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Prior to beginning treatment, a diagnostic evaluation is required. Additional testing is based on individual need and is only used if the testing will help us to design a program or treatment. In general, testing is used to help diagnose disorders and determine levels of intellectual functioning, language ability or adaptive skills.
An Evaluation and any diagnostic testing will be billed to insurance (and/or Medicaid in Wisconsin). Testing may be a part of the initial assessment or follow-up assessment. Please check with your insurance company. Typically your family would be responsible for potentially a deductible and/or co-pay. If you have a Wisconsin Medicaid there would be no charge for the assessment beyond what is reimbursed by Medicaid. Any questions regarding financial responsibility may be discussed prior to an appointment with our billing staff. If testing would pose a financial hardship for the family this should also be discussed with billing.
We work with parent/guardians to meet the needs of their individual case. Expenses can be spread over time.
In what situations will you accept testing by other agencies, such as schools or private therapists?
Testing from other professionals is always accepted. Testing can also be helpful to chart the effectiveness of therapy.
Therapy typically takes place in the child’s natural environment (home). Depending on what’s appropriate for your child, therapy may also take place outside of the home.
ABA therapy programs are wide-ranging and covers all areas in which your child needs to be successful. Goals are created and broken down into small steps. The steps are then organized into a logical order and taught one small step at a time. Areas may include communication, behavioral, functional and social skills.
Research shows that the greater the amount of hours, the better the outcome for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Children with an autism spectrum disorder characteristically do not learn naturally throughout their days like typically developing children do. Learning is a full-time job for children that typically occurs without being noticed. Children with an autism spectrum disorder need to be taught to learn. This means many hours of practicing these skills. Parent/guardian training and involvement is also an essential part of a successful ABA program. Tools and techniques of ABA should be incorporated into daily life. The amount of ABA therapy needed will depend on a variety of factors to be determined in the diagnostic evaluation.
Parent/guardians are trained to do individual therapy with their child. We recommend that parent/guardians engage their child in a few hours of therapy a week to be familiar with what their child is learning. Parent/guardians are encouraged to join team meetings and training provided by clinic staff or outside professionals.
In general we ask that one adult over the age of 18 (who is responsible for the child's health and wellbeing) is in the home while staff are working with the child. No one knows your child as well as you do, and this is important for protection of every child with autism. We do everything we can to provide a safe environment for therapy, and an adult caregiver’s presence is important.
A child exits the program when they have gained everything possible from therapy. We look for certain behavioral milestones, such as:
- Learning through watching peers
- Desire to be with and interact with peers
- Understanding of subtle social cues and abstract social relations
Typically children are not dismissed from our program. Lack of follow-through that puts a child or therapists in danger may lead to termination of services.
Your child will have a team of approximately 3-6 professionals working with him/her on an individual basis. The size of the team is determined by your child’s number of therapy hours. Team Members include:
- Behavioral Technicians I, II, III
- Senior Therapist
- Clinical Supervisor
- Lead Therapist & Clinical Director
Behavioral technicians must have a high school diploma, be over 18 years of age, a clear criminal and caregiver background check, and have the ability to understand behavioral principles and develop rapport with children. They need the ability to follow through with instructions and follow a consistent behavioral plan. They also need the people skills to fit into a situation where they are going into someone else's home and the flexibility to relate to many different people and life situations.
What kind of training are the behavioral technicians given? Who provides the training and what are their qualifications?
We provide 40 hours of behavior technician training split between classroom and hands on training. Classroom and in-home training involves learning the basics of Applied Behavior Analysis, collection of data and graphing, psychological ethics and avoiding dual relationships, professionalism, and confidentiality. The behavioral technicians continue their training with a programmed sequence of readings and experiences supervised by a Senior Staff with direct one on one training with a specific child for at least 10 hours. All Senior Staff have 2,000 hours of behavioral technician experience and have gone through an intensive 16 week internship where they are mentored by the senior clinical staff as they work on specific cases.
We believe that one-to-one therapy usually provides the best opportunity for improvement when treating an autism spectrum disorder. However, there are many situations in which the child will make gains while in other educational programs.
A child's progress is evaluated with standard Applied Behavior Analysis practices of single-subject-design strategies and visual inspection of graphs, standardized psychological testing, progression on the ABLLS-R or VB-MAPP or other appropriate measures to document developmental progression. This means that we take and analyze a lot of data to ensure your child is making progress.
Our staff is encouraged to work with the schools to ensure consistency across settings. The degree to which this occurs varies and is discussed on an individual basis. Some examples of how we work with schools are as follows; conducting classroom observations, attending IEP meetings, having staff shadow children in school to help improve and maintain the positive effects of therapy, referring parent/guardians to advocates to help with school issues when needed, and helping connect school officials with other treatment providers.
How do you coordinate with private therapists that the family employs who are not a part of your organization?
Our clinicians often work closely with other professionals, because we realize that different experts can add valuable insight into treatment. If suggestions can be added to a treatment plan without crossing ethical or professional boundaries, we will bring these suggestions into therapy.