5 Questions to Ask When Searching For an ABA Provider
1) Is there an Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) supervising the case?
BCBAs are specifically trained to implement and supervise ABA programming, they are also held to a high standard of ethical and professional conduct. If you are seeking ABA services you will want a BCBA supervising as they will have the educational and professional requirements to provide high quality ABA services.
Not only should there be a BCBA supervising but they should be experienced in working with children at the developmental level of your child. Consider asking about their experience working with children like yours (diagnosis, age, developmental level, behaviours). If their experience and training is not a great match ask if they know any BCBAs with experience that matches your child's needs. BCBAs are typically more than happy to point you in the direction of someone who can help and are ethically required to practice only within their scope of experience and training.
2) How much time per month is allotted for supervision of my child's programming and what might these supervision activities be?
The more supervision the better (in most cases), typically the BCBA should be engaging in supervision for 2 out of every 10 hours of direct service per week. This means that if a staff member is working with your child for 10 hours the BCBA should be supervising 2 of these hours each week. Supervision should include; observations, assessments, looking at the data as well as writing/revising interventions. Note that this may change depending on the individual and goals. =
3) What assessments will you complete and how frequently will you complete them?
The provider should be creating individualized supports based on this assessment.
It may be helpful to ask why they have selected this assessment; even if you are unfamiliar with the assessment they have listed they should be able to give you a logical reason as to why this assessment was selected for your child. Everything should be individualized and based on the child's needs and goals, even the assessment, so the reasoning should relate back to the developmental level of the child and the goals of intervention.
The assessment should be completed at regular intervals. Again there will be individual differences in intervals so ask why they have selected this interval. Assessments are the ways in which we determine if our interventions are effective so assessments should be regular and frequent.
4) How do you select goals?
Goals should be based on assessment results as well as client and family preferences. The service provider should highlight the need for developmentally appropriate goals that improve quality of life. These goals should take into account the things that matter most to the child and family.
5) How do you train staff?
The BCBA is typically not the one implementing the intervention; usually staff members implement intervention developed by the BCBA. Staff training is important and there should be a clear plan of how staff are trained.
While you are on the topic ask how you will be trained and what your role in the intervention will be. For change to be long lasting and across environments the whole family should be a part of the intervention process.