Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects several children than imagined. In actuality, one in 54 children suffers from this disorder. As such, the individual is unable to interact and communicate effectively with others. Another worrisome symptom is that children with ASD show limited interest in various engaging activities. These signs are visible during their first couple of years in life and may go on to haunt them for more years to come if their parents to take the right measures. Such children are unable to perform optimally at school and other related areas of their lives.
One therapy option that has proven to be effective times without number is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). This treatment program is geared toward improving a child’s interactive, social, and learning skills. It is most effective for children at younger ages of five years and below. That is not to imply that other children cannot benefit as well. Using this technique, counsellors can address a child’s oral, motor, and social behaviours, while reinforcing the skills such a young individual lacks.
The Impact of ABA on a Child
One of the main goals of ABA is to eradicate undesired behavioural patterns exhibited by a child and impact the right skills and behaviours. Children who fly into a rage or throw tantrums now and then can benefit from this therapy, by learning the right set of characters – what to say, how to act, words to use, among others. Applied behaviour analysis can help them to harness both simple and complex skill sets with reward systems set in place to promote their learning.
Although the standard ABA therapy option promotes several desired behaviours in a child, it cannot help the individual to build social or emotional skills. In other words, a child may be unable to connect with an act or behaviour emotionally, even though such a person displays the required behaviour. An experienced therapist would be needed to teach the child these attributes using various techniques, including the following:
- The symbolic or imaginative thought process
- Academic values
Such therapy sessions do not generate overnight results, as some of them may require personal therapy, which may span up to 40 hours weekly. The downside to this treatment option is its high cost. However, parents and guardians with such training can impact the right values in their wards, thereby generating positive outcomes. Nevertheless, learning this technique is time-consuming and requires much personal input.
Skills ABA Therapy Teaches and Requirements
As discussed before, Applied Behaviour Analysis teaches both simple and complex skills, some of which include the following:
- Daily Living Skills
- Self Help Skills
To become a board-certified behaviour analyst (BCBA), the following requirements should be met:
- The individual should have a master’s degree or PhD in either of the following disciplines – psychology or behaviour analysis.
- Such a person should have taken and passed a national certification exam.
- There should be a state license in place to provide ABA services; this is applicable in some states.
Other professionals also work with the BCBA and cater to children and adults battling ASD, by providing them with the right skills needed to overcome their challenges. Some of them go by the titles registered behaviour technicians (RBTs), line therapists, behavioural therapists, and many more.
Is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Effective?
Many reputable surgeons and associations in the United States and beyond consider ABA to be evidence-based, including the American Psychological Association. What does this statement imply? This means that the therapy has undergone through several scientific tests successfully, with regards to the following areas:
The various techniques incorporated into this treatment program addresses the action before the occurrence of a behavioural pattern and its consequences; in other words, understanding what led to a display of certain attributes and its effects. Depending on the severity of a child’s case, the individual may have to undergo intensive therapy that can last from one to three years, while a board-certified behaviour analyst evaluates the areas, like social functioning, language development, intellectual functioning, and everyday living skills. Most children and adults that undergo this training program experience positive results.
Is There an Insurance Policy for ABA Therapy?
In actuality, ABA services come with several private insurance covers, depending on the type of coverage parents want for their children and also the state of residence. Generally, children below the age of 21 are protected by the Medicaid plan, which caters to their treatments, especially when the therapy is deemed a medical necessity. Nevertheless, it is essential to see a reputable ABA specialist and get more details about the insurance policies covering Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The cost of undergoing Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy may vary from one child to another, depending on the type of ABA program, therapy prescribed, and the service provider. With more services come higher fees. On average, a board-certified behaviour analyst may charge $120 for an hour of ABA therapy – and this figure varies based on the ABA therapist involved. Those without board certifications tend to charge lesser. However, requesting the services of a certified professional goes a long way in guaranteeing the child a successful recovery, as there is always full supervision.
In general, ABA therapists provide services to their clients on a weekly timeframe of 10 to 20 hours. Nevertheless, some of them may recommend spending up to 40 hours in session to get the best treatment available. Either way, the child’s needs is a determinant in selecting an ideal therapy duration. Using the rate stated before ($120), a 10-hour session with a certified ABA would set a parent or guardian back by $1,200 weekly. On the brighter side, most children tend to improve in their behaviours after some months. Notwithstanding, bear in mind that each child is unique and response to therapy may vary, as some can extend up to three years.
There is no denying that ABA therapy is highly effective in handling a child’s needs. Children who undergo this program can communicate with their peers and other individuals more effectively. They tend to be more interested in interactive activities and establish more focus in their endeavours. It is also worth noting that these individuals throw fewer tantrums and reduce the display of unethical behavioural patterns. Impressively, they know the right thing to say at the right time.