ABA therapy is surely a promising intervention that can help an autistic or ADHD individual improve the quality of life, however, as a parent or primary caregiver, at times you may feel that the ABA therapy is not working for your child.
Many times when an ABA therapy doesn’t work for a child, parents and caregivers assume that ABA is not a good form of intervention at all. But, in actual, ABA can do wonders if done rightly.
If ABA therapy is not working for your child, 99% chances are that the service provider is not providing the services as per the needs of your child. ABA therapy must be conducted by a trained and licensed therapist and supervised by a certified BCaBA or BCBA
Here I am going to share how to make sure that your child is getting high quality professional ABA service.
1- Check the Credentials of the Therapist
Ideally, an ABA therapist should be well equipped with the knowledge and experience. Make sure the therapist is at least RBT qualified. Some providers do the ABA foundation course and start practicing, which is not enough to deal with a wide range of problem behaviors and right teaching practices. Confirm the validity of therapist’s RBT credentials here https://www.bacb.com/services/o.php?page=101127
2- Check the Credentials of the Supervisor
An ABA therapist cannot operate independently, i.e. he/she must be supervised by a BCaBA or a BCBA, i.e. the BCBA/BCaBA assesses the child, makes the plan and the RBT implements the plan which must be closely supervised, else it won’t be effective. BCaBAs and BCBAs are the professionals that go through extensive course and field work along with tough examination criteria to complete their certification. They also need to work extensively to keep their certification valid. In case, if their certification is expired or is not valid due to any other issue, they cannot practice.
So, do not forget to verify the credentials of your BCBA here https://www.bacb.com/services/o.php?page=100155
3- Know What it Takes for ABA to be Result Oriented
In order to have a result oriented ABA, it should be 5 to 20 hours/week, (depending on child’s needs). Anything less than 5 hours a week will not show any satisfactory results. If a service provider is suggesting anything less than 5 hours a week or you want to try once or twice a week to be on budget, you should know that it won’t really be producing much results.
4- Know that They Should Train You Along with the Child
Make sure that you observe the ABA sessions, either in camera or directly being present in the therapy room. This is the only way you can learn what a therapist is practicing and you can implement at home too. This is important, because, even your child gets 20 hours a week of therapy, he still spends most of the time with you, and you should know the techniques to handle the behaviors, remove problem behaviors and develop desired behaviors.
If the service provider is not allowing observation option, that’s surely a red flag.
5- Know the Limitations of the Service Provider
A BCBA is not a professional who diagnoses Autism, ADHD or any other condition. Diagnosis is done either by a pediatric psychologist or a developmental pediatrician. If the BCBA or a therapist says, he/she will diagnose, it is a red flag. Yes, the right diagnosis is very very important, so that the child can get the right intervention, but it must be done by the right professional.
BCBA or the therapist cannot explicitly tell if a non verbal child will be fully verbal in sometime or not…. It is a long process, and every child takes his own time to achieve particular milestones. So, if the BCBA tells you that your child will be verbal sooner, it’s surely a statement to lure you to the service.
The assessment must be done by one of the standardized tools, i.e. VBMAPP or ABBLS-R. Ask the BCBA to share with you the data from the tool they are using. If they are not sharing the data from any of these tools, they surely are not doing the right thing.
The Bottom Line:
ABA therapy is one of the most effective interventions to help children with Autism, ADHD and other learning differences to improve academic and life skills, promote independence and have a better quality of life, however, the key is to find the right service provider.