1. Are you working with qualified, skilled clinicians?
The most important aspect of a quality program is the ability of the clinicians to plan appropriate programs and put your learner in a position to succeed. To do that, having staff who are skilled and qualified is paramount. Foremost, every ABA program should be managed and supervised by a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). BCBAs go through rigorous training and certification to ensure they are able to program effectively.
2. Does your staff give you practical strategies to use between sessions?
ABA has many modalities that can be used for intervention. While this is fantastic, what does it really mean in practical terms? How can we boil down the theories in ABA into something that can be used every day? Your BCBA and behavior technicians should be able to give you practical advice that you can implement seamlessly on a daily basis to help achieve small but powerful gains in your learner’s life and daily habits. Yes, it may be helpful to know the why of a particular intervention but it’s more effective to know the how. At HLG, our clinical staff will give you the how so you feel empowered to make changes that make a positive difference.
3. As a parent, are you part of the decision-making team?
We often hear stories of families that feel overwhelmed with their ABA program because a supervising clinician comes in and decides exactly how the intervention should run, from the types of programs to the number of intervention methods to when each routine is to take place. Parents are the experts when it comes to their child. You should be and feel like you are a valued member of the team. This means you should have input on goal planning, teaching strategies and logistics. This does not mean that you should create the programs and run the team–that’s why you have a BCBA! But, simply, this means you should have a voice in the development of your learner’s program.
4. Does your child have opportunities to generalize the skills he/she is learning?
Teaching a skill in isolation with few distractions and limited instructors can be a good thing. But the world simply does not work this way. Once your child learns a skill in isolation, are they given the opportunity to proactive that skill with different people (siblings, parents, other caretakers, etc.)? And are they able to practice that skill with different examples? If I can count items from a group of five, can I gather three oranges from a bowl of five if my sibling asks? Ultimately, be sure your learner is using the skills learned in session, in practical, socially significant ways.