Parents often initially request in-home ABA sessions. They share that there are logistical and travel concerns that require some problem solving. However, parents quickly see that the benefits of starting an ABA program in the clinic are significant and the logistical obstacles in running a brand new and effective program in the home far out-weigh other obstacles. Parents see that their child’s Behavior Technician can control the environment and provide effective reinforcement that leads to rapid skill acquisition and want their children to be in the best learning environment.
At ABC, we provide your child with his own learning station, including an array of materials needed for his individualized teaching programs. We also provide fine motor/manipulative and gross motor activities (roller coaster and trampoline), curriculum items, assessment tools, thousands of reinforcing toys and sensory reinforcers based on his/her motivation. This usually is not possible to maintain in a home setting unless you live at Toys R Us! When kids come to our clinic, it is like going to Disneyland for the first time! They love it and don’t want to leave! We are able to provide a framework of structured activities so kids don’t get bored with toys.
We also are able to match up our staff with your child’s needs and personality to create a tight nit treatment team. With a team approach we are usually available to accommodate and cover sessions quickly in the event of absence or illness, decreasing the cancellation of sessions due to staff illness or time off. This means consistent treatment for your child.
When a child has had a history of problem behavior in the home there are often signals in the home that cue your child that problem behavior may result in getting them what they want. Starting at the clinic is like giving your child a fresh start! Everyone at the clinic is highly trained in behavior analytic principles, which can sometimes not be the case in the community. Although problem behavior will still occur in the clinic we are very diligent in making sure that there are not signals in the clinic that will result in availability as a result of problem behavior. We agree with Skinner when he says that the best way to change behavior is to change the environment!
When a child is starting out in an ABA program, it is prudent to have his/her supervisor available every minute the child is receiving therapy. This is not possible when ABA treatment sessions are in the home only. Here at ABC, we have our BCBA supervisors on-site; that means that they can jump in and provide feedback to the behavior technicians when things need to change on a moment’s notice. Or the BCBA can see quickly that an intervention is not working, and make changes quickly. In addition, it allows your child’s BCBA to work 1:1 with your child and be available for scheduled parent training. These points are important as they allow your child’s program to move along faster- and mastery of targets occurs more rapidly. We have a clear understanding that your child’s time is precious.
Once your child is acquiring skills it may be necessary to generalize the skills learned to other environments and people. This could be the time that well planned transition into the home is recommended. We do not consider skills learned until a child can demonstrate them in the natural environment. However, before that happens we want to ensure that you are well-equipped with the right tools in your toolbelt. In order to maintain the consistency, and apply the behavioral contingencies your child has experienced in the clinic, completion of parent training (for all adults in the household) is required. This will ensure the same consistency that was being provided in the clinic can now be implemented at home.
Another reason that transitioning to home may be recommended is when teaching functional self-help type skills is a priority in your child’s program. The best place to teach these skills is often in the natural environment of your home.
Once home sessions have begun we will help to arrange the environment in your home so that teaching at home is effective. We will offer suggestions on how to control valuable items in the home and to ensure that free access is not available. We will help you determine what reinforcers are and how to help your child stay motivated for them. Successfully arranging the environment requires careful planning and organization. However, when home sessions are begun at the optimum time, your experience will allow you to make effective decisions about your home environment. This will result in efficient and effective learning at home as well!
When the time comes we will assign Behavior Technicians who have met specific competencies and BCaBAs to do home-sessions within our community. This ensures that our Behavior Technicians have already had a significant amount of daily supervision and have passed rigorous objective performance evaluations. Home session Behavior Technicians are able work more independently with less supervision from a BCBA.
There are other fields of science that parallel the model of receiving services in a clinic setting. It may be necessary to go to a medical clinic for treatment to ensure the best outcome as the doctors have the supplies and instruments they need in a clinic or office. The tools we use in ABA are just as valuable. Being in an environment where are the tools are available is crucial to ABA treatment.
Collaboration is integral part of our philosophy. We value your in put as parents and work as a team to make recommendations on behalf of your child. That being said, your child’s needs and the use of research validated treatments are what drives many of our recommendations. Sometimes these recommendations may not be convenient but they are research and experience based. We understand that like can be hectic, and is a balancing act of managing schedules but as professionals our priority is learning and we are ethically obligated to make recommendations that will give your child the best outcomes.