The ABA services are offered at home, school and the community (e.g. visit the store to improve behavior in public places). The ABA therapy uses Discrete Trial Training (DTT) where the complex skills are divided into teachable steps to facilitate the learning process. In addition, the Natural Environmental Teaching (NET) is implemented to develop new skills in naturally occurring events (e.g. the child learns to brush his/her teeth after every meal). This therapy has had successful results to develop language in non-verbal children, improve academic performance, increase daily living skills (potty training, etc.) and acquire social skills (communication with others, playing with peers, etc.).
The consistency in the therapy is key to ensure the child’s progress. Therefore, the participation of all the caregivers in the program is important. The parent support includes a comprehensible training for caregivers to implement ABA techniques when dealing with problem behaviors at home or in the community. The families will also have access to specialized information that could be useful to improve the child’s skills and the opportunity to request family meetings to share concerns and recommendations with all the caregivers.
The assessment sessions include an interview, direct observation and direct testing. The skill level is evaluated with the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), which involves the analysis of varied developmental skills such as communication, social behavior, visual perceptual skills, classroom and group skills, ability to follow instructions, etc. The Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) allows the identification of problem behaviors and the functions they are serving.
The skill-based programs are created based on the results of the VB-MAPP in order to improve those skills that have not reached the desired developmental level. The FBA will offer information to create behavior intervention programs to decrease problem behaviors (e.g. aggression, non-compliance, property destruction, self-injury behavior, etc.) and to increase desired behaviors (e.g. appropriate communication, social skills, independence, etc.). The update of the individualized program facilitates the evaluation of its effectiveness and keeps track of the child’s progress.
Another important space in the child’s life is the school. The ABA therapist will function as a facilitator in the classroom to develop the student’s group skills (following group instructions, responding to the teacher’s directions, completing classroom routines, participate in group activities, interacting with other children, etc.). The school-shadowing program also helps to promote the student’s independence with the school carpool (drop off and pick up), to improve the student’s academic performance (raising the hand, answering questions, learning age-appropriate contents, etc.) and to increase his/her attention in the classroom (staying on task and decreasing the number of re-directions to work independently)