ABA therapists provide and oversee behavior analysis services and treatments. These specialists create and execute custom treatment plans for children with autism. At Turning Point, our commitment is to the specific needs of your child. We want to set them up for a happy, successful life.
What Is ABA Therapy?
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is an effective treatment option to target and change certain actions. It is one of the most researched methods to treat autism. The method has been around for more than 50 years, and it’s become more popular during the last decade.
ABA therapy helps children with autism learn and develop skills for productive, happy lives. This treatment focus on skills such as:
- Communication Skills
- Hygiene Skills
- Social Skills
Furthermore, this treatment aims to reduce harmful habits or actions. ABA therapists are the behavior experts who offer tailored treatment options to help your child.
Does ABA Therapy Work?
Yes! ABA therapy is one of the most researched treatments for autism. Many experts find it to be effective. Studies from the National Autism Center (NAC) found this approach to treating autism with can:
- Increase Desired Actions
- Reduce Harmful Actions
- Teach New Skills
More studies from the NAC indicate intensive early intervention offers the strongest benefits from ABA therapy. They consider early as starting therapy before the child is 4 years old. They define intensive treatment as more than 20 hours of treatment each week. Our ABA therapists will work with you and your child to find the right treatment fit for their needs. We believe in the power of early intervention.
The United States Surgeon General also found the benefits of ABA therapy. Their study found applied behavior treatments is effective for reducing bad actions. These treatments also promote good targets, such as asking for things and playing well with others.
How to Become an ABA Therapist
To become an ABA therapist, you need to meet certain school, license, and practical requirements. This includes:
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Master’s Degree
- Board Certification
A career as an ABA therapist does not require a doctoral degree. However, some do pursue a doctoral degree. Those who do hold a doctoral degree earn the title BCBA-D rather than BCBA.
Earning a bachelor’s degree is the first step in the process of becoming an ABA therapist. There is no specific major to focus on for those pursuing this profession. Common majors include:
- Social Work
These majors allow students to learn more about communication, types of disorders, and human nature. All of this knowledge is helpful as an ABA therapist. Also, internships allow undergrad students to begin working under BCBA or ABA experts. This provides helpful fieldwork experience.
As with bachelor’s degrees, there is no specific type of master’s degree required. However, many schools now offer graduate programs focused on behavior analysis. Other common majors include:
- Master of Education
- Master of Psychology
- Master of Science
The end of a master’s programs requires students to complete a thesis. They must research, write, and present their thesis to earn their degree.
While internships may be optional, most master’s programs require practicum. In some cases, this takes place after they complete the master’s degree. This allows students to completely focus on their fieldwork. During practicum, the students often need to complete 1,000 to 1,500 hours of clinical work. Certified ABA therapists or BCBAs with the required licenses oversee this work.
Being board certified is the final step in becoming an ABA therapist. A potential therapist must meet the standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). To do so, someone must meet one of the following three descriptions:
- Doctoral Degree and 10+ Years of Experience
- Graduate Degree and Fieldwork Experience
- Graduate Degree and on Faculty at an Accredited School
Becoming BACB certified requires a form and an exam. Applicants must prove they have the required experience and degrees. They must also pass an exam with 150 multiple choice questions. ABA therapists must renew their credentials every two years to keep skills and practices current. They must also complete continued training units and self-report to ethics departments.
While all 50 states recognize BCBA certification, some states require more. This may include completing courses, passing exams, or earning licenses. In Maryland, an ABA therapist must also have a license to practice behavior analysis.
ABA Therapists vs. BCBAs
ABA therapists and BCBAs (board certified behavior analysts) both specialize in behavior and require specific licenses. Neither of these positions are autism specific, but both have unique roles in ABA therapy. An ABA therapist provides ABA therapy to someone. A BCBA provides and supervises behavior analysis. In many cases, BCBAs oversee the treatments ABA therapists provide. Our BCBAs act as ABA therapists. We provide your child and family with the most effective therapy techniques.
The Role of ABA Therapists in ABA Therapy
Your child’s ABA therapist is your partner in autism treatment. The best ABA therapists understand that ABA therapy is not a one size fits all treatment process. For the most effect therapy, they must:
- Uncover your goals for your child’s treatment
- Diagnose target behaviors for your child
- Create a plan based on your child’s needs and learning styles
- Analyze and adapt plan as needed
- Work with family members
Turning Point creates a unique space for your child’s ABA therapy. We believe in providing a caring, welcoming, and playful area. We create a space that provides learning moments for your child. This creates the foundation for our ABA therapists to help your child grow and develop their skills.
ABA Therapists and the Phases of ABA Therapy
Although ABA therapy is different for every child, the general process is the same. The commitment of our ABA therapists is to discover the best treatment plan for your child’s specific needs.
Initial Assessment and Meeting
These first meetings allow our ABA therapists to get to know your family better. We focus on children who already have an autism diagnosis and a psych evaluation. However, we can still help if your child does not have these yet.
We meet with you – the parents – helps us understand your child better. We will discuss your child’s actions and habits. This is also your chance to express what skills you want to focus on.
The initial assessment begins the relationship between your child and their ABA therapist. The therapist will monitor their actions, engage with them, and watch for patterns. For their comfort, we encourage you to bring your child’s favorite toy or comfort item.
Treatment Plan Creation
Every child has unique needs and goals, so every treatment plan is different. ABA therapists analyze their findings from the initial assessment and meeting. They use this as a guide for your child’s plan.
The plan outlines short term and long term goals. It describes techniques that we intend to use during ABA therapy. Before any treatment beings, your child’s ABA therapist will review the plan with you to approve.
Once you’ve agreed to the proposed plan, we can begin treatment. The details of every session may be different, but our ABA therapists focus on positive reinforcement. This method is effective in reducing harmful behaviors and promoting good ones.
The ABA therapists at our autism centers provide ABA therapy on a one-on-one basis. Our focus is on your child and their specific needs. However, we recognize some skills benefit from working with other children. This is why we also offer social small groups to help with skills like playing together and sharing.
We offer clinic based and virtual options to best meet your child’s needs. However, the services available may vary. Also, how many hours your child spends in ABA therapy each week varies. Our ABA therapists often recommend 25-40 hours per week. We will work with you to determine what works best for your family and your child’s needs.
Training with Parents
Effective ABA therapy does not exist just within the friendly four walls of an autism center. We don’t just encourage your involvement with your child’s treatment. We expect it.
Don’t worry – your child’s ABA therapist will help you. They will give you all of the information you need to be successful. Many ABA therapy techniques work in everyday life. This reinforces what your child learns from ABA therapists, helping them build their skills.
ABA therapists need to assess your child on a regular basis. If they are not responding to a certain technique, is there another approach that will work? ABA therapy works to change behaviors, and therapists need to pinpoint specific triggers and what drives your child.
Our commitment is to your child’s success. Good ABA therapists adapt to the needs of your child. If your child is still struggling to master a skill to achieve their goal, we figure out why. The ABA therapist will find where treatment is failing and propose an alternative.
At Turning Point, our ABA therapists utilize a wide range of evidence-based techniques for effective ABA therapy. We want to see your child succeed. Our therapists make every effort to find the best techniques for your child. Our experts are all certified and licensed. You can rest assured knowing they keep current with best practices and techniques to best help your child.
Can I Do This on My Own?
It is important to work with a professional for the most effective ABA therapy. Our ABA therapists have expert insight to tailor a treatment plan for the specific needs of your child. Their expertise and background with this process is important. It empowers them to recommend the right techniques and principles for your child’s target goals. However, you are critical in the process. Your child’s ABA therapist guides your family on how to best add ABA into daily life. Successful ABA therapy is a team effort.
Can These Therapists Help Children Without a Diagnosis of Autism?
If you’re concerned about your child missing milestones, contact us. Early intervention services can have a major impact on your child’s progress. We can answer your questions to help you determine your next steps. Our BCBAs and ABA therapists have the experience to find early signs of autism.
Talk to Our Qualified Staff
We are here to help you and your child on the path to their success. Our ABA therapists believe in the benefits of choosing ABA therapy to encourage target behaviors. To learn more about treatment options, contact us today. Our helpful staff is happy to answer any questions you may have about our services. They can schedule your visit to discuss our approach to ABA at Turning Point Autism Centers.
We’re ready to support your family and child. Discover how ABA therapy can help.
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