Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex diagnosis for which there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Fortunately, families of children with ASD in the Princeton, New Jersey area have several therapeutic interventions to choose from including sensory integration, speech therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy and ABA therapies. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re aware of the positive impact that early intervention has on children with autism and may be considering ABA therapy for your young child.
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is an evidence-based, FDA-approved therapeutic intervention focused on analyzing, understanding, and modifying behavior. It involves systematically looking at behaviors, understanding the causes/influences of said behaviors (antecedents), and how certain consequences can diminish the repetition of the behavior in need of correction.
One of the most noteworthy facets of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is its foundation in the principles of positive reinforcement. By providing rewards to a child when they exhibit desirable behavior, this approach serves to incentivize and motivate the child to consistently practice and display the desired behaviors.
What Types of ABA Therapies are There?
Under the ABA umbrella, there are specific targeted approaches to help your child succeed. Your ABA therapist will work with you to determine which approach is best based on your child’s strengths,needs and goals.
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT)– This type of therapy targets one small goal at a time and rewards the child after completing the task. It is more structured and clinical.
- Naturalistic Environment Teaching (NET)- This approach is the opposite of DTT. NET lets the child take the lead. It is contextual learning, meaning that the child learns via their daily routines (they learn in context).
- Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)- This is play-based behavior therapy for children from 12-48 months designed to nurture language, social and cognitive skills. Children as young as 12 months may benefit from Floortime Play Therapy offered by AJ Behavioral Health in Livingston, NJ.
- Pivotal Response Training (PRT) – Similar to NET, PRT uses a child’s natural motivations (the things they care most about). However, this intervention focuses on social behaviors like asking and answering questions, engaging in conversation with peers and navigating other social situations. Choice ABA Autism Services offers after-school and weekend play-groups where children can practice social skills in a natural setting.
- Verbal Behavior Therapy (VBT) – This therapy works to improve verbal skills. The emphasis is not on labeling, but on using words for a purpose, to achieve a desired result. Behaviorwise in Short Hills, NJ, uses verbal behavior techniques to improve behavior and boost self esteem.
It should be noted that the majority of centers require an official diagnosis for commencing therapy with your child. Centers such as the Better Everything Specialized Therapeutic Center in Short Hills offer comprehensive neuropsychological assessments, along with psychiatric and occupational therapy services. To learn more about their offerings, you can visit their website at https://www.bettereverythingnj.com/.
7 Tips for Choosing the Best ABA Provider for Your Child
It’s hard to think about money when all you want to do is get your child the help they need. However unfortunate, it’s the way the medical industry works. ABA therapy is covered by most insurances including Medicaid. Check with your insurance provider to see what percentage is covered. Be sure to inquire about the number of sessions covered, depending upon the diagnosis, some children may benefit from long-term therapy and you want to be sure that you’re financially prepared. Ujala Life, a naturalistic ABA therapy center in Dayton, NJ for children 6 can help you navigate the insurance process
Once you’ve analyzed your finances, you can begin researching centers/therapists in your area. You want to be sure that the center has a favorable track record of providing ABA therapies and all therapists are certified. You can do this through a simple google search or by asking friends, family or even your local school/early learning center for recommendations. Read through each therapist/center’s website and jot down the pros and cons of each; for example, The therapist accepts your insurance but is too far. Perhaps you are looking for a therapist that can hold sessions in your home or a center that also offers parent workshops. Kaleidoscope ABA Therapy Services offers in-home and center-based sessions and parent support.
Selecting an ABA provider is a critical decision and you want to be well-informed. You can read about the myths of ABA Therapy or use the links provided at the end of this article to equip yourself with more information. Achieve Beyond is an ABA therapy center servicing the New Jersey area with an excellent parent resource section on their website.
Use your research to decide who you want to reach out to. Schedule in-person visits and/or phone consultations with all of your prospects. At Ujala Life, parents can schedule a visit to tour the center and speak with the staff. Fundamental Developmental ABA LLC in Springfield, NJ offers a free phone consultation to help you with the decision making process.
Make sure to include a concise overview of the diagnosis and any objectives that you, your child’s healthcare provider, and teacher may have discussed. It would be beneficial to compile a list of inquiries and be prepared to both ask and respond to questions regarding the most suitable therapeutic approaches for your child. When attending each appointment, engage in conversations with the staff concerning your child’s diagnosis and objectives, in order to determine how they can potentially assist your child.
After you’ve gathered all of your information from visits and phone consultations. You may want to take the time to sit with your partner, family member, friend or meet with your child’s doctor to discuss your findings (you can also just reflect on your own). If your child is verbal and was able to accompany you on the visits, it would be wonderful to let them be a part of the decision making process as well!
After considering pertinent financial aspects, conducting thorough research, reaching out for interviews with prospective therapists, and allowing ample time for contemplation, it is now essential to select the most suitable Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist for your child. Take into account which therapist provided the most satisfactory responses to your inquiries. Additionally, assess which therapy center creates an environment where your child will flourish. Keep in mind that fostering a collaborative and supportive relationship with the ABA Provider can greatly enhance the effectiveness of ABA therapy.
We know that when started early, ABA therapy can drastically improve a child’s chance for success as it provides the opportunity to learn school readiness and life skills, it decreases challenging behaviors, nurtures social and emotional development and empowers parents. For sustained progress, ABA therapies can continue into adulthood. The Akhil Autism Foundation Sensory Path in Dayton, NJ features a state-of-the-art sensory gym, therapies for improving non-verbal communication, reflex integration and adaptive fitness.
Applied Behavior Analysis stands as a ground-breaking breakthrough in the realm of developmental and behavioral intervention for individuals with ASD. Its scientifically validated strategies and personalized programs have sparked profound transformations in numerous lives, instilling hope and paving the way for a brighter future for families worldwide.