ABA Therapy and Sandcastle Centers

Sandcastle Centers focuses on using treatment plans based on the best scientific knowledge. Together with applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy, we give children one-on-one care as well as individualized treatment through intentional learning. 

ABA uses the science of learning and behavior and has successfully helped children with autism and associated developmental disorders since the 1960s.

Furthermore, this form of therapy is instrumental in helping therapists, caretakers, and educators understand:

  • Behavior operations
  • How your child’s surroundings affect it
  • How learning occurs

Sandcastle offers two highly effective ABA programs based on your child’s age. Each will help your child see improvements in their development and behavior, including: 

  • Improving language and communication skills
  • Increasing attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
  • Reducing challenging behaviors

ABA connects knowledge of how action functions in real-world situations and encourages desired behaviors while decreasing undesired ones. It is one of the most effective forms of therapy for autism.

Of course, those who are unfamiliar with this program may have many questions. This article discusses ABA therapy, including methods, success, and health insurance coverage. 

Who Can Perform ABA Therapy?

ABA Therapy - Therapist

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A board-certified trained behavior analyst (BCBA) administers ABA services. In order to become a BCBA, candidates must:

  • Have a master’s degree or Ph.D. in either psychology or behavioral analysis
  • Pass a national certification assessment, and
  • Have a state license to practice (in states where available)

Together with the BCBA, therapists, and registered behavior technicians (RBTs) carry out individual programs. The BCBA monitors them, and they work with your child. 

These therapists are also known as behavioral therapists, line therapists, and behavior techs. 

Additionally, parents can find ABA training for at-home treatment, but this is often very time consuming and intensive. However, it is one of the best ways to guarantee your child’s success.

How ABA Therapy Works

ABA Therapy - A Young Girl Covering Her Ears

Image by Andrea Don from Pixabay

Therapists use various approaches to understand and shape behaviors, which makes it a very flexible form of therapy. 

ABA can be modified according to your child’s needs while still teaching skills used in daily life. It is available at home, school, as well as in group settings or one-on-one sessions.

Positive Reinforcement

Children are more likely to repeat positive behaviors when a reward accompanies it. Gradually, this reinforces a decisive shift away from problem behaviors.

First, the BCBA establishes a goal, such as a specific behavior or skill. When a child performs the desired action, he or she receives a reward.

The key to positive reinforcement is using a reward that is significant to the child — for example, praise, toys, books, or something similar.

Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence

Antecedents are what occurs before a behavior happening, and consequences follow the action. Of course, understanding both of these are crucial components of any ABA therapy.

Antecedents

Antecedents are spoken or physical. A variety of things can be an antecedent, including commands, requests, toys, lights, sounds, and more. 

Three things help explain and understand behavior:

  • Antecedent: These can stem from a child’s surroundings, another person, or even internal, like something she is thinking or feeling.
  • Ensuing behavior: This is the response to the antecedent. The resulting behavior can be an action, spoken response, or something else.  
  • The consequence: The outcome immediately following the behavior. 

These three steps help therapists understand why your child’s behavior might occur as well as how various consequences impact the likelihood of undesired behaviors occuring again.

ABA Therapy Process

ABA programs are all-encompassing and must adapt to each child. It’s not one-size-fits-all therapy, the end goal of every application is the same: Giving children learned skills to live independently and successfully.

Planning and Continuous Evaluation

A BCBA oversees ABA therapy programs. The BCBA is responsible for personalizing the application according to the child’s skills, needs, interests, preferences, and family circumstances.

First, the BCBA carries out a thorough evaluation of the child’s abilities and preferences, which help frame treatment goals.

Goals are based on the child’s age and degree of abilities and encompass several areas, including:

  • Communication and language
  • Social skills
  • Self-care
  • Play and recreation
  • Motor skills
  • Learning and academic capabilities

After establishing a plan, the BCBA organizes abilities into manageable, concrete steps. Then, the therapist directs each step one at a time. 

The therapist can do something as simple as mimicking individual sounds, or as involved as a conversation.

Over time, the BCBA and therapists measure progress by gathering information from each session. The data helps track the child’s development as they work on their goals.

Progress and information are discussed regularly with family members. Of course, if changes to the program are necessary, goals and teaching can be adjusted.

Evidence of Success

ABA Therapy - Siblings

Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

The US Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association acknowledge ABA therapy as an evidence-based best practice treatment.

Evidence-based means that this program has passed scientific tests of its practicality, value, and efficacy.

Since its development, more than 20 studies about ABA’s effectiveness for autism treatment have revealed improvements in several areas, such as:

  • Cognitive functioning
  • Language development
  • Routine living skills
  • Social performance

Coverage for ABA Therapy

You may have as many questions about insurance as the therapy itself. However, parents and caretakers of children with autism will be happy to know that most private insurers are required to cover ABA services. 

Medicaid must cover the cost of treatments deemed medically necessary for those under 21. Additionally, Military families with Tricare are also eligible for coverage.

Sandcastle Centers and You

Above all, we want to help children with autism spectrum disorder live happy, healthy lives. Together with Sandcastle Centers, we can make it a reality.

Our qualified ABA therapists can create a program for your child that will help give them the skills to live their life to the fullest.

For more information, send us a message online or give us a call today.

In the meantime, you can always check out the Blog for more resources and support.