ABA therapy expert

Green Flags for ABA Providers 

What to look for when choosing your best fit provider

A high-quality ABA practice should adhere to the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and meet BACB standards with quality programming. All programs should be supported and driven by data for meaningful end results and improvements.
Some of the core qualities that parents should consider when choosing an ABA provider include:

1) High- Quality, Well-trained Staff

Unfortunately, the ABA (applied behavioral analysis) indsutry has challenges when it comes to staffing and staff retention. Staffing factors that should be considered are experience, availability, and willingness to travel. Appropriately trained staff are more likely to be retained. Most high-quality ABA providers train and assist their therapeutic staff in obtaining the relevant credentials, such as an RBT certification. Your treatment team should consist of a (R)BT, BCaBA/BCBA, and potentially a third-party BCBA that offers clinical support, supervision, and direction to the BCBA assigned to your case. Many companies offer a three-tiered supervision model to offer support and oversight which ensures quality services. ABA providers should be willing and able to provide the appropriate ratio for supervision and direct therapeutic services with a consistent schedule. When considering working with an ABA provider you can ask about how they train their staff, what level of education and certification their staff hold, and what their client-to-staff ratio is.

2) Client and Staff Safety

Safety for your child, as well as your direct therapy staff should be a top, if not the number one priority for any ABA program. Whether your child visits a clinic, or receives their services in your home, safety training and skills should be laid out and trained on at the onset of services, or onset of newly developed compromising behaviors such as aggression or self-injury. Many companies have standard protocols in place that all staff must review and train in prior to visiting any client in person. When it comes to clinic settings, there are obvious risk reduction factors that can be accounted for. This includes electric outlet covers or safe padding on sharp furniture edges. This detail is often overlooked by many incoming clients and can make a big difference in the safety of your child.
Be sure to discuss the safety measures taken for your child and family by staff during intake and be sure to have a clinic tour before agreeing to send your child for any services.

3) Approach to Treatment

High-quality ABA should be individualized and catered to each child’s and family’s needs from assessments used, interventions applied, all the way to the schedule set for therapy. As with many services, there are different approaches to ABA that can vary from provider to provider. Options range from a child-lead therapy model, structured and schedule based for school preparation, or a lower stimulating, calming style of therapy. In an ideal world, the therapy model would be chosen by the behavior analyst based on the assessment results and observed need of the child and family. An exceptional ABA program will have processes in place to guide clients through skill building as organically as possible with minimal intrusion. They will also work to reduce the challenging behaviors in the child. Any intervention set should be based on relevant and currently up-to-date research in the field. Setting treatment goals and style should be a collaborated effort with your family that align with your family’s interests and values.

4) Data And Documentation

The backbone of any ABA practice is the data we collect and the ability to analyze that data to make decisions about a client’s treatment. Choice ABA providers will have effective and accurate data collection systems in place to alter treatment plans as needed. Parents should be actively involved in updates regarding data, goals and skills the therapist(s) and behavior analyst are targeting.

5) Complaint Resolution and Feedback System

Top-grade ABA providers focus on client satisfaction and feedback to improve and evolve their services. Additionally, there should be system in place [that the parents are informed of at initiation of services] in which to file grievances or complaints to be reviewed by members of management as necessary. Along with the internal feedback and grievance process, parents should be actively aware that there are external bodies such as accrediting bodies where grievances can be filed.

6) Accreditation

Although not a requirement, and not necessary, one underlying sign of a high-quality provider is an accreditation with an external source. In the ABA field, there are third-party accreditation organizations such as the BHCOE, the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, from which an ABA company can apply to be reviewed and [hopefully] approved for accreditation based on the quality of their services. Accreditation is important because it proves the company’s willingness to take feedback from a third-party in an effort to improve their program. Some common questions to ask your provider about their potential accreditation are: Who has the accreditation in their organization if not the program? How long have they been accredited or how long have they been working towards such a goal?

At Empower ABA, we pride ourselves on maintaining the standards above to the best of our ability. We work hard to meet and maintain the expectations of our clientele and provide the most respectable ABA services as we can. We are proud to be actively working on our BHCOE accreditation and are excited to call the state of Virginia a new home for the top-tier ABA services we have to offer. If you or someone you know may be interested in obtaining more information about Empower ABA, or enrolling in our intake process please email info@empoweraba.com, or visit our website at https://empoweraba.com/ .

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