ABA is considered the gold standard for the treatment of children with autism.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one of the major specialized treatments DE offers to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). ABA is the application of the principles of behavior to problems of social significance. It is an evidence based treatment with over 40 years of research showing that providing children with early, intensive ABA treatment produces large gains in development (communication, social skills, academics, social functioning, etc.) and reduces the need for specialized services later.
ABA treatment is aimed at increasing a child’s ability to learn from their environment, build relationships, and increase independence. The focus is on increasing social, relational, communication, leisure and daily living skills while reducing behaviors that interfere with learning. Treatment can range from 5 to 30+ hours per week depending on the needs of the child. Treatment is provided on a 1 to 1 basis, with group instruction and treatment added in over time.
DE is fortunate to have Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who are highly trained and experienced in providing ABA treatment for children with ASD. Treatment is based on comprehensive assessment by the BCBAs who then develop individualized treatment programs based on the child’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as parental input on goals.
DE does not take a “cookie cutter” approach to treatment as some providers do, instead valuing the unique needs of each child and family. Highly trained Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) implement the individualized treatment plans, and help the child meet targets under the close supervision of a BCBA. Progress is reviewed daily, and treatment plans are updated frequently to ensure the child’s progress is continuous. In addition, our BCBAs meet frequently with parents to ensure they are kept abreast of their child’s progress and goals.
Our main specialization is in early intervention with young children with ASD. Most of our ABA clients are between the ages of 2 and 10, with a focus on building skills in multiple areas. Our therapy is very relationship-based and is fun for children, so once they get used to coming to DE, most kids really love it. We do provide some ABA therapy for older children on a limited basis and we plan to expand services in this area in the future.
Why is most of our treatment provided in our centers in Wyoming and Holland? DE has chosen to provide the majority of our ABA services in our 2 centers. While we do provide some limited in-home therapy based on the needs of the child and their treatment plan, and understand the conveniences it affords, our expectations is that most treatment occurs at our centers, and for very good reasons.
The main reason we choose to provide center-based services is to allow treatment to focus largely on social interaction with peers. Our learning environment includes many children of similar ages to enable structured and meaningful interactions between the children. In addition, we are able to provide treatment in smaller dyads or larger groups (while still receiving 1-on-1 treatment by an RBT) in a manner similar to what they will experience in school. The importance of this can’t be overstated – one of the major challenges for young children with ASD is social interaction with same-aged peers. It is imperative that they get to practice the skills with other children during treatment to prepare them for interacting with peers in other settings such as school. Importantly, DE has an open door policy, and parents are welcome and encouraged to drop in and observe their child’s treatment sessions.