When preparing to write this blog, I asked a few parents the question, “What did you look for when choosing an ABA company for your child?” I received a variety of responses, which made me realize how different things are important to different people, and that it would be helpful to shed light on what criteria to go through when making this big, life decision.
“I look for people who have experience and have good resources for helping with parent training and education. I also look for people who are loyal, creative, and who believe in the clients.”
“It is really important for me to have all of my child’s therapies happening under one roof.”
I have heard these many times before, which leads me to start with ABA companies using the multidisciplinary approach.
The Multidisciplinary Approach
Helps illustrate a clear picture on an individual basis in order to create the best teatment package.
One parent I spoke to said, “As a single working mom, finding three separate providers for Speech, OT, and ABA wasn’t possible. Blue Balloon was the only one I found that had all 3.” The multidisciplinary approach is when clinicians from different disciplines collaborate with one another as a team when treating an individual to ensure that the treatment is consistent and effective. For example, if an individual is struggling to cope in loud environments during ABA, the Occupational Therapist may suggest tips and tricks to help work past the noise. Suppose during a speech session, and the individual begins engaging in lots of problem behavior. In that case, the ABA clinicians can advise how to manage the behavior in a fun but productive manner. The multidisciplinary approach helps illustrate a clear picture on an individual basis to create the best package for treatment.
Programming and Parent Training
Your Provider Should Answer All of Your Questions and Include Your Perspective in Program Development
A significant part of ABA therapy is receiving parent training. Parent training is done by the BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) that creates and oversees your child’s programming. When interviewing ABA companies, it is essential to ask:
These are just some examples of questions to ask. A quality ABA company wants you to ask these questions and more! If the company is the right fit for your child, they will have the answers you need to feel confident and comfortable about choosing them to care for your child.
Make Sure The Plan Works To Promote Your Child’s Strengths
Sometimes, there is lots of focus on getting rid of maladaptive behaviors and less on developing new skills and behaviors. When choosing an ABA company, make sure to discuss your child’s weaknesses AND strengths so that they’re both utilized when developing programming. The right fit for you and your family will welcome your perspective and full participation in your child’s plan.
Staffing, Training, and More!
If the company invests in their staff, the staff will invest in your child.
You finally settle in and develop a relationship with your child’s team and feel they are making progress. Then, a member of the team quits. It is heartbreaking, frustrating, and all-around challenging to deal with. Why does this happen so frequently? People’s lives change; they may move or choose a different opportunity.
So, what can an ABA company do to try their best to keep staff for a long time?
Training providers initially and continuously providing opportunities for further training is vital to maintaining the team’s health.
When choosing an ABA company, ask what training is offered to staff, the company’s turnover rate, and their action plan to solve frequent staffing changes.
Make sure your provider works with you to find the most cost-effective payment solution for your child’s treatment.
Paying for ABA therapy out of pocket can be cumbersome. As of very recent, almost all states require most insurance companies to provide coverage for ABA therapy. The type of coverage you receive will depend on your insurance, though some ABA providers may offer grants or financial assistance. These are all critical things to consider when choosing a provider for your child.
Final Piece of Advice
The “right questions” may vary amongst individuals, so take your time to identify yours. Think about what is important to you and your family, make a list, and have it ready when calling or visiting ABA companies. Trust your intuition; you will know when it feels right!