How to Choose an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Provider
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs are behavioral interventions based on scientific evidence and designed for children with autism. Not all providers are the same, however, so when choosing one for your kid, make sure to consider a few essentials.
It’s not always clear what people mean when they mention ‘ABA.’ After all, it can refer to a whole range of techniques done in various settings (for example, at home, in a clinic, etc.), and can even run for varying lengths of time. In any case, ABA should always be based on concrete data collected in an effort to make program decisions that improve people’s lives.
Credentials and Qualifications of Personnel
Before choosing an ABA provider, ask questions about their staff’s credentials and qualifications, ensuring there is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst in the team. In addition, find out how experienced they are as ABA providers working with kids who have autism.
Select a provider that does background checks prior to hiring new employees. 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.
Beware of Promises!
If you encounter a practitioner who makes grand promises, be wary. That’s not how it goes with ABA. To maximize kids’ potentials, a lot of effort from a lot of people is needed, including from their own parents. If someone promises you unrealistic results, don’t waste time with them and start exploring other options.
Unless the program teaches skills effectively enough that they can be expanded to different settings – for example, at home with the family or among neighbors – then it has failed to truly teach them, and the “skills” therefore have no value. In-depth ABA programming must not be for life. The child should be able to transition to a more natural setting after a certain point.
The provider you choose should provide data about your child’s progress on a regular basis and in a format you understand. This should be presented as a summary that includes patterns telling you if your child is improving or not.
Finally, choose a program that provides opportunities for collaboration among everyone 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. Be careful with those who will condemn others while elevating their status or program. The goal should be to get the best from each school or program as far as helping your child through autism is concerned.