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How to Choose an ABA provider?


Choosing the Right ABA Provider: Emphasizing Quality of Care and Openness

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely acknowledged evidence-based method for supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. However, picking the right ABA provider can be challenging due to the variety of options. This article will discuss crucial factors to consider when selecting an ABA provider, such as educational qualifications, the significance of interviewing multiple providers, and the advantages of opting for a locally-owned provider. Additionally, we will touch on the importance of sufficient facility security, ethically-based core values, parent and sibling training, and a transparent treatment setting. 

Interviewing Several Providers

It is vital to interview various ABA providers to find the best match for your child and family. This process enables you to assess the provider's expertise, approach, and philosophy. Consider asking about their experience with children similar to yours, their treatment methods, and how they involve parents in the treatment process. Tour the facility and meet the leadership BCBA team.


Benefits of Locally-Owned Providers vs. Private Equity or Corporate Ownership

Opting for a locally-owned ABA provider can offer numerous advantages over a provider owned by a private equity firm or large corporation. Locally-owned providers are more likely to prioritize quality care and have a vested interest in their community. In contrast, private equity firms and large corporations often focus primarily on financial returns for their investors, which can lead to reduced quality of care as treatment goals are compromised to meet financial targets.


For a list of local ABA clinics that are owned by a private equity company click here.

Considerations: Non-Registered Behavioral Health Technicians (BHTs) in Profit-Driven Clinics

ABA clinics employ various professionals with different qualifications who play critical roles in providing treatment. Two such roles are Behavioral Health Technicians (BHTs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). While both BHTs and RBTs can provide valuable support in an ABA clinic, there are potential risks associated with relying solely on BHTs rather than RBTs.


Key aspects to consider include:


  1. Standardized training: RBTs undergo standardized training overseen by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), while BHTs may have varying levels of ABA training and education, resulting in inconsistent service quality.

  2. Scope of practice: RBTs are specifically trained to implement ABA interventions under supervision, while BHTs may not have the same expertise in ABA, limiting their ability to provide appropriate treatment and adapt interventions as needed.

  3. Ethical concerns: RBTs adhere to the BACB's ethical guidelines, while BHTs may not be held to the same ethical standards, potentially resulting in suboptimal or harmful treatment practices.

  4. Supervision and accountability: RBTs receive ongoing supervision, while BHTs may not have the same level of supervision or accountability, increasing the risk of errors or treatment mismanagement.

  5. Insurance and funding issues: Some insurance companies and funding sources require ABA services to be provided by RBTs or other certified professionals, which may not be the case for BHTs.

  6. Public perception and trust: Relying on BHTs instead of RBTs could negatively impact the public perception of the ABA clinic.


Facility Security

A secure facility is vital for your child's safety and well-being. Look for ABA providers with sufficient security measures, such as coded entry doors, surveillance cameras, and strict visitor protocols. These features ensure that your child is protected while receiving treatment.

Ethically-Based Core Values

The treatment team should have a robust set of ethically-based core values guiding their practice. These values can include compassion, respect, integrity, and a commitment to evidence-based practice. By selecting a provider with a strong ethical foundation, you can feel confident that your child's best interests are always prioritized.

Parent and Sibling Training 

An effective ABA provider should offer regular parent and sibling training sessions. This training helps families understand the principles of ABA, equips them with strategies to support their loved one, and fosters a more cohesive home environment. Inquire about the provider's approach to family involvement and the resources they offer to help parents and siblings better support their loved one.

Transparent Treatment Environment

Transparency in the treatment process is essential for building trust between the provider, the child, and the family. A transparent environment can be achieved through occasional supervision of treatment sessions by parents, using tools such as one-way mirrors or live video feeds. This level of transparency allows parents to observe their child's progress, understand the treatment methods, and feel confident that their child is receiving the best care possible.

Choosing the right ABA provider is a critical decision for families with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. By prioritizing educational qualifications, interviewing multiple providers, selecting a locally-owned facility, and ensuring adequate security, ethically-based core values, and a transparent treatment environment, parents can feel confident in their choice. Ultimately, finding the right provider will lead to a more effective treatment experience and a better outcome for your child.

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