In June of 2012 there was a major federal policy change that took place that provided more families living with autism access to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. Now, nearly all states require health insurance plans to cover ABA therapy.
Many people will agree that ABA therapy is something that can be done in a variety of environments, including a school environment, home environment and center-based environment. However, studies show that ABA is most effective when done 1 on 1 in an intensive, center-based environment.
Because ABA therapy is highly individualized and each program is uniquely designed for a child, it becomes difficult to implement these programs in a school environment. Schools often are dealing with budget and staffing constraints which makes it challenging to implement ABA therapy in a school setting.
A center-based program also allows children to interact with other children and therapists, work on not only social and communication skills, but also daily living skills, and it provides the opportunity to work on further “real world” situations outside of the classroom.
So what are some factors you should consider when looking for an ABA center?
- Safe and welcoming environment
- Educated staff (credentials and experience as well as passion matter)
- Child-to-therapist ratio
- BCBA caseload size
- Open communication
- Parental involvement
Always request a tour and ask about the process for enrollment. See if they offer assistance to the family such as support groups and education.
If you would like to learn more about center-based ABA therapy, please contact Lighthouse Autism Center’s Family Outreach Coordinator at 574-387-4313.