Guide to Pediatric ABA Therapy
ABA therapy services are evidence-based and scientifically proven methods to help children learn social and emotional skills, as well as self-regulation and independence. A licensed professional will create a plan tailored to your child’s specific goals, then use sessions to teach your child these new skills.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often qualify for ABA therapy. Learn more about what symptoms to watch and when to contact Effective Interventions.
Does My Child Need ABA Therapy?
Many children with ASD or other developmental disabilities benefit from ABA therapy. This practice has received approval from the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association (APA).
We offer ABA therapy sessions for youths between 18 months and 21 years old. Not all children with autism will need this therapy — it’s up to your family to decide if it’s best for you. If your child needs assistance to foster independence and social skills, you may want to consider ABA services.
In most cases, the earlier your child starts ABA, the better. When you notice specific behaviors associated with ASD, consider contacting a professional to help you decide whether your child will benefit from ABA services and set up your child’s first sessions.
Symptoms That May Require ABA Therapy
Children with ASD may display certain symptoms that could require ABA therapy. Several of the most common reasons families opt for these services include:
- Difficulty with communication or social interaction
- Not learning age-appropriate self-care skills
- Challenges with decision-making
- Lack of self-regulation skills
- Difficulty with change
- Potential sensory issues
- Trouble identifying their emotional state
- Issues with self-injury or aggression
These symptoms are common in children with ASD diagnoses. ABA therapy can help children develop positive skills and manage triggers, providing increased independence and self-regulation.
Is ABA Therapy Only for Autism?
While ABA therapy is often used for ASD, it can be a part of the treatment process for many other mental and behavioral conditions. These can include:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- Panic disorder
- Intellectual or developmental delays or disabilities
The unique factor that makes ABA therapy so versatile is that it can easily adapt to different people and their specific needs. Regardless of the condition being treated, the overall goal is to reduce challenging or harmful behaviors and teach new skills kids can use in many situations.
Advantages of ABA Therapy for Kids
ABA therapy offers numerous advantages to children and their families. The benefits of pediatric therapy with ABA can include the following:
- Learn new skills: ABA therapy’s goal is to help your child acquire new skills that will help them at home, school or day care or other social environments.
- Increase their confidence: Learning new skills that encourage them to thrive can help your child feel more confident in themselves and their abilities.
- Improve independence: ABA therapy helps children learn to overcome challenges using their skills, allowing them to work more independently throughout sessions.
- Prepare them for the real world: The abilities learned throughout ABA therapy can transfer to many environments, including school or other activities, allowing your child to have more experiences.
- Enhance their relationships: ABA therapy can help your child learn to communicate effectively, enabling them to form lasting relationships with caregivers, friends and siblings.
The benefits of ABA therapy are expansive and can cover even more aspects than these. Try ABA therapy with your child today to see how it can help your family!
Benefits of Hiring an ABA Therapist for Kids
If your child or teenager would benefit from having ABA therapy, it’s essential to find the right ABA practitioner. Your ABA therapist should be either a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT).
These professionals have the necessary education and experience to provide exceptional ABA services. Your child’s ABA practitioner should perform an initial assessment to see where they are currently. The therapist should use that information to develop a customized plan with your and your child’s input about overall goals.
An ABA therapist is dedicated to their work. They understand that no two children with autism are the same and that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to ABA. The practitioner will devise a concrete plan tailored to your child’s specific needs and use best practices to help your kid get there.
A compassionate practitioner with the right education and collaboration skills will ensure your child can learn new social and emotional skills.
How to Choose the Right ABA Therapist for Your Child
Choosing the right ABA therapist for your child or teenager is as important as deciding they need additional help. A trustworthy and reliable ABA therapist will benefit your child and help them grow. To find the right ABA practitioner, start by:
- Examining their personality: You and your child should feel comfortable with the therapist. Their personality should be communicative, confident, patient and friendly. You can determine if a therapist’s personality is a good fit for you and your child by meeting with them to learn more about their approach.
- Checking their professional background: You’ll want to know their educational background and experience. Know what degrees and certifications the therapist has received. You can also get more specific by asking about their time as a therapist, such as what specializations they have or if they have worked with people your child’s age.
- Asking about their treatment plan: Inquire about the therapist’s proposed treatment plan for your child. Will they personalize the sessions to your child’s skills, needs and goals? Do they intend to look for triggers or patterns in your child’s challenging behavior and create a plan to change these actions?
- Determining if they will involve parents and family: Find out if your child’s therapist will provide family and parent training and consultation. While the primary learning will occur during sessions, you should have a game plan for how you can foster skill transfers.
When picking an ABA therapist, ask the right questions, do research and find someone who respects your child.
What to Expect During ABA Therapy Sessions
While there is no set model for ABA sessions — as each child is different and has unique needs and goals — it’s helpful to have a general idea of what will happen during them. First, expect your child’s therapist to have a plan for what goals and skills they will tackle that day.
A session will start with what’s known as “pairing.” The therapist spends time pairing themselves with a reinforcer, which likens them to a person who gives “fun” or desired things. Motivators and reinforcers can vary between sessions, making this an important step during each one.
In a play-based model, the therapist will show the child that they are not “doing work” — they are playing. More effective therapy will ensue when a therapist and child can have a good time together. The therapist should be building rapport with your child during this time.
Throughout the rest of the session, the therapist will use strategic playtime activities to teach skills and reinforce positive behaviors. The session will likely have breaks, though these are also encouraged to be teachable moments.
Your therapist may want you or other family members to be directly involved in the treatment throughout a session. Ensure you are available and willing to engage. Family involvement can help with skill transfer down the road and provides you with the necessary knowledge to help facilitate further learning.
As always, if you have any questions before, during or after a session, reach out to the therapist for clarification or further discussion.
How Effective Is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy is an evidence-based approach to helping children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) grow. It is extremely effective and often considered the standard treatment for children with autism. ABA therapy can:
- Improve your child or teen’s communication skills.
- Help your child gain more independence.
- Minimize negative behaviors, such as self-injury.
- Increase your child’s socialization abilities.
This form of therapy is particularly effective for young children, though it shows results for people of all ages. Toddlers with autism who receive ABA therapy often succeed in attaining and maintaining these skills. ABA centers on teaching your children life-changing skills they may not have access to on their own.
Our practitioners give your child the support and teachings they need to learn skills that will help them succeed in day-to-day life. Children with autism deserve an effective therapy that can help them acquire new skills while respecting their boundaries, strengths and needs. Individualized ABA services — particularly at Effective Interventions — do just that.
About Our ABA Therapy for Autism and Other Conditions
How does ABA therapy work? At Effective Interventions, our certified ABA practitioners can help any child with autism between 18 months and 21 years old. We provide family consultations and training to ensure you know the most effective methods for helping your child generalize new skills.
We will discuss treatment goals and your child’s strengths and use those to develop a personalized approach to ABA. Our practitioners use testing and monitoring to track your child’s progress. We offer ABA therapy in three settings:
- Home: In the home, we can teach your child specific behaviors or stick to a more comprehensive plan. We can help your child develop self-care skills, stick with routines and follow parent instructions.
- Clinic: During clinic sessions, we provide a structured environment for your child to learn new skills. Our practitioners work one-on-one with your child to teach them skills they can generalize to other settings, including social interaction techniques.
- Community: Our team can work with your child in school, day care or camp environments. These natural settings help your child put their new skills into context and use them as necessary. Our practitioners work with the instructors and teachers to ensure progress is made.
At Effective Interventions, we ensure your child’s ABA therapy service is personalized so they can develop the necessary skills to gain independence and live fuller lives.
Contact Effective Interventions to Schedule an Appointment With a Certified ABA Therapist for Kids
If you believe your child between 18 months and 21 years old would benefit from ABA therapy services, Effective Interventions is here to help. Our experienced practitioners offer an individualized approach and provide family training for parents. Please contact us today to set up an appointment!