What Does In-Home ABA Therapy Look Like?

What Does In-Home ABA Therapy Look Like?

Many ABA therapy programs take place in-home. The comfortable setting makes in-home treatment more conducive to the needs of some children with ASD. In-home ABA therapy may differ from the therapy held in a clinical setting but what do those differences look like?

Family Involvement

Some children with ASD may require in-home ABA therapy to address issues with family members. This also allows family members to interact and learn how to use some of the ABA methods when treatment is over.

Other at-home issues may also require specific in-home therapy. Learning to properly use or interact with integral appliances, routines, and schedules may require the expertise of an in-home ABA therapist.

ABA Therapy Space

In-home ABA therapy usually requires designated spaces to be used. Each program is different and may use different spaces. All or most of the therapy programs will be conducted in these spaces, so be ready to slightly alter your daily routine if a specific room is off-limits for any amount of time (unless required to be there).

Being comfortable with a space may be beneficial to an ABA treatment program, so be sure to talk to your child’s therapist about therapy spaces. 

In-Home ABA Therapy Scheduling

In-home ABA therapy is usually recommended to be conducted with a schedule that will be used during weekends & holidays. Creating a matching schedule for therapy and non-therapy hours can make transitions easier.

Talking to your child’s therapist can help you make a great schedule your child can follow. Be sure to include times, as moving times around can cause issues. Activities, free time, playtime, errand time, sleep schedules, meal times, and any other important family needs should be factored into both the therapy and regular home schedules.

Parents at Home

ABA therapists are not babysitters and should not be used in that capacity. Having a parent or guardian home is imperative during in-home ABA therapy sessions. If you are unable to be there for a specific time or something unmissable comes up, be sure to have a guardian take your place and not an unrelated babysitter.

Talking to your therapist about needs and duties as a parent can help you understand why you need to be home during therapy and what your role may require. Be sure to take any important notes and schedule any new activities.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans using ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

What Does ABA Therapy Look Like?

What Does ABA Therapy Look Like?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is such a broad ASD therapy approach making it difficult to define what a typical program will look like. The amount of therapy and level of parent involvement varies, often according to the specific needs of the child. 

ABA skills training programs and techniques can require several hours each day. While skills training programs are usually implemented by behavior therapists or teachers, parents are often taught critical skills to help their children transfer what they have learned in therapy to everyday life, especially at home.

ABA skills training programs for young children are often based in the home and require special materials and a dedicated area for working. ABA behavior modification therapy may include 1-2 hours of parent training per week with the parents using strategies they learn in between visits. An ABA therapist may also consult with teachers to help support positive behaviors in the classroom. 

Strong ABA Therapy Programs

Strong ABA programs will all be different, as they should be tailored to the individual needs of each client. That said, all strong programs will also have some similarities on a general level.

Supervision

The program should be designed and monitored by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or someone with similar credentials. Supervisors should have extensive experience working with children with autism. 

Training

All participants should be fully trained, with supervisors providing support, monitoring, and ongoing training for the duration of the program. 

Programming

The program should be created after a detailed assessment has been conducted and tailored to the child’s specific deficits and skills. Family and learner preferences should be given consideration in determining treatment goals. Generalization tasks should be built into the program to ensure the performance of skills in multiple environments. 

Functional Programming

The goals selected should be beneficial and functional to the individual and increase or enhance his/her quality of life. A mix of behavior analytic therapies should be used so that the child has an opportunity to learn in different ways. 

Data Collection

Data on skill acquisition and behavior reduction should be recorded and analyzed regularly. This data should be reviewed by the supervisor and used to measure the progress of the individual and provide information for program planning. 

Family Training

Family members should be trained in order to teach and reinforce skills. They should be involved in both the planning and review process. 

Who Provides the Actual ABA Services?

The top certification board for an ABA therapist is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and comes from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Further certification can be issued in the form of a BCBA-D, indicating the therapist has a doctoral degree. Another license is the BCABA, which means having an ABA education at the level of a bachelor’s degree.

Some ABA therapists may indicate they have several years of experience but are not BCBAs. Individuals in this position should not be providing services unsupervised. Only board-certified BCBAs should be overseeing programs and implementing therapy methods.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans using ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Sources

Autism Speaks

ABA Therapy Red Flags (Part 2)

ABA Therapy Red Flags (Part 2)

ABA therapy is the only evidence-based ASD therapy, but the treatment only works if it is done with care. Not all ABA service providers are the same. How can you tell if your child’s treatment is being conducted correctly?

There are some red flags you can look for if you feel your child is not progressing or benefitting from ABA therapy. The points we are going to talk about won’t cover everything, but they will cover some of the most easily observable ABA therapy red flags. 

We have split this article into two parts, as we want to mention why these red flags can be harmful and what you can do to notice them. Click here for part 1.

Not Listening

Every parent has concerns about their children. ASD parents usually have more things to be concerned about. If you have voiced specific major concerns to your child’s ABA provider without an acceptable response, you may need to rethink things.

By voicing major concerns we are talking about lack of progress, not sharing enough information, billing too many hours etc. These are things that should be addressed as soon as possible. Smaller concerns may slip through the cracks so you may need to repeat them in order to ensure they are taken seriously.

If all of your concerns go unaddressed by an ABA therapy provider, it may be time to look for a new one.

Only Using a Few ABA Therapy Techniques

Relying on a small pool of ABA therapy treatments and techniques can lead to a poorly developed program. If you notice your child is being treated with the same methods all the time, you may need to look at their overall program.

Some programs may focus on a small number of treatments for a set period of time, so be sure to ask when or if the program will change or progress. Your child’s ABA therapist should have a good answer why certain treatment methods are or aren’t being used.

All children with ASD are different, so be sure not to question a treatment program after a short amount of time. Have a discussion with your ABA provider to learn about the program that was designed for your child.

Templated ABA Therapy Programs

Similar to only using a few aba therapy methods, templated programs can be a major red flag for ABA programs. Every child with ASD is different and requires a different approach tailored to their strengths and needs.

This red flag can be seen relatively early in selecting an ASD treatment program or clinic. If you are presented with a brochure of programs or therapy ‘packages’ mentioned in a consultation, you need to really look at what is being offered.

In order to get the most out of ABA therapy, each child needs a custom-built program. ABA programs built on general needs will not help each child enough to address specific behaviors and needs.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans using ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

ABA Therapy Red Flags (Part 2)

ABA Therapy Red Flags (Part 1)

ABA therapy is the only evidence-based ASD therapy, but the treatment only works if it is done with care. Not all ABA service providers are the same. How can you tell if your child’s treatment is being conducted correctly?

There are some red flags you can look for if you feel your child is not progressing or benefitting from ABA therapy. The points we are going to talk about won’t cover everything, but they will cover some of the most easily observable ABA therapy red flags. 

We have split this article into two parts, as we want to mention why these red flags can be harmful and what you can do to notice them.

Too Many Hours of Therapy

ABA therapy is a billable medical expense. Like most medically billable services, some ABA therapy providers will look to bill for as many hours as possible. Most people don’t require 40+ hours a week of ABA treatment.

Be sure to look at your child’s program and what exactly is being done from a therapy standpoint. Does the program cover everything your child needs? Are the hours reasonable for the needs of your child?

A note that some people do need a lot of therapy, just not everyone. ABA therapy is not supposed to last forever. Your child will eventually be able to live an independent life with honed social skills. Too many hours of therapy is not something that will necessarily help with ABA therapy.

No Observation or Information

One of the most important aspects of ABA therapy is continuing a program at home. If an ABA service provider refuses to share information or allow observation you may want to take a closer look at the program.

Information should always be available on how your child is progressing. Daily records should be available to parents if they want to know what is going on in treatment. If an ABA service provider is unable to share information, it may be time to take a closer look. Quick note: information and records may take a few days to be logged, each clinic is different.

If you are not allowed to visit your child’s ABA clinic to observe treatment and progress you may have a problem on your hands. Dropping by without notice is not recommended, the situations we are talking about are never being able to observe your child’s clinic & program.

Another red flag related to this is a provider only using telehealth methods (phone calls, video chats etc) for BCBA supervision. A BCBA should be directly involved in each child’s program. The only exception to this is ABA providers located in rural areas, as they may be spread very thin and have a limited number of BCBAs.

Extremely Strict Behavior Requirements

ABA therapy works to help people with ASD adapt to neurotypical social norms. Having strict requirements to not allow normal ASD behaviors may lead to issues with many people.

If a therapy program doesn’t allow things like stimming, forces social interaction, or has eye contact requirements, you may want to take a closer look. Forcing behavior changes through programs or (worse) aggressive interactions is a huge issue for any ABA therapy program.

Some behaviors and issues will need to change over time, but forcing the issue through strict programs or adherence to certain behaviors is not the way to go. Be sure to routinely check your child’s program and progress if you think any requirements of the program are too strict.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans using ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

What Does ABA Therapy Look Like?

The Differences Between ASD and Social Anxiety

On the surface, social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may look the same. Both people with autism and those with social anxiety can experience social situations differently than others.

While social anxiety and ASD can occur together, they are very different conditions. In some cases doctors even get the two mixed up, leading to misdiagnosis.

Let’s take a look at both the similarities and differences between ASD and social anxiety.

Similarities of ASD & Social Anxiety

A major similarity between social anxiety disorder and ASD is that both conditions look different in every person. With that said, there are plenty of similarities, including symptoms and treatment services offered. It’s also important to understand that social anxiety is not a form of autism and vice versa.

Similar Symptoms

One reason social anxiety and autism are sometimes confused is that some symptoms appear the same.

According to some educational psychologists, overlapping symptoms of autism and social anxiety disorder can include:

  • Limited social communication
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty adapting to changing plans
  • Lack of eye contact

ASD & Social Anxiety Diagnosis

A psychologist can diagnose autism and/or social anxiety disorder using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5 is a handbook published by the American Psychiatric Association that helps healthcare professionals make diagnoses.

A healthcare professional will ask about symptoms and may observe a person in social situations before making a diagnosis. Sometimes a pediatrician or physician will recommend seeing a healthcare professional who can properly diagnose ASD, social anxiety, or other specific mental conditions. Ask your doctor for more information.

The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism include:

  • Persistent differences in social communication, including but not limited to lack of back-and-forth conversations and differences in eye contact
  • Repetitive patterns of behaviors, such as lining up toys
  • Symptoms were present in early development, even if they went unnoticed
  • Symptoms interfere with daily functioning, such as schoolwork

The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder include:

  • Fear of judgment in social situations
  • Consistent anxiety in social situations that does not fit the context
  • Avoidance of social interaction
  • Fear of social interaction that impedes day-to-day life
  • Having fear for at least 6 months (and the fear cannot be attributed to another mental health condition, such as panic or substance use disorder, or a disease like Parkinson’s)

Note that social anxiety can develop in children or adults.

ASD & Social Anxiety: Brain Functions

The amygdala, which affects the brain’s response to fear, may play a role in both ASD and social anxiety disorder. Research is still ongoing. Ultimately, however, brain functioning is very different in social anxiety and ASD. The neurological causes of autism aren’t yet fully understood.

Treatment for ASD & Social Anxiety

There’s no cure for social anxiety or autism. In addition, not everyone wants to “manage” or “fix” characteristics associated with autism. People can live fulfilling lives with customized support and treatment tailored to their goals.

Treatment and support options for ASD include:

  • Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Occupational therapy*

*Occupational therapy is often a first-line service for autism. It may also be used to help people cope with social anxiety in some cases.

High-Functioning Autism Vs. Social Anxiety Disorder

The current diagnostic process for ASD involves three potential levels of support needed:

level 1: requiring some support

level 2: requiring substantial support

level 3: requiring very substantial support

Autism is neurologically based, which makes it different from social anxiety disorder, regardless of communication abilities or any overlap in symptoms.

Differences Between ASD & Social Anxiety

The main difference between ASD and social anxiety is that autism is a neurodevelopmental condition, while social anxiety is a mental health condition. Experts say it’s essential to get the diagnosis correct.

Though a formal diagnosis is best made by a licensed professional, understanding the differences between social anxiety and autism can empower parents to seek an evaluation. Because autism and social anxiety are distinct conditions, they have nuanced symptoms and diagnostic criteria.

ASD & Social Anxiety Symptoms

People with autism and those with social anxiety alike may seem to avoid eye contact. Importantly, however, autistic people aren’t necessarily “avoiding” eye contact out of nervousness or fear. They’re simply not making eye contact in the first place, which is a distinct difference.

Researchers have suggested that individuals with autism look toward a person more slowly, while people with social anxiety look away faster. ASD is a spectrum, meaning people may communicate in different ways. Some may not speak at all, while others may engage in one-sided conversations or miss social cues.

On the other hand, people with social anxiety intentionally avoid conversations because of fear.

Social anxiety can be the result of trauma. A brain dealing with social anxiety may be compensating for something that happened or trying to prevent something from happening reoccurring. Social anxiety is different from autism because autism isn’t triggered by an event, experience, or trauma.

ASD & Social Anxiety Brain Functions

The amygdala may be implicated in both autism and social anxiety disorder, but current research supports the idea that autism is neurodevelopmental. There are comprehensive conclusions available concerning what causes ASD, but research is ongoing.

Social anxiety, on the other hand, is mental-emotional.

Please note that all of this information is for reference only. If you are concerned about your child, please contact your pediatrician or a mental healthcare specialist.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans using ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Originally Posted as How to Tell the Difference Between Social Anxiety and Autism at Healthline.com

What Does ABA Therapy Look Like?

Having Priorities Helps Children With Autism

One of the challenges of modern life is the lure of having it all. We believe that if we can just manage our time, our child with autism can have the best experiences at school, at ABA therapy, with friends, and at home with family. When we’re spread too thin, though, we don’t benefit fully from anything. But when we learn to prioritize according to our values, we may not feel regret about making difficult choices and doing less.

Letting our values guide our choices is an unfamiliar concept for most of us — and it requires a little self-exploration to determine our priorities. But the rewards can be huge.

How COVID-19 Affected Priorities

Despite COVID’s continued impact, families are beginning to have more options for kids with autism. In-person school might be slotted in next to ABA therapy, and the combination can radically alter evening routines as everyone in the family also needs to take time to prepare to do it all again the following day. Here, families may struggle to decide which treatments to pursue for their child.

A family may see major benefits with ABA therapy but also recognize that COVID-related disruptions were very hard. Many parents think their child will benefit from going back to school, yet they don’t want to lose ABA therapy and they also want to have family time.

In a situation like this would a family benefit from having some of everything? Or would fewer activities that allow for richer experiences be better? In a lot of cases, efforts are not necessarily concentrated enough to have positive outcomes in any of the choices.

A tough decision is easier when a family can figure out what they really value. Evaluating what parts of in-school therapy, clinical therapy, and at-home therapy can help families decide what is most important for their child.

Developing Priorities for Children with ASD

As with everything else in life, values are not necessarily constant. This means we can adjust behaviors and choices to align with shifting values.

Determining our values can help steer us toward more fulfilling outcomes, even on a day-to-day basis. If your child is working toward learning to tie their shoes independently, for instance, repetition will help them achieve this more quickly. The downside to a lot of repetition is that you aren’t able to get other values-related tasks done. Putting the things you value most at the front of your list can help tackle important issues first.

The beauty of a values-based approach to lifestyle choices is that each parent’s values are personal and specific to them. There’s no comparison or measurement of personal values, so no guilt should be involved.

For example; if a parent can better approach each day when there’s no lingering laundry to fold, they’re not prioritizing laundry over children. But they are placing value on having an uncluttered mind so they can be more present in the moments that really matter.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans using ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Originally Posted as Values Can Help Clarify Choices With a Child With Autism, Chicago Parent, September 17, 2021