After your child receives an autism diagnosis, you probably have a million questions, starting with, “What’s next?” Applied behavior analysis is a type of therapy that can help children with autism build developmental skills and learn positive behaviors. Keep reading to learn more about comprehensive ABA and the benefits it may have for your young child.
What Is Comprehensive ABA?
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Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a therapy widely used as a treatment for people with autism. It aims to teach children new skills and behaviors through positive reinforcement. According to Autism Speaks, therapists have used ABA to help children with autism since the 1960s.
There are different subspecialties within the ABA field, including focused and comprehensive ABA. While focused ABA targets a specific skill or behavior, comprehensive ABA is a more intensive treatment. It’s designed for children with more significant delays. Comprehensive ABA focuses on skills in various areas, including cognitive, language, social, and self-help skills, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
Who Comprehensive ABA Helps
Comprehensive ABA can be an effective treatment for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome. It’s especially effective for children with delays in multiple areas, such as cognitive, language, and social skills. You can start comprehensive ABA for your child at a young age, but they can continue this therapy throughout childhood and even after they become an adult.
While a therapist will customize the program to your child’s unique needs, the intensity and setting may depend on your child’s age. For example, young children under the age of 3 may complete 25 to 30 hours of ABA therapy each week at home or in a clinical setting. Meanwhile, older children may complete 30 to 40 hours of ABA therapy each week in school or group settings.
How To Pursue Comprehensive ABA for Your Child
Knowing how and where to find comprehensive ABA therapy can feel like a daunting task. Here are some steps you can take to pursue this therapy for your young child:
- Look into insurance: First things first, find out whether your insurance will cover ABA therapy. Most states have mandates for autism benefits. You can research your state mandates through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- Find a qualified therapist: Ask your child’s doctor for recommendations, or go online to find therapists in your area. Make sure you find a provider certified through the BACB.
- Schedule an assessment: Once you find a qualified therapist, schedule an initial assessment. This assessment allows the therapist to meet with your child, but it’s also a chance for you to determine whether they’re a good fit for your family. Ask questions to learn more about the therapist and how they’ll be working with your child on developmental goals.
If you’ve recently received an autism diagnosis for your child, it can be an overwhelming time. Do some research to learn more about comprehensive ABA, and ask a doctor whether it’s right for your child. Over time, comprehensive ABA can help your child gain new skills and learn positive behaviors to improve their quality of life.