What can I expect during my child’s ABA Therapy session?

Our approach to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)  is all about making learning fun! Our goal is to create a motivating and positive environment where your child can gain communication, academic and functional living skills and have fun doing it.  You may be surprised to know that your child’s first few sessions are devoted to relationship building and getting to know your child’s preferences.

Read on to hear more about how we incorporate your child’s unique learning needs into their ABA sessions.

ABA therapy sessions are built around play-based learning using positive reinforcement in order to teach your child a variety of functional skills that meet their individual learning needs to build a strong foundation for the future.

Each session is specifically designed, by your Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and implemented by your Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT), based on your child’s initial assessment and treatment plan. Your BCBA will work closely with your RBT who is the direct care provider and who will work with your child in your home during sessions. Periodically, your BCBA will attend sessions virtually to document progress and modify your child’s treatment plan as they reach designated goals.

Every ABA session looks different based on each child’s individualized treatment plan, and we go at your child’s pace. The majority of your child’s day will be centered around activities they enjoy, and while we work hard, we also make sure to leave plenty of time for breaks and fun! Therapy often looks like developmentally appropriate play, however, the BCBA has planned very specific tasks for a child to complete to build fluency with certain skills during play activities

What will my child’s day look like?

Your RBT will come to your home prepared with a list of goals and targets designed by your BCBA based on where your child is in their treatment plan. They will have an iPad with them where they will collect data and make observations about your child’s day-to-day progress

Sessions can vary from more play-based learning, others may be more structured, and some may incorporate both. You may have set up a workspace, or learning different skills may take your child and their RBT around your home, wherever learning needs to take place. This might mean working on skills such as brushing teeth in the bathroom, or asking for a drink in the kitchen. The goal is to help your child develop and learn in his/her own environment to become the most independent as possible.

While it may feel strange at first, your RBT is trained to work in the home and will help you settle into a routine. Your team will work with you to set up a routine that makes everyone feel comfortable and allows you to go about your own day while your child is learning with their 1:1 therapist.

No matter what current goals your child is working on that day, they will be encouraged and rewarded as they learn to master new skills and behaviors.

What happens if my child is struggling in a session?

Your child’s entire session provides a positive framework to reach their goals and full potential.

ABA is a scientific approach to learning. We gradually introduce new skills and tasks using a systematic approach called prompting, where we gradually decrease the amount of help your child needs to complete a skill until they are consistently doing it on their own. We all learn at different speeds, and the amount of support your child needs may vary from skill to skill. Your RBT will continue to encourage your child to reach the correct response through reward. Remember, success in ABA is built around positive reinforcement.

A positive reinforcer can be anything that your child sees as high value. For some children it could be a silent high five, a specific toy, a verbal affirmation, or simply a smile. Your RBT will utilize praise in order to teach your child skills and behaviors. You will play a vital role in helping your team learn about your child and what their favorite things are!

What if I am nervous about starting ABA Therapy with my child?

It is completely normal to be nervous or have doubts about any type of therapy program for your child. Ascend’s ABA Therapy program is designed to fit the unique needs of each child. Positive reinforcement is supplied endlessly as your child learns and grows! Our team works hard to make sure each session is a positive experience for your child.

We also understand that opening your home and family to a new person can be very stressful. We recognize the importance of providing support for your entire family. As an Ascend family you will have access to our Family Mental Health Services. Mental Health services will be available to all members of your household and can provide family, individual, and/or group therapy sessions. We even have Ascend Family Mental Health Groups that provide a safe space for you to connect with other families moderated by our licensed psychologist.

Our Clinical Care Team—Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), licensed Child Psychologists, and other mental health specialists—are here to help your entire family learn, grow, and thrive.

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