Frequently Asked Questions About Autism

Browse categories below to find answers to the most frequently asked questions on autism and ABA Therapy.
  • What is a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst)?

    A Board Certified Behavior Analyst, or BCBA, is a graduate-level professional who is certified in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. BCBAs apply the principles of ABA to help children with autism improve behaviors and reach optimal outcomes so that they can reach their true potential.

     
    Life Skills Autism Academy's BCBAs oversee the creation, implementation and evaluation of individualized ABA Therapy for our clients. They take the lead building the best possible plan based on each child's unique strengths and challenges.

  • What is a Behavior Technician?

    At Life Skills Autism Academy, Behavior Technicians work one-on-one with children with autism to implement techniques that help them navigate everyday processes. We train every one of our Behavior Technicians in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, a treatment that breaks processes and behaviors down into small, simple steps.

  • What are Life Skills Autism Academy's Office Hours?

    Life Skills Autism Academy hours are Monday - Friday, 7:30am - 5:30pm.

  • What milestones should my child be reaching?

    Understanding what typical social, emotional and motor-skill development to look for in your child is important and knowing what to do next is critical in setting your child on a path toward success. Below are example developmental milestones children should be reaching:

    9 MONTH-OLD MILESTONES:

    • Bears weight on legs with support
    • Sits with help
    • Babbles (says "mama," "baba," "dada")
    • Responds to own name
    • Transfers toys from one hand to the other

    1 YEAR-OLD MILESTONES:

    • Crawls
    • Stands when supported
    • Searches for things that he or she sees you hide
    • Says single words like "mama" or "dada"
    • Points to things

    18 MONTH-OLD MILESTONES:

    • Points with intent to show things to others
    • Knows what familiar things are used for
    • Copies others
    • Gains new words
    • Knows at least six words
    • Notices when a caregiver leaves or returns

    2 YEAR-OLD MILESTONES:

    • Uses two-word phrases (for example, "drink milk")
    • Knows what to do with common things such as brushes, phones, forks and spoons
    • Copies actions and words
    • Follows simple instructions

    3 YEAR-OLD MILESTONES:

    • Copies adults and friends
    • Takes turns playing games
    • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
    • Says their own first name and age

    4 YEAR-OLD MILESTONES

    • Enjoys doing new things
    • Would rather play with other children than by themselves
    • Able to name some colors and numbers
    • Can tell you what they think will happen next in a book

    If your child is displaying any sign of developmental delays when comparing to their expected milestones, it's important to speak to your child's physician as a diagnostic test or screening for autism spectrum disorder may be necessary.

  • Do I need to do all the recommended hours of therapy?

    ABA therapy is a "dose-dependent" therapy, which means the higher the dose the greater the treatment effect.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Research Council, and the National Standards Project of the National Autism Center all confirm that starting ABA therapy as soon as possible with intensive behavioral analytic intervention of 25-40 hours a week for 12 months a year is associated with "substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior, as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups."

  • How many people will work with my child?

    At Life Skills Autism Academy, we take a unique and comprehensive approach to ABA therapy. Each child and family has a therapy team which consists of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), a Behavior Technician, and a Client Service Manager. Your team's main function is to work together with you and your family to ensure that your child is receiving the highest quality ABA therapy.

  • Will I be involved in the treatment plan?

    Yes, you will! Parent and family involvement in the treatment planning for a child with autism is very important. You know your child best and your family's goals for your child will be incorporated into the therapy treatment plan. In addition, it's important for families to participate in ABA training sessions so that they can extend the child's treatment to the hours outside of therapy.

  • What do I do if my child has been diagnosed with autism?

    If your child has been diagnosed with autism then the best next step is to start the process to begin ABA therapy. At Life Skills Autism Academy, we will work side-by-side with you and your insurance providers and physicians to verify insurance coverage, get insurance authorizations and have an assessment scheduled as quickly as possible.

  • What is the M-Chat?

    The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-ChatTM) is a screening tool that can be used to help determine if behaviors a child is showing could indicate that child has autism. The screener is not a formal diagnosis evaluation, and if you have any questions regarding the outcome of the screener, please consult with your physician as a formal diagnostic evaluation may be needed

  • How long will it take for my child to start ABA therapy?

    Depending on your location, and time of day you will have ABA sessions, we can start in as little as two weeks. After the Initial Assessment and Treatment plan are developed, your your Health Insurance provider will be contacted for ABA coverage. We will be working on finding you a Behavior Technician that meets the needs of your child. Also, your Supervising Clinician will supervise the treatment plan and Behavior Technician moving forward. Once all staff is in place, and the ABA coverage gained, we are ready to start!

  • Can you help me schedule an autism diagnosis appointment?

    Yes, we can! At Life Skills Autism Academy we have an entire team of specialists who can help you navigate through the often-complex process to begin ABA therapy, which all starts with a formal diagnostic evaluation. We will work with you to help locate and schedule a diagnostic evaluation and keep in contact with you along the way.

  • Where does ABA therapy take place?

    Life Skills Autism Academy is a highly-specialized, center-based treatment program designed for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Find the nearest center to your area by visiting our Locations page.

  • How many hours of therapy does my child need?

    ABA therapy is usually prescribed in "hours per week" - and this is often times referred to as the "treatment dosage". ABA therapy is a "dose-dependent" therapy, which means the higher the dose the greater the treatment effect. To determine the appropriate amount of therapy hours, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will complete a behavior assessment prior to starting therapy and make a recommendation of therapy hours based on your child's needs and your family's goals for treatment.

  • How long are ABA therapy sessions?

    Therapy sessions are based upon the number of hours your Board Certified Behavior Analyst recommends as part of the treatment plan. Sessions will range from 2 to 5 hours based on the need of the individual child and the associated treatment goals your BCBA and yourself have created together.

  • What is ABA Therapy?

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy is an evidence-based therapy in which behavior modifications are consistently applied and rewarded to make a meaningful change in overall behavior.

     
    During ABA Therapy, skills are broken down into small, easy-to-learn steps. Positive reinforcement is used to motivate the child, and data is continuously collected to measure the child's progress and modify their personalized treatment plan. ABA Therapy is the single most effective treatment for children with ASD and the only treatment shown to lead to substantial, lasting improvements in the lives of children with autism. Over 1,000 peer-reviewed, scientific autism articles describe ABA Therapy successes, leading to the National Institute of Health and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment to endorse the method, along with the U.S. Surgeon General.

  • What are the signs my child might have autism?

    The signs of autism vary from child to child, as does the timing of those signs. The following are core signs, symptoms and behaviors of children affected by autism.

    • Impaired Social Communication Skills
    • Impaired Communication Skills
    • Repetitive or Restricted Behaviors
    • Other Behaviors of Concerns

  • Are there different types of autism?

    Autism is a Spectrum Disorder, which means that it affects each child differently. Every child has a unique set of characteristics, and each child's ability to communicate, process, socialize and manage behavior will vary.

  • Can the Behavior Technician transport my child and I?

    Unfortunately, not. Your Behavior Technician is permitted to transport the child for a therapy session, but no other family members.

  • Can the Behavior Technician help my child with homework?

    Indirectly, yes. While we cannot teach school subjects like math or science, your BCBA can implement a program to work on skills that support completion of homework. For example, we cannot "teach" long division; however, we can work on tolerating a difficult task, asking for help, or remaining seated for a specified duration while completing non-preferred tasks. These skills are taught by using tasks such as homework and chores.

  • Can the BCBA instruct my child's teacher on how to accommodate my child?

    No they can not. However, your BCBA can provide information related to programs/skills being addressed in ABA therapy sessions, data related to those programs, and information regarding how various programs are ran. For example, if we are working on tolerating a difficult task for a specified duration, your BCBA can speak to the procedure used during ABA therapy to accomplish this. Your BCBA cannot instruct or provide any direct guidance on implementing programs or managing behavior within the classroom.

  • Is there a test for autism?

    There is no single test for autism; for example, there is no blood test or brain scan that will tell you if someone has autism.
    However, there are typically two stages involved to an autism diagnosis that both involve screening. The most common validated screening tool is called the M-CHATTM
    Another form of screening is the ADOS, or Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

  • What is the process to receive ABA therapy for my child?

    There are 5 typical steps in order for a child to receive ABA therapy. Life Skills Autism Academy can help you navigate this process and support you along the way.

    Step 1: Screening

    A screening, like the M-Chat ®, can help identify the likelihood that your child may have autism. Screenings are not a formal diagnosis and should be used in conjunction with a formal diagnosis appointment.

    Step 2: Diagnosis

    Working with a medical professional who can provide a formal diagnosis, such as a pediatrician or licensed psychologist, you and your child will complete a diagnostic test to determine if a child has an official diagnosis of ASD.

    Step 3: Insurance Navigation

    Working with your insurance provider, we will help navigate the process to verify if coverage is provided. In addition, we will help you submit all the necessary paperwork to obtain an authorization from your provider to receive ABA therapy as a covered benefit.

    Step 4: Assessment

    A Life Skills Autism Academy Supervising Clinician will meet with you and your child to complete an assessment, which is a series of tests that determine what therapy level is recommended. Also known as "treatment intensity", the dosage recommendation of ABA therapy is commonly prescribed in hours per week.

    Step 5: Treatment Planning

    Once your insurance provider approves the assessment and therapy hours, a Life Skills Autism Academy Supervising Clinician will sit down with you and your child to discuss an individualized, child-centric treatment plan. This plan will be centered around the needs of your child, unique to your child, and with your input.

  • How can I get started with ABA Therapy?

    Reach out to our Autism Specialists today!

  • How long has ABA therapy been around?

    Behavior Analysis has been studied for decades, however ABA Therapy has been growing for approximately 40 years.

  • Is ABA therapy effective?

    ABA Therapy is the single most effective treatment for children with ASD and the only treatment shown to lead to substantial, lasting improvements in the lives of children with autism. Over 1,000 peer-reviewed, scientific autism articles describe ABA Therapy successes, leading to the National Institute of Health and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment to endorse the method, along with the U.S. Surgeon General. Read more about this on our ABA therapy page.

  • Can the Behavior Technician go to Doctors appointments with us?

    Yes, if you wish. The Behavior Technician can provide assistance with behavior management, following directions, social interactions, etc. during these appointments. The individual providers may require you to sign a release for the Behavior Technician to be in the room based on their policies.

  • Can our Behavior Technician come on trips with us?

    No. The Behavior Technician is not able to go on vacations or trips. There are resources available that provide respite services that you might be eligible for.

  • Can my Behavior Technician go to daycare with my child?

    Possibly. This depends on the programming needs of your child, as well as the policies/ guidelines of the daycare.

  • What is the age range Life Skills Autism Academy provides ABA Therapy for?

    Life Skills Autism Academy focuses on early-intervention. Our ABA Program is specially designed for children ages 2-6. 

  • What languages can Life Skills Autism Academy provide ABA therapy in?

    Life Skills has a team of Supervising Clinicians and Behavior Technicians who are fluent in English, Spanish and Arabic. Depending on your insurance and the specific needs of the client and/or family, Life Skills can often identify and leverage translation companies to accommodate most languages.

  • What are Life Skills Autism Academy's locations for ABA therapy?

    Life Skills Autism Academy is currently located in 4 states and growing! To find out if we have services in your area, please visit our Locations page.

  • Will I learn how to provide ABA therapy?

    Yes, you will! Life Skills Autism Academy's Board Certified Behavior Analysts will work with you to schedule monthly ABA training sessions. These parent and family training sessions are important because they will help you learn the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis so that your child's treatment can extend beyond just the hours of therapy.

Ready to see what ABA therapy could do for your child?

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