About ABA Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the leading approach to improving the developmental deficiencies associated with autism.  ABA therapy is likely to be the very best approach to your child’s development.

The goal of our Austin center is to help your child reach their highest potential.  ABA therapy is the right approach for many children to achieve this.

Endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General, ABA therapy focuses on human behavior and is able to increase desirable behavior and minimize unwanted behaviors.  For children, desirable behaviors may include verbal communication about their desires, preferences, or needs.

Action Behavior’s therapists implement ABA therapy in Austin through intensive one-on-one sessions that work on the specific developmental needs of your child.  The Board Certified Behavior Analysts will conduct an in-depth assessment of your child’s abilities and needs at the first of the therapy process.  The areas that need development, whether they be few or many, will be addressed through the creation of behavior programs and individual lessons.  Each lesson is implemented by a behavior therapist and focused on a specific skill.  Through this systematic and focused approach, even children with significant developmental deficiencies can make significant strides.

Does ABA Therapy Work for Autism?

Simple answer:  Yes

More complex answer:  Every child is different, and research studies that show significant gains over a population may see some children developing much more than others.  Key studies examining the effectiveness of ABA therapy has shown that some children with autism receiving two years or more of intensive behavioral intervention have been virtually indistinguishable from their peers.  There are many hundreds of studies supporting the use of ABA therapy, and federal and state agencies as well as insurance companies cover this therapy.

What Skills Are the Target of an ABA Therapy Program?

The focus will depend on the specific needs of your child, but frequent skill targets include:

  • Toilet training
  • Adaptive living skills (feeding, dressing, bathing)
  • Receptive language (following directions, selecting objects)
  • Expressive language (labeling objects, people, emotions)
  • Play and leisure skills (playing with toys, expanding beyond electronics!)
  • Social skills (initiating conversation, responding to questions from peers, interactive play)
  • Ready-to-learn behaviors (sitting in a chair at table or desk, looking at instructor)

What’s a Typical Day of ABA Therapy Look Like?

Action Behavior believes that we can achieve the greatest gains with early learners that need intensive early interventions.  Many of our clients are 2 to 6 years old, although we have children outside this range.

  • The child is taken to our clinic by the parent in the morning and meets the assigned therapist in the waiting room during the check-in procedure.
  • The therapist welcomes the child and walks them to the assigned room or play area where the first session of therapy will be conducted.  Each session lasts for 2 hours, during which time multiple skills will be addressed and improved.  A typical session may include developing the child’s ability to request a toy from the therapist, pick up a ball and toss it to the therapist, choose which of two animals they prefer, follow instructions on picking up toys, and learning how to wash hands after having a snack.
  • During the entire session, the therapist will be taking down data that keeps track of how often the child accomplished the goal.  It may be that the “baseline” figure (where the child starts on a certain skill) may be only 20% of the time.  Through repetitive sessions that include different instruction methods, skill acquisition may increase to 30%, then 50%, then jump to 75%.  Supervisory therapists check in frequently to track the progress of a child according to the data being recorded and through conducting their own sessions with the child.
  • Every 2 hours the child will “rotate” to a different therapist on the child’s therapy team in order to maximize the generalization (applicability of skills outside the clinic) the occurs.  They will see the same 3-5 therapists each day, but in a different order so they’ll have the right balance of consistency with variation.
  • Every 3 to 6 months, a follow-up assessment will be conducted to serve as a more formal update on the progress that the child has made.  Combined with the data that is collected every day, our approach to ABA therapy provides real, measurable results for parents, other caregivers, and the payers (insurance companies).
  • At the end of each clinic day, the parent will pick up the child.  After checking the ID of the person picking up the child as part of the check-out procedure, the therapist will reunite the parent and child after a successful day of ABA therapy.

Does ABA Therapy Mean My Child is Stuck at a Table All Day Repeating the Same Tasks?

While sitting still at a table may be a developmental goal for some children, it certainly isn’t the only one!  There are hundreds or thousands of skills that every child needs to develop, and many of them are much more fluid and active.  Learning a task through repetitive attempts or “discrete trial training” is an important part of how certain skills are learned, but ABA therapy is meant to allow a child to have a real-world set of skills and “natural environment training” is a key part of our approach.  They will likely be on the ground playing, running around our play room, having a snack or meal in our kitchen area, playing with a new toy, and learning critical skills through repetitive methods.  There is a huge variety of skills, and methods.

How Expensive is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy in Austin is covered by virtually all private health insurance plans, so for pretty much every family their cost is limited to obligations set by their health insurance plan.  Health insurance can be complicated, and we are happy to help you understand what coverage you have, and recommend the smartest path for your family.

Your health insurance has a deductible (the amount you must pay each year before the insurance pays anything), co-insurance (the amount that you AND the insurance carrier pay in some pre-determined ratio), and then your out-of-pocket maximum (your maximum financial outlay for the year).

Action Behavior Centers is in-network with the largest health insurers in Texas.  We’ll help navigate the process for you so we can make sure you have the coverage you need.  Our staff will walk you through each step, and do most of the heavy lifting for you!

Learn more about Insurance Funding.

How are Parents Involved?

While our programs are generally full-time during the week, one thing is clear:  you are the most important element of your child’s development, and we need you as a partner in our work.  Parent training is one of the secrets of success for children that are able to achieve their developmental milestones the fastest, and insurance companies are more and more requiring that at least 2-3 hours per month are dedicated to teaching parents how to apply behavior analysis principles at home.  When we achieve some improvement in a child’s behavior at the clinic, we rely on our parents to sustain and advance the goal!

What Do I Do Next?

If your child already has a diagnosis of Autism / Autism Spectrum Disorder and you are interested in getting started with enrollment, please complete our brief New Client Application or contact us.

If your child has many of the potential signs of autism (read about them here) but does not have a diagnosis, please contact us so we can schedule a diagnostic assessment right away.

Our Availability as of March 2017:

Accepting New Clients / No Wait List

Comprehensive, individualized programs generally consist of a full-time schedule of treatment (40 hours a week) for early learners.  Some children need fewer hours per week, but our practice focuses on early learners that score low on multiple developmental milestones.

All treatment services are one-on-one with highly-trained behavior technicians and are under the supervision of our masters-level Board Certified Behavior Analysts.  All of our employees have been rigorously screened, interviewed, and tested to make sure they are the best in the field.  We have a 5-round interview process and every member of our team has to really want to be here to get a position with us!

We believe we have the highest standards of any Austin ABA therapy center in who we hire.  The kids that we are trusted enough to provide care for deserve it!