Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of behavioral principles to everyday situations that will, over time, increase or decrease target behaviors. By breaking skills down into small steps, individuals have more opportunities to be successful. Sessions are conducted in locations best-suited for your family (at home, in school, at a job placement, etc.), and all services are individualized. We help clients conquer everything from teeth brushing to taking inventory in a store.
What’s the best therapy for autism?
ABA, also known as Applied Behavior Analysis, is the only scientifically validated treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum. Anyone can use applied behavior analysis to increase socially significant behaviors or decrease the future frequency of an unwanted behavior.
“The goal of ABA is two-fold: to increase useful behaviors that improve quality of life and decrease those that are harmful or interfere with learning or relationships. It is a structured teaching approach that can be implemented in many settings to teach skills from many domains (communication, self care, academic, play/leisure, social skills, etc.). It involves understanding patterns of behavior and examining the influence of environmental factors including what happens before and after the behavior” (autismnj.org).
Where does therapy occur? What skills are taught?
Most often ABA therapy is conducted in the home, school, and community setting. We work on a variety of skills including: academic, leisure/play skills, self care, communication, job skills, social skills, feeding, imitation, desensitization, tolerance training, toileting, sleeping, self management, and to decreasing challenging behaviors. All goals for your child are based on assessments conducted by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and then individualized programs are written based on scientific research. We then track your child’s progress by taking data. It may sound scary, however this is how we can make programming decisions and to ensure your child is making progress.
When working on these skills we might teach them through play; other times we might need to sit at a table, or go out into the community. Sometimes it might look different from traditional teaching, however learning is always occuring! Depending on the skills we are working on, we might need to start out in one environment before generalizing to other environments.
What ages do you service?
We provide ABA therapy for children as well as adults. We work with your child from diagnosis, which could be as young as 12 months, through adulthood. When children are younger more intensive therapy is needed. Research shows that children who receive early and intensive behavioral intervention prior to age 5 make the most gains. Research shows that ABA can change the pattern of the brain. However, ABA therapy is also very effective for individuals over the age of 5. Once therapy is started, consistency is key. This is similar to other therapies people may need. For example, physical therapy after an accident won’t work if it occurs only one time, or for a short duration.
Who’s involved in ABA therapy?
We work together as a team here at Graham to help your child meet their goals. There is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who writes the programs for your child and trains the therapist on the team to implement those programs. The BCBA also collaborates with other professionals your child works with, such as occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, physical therapists, teachers, child study teams, etc. The therapists and BCBA will work closely with your child. They will work with your child at least twice a week in most cases, if not more often. The BCBA also works with you, the parent and/or family, to coach you through how to teach your child new skills or decrease problem behavior. This helps maximize the amount of therapy your child receives, resulting in faster acquisition. Your BCBA is there to help you with any concerns you have about your child.
How much does autism therapy cost? Why is it so expensive?
ABA therapy can be very costly for families. Part of the reason is that most clients require many hours of service. Research shows that most individuals with autism need 25-40 hours of therapy each week. Luckily, under the 2009 New Jersey Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities insurance mandate, individual and small employer health benefits carriers are required to cover ABA for the treatment of autism. Most families will still have some responsibility for the cost of services, including their deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance. At Graham Behavior Services we help you understand your insurance benefit and exactly what the cost for services will be for your family before we start services. If you have any questions about your benefits or insurance, please complete the contact us form and someone will reach out to you within one business day.