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

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

Leaning on Love

Leaning on Love

Two weeks ago I wrote to you about my experience over the last year in choosing to leave domestic abuse and my extended family choosing to support my abuser because he is a man. As a survivor, I had been living in fear and shame for far too long. Fear of abusive behavior and shame that I was being abused. 

It took me over a year to be brave enough to write about this portion of my life. The love I was met with was overwhelming. Yet the private love I received was deeper than the public support and has been steadfast through my healing. I am equally grateful for both. You see, love was my lifeline. I’d like to focus this week on choosing love when fear feels overwhelming.

I have always believed that love has more to give than fear. I have lived through incredibly painful experiences and in each experience, love has somehow stayed within and around me. Love is a gentle reminder that peace is possible; that the world can be good. There are incredible people in this world and we are worthy of a life of freedom to enjoy it all. Fear tells us we will always experience pain, then shame tells us to hide that pain. Love has soft and open arms, gently whispering this isn’t so. 

Leaving Fear Behind

When I left my abusive marriage I was still able to hear was the whisper of love. I was too lost in fear at the time to fully embrace the love that was (and still is) available to me. I knew I was no longer willing to live in abuse and could barely hear the pulse of my own heart.

When I first left my marriage, I was terrified to tell anyone what had happened. Like many survivors, I hid the abuse well. I was ashamed and even my closest friends didn’t know the extent of what I had experienced over the previous 5 years. Only my sister knew what had really happened.

It’s scary, you know? I had somehow been conditioned to hide and protect my ex-husband and was terrified to tell anyone what really happened. Yet the whisper of love told me to speak, to seek love, and to look for help in order to restore myself and my life.

At the time I was hurt beyond measure at the actions of my extended family. At the same time, I was overwhelmingly met with love by my immediate family and friends. I was also cared for deeply by an amazing trauma specialist who helped me beyond belief by first giving a name to my pain, domestic violence, and then helping me heal. If I had chosen to stay in a mindset of fear over one of love I may have missed the love inside the incredible people that were already walking alongside me. Shame and pain told me to hide, love told me it was safe to come out. 

Embracing Love

At first, the pain was unbearable because, while incredible people were showing me I was loved, I was also hurt and quite honestly blindsided by the actions of my extended family. To this day I continue to be disappointed in their choice to turn a blind eye to the abuse of their own family.

The pain of coming out about abuse made me understand on a deep level why so many victims stay in abusive relationships. When you are leaving abuse you are already scared beyond measure and the systems and people you come out to do not often make it easy. Many times they actually make it harder (another topic for a different time).

I was and am incredibly lucky to have the family and friends I do. As I was met with more pain they held me tighter. They showed me love time and time again. They showed me who I was when I could not see. I leaned into the love of others until I could find the love inside of me again. 

I cannot explain it and yet love has been my saving grace. Remember the two wolves? My wolf of love was starving and I needed to feed it to find myself again. What I didn’t tell you is that an incredible community carried me back to my own wolf when I couldn’t walk there myself. 

Truly Believing in Love

Yes, I have experienced trauma, but it’s just a fraction of my life. I have also experienced love, which is the foundation of my life. I have long believed that all people are equal and are born deeply in love with humanity. Living through a traumatic experience made me realize that even though pain is real, the healing properties of love are more real. At the end of my marriage, I can tell you I felt absolutely unloveable, but I still had a heart full of love to give. Today I rest my hand on my warm heart and know I am fully lovable and have plenty of love to give. And I still get my heart filled with love from others.

To my parents, my mom tribe, my sister, old friends (and a new one), my employees, and perfect strangers who have shown me love as I’ve walked over the coals of pain; thank you. When love whispered to me a year ago I was worthy and my life was worth living, a life free of abuse, I was terrified to embrace it. Love has set me free.

Xoxo
Jessie

Leaning on Love

The Two Wolves

Last week I wrote to you about how gratitude can be a life raft in the middle of adversity. Specifically, I wrote to you about the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic knowing so many of us are exhausted. I hope that shifting to a mindset of gratitude was able to help you find a little joy last week as our nation’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise. I know firsthand, outside of the pandemic, how hard it is to find gratitude during pain. I also know firsthand that it is life-saving. I’d like to tell you more.

Fear or Love?

Around seven years ago I was new to running a business and had been single for a bit. During that time I was settling into my path. This was the beginning of building a spiritual mindset that still carries me today. Gabrielle Bernstein is a spiritual leader I followed who taught (and still teaches) about enlightenment. In her work, Gabrielle guides her readers through their egos back into their spirits. She encourages others to drop fear and embrace radical self-love. It is a hard and worthwhile journey I promise you. 

Back to me. At the time, I was light, joyful, and a little naive, if you will. I did give myself a piece of advice that was worth remembering; “Jessie, my love, there is fear and there is love. Both are hungry wolves within your soul-chose wisely which wolf you feed.” Even today, with much more at stake, I often center with this teaching and remember to lean into love, even when fear seeps in.

The Wolves of Fear

I would like to tell you that as I aged into my 30s I became wiser and kinder, that I was a cocoon that turned into a butterfly on my way to full enlightenment. I was not. I was breaking from the inside out. You see, in believing that love conquers all, I got married very quickly after my stint as a single woman. Within one week of becoming a married woman, my ex-husband changed his behavior towards me.

Five years later, in the office of a trauma counselor, I realized that I had experienced domestic abuse. 5 years of domestic abuse. It was only through the work of an amazing trauma team that I was able to quiet the fear, to rest the wolf. Yet, as I progressed through treatment, it was as though new wolves were growling to be fed.

To begin, I had just moved back home to Ohio. I had grown up incredibly close to my father’s family. I knew my family and I approached the world differently but I still loved them despite our differing beliefs. What I was unprepared for was what came when I opened up to my family about my experience of domestic abuse and what would come next.

Feeding the Wolves 

Within two weeks of opening up to my family about my experience with domestic abuse, my father’s family decided to side with my abuser because I was not submitting to my husband. I was told by a cousin I loved dearly that because I wasn’t being physically beaten that I was making it up. When my wonderful, kind, and bright father stood up for me, one of my uncles explained that an exorcism might be helpful (seriously). Another uncle, my favorite, sent me information on a retreat I could attend to learn my role as a wife so that God would restore my marriage (seriously). 

In leaning into my family I was exposed to a radical belief system that men are the head of the household and strong women need only to submit to make any abuse stop. To this day my ex-husband spends time with my father’s family and to this day my young sons are exposed to them on a regular basis. I just tell my little lions, “boys and girls are the same,” to hopefully plant the seed of equality amongst a field of bigotry. 

You may wonder why I haven’t shared this before or why I am sharing it with you now. I’ll tell you. I didn’t share this earlier because I was afraid of the court system. I thought if I spoke out it would be used against me. I guess it still might. I’m just not feeding the wolf of fear today. I am sharing it with you now because I want to let you know that I’m not just talking, I’m action. You see, leaving domestic abuse and going through a divorce combined with the exposure of and loss of a portion of my family is a pain I never saw myself dealing with. 

Finding Love

Yet here I am on a Monday morning, snuggled with my dogs, happily planning a quiet day on my farm. How? I remembered my own wisdom and, through the healing I embraced last winter, I also embraced gratitude. My experience with domestic abuse and divorce is just that, an experience. I got out and found that the most incredible family and friends were standing alongside me. They reminded me every day I was worthy and reflected love to me unconditionally until I was able to slowly feed my own wolf of love.

I’ve changed my own language from what I’ve lost to what I’ve gained. I haven’t lost a marriage, I’ve gained freedom. I haven’t lost a family, I found my true family. I haven’t lost myself, I’ve found her.

In shifting to a daily practice of gratitude I am not able to stop pain from happening and I am not totally free of fear. Remember the crowds in the stands? They can be hateful and loud. It hurts even more when a portion of the crowd shares your DNA. At least for me, it did. But outside of that noise is peace and knowledge that every human life matters, including mine. I am able to wipe the dust off my knees from whatever battle is ahead and bow in gratitude to the people standing beside me.

I do not know what pain outside of the COVID-19 pandemic you might be facing. But this I know to be true: love is stronger than fear. Dig deep into your soul and coax that darling wolf of love out. If you can’t feed her yet let others help, then say thank you. 

The world will always bring adversity but your heart will always offer you love. 

In gratitude to my family, friends, and employees for reminding me of who I am.

Xoxo,

Jessie

If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse speak up, reach out, get out.