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  • Kora Hardy

How do I get my child started in ABA Therapy?

Well, if you’ve made it to this far that means you’re on the right path! Below are some steps to getting your child into an ABA therapy program.


1. Diagnosis

Typically ABA therapy companies accept various commercial insurances that cover ABA Therapy treatment. Because of this insurance companies require a diagnosis of ASD.


A diagnostic report will be required for insurance to verify and approve ABA services. Note: insurance companies typically do not accept school diagnostic reports so you must get a diagnostic report from a psychiatrist, pediatrician, or psychologist.


Children without an ASD diagnosis may benefit from ABA therapy but insurance will not pay for treatment. Some ABA companies offer private pay options, in cases such as these.


2. Finding the Right Provider

Searching for the right ABA agency or clinician may be difficult or seem overwhelming, but it’s one of the most important steps.


The first thing you should do is ask your child doctor or pediatrician for any recommendations. They may be able to refer you to a provider in your area. If you aren’t able to get a referral, you can start searching online using keywords such as: ‘ABA Therapy near me’


Next, make that call or schedule an appointment to visit the location. This is a great time to interact with your child’s potential treatment team and ask questions regarding their approach to therapy and how it would best suit your child’s needs. The clinical team would suggest if in-home or clinic based services are best for your child.


Once you have chosen a provider the intake process will begin. The provider should require you to complete an intake form with some background medical and family history, demographic information about your child, and more specific information regarding your concerns and reason for seeking ABA therapy.


3. Assessment

At this stage you should have completed all intake forms, provided the diagnostic report, and insurance information to your provider or clinician. Next, after insurance has approved assessment hours, you will schedule the best times for the BCBA to conduct initial assessments.


The BCBA will select the most appropriate assessments that will yield results specifically targeting information that will help develop your child’s individualized treatment plan.


Assessment may cover multiple days across multiple environments (school, home, and clinic). This depends again on the needs and concerns of your child.


Assessments may include parent/caregiver interviews, direct observations, direct testing, as well as behavioral assessments.


This process depends on how long it takes to get approval of assessment hours from your insurance carrier and the availability of both you (as parents) and your ABA provider.


4. Treatment Plan and Start of Therapy

Now the fun begins! Once the assessments have been completed, the clinician (BCBA) will review the results and develop an individualized treatment plan that covers the major skill areas that therapy sessions should focus on. Once the treatment plan is completed you will be contacted to review before it is submitted to the insurance for approval of recommended treatment hours. The number of hours your child is recommended is specific to their needs and should be justified within the treatment plan.


Once the treatment plan and recommended hours are approved by insurance. You will be contacted to schedule a start date and weekly schedule. This timeline again varies depending on insurances. It may be approved within 1 week or 3 weeks. Remain positive and be patient, you're almost there!


5. Ongoing Therapy and Re-evaluation

ABA therapy is an ongoing process that evolves and changes as needed to support your child as best as it can. Your child’s therapy team will continue to monitor your child's progress, provide you with parent training, and help generalize those skills across environments. You will have multiple opportunities to engage with your child's therapy team to ask questions or inform them of any changes or new concerns as they arise.


Depending on the duration of your child’s treatment authorization (3 months or 6 months) re-assessments are typically conducted and reports are written up with graphs to highlight your child’s progress.


Your child should now be on their way to making steps towards reaching their goals!

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