Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is considered the “gold standard” when it comes to treating Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Years of research have shown that ABA therapy can help children with autism acquire important life and social skills while reducing challenging or dangerous behaviors. As a parent of a child with autism, you may be wondering how long your child needs ABA therapy. The answer: it depends. Some children may need sustained support through their adolescence and into adulthood, while some may be able to phase out of ABA therapy at a younger age. Today, we’re discussing how Trumpet Behavioral Health’s team assesses your child’s progress and plans for when your child may no longer need ABA Therapy.
Assessing Your Child With Autism’s Goals and Progress
At Trumpet, we know how important it is for your child’s goals to reflect their current progress. Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs®) perform regular assessments, which help your therapy team update, alter, and add new goals to your child’s autism therapy plan. The Trumpet team will collaborate closely with you and your family when assessing progress and setting new goals. That ultimate goal is for your child to not need ABA therapy. At TBH, your therapy team will work with you to determine if, when, and how to transition your child out of formal autism services.
When Is a Good Time To Stop ABA Therapy?
Every child is unique, and Trumpet individualizes each ABA therapy program to match your child’s specific needs. Depending on the purpose of your child’s program (which may be skill acquisition, problem behavior reduction, social skills or adaptive life skills), the therapy team will monitor the progress your child is making to indicate your child may no longer need ABA therapy. These indicators include:
- Your child is learning from their natural environment without needing direct instruction
- The problem behavior has reduced significantly and can be managed by parents, teachers, etc. without the support of a BCBA®
- Parents or other caregivers are able to implement behavior plans and/or teach strategies with a high degree of integrity
- Your child is benefiting from a different educational environment
- Your child’s goals have been met (for example, in a focused program, your child has learned the target skill)
- Your child can generalize new behaviors to new environments or other people naturally or with very little teaching
- New skills emerge spontaneously without direct teaching
How To Successfully Transition Away From ABA Therapy
Stopping ABA therapy is a big life change for your child, even if they’re exhibiting the indicators listed above. When it comes time to transition out of ABA therapy, the Trumpet team will work closely with you to prepare you, your child, and your family for this change. Depending on your family’s situation, Trumpet may recommend moving to a consultation model before pursuing a full discharge. Our goal is to help your family live life to the fullest, so we’ll provide a supportive transition that helps your child thrive. This includes providing parent training, teacher and caregiver training, and an in-depth review of your child’s data, ongoing goals, and transition plan.
Whether your child is ready to end formal autism therapy or needs continuous support throughout their life, Trumpet is here for your family throughout your journey with autism. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to ABA therapy, contact us today.