The first step in acquiring ABA Therapy for your child is to complete the Preliminary Information Form.pdf which provides us with initial information such as your child's insurance policy benefits and eligibility so that we can give you an idea of what your child's policy will cover and if there will be any out of pocket expenses for therapy. If insurance is not an option or if your child's policy does not cover ABA Therapy we can discuss other options and our out of pocket fee schedule.
After we have provided you with the initial insurance information and you would like to proceed we will send you a New Client Application Packet. Once we receive the completed Packet back along with the requested paperwork such as the Diagnostic Assessment Report and a prescription from your child's physician you can schedule the Initial Parent Consultation and a Behavioral Observation of your child. There is no charge for the Initial Parent Consultation.
The Initial Parent Consultation will provide you with the opportunity to meet our staff, see our facility, become acquainted with ABA and to also collectively go over the Intake Information while discussing concerns, accomplishments and the struggles your child is experiencing. If you would like to proceed after the Consultation and the BCBA will continue on to the Behavioral Observation of your child which includes components necessary prior to the Baseline Assessment. If it is determined that your child will likely meet our current criteria and we have the space available (if not the child's name goes on a waiting list) we will contact your child's insurance policy, if applicable, and request approval for the Baseline Assessment.
Pairing & the Baseline Assessment
The Baseline Assessment is conducted by the BCBA who observes the child in contrived situations or engages the child directly while gathering data needed to create an individualized Treatment Plan for your child. Many insurance companies require that the BCBA conduct the Assessment immediately so that the BCBA can write the Treatment Plan before any Assessment hours can be approved but occasionally we are able to first pair with the child before conducting the Assessment.
Pairing begins without the Therapist placing demands--although it is still contingent as there must be an absence of of undesired behavior for the reinforcement to be delivered. Initially the only requirement is delivered (besides the lack of undesirable behavior) is that the child must take the reinforcer from the Therapist. After this happens consistently, the Therapist will gradually fade in demands, slowly increasing the response required before the reinforcement is delivered.
Pairing is a time that your child and therapists can spend time getting to know each other without placing numerous demands on them. It may look rather indulgent as the therapist follows the child around while trying to engage her/him—often at first without much success. However, this is an important time and something that is relied on continuously during future therapy. We want the child excited about coming to the center or seeing a therapist at the door—we want them motivated to learn new skills!
From the Baseline Assessment, parent input and direct observations an individualized Treatment Plan will be finalized for your child. The parents and BCBA would review the Treatment Plan together and once all questions and concerns are addressed all parties including parents would need to sign the Treatment Plan before it is submitted to the insurance company.
Therapy is provided at the table (IT) which may be up to 30 minutes at a time and can include such skills as receptive and expressive language, matching, sorting, common fill in answers to questions and peer and adult imitations. While introducing new skills we also help your child retain the skills they have mastered by reviewing them systematically. To do this we try and maintain a ratio of 80/20. The mastered skills for your child would be at a 80% level while new skills are introduced at a 20% level. By reviewing mastered skills this frequently it not only helps your child retain what was learned, it also gives your child numerous opportunities to be successful and not feel overwhelmed with too many new targets being introduced.
Therapy is also provided in the natural environment (NET), which is learning through play and to promote this we have a jump castle, swings, a ball pit, a crash mat and numerous toys to engage your child. Some may call our natural environment play based therapy and to a point it is--but it is really so much more than that! It looks like play and it is important your child is having fun but even in NET we are continually tracking progress and working on specific goals!
The majority of the time therapy with your child will be provided 1:1, involving several different therapists to promote generalization, unless we are working on something that requires a different ratio such as a specific socialization skill. The goals during each session are directly taken from your child's individualized Treatment Plan and data will be collected and recorded on each session to make sure your child is continually making progress. At Illinois Valley Autism Center it is not acceptable for your child to be required to waste weeks on something that is not producing results! Therefore our BCBA continually examines the child's data and make any necessary adjustments until progress is being made.
Parents are required to complete the on-line training as directed by the BCBA. It is a wealth of information and we feel it will provide you will invaluable insight. We also encourage parents to schedule Observations and hands on training.
Parents have a responsibility to encourage generalization and it is our hope that each parent will continually ask us to provide them with "homework". It can be as easy as your child learning to return greetings and providing her/him with many opportunities with your family members and friends of returning their greeting. This NET homework is great way to become involved in your child's therapy while creating a fun relationship since it is less structured and intensive than IT sessions making it easy to find moments throughout the day to reinforce skills with your child. The BCBA can give you specific directions so that you can make this time fun--and not work! And that you are not unintentionally reinforcing unwanted behavior.