So, you’re in the market for an ABA provider for your child. Maybe that’s because his psychologist recommended ABA therapy for autism; maybe it’s of your own volition, seeing that your kiddo needs help strengthening skills that are challenging for him, such as personal care, emotional regulation, social skills, communication or spelling and math. The fundamentals of ABA can help your child flourish! But for it to be really effective – to get the best results – the right person has to be at the helm, developing and guiding the ABA-based programs. How do you know if you’re selecting a superior behaviour consultant? Ask these questions to help zero in on a top-notch professional that’s a good fit for your family.
1. Are you a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA)?
Unfortunately, there are people who call themselves ‘behaviour consultants’ or ‘senior therapists’ but are not necessarily experts in ABA. It’s largely an unregulated industry. The advantage of hiring a BCBA to develop and oversee your child’s ABA program is that we are required to have at least a master’s degree and are highly trained and versed in ABA. We are certified ABA specialists. As well, we must meet stringent codes of ethics and best practices established by our regulatory body, the Board Analyst Certification Board. All of the consultants at Kid Mechanix are BCBAs! To find BCBAs in your region, click here.
2. May I have your references, please?
All job interviews require references; this is no different. Ask to speak with parents of children the BCBA has worked with, as well as professionals such as doctors and psychologists, to help determine if she is the ABA provider for you.
3. What demographic do you work with?
It’s important that the BCBA you choose has plenty of experience working with children close in age and needs to your kiddo. For example, an ABA provider who has primarily worked on job readiness with 18-25 year olds on the spectrum is probably not the best fit to develop programs that teach your 3-year-old how to use the potty or use her words.
4. Do you and your team have police clearance?
Your child’s safety is of utmost importance to you and should be to the behaviour consultant you employ. As such, ensure the BCBA and her team of therapists have up-to-date police reference checks.
5. How often do you monitor and update programs/targets?
Your ABA provider should attend your child’s sessions about 1-2 times a month (depending on how many ABA hours he is receiving), at which time she will make any necessary program changes. Expect her to keep you abreast of the tweaks and train the intervention therapists (ITs) or Registered Behaviour Technicians (RBTs) – ITs and RBTs are the ones who implement the programs developed by the BCBA – accordingly.
6. Do you collect data?
The right answer is YES! There should be a data collection system set up for each target the BCBA implements. Data helps us determine if a program is actually helping your child grow and develop new skills. Every time the IT/RBT works with your child, data should be documented, and the BCBA will take the results into consideration as she updates or changes programs.
7. How will you keep me in the loop?
As parents/caregivers, you’re an important part of the team. It’s crucial that you’re kept abreast of your child’s progress and that your thoughts and requests are honoured by the ABA provider and her team. It’s reasonable to expect to be part of team meetings, be filled in about sessions’ highs and lows and review program data regularly with the BCBA. As well, the team should provide parent training, so you know how to effectively manage your kiddo’s challenging behaviour and implement parts of his ABA program at home.
8. How accessible are you?
When you have questions or concerns, bet you want to reach your ABA provider relatively quickly. Ask her how long it usually takes her to return phone calls and emails. You can expect a response from Kid Mechanix within 1-2 business days!
9. How do you bill? What can I expect on invoices?
The BCBA should be upfront about her service fees and any other expenses, such as purchasing materials for programming, that you’re responsible for. You should know exactly what will be on your invoices. No surprises – ever!
Any reputable ABA provider will have all this info – and more – included in her terms of service contract. Make sure all the important details are there before you sign off. What can’t really be included in a contract but is still crucial is how you and your kiddo vibe with the consultant you’re considering. Your working relationships will be a lot more positive and beneficial when your personalities jive!
Image by David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net