5 Ways to Identify a Quality ABA Provider
The need for ABA services is continuously growing and has, in turn, created a large market of ABA agencies and providers. When looking to select the best ABA provider for your child and family, we recommend ensuring that these five requirements are met in order to instill confidence that you have made a quality selection.
1. Collaborative Providers
A quality provider collaborates with specialists and community partners in your area to help with your child’s progress. You can feel confident knowing that the Clinical Team has access to guidance and collaboration from experts in other service areas to make certain that the best decision-making and programming is being provided to your child. This includes but isn’t limited to speech and language services, occupational therapy, social skills, pediatric care, and school services. This is important because your child will be able to receive consistent strategies and implementation across each of their respective service providers as they coordinate and plan together.
2. Science-Based, Individualized Programming
Any agency providing ABA services should demonstrate a solid foundation pointing to the science and evidence-based practices. Every child is unique and deserves an individualized program and treatment plan in order to maximize their progress and potential. While the strategies used might look similar from program to program, the implementation of these strategies and teaching methods should be specifically considered for your child. They should also be consistently reviewed and evaluated to ensure the best possible program. ABA is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and your child’s distinctive interests, environments, and needs must be considered.
3. Progress, Not a ‘Cure’
There is not a ‘cure’ for autism, but we do believe that individuals with autism can make meaningful progress in all developmental areas. Progress can also look very different between individuals, and progress is to be celebrated in all shapes and strides. Be cautious against sweeping promises of a ‘cure’ for autism or even guaranteed rates of progress sometimes ranging to ‘typical developmental levels.’ No practitioner can promise how a learner will respond to ABA and what rates of progress they will achieve, but they should be committed to your child’s progress and development all the same.
4. Caregiver/Family Education and Inclusion
A family-centered model of therapy constantly considers and includes the client and their family members as a program is developed and implemented. Meaningful access to an individual’s environment can be defined in an infinite number of ways and should include cultural considerations, religious beliefs, family values, etc. You should be invited into conversation regarding your child’s program and provide critical input in regards to what is valuable to you and what you hold as valuable for your child. Caregivers should be integrated into all stages of the program as studies continue to show that a learner makes more progress when their caregivers participate and consistently implement strategies outside of session time. The goal is not for the ABA practitioners to remain in your home for the duration of your child’s life, but instead to transfer the tools and strategies to you as their caregivers so that you can confidently make decisions to best aid your child long after ABA has completed.
An ABA provider that demonstrates transparency across all areas is one that you can trust and rely on. While transparency might start with a realistic timeline of when services can begin, it could then transition into transparency regarding your child’s progress and even barriers during that progress. Open and honest communication from the onset of the working relationship between your family and the ABA provider is essential for the program to be successful for your child. Examples of transparency include:
- Consistent communication with the Clinical Team.
- Successful supervision provided by BCaBA’s and BCBA’s.
- Team meetings to review your child’s programs which include graphs to provide a visual representation of the progress being made.
- Feedback and support in implementing strategies with reliability and consistency.
- Collaboration with other service providers.
We understand that selecting an ABA provider isn’t an easy decision. We want to ensure that you feel confident in your knowledge of what to look for to best support your child and your family. Keep these five factors in mind as a guide as you search for an ABA provider. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way if you are not sure that these needs are being met.