Schools must provide services for children on the autism spectrum, including ABA therapy in schools. When children participate in an autism spectrum disorder treatment program, this means that students have access to interventions that are founded on applied behavior analysis (ABA) principles. When students receive early and intensive intervention lasting between 25 to 40 hours per week, they tend to demonstrate the maximum benefit.
The Availability of ABA Therapy in Schools
When students have access to ABA therapy in schools during a young age, that could result in fewer hours of consultation and therapy as they progress each year. When students reach middle and high school age, these programs tend to support job-readiness skills and social development in addition to academics. The availability of applied behavioral analysis is not only beneficial to those who are on the autism spectrum but to other learners as well.
The Challenges of Getting ABA Therapy in Schools
Despite the many benefits of ABA therapy in schools, it is not easy to add it to your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The main reason is that the behaviorist performing the therapy must participate in a significant amount of training. Not only is this training intense, but it is also repetitive. The ABA program must also have customizations that meet the child’s needs individually. While a one-on-one strategy is not always necessary, the use of small group settings is critical. Those small groups must also consist of children who have similar needs.
It is most beneficial for one-on-one sessions to occur because it allows for appropriate and immediate reinforcement. This therapy is also incredibly data-driven. That means, each time behavior modification and reward occurs, that requires much support. So, if there are small-group settings, professionals can meet each child’s needs with the assistance of many aides or helpers.
The expense is another factor playing into how difficult it is to get ABA therapy in schools. From a staffing standpoint, one-on-one therapy is the most expensive option. Plus, it is challenging to find enough qualified professionals to help meet this need.
The Importance of Skills Development
ABA therapy in schools plays an integral role in academics and skills development. There are five different types of applied behavior analysis programs supporting social skills development, including:
Clinic-based ABA therapy: One of the most well-known ways for children to receive ABA therapy is in a clinical or office setting. The main reason is that many public schools do not have individualized therapy available.
In-home ABA therapy: In this situation, local organizations send providers to offer ABA therapy in your home. These services are more convenient for those who prefer to have their child receive therapy in the comfort of their own home.
ABA therapy in schools: Because the majority of special programs in schools do not offer ABA therapy, you might benefit from enrolling into a private school specializing in providing these services.
Online ABA therapy: These services are available to those who do not have a local organization providing therapy, and it is available through telehealth services.
Personalized App-based therapy: You can find apps available on your phone that offer games and forums for your child to participate in regularly. These apps also help connect parents and children with highly qualified clinicians.
Due to the many benefits of ABA therapy in schools, it is critical to determine whether or not your child’s school offers this service. If it does not, then there are alternatives available that are just as beneficial. Contact your local pediatrician’s office to learn more about ABA therapy and the autism therapy programs that can help your child.