How Pediatric Therapy Works
Broadly, ABA therapists work on behavior reduction and skill acquisition. More specifically, however, ABA can work on: communication and language skills, social skills, executive functioning, self-care and independent living skills, toileting, feeding challenges, repetitive behaviors and restricted interests, play skills, and motor skills, to name a few. Really, ABA therapy refers to how we work on behaviors – the behavior we target can be anything! Since ABA therapists have their hands “in all lanes,” collaborating with other therapists like speech, occupational, and physical therapists can be very beneficial to give a more specific approach to treatment. Read more about our collaborative approach here
Are the skills/behavior assessments tailored to each child, or is it a standard set that you use to assess all children?
Our BCBAs have a library of standard assessments to choose from when it comes to evaluating your child for ABA services. These assessments are broken down by the developmental milestones associated with specific age groups. The BCBA will choose an assessment that measures specific areas of need based on the information given by caregivers, physicians, and past reports.
Depending on the skills assessment chosen for your child, the format of the evaluation session can vary. Some assessments require more hands-on testing and evaluation with your child, while others are more question and answer based with caregivers. Regardless of assessment, the BCBA will also encourage free play with your child for observation purposes.
Once behavior therapy services begin, your child’s assigned BCBA will conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). There are 2 main components of an FBA; direct and indirect assessments.
For the indirect portion, the BCBA will review all of your child’s records, briefly interview the caregiver(s) to get a more personalized history of your child and analyze the data from your child’s skills assessment and direct observations.
The direct assessment is hands-on testing to determine what the function (the “why”) of your child’s behavior is. Once the function(s) are confirmed, the BCBA will use that information paired with the information from the indirect assessments to develop child-specific interventions that will be used during therapy sessions.
The results of these assessments will direct the BCBA on how many treatment hours to recommend for your child. The more areas your child needs support in typically results in more hours per week of therapy. Handprints acknowledges that sometimes our clinical recommendation of hours does not align with a family’s availability. In those cases, we do require a minimum of 10 treatment hours per week in order to see any amount of progress and success with our programming.
At Handprints Therapies, we pride ourselves on our multidisciplinary approach to therapy. Our therapists take a step beyond collaboration and actively work together as a team during your child’s therapy sessions, effectively “co-treating.” This means that speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy session overlaps with their behavior therapy session. The therapists get the opportunity to learn from each other, work together, and create a cohesive therapeutic environment that is specific to each client. For example, children who experience articulation issues or apraxia will benefit from the techniques provided by a speech-language pathologist. These techniques will enhance the effectiveness of the child’s ABA communication programs by approaching the barrier in multiple ways.
The decision to seek out multiple therapies for your child can occur at various points. Most of the time, Handprints will receive a referral for recommended therapies directly from the physician. Other times, the BCBA may interview the caregiver and determine what type of therapy evaluations are most appropriate based on the caregivers’ responses. A benefit to receiving services in a center that has multiple disciplines, such as Handprints, is that therapists in each discipline may also recommend additional therapies to their current learners if they see a need, following direct observations.
Research shows that ABA works and not just for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental conditions. ABA therapy focuses on ways to increase desirable behaviors and decrease behaviors that serve as barriers to the individual. In truth, while the goals may be different, ABA can be effective to enhance the lives of anyone at any age.
We provide parents with tools and knowledge that are useful and effective. Parent training requires active participation to learn and apply the techniques utilized in your child’s ABA program. You can expect regularly scheduled meetings and hands-on training with your BCBA. Parent training is a team effort. The BCBA is an expert on ABA, but you are an expert on your child. The collaboration of your insight and the clinical knowledge of the BCBA is paramount to providing effective treatment strategies and individualizing the services to create the best chance for optimal outcomes for the child.
Handprints Therapies Policies
Please keep your child home if they exhibit any of the following symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, fever of more than 100 degrees in the past 24 hours, contagious infections, and/or excessive coughing or sneezing. Your child can return to the clinic when they are free of fever (100 degrees or more) for at least 24 hours without the use of medication and free of vomiting or diarrhea for 48 hours.
We understand that appointments may need to be canceled or rescheduled at times. Please keep in mind that we do offer teletherapy, and this is an excellent way to avoid cancellation due to inclement weather, illnesses, etc. If you must cancel, we ask for 24 hours’ notice. Consistent attendance is essential to your child’s progress and ensures the continuity of services. Whether it is recommended that your child receive one or more of our services, we have attendance and cancellation policies.
In order to avoid a potential fee, a cancellation request must be received at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled arrival time
If you need to cancel your session or you are running late please text or call your therapist directly
We understand late cancellations can occur for any of the following reasons:
- Personal emergencies
- Inclement weather that affects transportation safety
In order to ensure progress is not disrupted, it is encouraged that your child’s session be rescheduled within the same week. Rescheduling should happen infrequently, and is discouraged. No-shows will not be tolerated and may result in the discontinuation of services
Our therapy offices is closed on the following observed holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
- Clinic Closure 4 business days between Christmas Day and News Year’s Day
Handprints Therapies uses the local School District as a guide for clinic closures. In the event that a delay or closure is indicated, notifications to staff and families will be made via texts and emails by 6:30 AM. Therapy sessions scheduled later in the day or evenings may still be offered when local schools are closed, and ongoing communication will be made throughout the day.
Our priority is to help your child thrive! In order to do so, consistency with therapy is essential. We always recommend staying on a regular routine to increase success and progress toward goals, but we understand that life needs can occasionally interfere. If a break is needed, set up a time to talk to your therapist about the best way to support your child at home while away from therapy. Please keep in mind that we service multiple children and their families, so if you take a break, your regularly scheduled appointment may not be available when you are ready to resume. However, we will do our best to meet your needs when you return. Following your evaluation(s), you and your therapist(s) will agree upon a fixed, individualized schedule that will be consistent from week to week. If your attendance becomes inconsistent this could result in the loss of your Fixed Schedule and you will be placed on a Flex Schedule. Continued failure to meet our attendance expectations will result in discharge from services. Please arrive 5 minutes before your scheduled start time.
Appointment time is Fixed and will stay consistent from week to week.
Following evaluation, all families must commit to a Fixed Schedule. In order to maintain a Fixed Schedule, families must avoid 3 or more cancellations within a 3 month period. Advance notice (more than 24 hours) and completion of make-up visits can help families avoid losing their fixed appointment time.
No shows: No shows will not be tolerated and will result in an immediate loss of your family’s Fixed Schedule.
The schedule varies from week to week dependent on therapists’ availability
Families schedule their appointments based on therapists’ availability on a week-to-week basis. If families cancel more than 3 times within a 3-month period, they will no longer be eligible for a consistent Fixed Schedule and may need to transition to a Flex Schedule.
How to Resume a Fixed Schedule
When families arrive for their scheduled appointments on a Flex Schedule consistently for 3 sessions in a row, families are eligible to resume a Fixed Schedule.
When families are eligible to resume a Fixed Schedule and a desired fixed schedule time becomes available, therapist(s) review the Fixed Schedule availability and confirm a consistent appointment time with the family.
You can find us on Facebook and Instagram. Check us out and give us a like/follow.
In order to maintain a professional relationship, it is our policy that our therapist and staff do not become “friends” with families on social media platforms while your child is receiving services.
Video cameras are strategically positioned throughout our clinic. The cameras and their recordings are used for security purposes. They may also serve as a tool for internal educational purposes.