5 Questions to Ask When Choosing an ABA Provider
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5 Questions to Ask When Choosing an ABA Provider

The number of Applied Behavior (ABA) providers for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased along with the increase in the number of children diagnosed with ASD. While overall this is a good thing, because there are more options for families to get help for their child, the quality of services can vary significantly. The outcome for your child depends upon choosing a quality provider.

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What are some important questions to ask when choosing an ABA provider?

The following questions can help you to determine whether an ABA provider will provide the quality of services you expect for your child.

  1. What is the experience level of your BCBAs?
  2. What education level do you require of your therapy staff? What training do they receive?
  3. How do I know my child will be safe?
  4. Do you have limits on the age of children you serve? And what about in-home and in-school support?
  5. How is your company structured? Who runs it and what is its objective?

1. What is the experience level of your BCBAs?

BCBAs are primarily responsible for your child’s treatment program. Those who have prior experience (at least several years) as therapists are much better equipped to design effective therapy programs and modify those programs based on your child’s particular needs.

2. What education level do you require of your therapy staff? What training do they receive?

While education level does not guarantee a good therapist, those who have obtained college degrees usually have the maturity and ability to handle the multiple demands often posed by delivering therapy to children with ASD. Since therapists are frequently required to “think on their feet,” those who are better equipped to do so can make the difference in a successful session.

In addition to the training required to receive their RBT credential, therapists who work for quality providers should receive ongoing training by senior clinical staff. This training not only enhances their knowledge and ability but also ensures alignment among the different therapists who will work with your child.

3. How do I know my child will be safe?

Quality providers hold your child’s health and safety as paramount. These providers often have attributes that help achieve this:

  • Clear management priority on safety
  • Video surveillance of all therapy sessions
  • Windows to allow external viewing of therapy
  • Robust incident reporting and processes to learn from incidents
  • Initial and recurring staff training in Health and Safety

4. Do you have limits on the age of children you serve? And what about in-home and in-school support?

As your child learns and masters skills through ABA therapy, new skills are introduced and taught so that your child continues to advance. Ideally, ABA can start at an early age and progress can be made to allow for the child to fully integrate into the school. Some children (including those diagnosed later in their childhood) may need therapy support for a longer period of time.  A provider that has the capability of supporting a broad array of age groups can help to ensure progress regardless of the child’s age or skills.

Similar to the above, the needs of the child change. While there are many advantages of in-clinic therapy (especially getting started), in-home therapy may be more appropriate to better generalize skills to that setting. In-school support, though often not covered by insurance, also provides needed assistance in helping the child transition to that environment.

5. How is your company structured? Who runs it and what is its objective?

Along with the proliferation of ABA providers, many have been taken over by large investment companies. In these cases, providers are expanding rapidly and may be more focused on profitability and the bottom line. Signs of this can be inexperienced/overloaded BCBAs (ask how many clients each BCBA has) and therapists with less training and lower competency levels. Ask lots of questions to make sure that the company you are looking at is really in it for the kids.

Exceptional Therapy in Houston, TX

At Steps to Progress LLC, we welcome your questions. Our goal is to provide exceptional therapy for our clients and to support them and their families as they progress. Please call us at 713-782-1330, e-mail us at info@stepstoprogress.com, or complete the information form on our website at www.stepstoprogress.com to learn more about our services and how we can help your child.