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If You’re A New Parent with an Autistic Child, We Have A Few Tips

If you’re raising an autistic child for the first time, it may feel like an overwhelming experience. Of course, you want what’s best for your child, and here we will go over several key pieces of information that other families similar to yours have found helpful.

Have A Set Schedule
For children with autism it is important to have a structured schedule that will give them a regular routine to be comfortable with. Children with autism need consistency in their life and this is a great way to provide it. Whether it is eating meals at the same time every day, going to therapy sessions at set intervals or going to bed at the same time each night, doing things in the same manner will give them a sense of calm and allow their days to be completed incident-free.
It is important to keep disruptions to the routine at a minimum, but as there are obviously unexpected things that come up, you should make sure to warn your child when the routine needs to be broken.

Reward Them for Good Behavior
We suggest positive reinforcement as an effective way to show your child they are acting appropriately or have learned a new, important skill. It is suggested to be very specific about the good thing they have done so they will ultimately look to repeat the behavior in the future. Rewarding your child with a toy or favorite food may be a good way to have the behavior stick in their memory.

Let Them Have Fun
After all, they are still children. They want to play, laugh and have a good time just like any other kid. Although they need to be treated differently in certain ways, it is important that you find ways to have fun with your child and have them come out of their shell a bit.
It is suggested that these fun moments don’t appear to be a part of therapy or a learning moment. Just spending quality time with your child can do wonders, but when you let them play it will help them tremendously.

At SEED Center, we aim to provide comprehensive services and therapies to those living with Autism in Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Westport, CT and beyond. We also offer training and educational opportunities for the families of those on the spectrum to better understand how they can communicate with their loved ones.
Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide.


How Much ABA?

Written by Luis Vera

 

At The SEED Center, our mission is to provide positively impact the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, ​therapeutic services that both across the spectrum and across their lifespan.

Whether this is your first time researching an ABA provider or your fourth or fifth time (we hope and believe this we’ll be your last stop), a frequent question that comes to mind for a lot of caregivers is “how much ABA is enough? How many hours of ABA does my child need?” The answer to that, as with many things in life, is: it depends. What I can tell you though, without hesitation, is that in the majority of cases, anything less than 10 hours a week of ABA treatment, say 1 hour a week, could/should be considered glorified babysitting.

Why do I say that? Well, think about it, if your child has multiple goals that need to be worked on across various developmental domain​s and​ for just ​one ​of those goals it could honestly take hundreds of learning trials for your child to achieve true mastery of that skill. It is very unrealistic that 1 hour a week of ABA could achieve that level of progress. Essentially, determining the ideal treatment dosage of ABA therapy for your child is a complex decision, composed of many factors that have to be considered.

Per the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), “ABA treatment programs for ASD incorporate findings from hundreds of applied studies focused on understanding and treating ASD published in peer-reviewed journals over 50 years. Treatment may vary in terms of intensity and duration, the complexity and range of treatment goals, and the extent of direct treatment provided. Many variables, including the number, complexity, and intensity of behavioral targets and the client’s response to treatment help determine which model is most appropriate. Although existing on a continuum, these differences can be generally categorized as one of two treatment models: Focused or Comprehensive ABA Treatment.”

According to the guide ‘​Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder​’ published by the BACB, the attempt to answer how many hours of ABA therapy is described as “an analysis of multiple variables, such as the intensity of treatment goals, client needs & severity of deficits, and client response to treatment. A range of 10-25 hours/week for focused treatment and 30-40 hours/week for comprehensive treatment is recommended.” In other words, treatment dosage is based on medical necessity.

What’s the difference between Focused and Comprehensive Treatment, besides how many hours my child is being serviced?

According to the BACB, determinations as to whether ABA treatment should be focused or comprehensive and the intensity of treatment should be based on the ​medical necessity​ of the treatment for each learner rather than the individual’s chronological age, duration or nature of previous ABA services.

The following is an excerpt from an update to the guide published in February 2019 by the BACB that highlights the distinction between Focused and Comprehensive treatment.

 

INTENSITY OF TREATMENT

The Guidelines note that treatment intensity (sometimes referred to as dosage) typically comprises both the number of hours of direct treatment per week and the total duration of treatment. The comments that follow focus primarily on the number of hours of treatment per week.

Focused ABA Treatment is described in the Guidelines as”…treatment provided directly to the client for a limited number of behavioral targets[functional skills, problem behaviors].” Intensity levels in a range of 10-25 hours per week are mentioned, with the caveat that the intensity may need to be higher depending on the nature of the target behaviors and other considerations, individualized to each client. For instance, behaviors that put the client and/or others at risk of harm may well warrant high-intensity focused ABA treatment for some period of time. Those may include maladaptive behaviors to be reduced and/or adaptive behaviors that need to be developed or strengthened in order to enhance the client’s health, safety, and overall functioning.

Comprehensive ABA Treatment  is described as “…treatment of the multiple affected developmental domains, such as cognitive, communicative, social, emotional, and adaptive functioning” as well as maladaptive behaviors. The Guidelines state that intensity levels of 30-40 hours per week are common and necessary to achieve meaningful improvements in a large number of treatment targets. The Guidelines emphasize, however, that the intensity of comprehensive treatment must be individualized to the client’s characteristics and other factors. To expand on those points, we note that analyses of data from multiple studies of comprehensive ABA treatment for children with ASD show that

Whether ABA treatment is focused or comprehensive, the guidelines make it clear that treatment is comprised of services delivered directly to the child based on medical necessity which is pinpointed to the needs of every individual. In circling back to the original questions of “how much ABA is enough? How many hours of therapy does my child need?” the answer is not that simple, it depends…..on the medical necessity of your child.

 

References:

BACB Guidelines


Westport, CT

Westport, CT

Westport is one of the best places to live in the state of Connecticut. Our town got its start in agriculture, primarily structured around the onion growing industry. In the early years of the 20th century, Westport began to experience a cultural expansion. Artists, musicians, authors, and others began migrating to Westport to be free from commuting demands. F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of the Great Gatsby, settled right here in Westport!

Today, Westport has developed into a center for insurance, finance, scientific, and technical services. Our proximity to New York City, our excellent cultural opportunities, and affluent neighborhoods make Westport, CT an excellent place to live and raise a family.

Autism Services in Westport

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental condition that affects social interaction, speech, communication, and behavior. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms vary with each individual person. Because some of the more obvious signs of ASD present at around 2-3 years old, many families with young children find themselves dealing with a new diagnosis.

two young boys playing at a playground

The SEED Center is here to help. We work with members of the Westport community to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment and services for individuals diagnosed with autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis, social skills training and parent training.  In addition, we are in network with several major insurance companies.  We proudly work with clients of all ages throughout the Westport area; including our home-based services and center based services in our state-of-the-art center in Stamford.