How Often Are ABA Appointments? Once a week, same day and same time each week
How Long Do ABA Appointments Last? Allow 2 hours per visit. Some visits may be shorter or longer depending on what we need to work on. If child has problem behaviors during ABA appointments, we will stay in session and manage them together until child is once again calm and safe for caregiver to transport in vehicle.
Where Do The ABA Visits Take Place? Almost all of the ABA appointments are done at my office location which is currently located inside of the West TN Hearing and Speech Center, 65 Ridgecrest Rd, Jackson, TN 38305. If for whatever reason we are not making progress towards a particular goal, an occasional ABA appointment may take place in the family’s home and/or community setting. Just be aware that 99% of the time we are able to accomplish progress towards behavioral goals through ABA visits in office location.
What is the Purpose/Goal of ABA Services? Our ABA services focuses on 1.) preventing problem behaviors, 2.) teaching caregivers how to consistently respond to problem behaviors when they occur so that they are less likely to occur in the future, and 3.) teaching the caregivers HOW to teach the child socially appropriate ways to get child’s wants and needs met the “right way.”
How are these Goals of ABA Accomplished? The caregivers are given a “behavior book” to write down data. The data sheets are developed based upon the information you report in the Intake Paperwork. The Behavior Analyst will then teach you HOW to record behavior data. The “behavior book” MUST come with you each week to review during ABA appointments. It is then the Behavior Analyst’s job to pull apart all the information recorded by the caregivers in order to DETERMINE WHY the child is having problem behaviors (Are they for attention? To get things they want? To get out of doing something they know how to do but don’t want to do it? To get out of doing something they don't know how to do and they are frustrated? Is the child in pain and not able to indicate that? Is it for sensory stimulation or some other reason?). Please note, the Behavior Analyst can not do a proper assessment and recommend proper behavioral strategies/treatment unless accurate behavior data is collected by the caregivers and brought to the ABA appointments.
Who Participates in the ABA Appointments? BOTH the child and parentscome back for the ABA appointments. We then discuss what has been going well over the past week, what has not been going well over the past week, and what additional strategies need to be added to what we are already working on in order to further our goals of decreasing problem behaviors and increasing child’s appropriate skills to help them get what they want and need. Please note that we will ONLY add 1-2 behavioral strategies/treatments at a time in order to make sure that the family is successful each and every step of the way during ABA therapy. We want to make sure that you fully understand what to do, how to do it, when to do it, what not to do, etc. before we add another strategy. ABA is WORK and takes a bit of energy on both the parents’ and child’s part. Since you, the parent, are already using a lot of energy parenting, why not FOCUS that energy is such a way that you are being more efficient and reducing problem behaviors over time. It makes good logical sense.
Should Us Adults Really Talk About the Child’s Problem Behaviors in Front of Them? YES. We, the adults, discuss what has been going well, and what has not been going well. We also include the child in the conversations as appropriate. Discussing this in front of and/or with the child helps them to process the information and know the difference between good decisions/behaviors and bad decisions/behaviors. It also includes them in some decision-making (when it is possible and/or appropriate) depending upon what we are working on).
By Recording Problem Behaviors My Child is Having, am I Saying They Are a Bad Kid? NO. Not at all. There are no bad kids, just bad behaviors. GOOD NEWS is we can work with bad behaviors and decrease them over time. If you accurately record behavior data, and consistently use the strategies that we teach you (specifically developed for your child and the reason they are having problem behaviors), it usually works. Just know, like everything else in life, there are no 100% guarantees. We do however have a good success rate, as well as a good satisfaction rate.
Do Problem Behaviors Slowly Get Better or Time, or How Does That Work? Please be aware that once we start implementing new strategies there will most likely be a TEMPORARY INCREASE in problem behaviors. This is called an “extinction burst” and occurs because the problem behaviors no longer get the child what they want. The problem behaviors are put on “extinction” while we teach new and socially appropriate ways to get their wants and needs met. By using the behavioral strategies consistently, the increase in problem behaviors is usually short-lived. Expect these temporary increases in problem behaviors to occur every time new behavioral strategies are put in place. Don’t worry though because they are usually very short-lived, and are usually not as challenging as time go by. Also note that children will make fast progress in some areas, and slower progress in others. There may even be times where it seems like the child may take “3 steps forward and 2 steps back.” This is due to uneven skill development, a child’s strengths and weaknesses, caregivers’ strengths and weaknesses, and other factors including but not limited to schedules, illness, medications, etc. Not to worry though because progress is progress, and as long as we continue to move in the right direction, we will get there!
If our Child Misses Some School Time Due to ABA Visits, How Do We Get Those Excused? Make sure to remind us to give you a note for school at EVERY ABA appointment in order to excuse the absence. We always give you 2 copies of the note (one for you to keep, and one to give to the school). You can also make sure it is noted in the child’s IEP or 504 plan (if they have one) that they leave school early those days for outside ABA therapy.
How Long Does a Child Usually Receive ABA Services Before They Are Discharged From ABA? Each child is different from the next. ABA services may only be needed for 6 months for one child, while another child may require 3 years, etc. A child who is younger may not need ABA for as long as a child that is in their teens and has a long history of having serious problem behaviors for many years. Everyone is completely different from each other. The length of time that a child receives ABA is completely dependent upon their own unique situation and the progress that is made during ABA. Just be aware that OUR JOB IS TO WORK OURSELVES OUT OF A JOB. Our job is to teach the caregivers the tools that they need to prevent problem behaviors, how to appropriately respond to problem behaviors so that they are less likely to occur over time, and how to teach the child the skills they need in order to be able to get what they want and need “the right way.”
What Does Being Discharged from ABA Mean? It means you no longer have weekly ABA appointments and no longer have to collect behavior data (unless you need it to have discussions with other doctors like pediatricians, psychiatrists, etc.). HOWEVER, you DO NOT stop using the behavioral strategies that you have learned and put in place during the course of ABA therapy. If you stop using the behavioral strategies, the problem behaviors are likely to return.
What if Problem Behaviors Start Up Again? You can request ABA services again if needed. You would have to go through the Intake Process again, and get on the waitlist. You can also contact the member services number on the back of your insurance card to get a list of ABA providers that are “in network” with your insurance company IF ABA is a “covered benefit” on your insurance policy.