When you suspect that your child may have autism, you may be overwhelmed with how to begin. Who do I talk to? Where do we get my child evaluated for a diagnosis? How is therapy handled? Succeed ABA, located in downtown Indianapolis, has the answers for you. We recently touched base with Succeed ABA’s Kaylee Wolff, Director of Business Development, and Sara Shrivastav, Board Certified Behavior Analyst. They answered important questions on their agency services, initial evaluations, and the road to successful ABA therapy for families.
Tell us about your agency and the services you provide to Indianapolis families.
Succeed ABA Therapy has an important mission to benefit Indianapolis-based families when seeking a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. “Our mission is to watch our clients succeed by providing exceptional care and supporting their families throughout their journey with us,” says Wolff. “Receiving a new diagnosis and the process of choosing an ABA provider can be an overwhelming experience for parents. We treat our clients and their families like family of our own, guiding them through every step and being there as a shoulder to lean on.”
Therapy can be provided right in the convenience of a client’s home, school, daycare, a community setting, or virtually via telehealth. Very convenient for busy families! To see more information on how it works, visit their services page.
You may be wondering – what is ABA therapy?
ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, and it focuses on understanding behavior and the impact that environmental factors have on autism. Wolff says that although each client’s program is customizable to fit their needs, here are some examples of how ABA therapy can help improve a child’s life:
- Teaching social and communication skills
- Learning everyday life skills
- Decreasing problem behaviors
- Increasing the skills needed to thrive in a school environment
What does the initial evaluation and assessment process entail?
ABA therapy starts with a medical diagnosis from a qualified physician or psychologist, says Shrivastav. Once the child receives a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, ABA therapy can begin.
If a family does not receive a medical diagnosis from the physician or psychologist, families can request a diagnostic evaluation through Succeed ABA. “At Succeed ABA, we prioritize our client’s needs and begin the intake process as soon as the family expresses an interest,” says Shrivastav. Succeed ABA’s staff then works with the family to obtain all the necessary paperwork to get the evaluation rolling, as well as requesting insurance approval to perform an initial evaluation for ABA therapy, which typically takes two to three weeks to receive.
Once approval is received from insurance, the assessment is conducted, dependant on the child’s individual needs. This is done with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (or BCBA). “The initial assessment is usually scheduled for approximately one to two hours and may be conducted in multiple settings or across multiple days if required,” says Shrivastav. “A typical assessment will involve a parent interview, direct observation of the individual and direct assessment of the individual. Sometimes there is a need to perform these assessments in the school or daycare environment and the process is similar but will include a teacher or caregiver interview.”
Lastly, the BCBA will write a summarized report, including the individual’s needs and strengths, and any short and long-term goals that will structure the individual’s treatment.
Let’s talk about ABA therapy. Is there a specific age that it begins? Can it grow with the child as they go through school?
ABA therapy is available to all ages and stages. Though the typical child is usually diagnosed with autism around the age of three, it all really depends on the severity of the child’s symptoms or family history. A diagnosis can be obtained as early as 18 months of age, but Shrivastav continues by saying, “Diagnosis of autism is not limited to early childhood and older children, teens and adults can also be diagnosed with autism.”
It is possible for an individual to have autism and not “present with a medical need for ABA therapy,” and this medical need can vary across an individual’s lifetime. “It is possible for children with autism to transition to kindergarten or first grade and no longer require ABA therapy but then need ABA therapy later in their teenage years because they require help with job skills, shaving, or social skills,” says Shrivastav.
How do you ensure parents and caregivers stay involved in the treatment process? What steps are taken to help parents understand?
Careful planning measures are put in place to keep parents and caregivers involved in every step of the process. Therapy sessions are conveniently scheduled, allowing ABA therapy to be conducted in the client’s natural environment, and they provide direct support when problem behaviors occur. This eliminates a waiting list altogether.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to stay involved to help their child target skills that are needed in the home that can help them thrive in their family structure, such as:
- Staying safe in the environment
- Increasing communication
- Increasing meaningful interactions with family members and pets
What assessments are provided to measure growth to make sure therapy is successful for the child?
Goals, both short and long-term, help map out and measure a child’s growth during the treatment process. Goals are created by Succeed ABA, in collaboration with parents and caregivers. And if there are setbacks in therapy and adjustments need to be made, it will be done with parent approval, says Shrivastav.
“Once effective treatment and skill development has been obtained, parents are trained on how to respond to the behaviors in a manner that is effective with evidence-based practices that have been individualized for their child’s specific needs and their family’s unique home environment,” says Shrivastav. Succeed ABA recommends regular parent training sessions with their child’s BCBA at least one time per week and for up to one hour per session.
As a parent or caregiver, you are the expert on your child. Succeed ABA will work closely and respectfully to help achieve the desired outcomes for your loved one. To book a free consultation, visit Succeed ABA’s website or get in touch on their contact page.
About Succeed ABA Therapy
Succeed Aba was founded with the mission to help children with any type of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including Asperger’s, learn, flourish, and develop their skills to achieve their maximum potential. We ensure to provide the best quality service by applying evidence-based and innovative aba practices to your child. One of our certified behavior therapists, also known as a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) will create programs tailored to the specific needs of your child while cultivating meaningful relationships with you and your child. Each day that your child receives services will greatly benefit the child’s progress, and therefore we understand the importance of providing services as soon as possible. Consequently, we have a no-waitlist policy.