FAQs: All About Therapy for Autism & Developmental Delays
August 30, 2018
August 30, 2018
Ever wonder what our therapies are all about? If you’re a parent of a child recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or another developmental delay, you might wonder what services are available and which are right for your child.
In addition to our posts that do a deep-dive into defining Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy) and some of the elements and terminology associated with therapy, we rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions here. Below you’ll find quick answers to some of your most pressing inquiries.
I see a lot of mixed reviews about ABA on the Internet. Does it actually work?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the only treatment that is scientifically proven effective for autism spectrum disorder. ABA therapy has a high success rate with 40% of children making improvement and 47% gaining functionality. It is also endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association
What actually happens during ABA therapy?
The inside of a therapy room is where fun meets learning! Each child is unique in their needs and what motivates them to learn. We hone in on what your child loves and teach them to manipulate the environment around them to learn and acquire new and meaningful skills. Through the use of Natural Environment Teaching, our therapist are on the floor and assist your child in navigating and learning new things around them. Learning through positive reinforcement is how Hopebridge teaches your child to acquire and retain new and old skills!
How does ABA work? What sort of activities does it involve?
Applied Behavior Analysis is a scientific, behavioral management approach. By utilizing basic principles of behavior, special techniques and positive reinforcement it can bring about significant, measurable change. It’s a way to shape and mold actions for effective communication and learning. ABA methods help children replace hindering behaviors so they learn ‘what to do’ not just ‘what not to do.’ Some of the activities that promote learning are social interactions between peers and adults, functional communication to build or increased language, adaptive living; such as transitioning, daily living skills, feeding and toileting.
How long does it take before my son can start ABA therapy?
Once your child receives an autism diagnosis, you can work towards getting him Applied Behavior Analysis. Upon receiving a diagnosis through Hopebridge, your paperwork will be submitted to the patient intake department and an ABA evaluation will be scheduled. If speech and occupational therapy are offered at your chosen center, evaluations for those therapies may be performed as well. If your child already has a diagnosis from an external provider, you will first need a referral, which you can submit through your physician or our website.
ABA evaluations are typically scheduled 1-2 weeks out, depending upon insurance verifications. These evaluations are approximately 2 hours in length and cover a variety of different assessments. After all paperwork is submitted from there, it can take up to 45 days for insurance to review and approve hours, plus make sure the proper resources are in place.
Is it possible to have multiple therapy sessions in one day?
Absolutely! That that is the beauty of Hopebridge360TM. If your child’s program calls for multiple therapy options, such as speech, feeding and occupational therapy, we can accommodate you. Hopebridge is built around our multidisciplinary approach to therapy and we’ll do everything we can to build the best schedule for your family.
How many hours per week is therapy?
At Hopebridge, we individualize the plan of care for each child, which can include multiple therapy opportunities for some. The duration of services can range anywhere from a few hours a week, or more likely, up to 25-40 hours for higher intensity ABA programs. Your child’s therapists will determine hours based on medical necessity.
Do you only work with children who have autism or do you also work with kids who have other developmental delays or behavioral disorders?
Our primary focus is working with children with autism, but many of our services, such as speech and occupational therapy, are available to children with certain developmental delays. ABA therapy is typically only covered by insurance for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. However, if your child struggles with anxiety or a behavioral disorder in addition to ASD, we are more than happy to help through the program.
I’m worried my child won’t ever speak; will this therapy enable my child to talk?
Even if your child is not verbal, it doesn’t mean that he or she is unable to communicate. At Hopebridge, it is our goal to help your children find ‘their voice’ and effectively communicate their wants in and needs in a way that best suits them. Utilizing alternate forms of communication such as PECS (e.g. Picture Exchange Communication), gestures, sign language and augmentative devices (such as iPads) help your child navigate through language and finding their voice. Complementing therapies like speech, ABA and occupational therapy can all be used to shape your child’s sounds into language over time, as they are ready.
What goals do you set for your learners?
Goals and programs at Hopebridge are customized for each child, taking into consideration the needs and wants of each family. Each child with autism is different and has different needs, behaviors and challenges, which is why our expert BCBAs and interdisciplinary therapy teams design a personal development plan for each kiddo at Hopebridge.
As a parent, what can I do to help with therapy?
ABA, speech, feeding and occupational therapies are most effective for children with autism and other delays when parents get on board. Our therapists will design a personal development plan for your child that includes parent training and family education. From goals designed with your input, to tips and advice on how to help reinforce the ABA process and other therapy elements at home, caregivers are an integral part of our program. Here is some additional information on our blog that explains how you can impact your child’s therapy.
I’m not sure we can afford therapy, how much does it cost?
The cost of therapy varies depending on your insurance, copayments and the level of treatment needed for your child. We have a team of Hopebridge Insurance Advocates to help you navigate the process and estimated costs.
How are therapists assigned to my child? Is it just random?
There are a few factors taken into consideration when pairing a therapist with a child. We will first take a look at the availability of both the child and the therapist, preferences from the family of a male or a female therapist and go from there. Once we have determined a therapist we will begin the pairing process and over the next few weeks, the expert BCBA will coach and train the therapist as needed for effective pairing. Our main goal is to ensure a good fit for both the child and the therapist.
How long will it take for us to see results?
As with any form of therapy, the amount of progress and timeline varies depending on the child. Research shows early intervention plays a significant factor, so the sooner your child starts at Hopebridge, the sooner he or she can start to progress towards a better quality of life.