There is no single plan of treatment that fits every child with autism spectrum disorders. Applied behavior analysis therapy is so well-regarded in part because of this fact. The general therapeutic structure of ABA therapy allows for endless customization to fit the needs of each individual patient. The aim is to maximize progress towards various goals, such as increased communication skills, more acceptable social behavior, and improved academic performance.
Therapy Where It Is Necessary
One of the more common changes that therapists and treatment coordinators make is taking some of the sessions out of the clinical environment. While not every child would necessarily need community-based ABA therapy, it often furthers core goals to replace or augment clinical sessions with treatment that occurs in a more public, social setting. As such, this mode is usually suggested based on results from a previous course of treatment or as a modification to an ongoing program.
There are a variety of potential benefits from moving outside of the treatment center. Once therapy enters the everyday world of schools, parks, and other community settings, children have the opportunity to associate and generalize the positive reinforcement they get from aba treatment. These recontextualizations of the same activities performed in more controlled settings often provide a bridge of understanding that fosters further development for ASD patients.
Decisions Based on Data
As with all decisions in ABA therapy, the choice of where to pursue treatment is based on data and observation. Ideally, board-certified behavior analysts would perform intake observations of each child before beginning treatment. This allows the coordinator and the analyst to work together developing an initial plan for the behavior therapist to execute.
There are a number of situations in which BCBAs might recommend community treatment. Here are a few examples:
- Children with specific behavioral challenges regarding peer interaction.
- Older children who spend more of their time in school
- Certain settings triggering problem behavior frequently, such as churches, libraries, or grocery store lines
- Markedly different levels of communication and social skills in community and private settings
Parents Taking Part
Community ABA therapy is also often instructive for parents if they sit in or observe. While most caregivers are naturally comfortable participating in positive reinforcement practices at home or in a clinical setting, there is occasionally a disconnect when a social environment is introduced. It sometimes takes an example of how things might be done in public for parents to make the final steps in participating in a child’s improvement. Community sessions provide that example.
Your child’s treatment here at Pinnacle, including the possibility of community treatment, will be based both on a detailed analysis of his or her behavior and on your own goals. It is a process, but you can get started today. Please call us today at 1-866-342-8847 to set up your initial appointment now.