Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex condition with no one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, families in and around Princeton, New Jersey (NJ) have access to various therapeutic options, including sensory integration, speech therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and ABA therapies. If you’re reading this article, you likely recognize the importance of early intervention for children with autism and might be considering an ABA therapist near Princeton NJ for your child.
What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) 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 the behaviors (antecedent) and how certain consequences can diminish the repetition of the behavior in need of correction.
One of the most notable aspects about ABA therapy is that it is rooted in positive reinforcement. Rewarding a child for correcting the unnecessary behavior encourages the child to continue practicing the desired behavior.
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 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 ABA Therapy in Princeton NJ uses VBT techniques to improve verbal behavior and boost self esteem.
Choosing the right Applied Behavior Analysis service provider for your child doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, you can easily find an ABA therapist near Princeton NJ since there are many board-certified professionals practicing close to that area. If you suspect that your child may have ASD, Better Everything Specialized Therapeutic Center offers neuropsychological evaluations in addition to psychiatric and occupational therapy. Please note that many centers require evidence of a diagnosis to work with your child.
Tips for Finding the Best ABA Therapist Near Princeton NJ
Consider the following factors if you are finding the best ABA provider for your child near Princeton NJ.
- Consider your financial situation
Navigating the expensive healthcare insurance system is one of the major challenges in finding the right therapeutic services for your child. Check in with your insurance provider to make sure they cover the cost of ABA therapy. You should also ask about the duration of coverage, especially if your child may need individualized treatment for an extended period. The good news is that most ABA therapy centers in or near the Princeton NJ area have accepted insurance for ABA therapy. Lastly, think about how much you can afford to pay out of pocket in case your insurance plan does not include coverage for ABA services.
- Research everything about the ABA Therapy Centers near you
Once you’ve analyzed your finances, you want to start researching service providers that employ an ABA therapist near Princeton NJ. You can do this quickly through Google Search or by asking for recommendations from your friends, co-workers, family members, or even your local school/early learning center. Read through each therapist/center’s website and list the pros, cons, and other noteworthy details. For example, you might have found an ABA therapist that accepts your insurance plan but is too far from your home. There might also be another therapy provider that offers home visits and parent workshops, so take note of that as well. Kaleidoscope ABA Therapy Services offers in-home and center-based sessions and parent support.
Keep all of your notes in one place so that you can add more information or edit and revise your list. Additionally, you may want to use the information above and the links provided at the end of this article to equip yourself with more information about ABA therapies. Achieve Beyond is an ABA therapy center servicing the New Jersey area with an excellent parent resource section on their website.
- Contact every available ABA therapist near Princeton NJ
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.
- Interview potential ABA providers might best suit your child
Be sure to have a summary of your child’s diagnosis and any goals that you and your healthcare provider may have discussed. Create a list of questions to ask the ABA therapist and, be prepared to answer whatever questions they might ask about potential therapeutic approaches If you can’t find the time to visit the ABA therapist near Princeton NJ for an in-person meeting, ask if they can set up an appointment via call video chat.
- Reflect on your options and discuss them with relevant people
After gathering enough information from visits and phone consultations, it’s time to discuss with your spouse/partner or other family members. You do not have to ask opinions from a lot of people, just from the people whose judgement your really trust. If you want a professional recommendation, consider discussing your options with your child’s primary physician. And 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!
- Choose the best ABA therapist near Princeton NJ based on your findings
You’ve addressed your finances, conducted your research, contacted and interviewed the potential therapists and took time to reflect. Now, it’s time to choose the best ABA therapist near Princeton NJ for your child. Which therapist best answered your questions? Which center feels like a place where your child will thrive?
Every child has the potential to succeed. When started early, before preschool, ABA therapy can drastically improve a child’s chance for success. ABA therapy allows children to learn school readiness and life skills, it decreases challenging behaviors, nurtures social and emotional development and empowers parents. If you are looking for a place to begin your research, check out this list of the nine ABA providers near Princeton NJ.