Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy has been found to be the most effective early learning intervention for children with Autism and other related developmental diagnosis. According to the CDC, ABA therapy is widely accepted among healthcare professionals and currently being used in many different settings. There are multiple settings where a child can receive ABA therapy. These include in clinic sessions, in home sessions, community-based sessions, and in school sessions. In clinic sessions are proven to be the most beneficial setting for skill acquisition and target behavior reduction based on multiple factors that will be discussed below.
So, what does In-Clinic Therapy look like?
In-Clinic ABA Therapy sessions occur in a center or clinic that include rooms which will help generalize skills to home and community setting. These rooms can be a classroom environment, kitchen, and bathroom. Each of our BCOTB facilities are equipped with playrooms, observation rooms for parents, ABA materials, and a highly trained staff that collaborate to bring your child the best care possible. There is a playroom that is used for Natural Environment Teaching. In Natural Environment Teaching, we implement your child’s programs while playing games, engaging with different toys, activities and even peers. Children can learn a lot of different skills in this setting. Such as turn taking, imitation skills, greetings and farewells, sharing, appropriate play skills or age level skills, and many more! Our therapy rooms are designed for intensive teaching where the environment is free of distractions and promotes skill acquisition. In this environment we like to work on receptive skills, matching skills, motor imitations, and following directions, but these are some of the many skills that can be targeted in this setting. There is also an observation room with a two-way mirror where parents are welcome to stay and observe sessions! This room has a perfect view of the playroom where children spend the majority of their time in! Parents can also use this opportunity to observe how their kiddo’s therapist is implementing behaviors plan and running programs so that parents can do the same at home.
In-clinic sessions are designed to work on any behaviors that occur; learning, daily living, and/or adaptive skills but in a controlled environment. In a controlled environment, everyone is trained to implement treatment procedures the way they are intended to. This means that there are very little or no other variables competing or interfering with the appropriate treatment plan. Your learner practices the skills to respond to these situations appropriately and prepare them for the situations out in the real world. There are no other distractions, the environment is perfectly set up to mimic situations which would occur outside the clinic, and in the event of a situation where problem behavior has high magnitude of aggression, self-injurious behaviors, or property destruction, each clinic has a specific team of therapist who are trained to ethically de-escalate the client’s behavior, which is an advantage over in home care.
What is the difference of in-clinic to in-home or even in-school sessions?
The difference is that in those other settings such as in home or in school, what other people do or say is completely out of our control. This may alter your child’s intended treatment and may even reinforce maladaptive behaviors. Other people may unintentionally use punishment procedures when this could be easily avoided in an in clinic setting.
It is important to start off strong and show consistency in a child’s treatment plan. This is why controlling all those different variables is so important. In an in clinic setting these variables can be easily controlled. As a child shows progress with those targeted skills, their case manager or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will work on adding those variables to the environment to replicate the natural environment.
For example, when a child first begins therapy sessions, BCBA’s typically dedicate the first few weeks to getting to know the child, what their targeted skills are, and what are some future goals for them. Once the child has adapted to the clinical setting and has been showing progress with their targeted skills, parent training can begin in the clinical setting.
In an in-home setting, children may be more inclined to relax or do what they want which can cause an increase of problem behavior when a therapist places demands. Imagine someone coming into your home and giving you a list of things to do. Not fun, right? Even as adults we are more likely to be productive in an environment free of distractions, away from our beds and our snacks. There are so many distractions at home, a bed, a whole fridge of food, a backyard, electronics, people coming in and out, etc. This makes it difficult to maintain an environment free of distractions and that promotes effective learning.
Another environment where clients can receive ABA therapy is in school. The focus of in school sessions is to follow up with teacher demands, peer interactions, and problem behavior interventions. As a therapist or case manager you cannot interrupt the routines and schedules that go on in school. But these sessions are designed to implement any treatment according to teacher demands. Meaning they are taking the lead in what happens throughout the day.
Since we have discussed all those different environments, their differences, and what can occur in each setting, here are some of the many benefits of in clinic sessions.
Benefits of In-Clinic Therapy:
- Highly trained staff and support system available throughout your child’s session.
- Same aged and/or skilled peers to work on social skills and interactions.
- Case Managers are readily available to therapist and can provide impromptu supervision if needed and can provide clarifications of interventions.
- Safe and controlled environment.
- Access to a multitude of reinforcements (toys and activities that may not be available at home or in school).
- Access to peers with similar situations to work on social skills and adaptive skills.
- Compassionate and patient staff available at all times.
- Staff is upheld to a higher standard of care and services by a need to pass competency assessments, observations, and interactions with other staff.
- A distraction free environment that aids in maximizing skill acquisition and higher rates of learning.
- Structured environment where parent training can occur at a more successful rate.
- Children can meet and get to know all the different staff members.
- Therapist can become familiar with kids they do not usually interact with if coverage is ever needed.
- Availability of a highly trained team for de-escalation of dangerous behaviors.
If you are interested in enrolling your child in the clinical setting, please give us a call at 813-440-4933.
**BCOTB has been Tampa’s leading provider of pediatric ABA therapy since 2003. With four clinic locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, we know that our clinic is the right spot for your early learner! BCOTB specializes in in-clinic Pediatric ABA Therapy for children with Autism and related disorders from birth to ten years of age. BCOTB accepts most major insurances, including, but not limited to: Aetna, Anthem, Baycare, Beacon, BCBS, Cigna, CMS, Florida Blue, Humana, MHNet, Meritain Health, Magella Health, UnitedHealthcare, and TRICARE.**