At Above and Beyond Learning Group, we’ve answered this question for hundreds of parents: “What does ABA Therapy in my home look like?”
ABA Home Therapy might look different depending on who is funding it and who is delivering it, but the models are all similar.
Who Comes to the House?
An ABA Therapist usually provides the 1:1 instruction with your learner, using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) supervises the therapist, writes the procedures for the skills to be taught, writes and monitors any behavior plan that might be in place, and provides ongoing training for the ABA Therapist.
The amount of home visits is usually determined in collaboration with the family and BCBA, taking into account the recommendations of any medical reports, scheduling and availability, best practice in the field given the learner’s age, and many other factors.
There are plenty of variations on the team structure. For example, at Above and Beyond Learning Group, each client is also assigned a Clinical Manager, an additional BCBA who provides senior-level supervision and customer care to our clients.
Where do they work?
Most likely, a designated therapy area will be required. For early learners, it’s common to ask for a “distraction free environment”. In other words, a space where the walls are free from clutter, tempting toys and items are out of view, and the learner can concentrate on the materials at hand.
What will I have to provide?
The client is also asked to provide “reinforcers,” or items that the learner really enjoys. Reinforcers can be toys, books, games, snacks, sensory activities, or any kind of activity that will motivate the learner. The BCBA will create a “schedule of reinforcement” so that the therapist, and the learner, know exactly what quality of responses result in the delivery of reinforcement.
Depending on the funding source, the client may also need to provide learning materials, such as games, toys, flashcards, and educational materials. This varies according to provider policy.
What makes ABA different from tutoring or other help I could get?
In an ABA therapy program, the BCBA will take larger goals and break them down into smaller objectives, and further break those objectives into even smaller steps. For example, “Dressing” might be broken down into “Putting on shoes,” “Putting on coat,” and “Putting on shirt”. Those individual skills would be further broken down into steps, such as “Get coat from hanger,” “Put left arm into left arm of coat,” “Put right arm into right arm of coat,” and so forth.
The skill of “Waiting” might broken down into “Waits for 5 seconds,” “Waits for 10 seconds,” and so on until the learner can wait for the targeted period of time.
If needed, steps can be even further broken down to help facilitate success for the learner. The idea is to prevent errors and create a positive, successful learning environment.
Most importantly, ABA therapy is data driven. In other words, the therapist will collect data on everything being taught, so that the team can make objective decisions about progress, or make modifications as needed.
What if we need help in the community?
Some ABA programs take place in the community. The structure remains the same. A BCBA will identify skills that will help the learner have success in the community, such as Staying with an Adult or Using a Debit Card. The BCBA will break the skills down into manageable pieces, and a schedule of reinforcement will be put in place to promote independent, accurate responses in the community.
How do I know if my learner is learning?
In all programs, the team should encourage the parents to participate and learn! Ask your specific provider how you can be involved in the session so that you can promote generalization of skills as soon as possible.
One secondary characteristic of individuals with Autism is a failure to spontaneously generalize learning. The more that parents and caregivers promote the learner’s skills when the therapist is not in the home, the more likely that the learner will show what s/he knows!
And remember all that data? While it might seem cumbersome, data tells us objectively whether or not the ABA program is effective, and what kinds of modifications need to be made to ensure success! Without data, we’re just guessing.
There are a lot of moving parts in an in-home ABA program; this is only the tip of the iceberg! At ABLG, we work hard to make sure our families and clients fully understand how an ABA therapy program works in the home, and what the responsibilities and expectations are for all team members — including our clients. An important part of our mission statement is to educate the caregivers and the community about high quality ABA therapy, and our clinicians spend a lot of time on the phone and in person helping our clients understand the process of securing an ABA Therapy Home Program. Check out our Clients page to learn more!Share This!