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FAQs for ABA Therapy

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions by parents with children who are on the spectrum and hope that they might be of use to you!

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ABA Therapy

Each child’s program is developed by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) working with the family in order to tailor the intensive ABA program to the child’s specific needs and abilities. Reinforcement Unlimited, LLC trained therapists work one-on-one with each child using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach language and other adaptive skills. We closely monitor emotional responses in order to match the difficulty of the material and method of instruction to the child’s ability level and rate of learning. Reinforcement Unlimited’s ABA Therapists receive extensive training in ABA techniques and methods, that includes up to 120 hours of hands on training, 40 hours of online training required to obtain a Registered Behavior Technician certification, and extensive oversight after training to ensure treatment integrity. Supervision of each child’s program is provided by one of our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) with regular formal progress reviews.
In addition to the individual ABA program, parent training, programs to address problem behaviors, and a range of behavior analytic services are offered. Our focus is on helping your child gain skills in language and social areas through the use of state-of-the-art behavioral interventions.

Insurance & Intake Process for ABA Services

Steps to Beginning ABA Services

  1. Receive an Autism Diagnosis.
    Most insurance requires a diagnostic evaluation by a psychologist with Autism as the diagnosis in order to access the GA Insurance Mandate. If you have questions please ask. We have a licensed psychologist on staff who can conduct the appropriate evaluation(s) for insurance purposes.
  2. Contact Reinforcement Unlimited and set up an Intake Interview
    To begin the intake process please either call our office at 770-591-9552, complete our ABA Intake Packet and fax it to us (800-218-8249), or come in to schedule an intake appointment.
  3. We verify insurance to determine if your policy covers ABA.
    Once we document that your insurance does cover ABA we will contact you to let you know what your insurance covers, the costs associated, and the process they require.
  4. Obtain authorization from Insurance Company to conduct a treatment plan evaluation.
    The insurance companies have been authorizing approximately 8 to 10 hour assessments (every insurance company is different). This includes time with you and your child and time to write the report that they require be submitted.
  5. ABA Assessment of your child at our clinic.
    • Once the Assessment authorization is received, our highly trained Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs) conduct the assessment through direct observation of your child as well as interviews with parents and questionnaires.
    • This meeting is also an opportunity for us to visit further with you to answer your questions. Through this initial assessment we can recommend therapy services that may fit your needs, discuss parent involvement, and talk about potential therapy schedules.
  6. Submit Treatment Plan proposal to your insurance company.
    • Every insurance company requires a treatment plan be submitted with the results of the evaluation.
    • Most insurance companies then schedule a telephone interview with our BCBA to ask questions to determine coverage.
    • When an Assessment is completed and submitted to the insurance provider, an authorization is sent generally within about two-four weeks.
  7. Receive ABA Treatment Authorization
    • We are now able to begin ABA therapy with your child at our clinic.
    • Your child’s very first session typically lasts three-four hours.
    • Your involvement and ongoing communication are essential in creating the best outcome for your child. We help you with the techniques and training to be as prepared as you can for aiding your child with their therapy both in the clinic and back at home.
    • In most cases we start off with fewer hours and increase hours over a period of time to allow your child to become accustomed to this new routine.

If you have any further questions about insurance coverage of our services, please feel free to contact us.

F.A.Q.

What is ABA Therapy?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the standard of care to improving the developmental issues associated with autism. ABA is a science, a way of thinking, and a holistic approach to problem solving and skill development. ABA therapy, when provided by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, is considered the single most effective way for individuals to overcome the challenges of an autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities and is likely able to improve the quality of life of your child and help them reach their full potential. Endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General, ABA therapy focuses on human behavior and is able to increase desirable behavior and minimize unwanted behaviors.

How will ABA therapy help my child?

ABA therapy will address the developmental deficiencies identified during an initial assessment of your child’s functioning across dozens of areas. With children on the autism spectrum, this often includes areas of verbal communication, like the ability to converse with parents and peers, request items, and communicate emotions and needs. Nonverbal communication, like making gestures and understanding social cues, can also be developed.

Other important target areas of ABA include social skills, play skills, potty training, self-care skills (brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.), and day-to-day living skills (getting dressed, table manners, etc.).

Does ABA therapy work for Autism?

ABA therapy is the gold standard for a clinically-validated and heavily researched approach to helping children with autism according to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Autism Council reports.

When is the best time for my child to begin ABA therapy?

Simply stated: the earlier, the better.

Plenty of clinical research has demonstrated that children who start ABA therapy as early as possible (~2 years old) make the most significant improvements in their areas of deficit. In fact, children who received early intensive ABA therapy progressed to the point of being virtually indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers.

Why are so many hours recommended?

Research supporting the efficacy of ABA therapy consistently suggests that best results are achieved through intensive intervention. The National Academy of Science’s recommended 25 hours or more of therapy per week. Other sources recommend up to 40 hours per week of ABA therapy for young children on the Autism Spectrum.

How many hours per week of therapy does my child need?

The number of hours your child requires will depend on how far behind they are in certain skill areas. The clinical director at Reinforcement Unlimited will make a recommendation on how many hours of therapy your child should receive once the initial assessment is completed. They will work with you and your insurance company to develop an individual treatment plan to address all your child’s needs. The intensity of services can be adjusted as the child gains new skills and is re-evaluated routinely throughout your child’s treatment.

My child is getting help from other providers such as a Speech Therapist and/or an Occupational Therapist… isn’t that enough?

At Reinforcement Unlimited, we view these providers as valuable resources, but not ones that necessarily provide the level of intensity necessary to impact a person diagnosed with autism. Many Speech or Occupational therapy programs provide an hour or two of therapy per week as opposed to 40 hours per week with an intensive ABA program as supported by the research and both the the National Academy of Sciences and the National Autism Council reports.

If your child is receiving speech or occupational services from another provider, we seek to partner with them in order to provide a comprehensive treatment plan.

I’ve heard that in ABA the child is sitting at a table to learn for many hours a week. How will he or she have fun?

An ABA program is not just sitting at a table doing drills. If you look up ABA online, this is often what you see. However, ABA provided at Reinforcement Unlimited focuses on both Discrete Trials and play-based therapy. Our goal is to use the activities that the child likes, and to embed teaching into those activities. Many teaching trials or opportunities can be imbedded into play to ensure that the teaching is fun. This also helps the child to generalize their skills. While trial drills may be done depending on how the child learns best, the goal will be that your child likes ABA therapy and prefers that we come to your home.

Do you use any other methodologies besides ABA?

Reinforcement Unlimited supports the use of any evidence-based methods used for treatment within the scope of behavior analysis practice, but ABA therapy is our primary modality.

Our doctor said that my child was a little slow in developing and that I should just wait. Is that ok?

The research says that if a child is 24 months old and not talking they need to be evaluated by an Autism Specialist. Other key signs of possible ASD are failure to respond to their name, poor eye contact, and difficulty with change. All those are NOT required for an ASD diagnosis. The old saying “Better to know for sure” comes to mind.

How long are ABA therapy sessions?

ABA Therapy sessions range anywhere from 3-8 hours in length. Therapy sessions are not scheduled for less than 3 hour periods after the initial assessment is completed. The research indicates that longer sessions, conducted frequently, are needed for young children with Autism to significantly benefit from the therapy.

What is the difference between a BCBA and an ABA Therapist/RBT?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is the manager of your child’s team. They conduct assessments and design programs to address your child’s unique needs. They also provide the oversight and supervision of your child’s ABA therapists. Your child’s BCBA also meets with you at regular intervals to provide updates on your child’s progress and discuss ways to generalize new skills in the home.

The ABA Therapist(s)/RBTs provide the one-on-one direct therapy for your child, implementing the programs developed by your child’s BCBA. Because of this, Reinforcement Unlimited’s ABA Therapists receive extensive training in ABA techniques and methods. Training includes up to 120 hours of hands on training, 40 hours of online training required to obtain a Registered Behavior Technician certification, and extensive oversight after training to ensure treatment integrity. Your child’s BCBA also provides weekly supervision of the therapists to ensure the highest quality of therapy for your child.

How Do I Know If Treatment Is Effective?

The answer is that ABA is a data-driven therapy;  ABA uses real-time measurement of behavior to guide intervention decisions.  Reinforcement Unlimited uses data so that performance is monitored which allows Reinforcement Unlimited to efficiently modify goals and programs so that treatment is always being customized to fit a child’s needs. This system also allows parents to have a detailed understanding of how intervention is progressing across target areas. Reinforcement Unlimited makes it a priority to communicate this information to other providers involved in your child’s care so that they can make better decisions about their support of your child.

Does my child have to have a formal autism diagnosis to get treatment?

Children are not required to have a diagnosis for treatment but do need a formal diagnosis in order to receive coverage from insurance providers. How comprehensive the evaluation and who did the diagnosis varies from insurance company to insurance company and we’re happy to help find the answer for your insurance company. If needed, Reinforcement Unlimited’s director is a clinical psychologist who specializes in Autism and he can provide the evaluation if needed.

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What Our Families are Saying

"Please accept this note as our sincere appreciation to the both of you for the time you spent with us and our son recently with regard to his diagnostic evaluation. Throughout the process, we were very pleased with your thoroughness, willingness to answer our questions, and ability to direct us to appropriate resources. In addition, you were able to provide a comfortable, non-threatening environment for our son, enabling you to observe him without anxiety on his part - for that we are very thankful!"

Mother of 9 a Year Old, Metro Atlanta

"I can highly recommend Dr. Robert Montgomery who is not only a licensed psychologist but also a BCBA. He and his wife did a thorough evaluation that helped us get great services at school. The eval. was covered by my insurance and medicaid. I paid for him to come to my daughter's eligibility meeting and it was worth every penny and then some. His company is located in Woodstock and is called Reinforcement Unlimited, LLC."

Posted to the Autism Georgia Yahoo Listserv

"I really find that your comments are invaluable in assisting me with learning the appropriate ways to parent and understanding his behaviors. Thank you so much for all you do and the incredible report you provided us with for [our son] - the school psychologist was very impressed with the amount of testing results you provided and made many comments regarding the thoroughness of your evaluation and report."

Posted to the Open Georgia Autism Yahoo Listserv