotion regulation, etc.)
6. What is your experience treating people with needs similar to my child’s?
Each child with autism has specific needs, interests, and challenges. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but plenty of centers try it anyway. You should ask the provider if they’ve treated children in the past who share your child’s specific symptoms and behaviors.
If they have, you can be confident that they have the tools and experience to best help your child. If they haven’t, there may be more roadblocks in treatment, and it may take longer to see results.
7. How do you set and re-evaluate goals? To what extent do you consider parental input?
At Therapeutic Pathways, goal-setting begins with an in-depth conversation with the child’s family as well as a thorough assessment of the child’s strengths and deficits. This helps us understand the specific skills that need developing. Your child’s therapist will choose which skills to work on first by evaluating your child’s age, their level of functioning, and the needs of your family, among others.
The therapist will also recommend how many hours of ABA therapy your child should receive each week to obtain the best outcome. Our therapists and BCBAs re-evaluate each client’s goals constantly, comparing improvements to “baseline” at the start of therapy. We collect data in each therapy session and measure improvement weekly.
We encourage parents to review this data and come to us with any questions or concerns regarding their child’s treatment.
8. What metrics do you use to measure progress?
Therapeutic Pathways uses two main methods to collect and analyze data to measure a child’s progress. These methods are known as continuous and discontinuous measurements.
Continuous methods measure each time a certain behavior occurs, either each instance of the behavior or how long the behavior lasts. Frequency, rate, duration, and latency are all different systems within continuous measurement.
On the other hand, discontinuous methods measure a sample of behavior that occurs in a given timeframe by breaking the therapy session down into increments.
BCBAs will decide which method to use based on the individual client’s needs and treatment goals. In both methods, therapists collect data by hand or via data collection computer system, then they enter the data into a chart or graph that’s specifically designed for ABA data programs. The BCBA will regularly review the data and make adjustments accordingly.
Have more questions? Ask us!
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have when choosing an ABA provider. We understand that the selection process is often stressful and draining, so we’re here to lend a hand every step of the way.
Reach out to us any time at (209) 422-3280, and feel free to peruse our blog and FAQ resource section to learn more about autism and ABA therapy.