On this page you will find common questions asked about the Lily Center's techniques, services and general Applied Behavior Analysis. If you don't find your answer here, feel free to contact us.
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What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)? +
The most accurate and technical definition of applied behavior analysis is from Cooper, Heron, and Heward (1982) as follows:
"Applied behavior analysis is the science in which procedures derived from the principles of behavior are systematically applied to improve socially significant behavior to a meaningful degree and to demonstrate experimentally that the procedures employed were responsible for the improvement in behavior." (p. 14)
In everyday terms, as it applies to the treatment of children, Applied Behavior Analysis or “ABA” is an evidence based treatment approach in which the clinician draws upon the principles of behavior and learning in order to identify and systematically teach skills that are not yet present in the child’s repertoire. The clinician utilizes the same principles of behavior and learning in order to identify and reduce challenging behaviors that the child is displaying. Most importantly, “ABA” is not a “one size fits all” treatment approach. A skilled Behavior Analyst and ABA therapist will work together to customize intervention techniques to the child’s interests and skill sets in order to achieve optimal results. ABA treatment should involve a combination of natural environment instruction as well as intensive teaching sessions tailored to the unique abilities and curiosities of the learner.
The Lily Center therapists are committed to the philosophy that learning should be fun. The ultimate goal for treatment is that the child “learns to learn” in order to benefit from and succeed in less restrictive environments. In order to accomplish this outcome, The Lily Center places a strong emphasis on embedding discrete trials into play based natural environment instruction to the greatest extent possible. A common saying at The Lily Center is “if the child isn’t running into your arms before a therapy session, it’s time to take a step back and make it fun”. The goal for our clients is that the child is motivated to the extent that they don’t even realize the amount of “work” and effort that they are putting into their therapy sessions.
What types of areas does ABA treat? +
The principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can be used to treat a wide variety of skill deficits, challenging behaviors, and disabilities. These techniques can be applied in numerous settings including the home, school, clinic, and community environments. The Lily Center Behavior Analysts and therapists apply ABA principles to the following areas of treatment and intervention: Language Acquisition, Social Skills, Academics, Feeding, Toilet Training, adaptive behavior skills, and the reduction of challenging behavior (sometimes referred to as problem behavior or maladaptive behavior).
Is ABA considered an experimental treatment? +
ABA is not an experimental treatment. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis treatment. There is so much research on Applied Behavior Analysis that is not feasible to list on this page. The National Standards Report is a comprehensive report and evaluation of behavioral and educational treatments available for Autism Spectrum Disorders. The National Standards Report thoroughly reviewed entire bodies of research and classified treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder as “Established”, “Emerging”, and “Unestablished”. Not surprisingly, nearly all of the 11 “Established” treatments from the report were based upon the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Click here to review information on The National Standards Report commissioned by The National Autism Center.
Does TLC only treat children with Autism? +
Absolutely not! ABA is for everyone! While a diagnosis is necessary for insurance coverage of our services, the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis are effective with a number of populations including typically developing children. The goal with ABA services is to observe the child in order to figure out what skills the child is lacking compared to same age peers and then determine the most effective way to teach the child those skills. This could include anything from “eating your vegetables” and “pee-peeing in the potty” to “speaking” and/or “playing appropriately with other children”. Additionally, Applied Behavior Analysis can be used to analyze and intervene on a variety of challenging behaviors displayed by children with and without disabilities.
What is the best age to start ABA? +
Research indicates that individuals receiving ABA intervention in the early years demonstrate better treatment outcomes. Early intervention is the key to success and it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible. However, this does not mean that it is too late to begin ABA treatment! Applied Behavior Analysis is effective for individuals for all ages.
What is Verbal behavior? +
Verbal Behavior is a behavioral approach to the study and analysis of language and communication skills. Skinner defines verbal behavior as “behavior reinforced through the mediation of other persons” in Chapter 1 of his 1957 book “Verbal Behavior”. As it applies to treatment of young children, Verbal Behavior is the application of behavioral principles to language skills. When approaching language from a Verbal Behavior perspective, the clinician is more interested the function of the words that the child displays or fails to display than the words themselves. For example, a child might echo you when you say a specific word, but is unable to use the same word to ask for something that the child wants. In these two situations, the function (reason the child is using the word) is quite different even though the word sounds the same in both situations. Another example would be a child that says “Ball” upon seeing a picture of a ball. However, when the same child is asked to “tell me something that you can bounce”, the child does not respond. The same child may be unable to produce the word “ball” when he is motivated to play with a ball. Again, the word “ball” sounds & looks the same in both situations. A BCBA trained in the analysis of Verbal Behavior will create programming and arrange a motivating instructional environment in order to prompt and reinforce language skills across all functions. It is important to note that Verbal Behavior is not a separate “approach” or “version” of ABA. Applied Behavior Analysis is a large discipline that can be applied to a wide variety of human behaviors. Verbal Behavior is simply the application of ABA to language and communication skills. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) have different levels of experience and different areas of expertise in the various applications of Applied Behavior Analysis. If early language intervention is the primary area of concern, it is critically important that you seek out a Behavior Analyst with extensive experience in Verbal Behavior. The Lily Center focuses on early language intervention and all team members are trained in a Verbal Behavior approach to language. Therapists create a highly motivating instructional environment utilizing a combination of Natural Environment Training (NET), Incidental Teaching, and Intensive Teaching Trials in order to elicit targeted language skills.
What is Natural Environment Training? +
Natural Environment Training is extremely difficult to implement, but looks effortless when performed correctly. The best Natural Environment Training sessions are so much fun and look so much like play that someone passing by might not even know that therapy and learning are occurring. Upon closer inspection, it should be evident that the therapist has carefully planned and embedded specific learning opportunities into the play session based upon the learners targeted treatment goals. Additionally, these learning trials should be abundant so that there are multiple opportunities to practice the skill. Instruction is fast paced, lots of language exchanges occur between child and therapist, the child is motivated, and the instructor is still in control of the learning environment. The Lily Center places a strong emphasis on training team members to fluency so that therapists are able to conduct effective and fun Natural Environment Training Sessions to be interspersed with Intensive Teaching/Discrete Trial Training Sessions throughout the therapy session.
Where is ABA therapy provided? +
The Lily Center provides services at one of our two locations (Heights and River Oaks). Depending upon the needs of the clients, therapist availability, and distance, The Lily Center may also provide services on a limited basis in home, school, and community based settings. Many private schools will allow services to be provided to their students on campus after classroom hours.
What kind of progress can I expect? +
A child’s progress in an ABA program depends upon a number of interacting factors, which makes this a difficult question to answer. Some of the factors that can affect the amount of progress that a child makes include the individual abilities of the child, co-exiting diagnoses, areas targeted for treatment, frequency of treatment, parent involvement, supervising BCBA experience, and the quality of the therapists implementing the treatment sessions. It is important to continually evaluate progress in terms of skill acquisition and challenging behavior reduction throughout the course of an ABA program. When implemented correctly, research shows that children receiving ABA therapy will increase pro-social skills and reduce challenging behavior. By monitoring progress through data analysis on a weekly or bi-monthly basis, the parents and treatment team are able to use this information to inform and alter therapy techniques based upon progress or lack thereof. The most important thing for parents to remember is that ABA is not a “quick fix”. It’s not the type of therapy where you drop your child off at the doctor’s office and then he or she comes back “better”. Applied Behavior Analysis is a slow but steady and empirically validated process. Parent involvement and training is essential in ensuring that the child maximizes his or her therapy time and generalizes these skills to his or her everyday environment.
What are the qualifications of your staff? +
Attracting and retaining highly qualified, motivated, and effective ABA Therapists/Behavioral Technicians is a top priority of The Lily Center. ABA is only as effective as the individual delivering the direct therapy services. Many ABA Therapists/Behavioral Technicians are individuals in graduate school or college that are interested in pursuing a degree in the field of developmental disabilities. That being said, it takes a lot more than a degree be an effective therapist. The Lily Center therapists are chosen based on their ability to connect with and motivate the child during a therapy session. In addition to extensive instruction and hands on training in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, therapists are selected based on their ability to effectively embed learning trials into a fun and play based environment. Each therapist receives training on Verbal Behavior and Natural Environment Training in the course of our extensive training program before working with your child. All therapists receive ongoing professional development and are supervised by a well-experienced Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Do you accept insurance? +