Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Effective Teaching, Brighter Futures.

What is ABA?

Life Strategies specializes in ABA Therapy for children and adolescents living with Autismincluding high functioning autism (HFA), sometimes referred to as Asperger’s, a more “mild” presentation of autism.

We provide quality and personalized ABA to children across the autism spectrum in our Blooming Potential Autism & Learning Centers, and in-home, in-schools and in the community. Each child or adolescent is unique in the type of ABA programming most beneficial for them.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding behavior and how behavior is affected by the environment. The science of behavior analysis focuses on principles about how behavior works or how learning takes place. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) are trained in the science and application of Behavior Analysis.

The use of ABA principles has expanded rapidly in recent years. Today ABA is widely recognized as an essential, safe, and effective treatment. ABA has been endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and is considered to be the best-researched treatment by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Programs are engaging and fun for children!

See below for more information as to why ABA is so highly recommended.

Where does ABA Occur?

ABA at Life Strategies occurs in-home, in-center, and in community settings, as needed. ABA can primarily occur in-home or in one of our centers, or a combination of both. Life Strategies’s Blooming Potential Autism & Learning Centers are located in Chesterton, Schererville, and South Bend, Indiana.

ABA is most successful when incorporated across multiple environments and people. Life Strategies provides ABA Therapy both in your home and in one of our Blooming Potential Autism & Learning Centers. This combination of locations helps your child to generalize and practice skills in multiple environments. In addition, children will have the opportunity to learn new skills at home prior to practicing them in other settings. In-home ABA also assists parents to become very comfortable and familiar with the ABA Teaching Team and assists parents become a valuable part of the ABA programming.

Our ABA Centers provide learning opportunities with peers, while still receiving individualized, 1:1 therapy. Our Centers also offer opportunities for your child to practice in group teaching formats and will provide opportunities to learn to follow instructions and to participate in group lessons and activities. This combination assists with mastery of skills and can help your child in the school classroom as well.

Home and center-based ABA programs can supplement school programs or can act as a stand-alone program to meet individualized communication, learning, and social goals.

When appropriate, ABA services can assist your child in other community settings such as daycare, school, and in recreational activities, such as camp and clubs. We can also assist with routine interactions within your community, such as going grocery shopping with a parent or engaging with peers at the park.

What is an ABA Program?

Life Strategies offers several Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Program options for children with autism:

  1. Blooming Potential Early Intervention Program (ages 2.5 – 7)
  2. Full-Time ABA Program (2.5 – late teen years)
  3. Part-Time ABA Program (available as recommended, all ages)
  4. After School ABA Program (school age)

Life Strategies’s ABA autism therapy can occur in-home and/or in our Blooming Potential Autism and Learning Centers. ABA therapy is most effective when delivered 25-35 hours per week. Therefore, children can receive therapy throughout the week both in-home, in-center, and in schools as appropriate and recommended. Life Strategies’s ABA Program is designed to help families and children receive the number of ABA hours that maximize the therapy benefits, therefore, therapy is offered in more than one setting.  Generally, children receive the best results with frequent, dense, and consistent ABA therapy that occurs across multiple environments. The best ABA programs offer the therapy in a variety of settings.

Life Strategies’s ABA programs work on teaching new skills, reducing problematic behaviors, and focus on increasing language and social skills. Applied Verbal Behavior (AVB) incorporates a behavioral approach to teach and reinforce communication (such as speech or sign language) and other necessary skills. Programs increase socialization and teach prerequisite learning skills such as attention to task, waiting, responding to requests, sitting at a desk, etc. In addition, ABA programs can teach academic and life skills.

Our in-home and center-based ABA programs are tailored to fit your child’s specific needs. The number of hours a child receives of ABA depends on individual goals. However, most children receive between 25-35 hours of direct therapy per week and 4-10 hours of supervision hours per month.

Research from the National Research Council suggests that at least 25 hours per week is critical for long-term success.

Programs are individualized based on your child’s skill level. Initial assessments provide baseline information on your child’s current skill level. Common assessment tools include the ABLLS-R, the AFLS, the VB-MAPP, direct observation, previous educational assessments, and input from parents. This information is gathered to create an individualized set of goals and procedures. Program data is recorded electronically on tablets and laptops so that goal adjustments can be made quickly and thoroughly.

ABA Paraprofessionals (Paras) and Registered Behavioral Technicians (RBTs) are trained to implement the direct therapy goals. Each Para receives intensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis and in utilizing the therapy specifically with your child.

Who develops and designs the ABA Program?

Life Strategies employs a team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) who oversee this comprehensive therapy. To be effective, ABA must be delivered by individuals with extensive training. It is essential that the program is supervised by a professional who has advanced training and experience in ABA principles and methods. Insurance companies often only approve programs that are supervised by a BCBA.

Is Life Strategies Accredited?

Behavioral Health Center of Excellence for ABA therapy for children

Yes, Life Strategies is accredited by The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE). The BHCOE recognizes Life Strategies as a top behavioral service provider. The award recognizes exceptional special needs providers that excel in the areas of clinical quality, staff satisfaction and qualifications, and consumer satisfaction after a thorough audit of agency practices and outcomes.

Life Strategies employs experienced and credentialed professionals who care about making a difference.

At what age can I enroll my child?

ABA programs are available for children ages 24 months and up who are diagnosed with autism. Intensive, well designed, and timely intervention can help your child to thrive.

What will my child do during the program?

A trained ABA Paraprofessional or RBT can provide therapy in your home and in our Blooming Potential Autism & Learning Centers. The ABA Para provides direct, “one-on-one” therapy with your child. An ABA Clinical Supervisor or ABA Therapist provides a thorough skills assessment at the beginning of the program. Therapy is continually monitored by BCBAs.

Therapy time is comprised of instruction sessions and activities that are designed to take place in your child’s natural environment. The day is filled with interactive learning, reinforcement, and other positive learning activities. Instruction occurs both during play time and at a table for more traditional learning opportunities. The specific needs of your child, based upon collected data and assessments, will be documented throughout the day. Progress toward each goal is monitored daily via an online data collection and graphing program.

What is the family’s involvement?

We value parent and family involvement with every aspect of the program. Research shows that children in ABA programs make more robust gains when caregivers receive specific teaching and training in ABA strategies. Therefore, parent training is a required component of our ABA Programs.

Therapists at Life Strategies also understand the unique stressors that can be associated with living with autism and therefore provide therapy recommendations in a supportive manner and work closely with family members as recommendations are implemented. Each component of parent education is designed to enhance the parent’s knowledge of how to structure an effective learning environment at home to support the skills your child is attaining in therapy.

Do you offer Social Skill Groups?

Yes, Life Strategies offers Social Skill Groups for children with autism and other social and communication challenges. Social skills groups are offered for children, ages 5-17. Some groups meet monthly while other groups meet weekly. Sessions include structured, fun activities that promote natural learning opportunities with peer interaction. Groups are facilitated by LS Therapists. Contact us for the group that best fits your child’s needs.

Does Health Insurance and Medicaid cover ABA Therapy?

Many major health insurance companies provide coverage for ABA programs in Indiana when supervised by a BCBA. We also accept Medicaid for ABA therapy. Please contact us for more information, and we will help you assess your insurance coverage benefits.

How can I enroll my child?

Please contact us and we will arrange an initial appointment and answer any questions that you may have about our in-home and center-based ABA programs. We will also assist you in determining if your health insurance covers ABA Therapy.

Why ABA?

Autism Speaks states that ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health. There has been a dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives. In particular, ABA principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective.

More information about behavior analysis and ABA is available at the websites of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

ABA’s effectiveness has been widely studied. From National Institute of Mental Health, a section of the National Institute of Health, states, “Among the many methods available for treatment and education of people with autism, applied behavior analysis (ABA) has become widely accepted as an effective treatment.”

From the U.S. Surgeon General:
Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General states, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior.”

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
“The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in ASD has been well documented through 5 decades of research by using single-subject methodology”… “Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make 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.”

In addition to using sound principles, the National Research Council, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education says in their report “Educating Children with Autism” that “entry into intervention programs as soon as an autism spectrum diagnosis is seriously considered” is important.

How can we help?

We hope our website contains information to help you make informed decisions for your family. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the programs we offer at Life Strategies.