Learning how to find the best ABA schools for autism with trained therapists is extremely important in helping your child succeed and gain the necessary skills to join a regular education or to become a functioning member of society. Applied Behavior Analysis is currently the most effective evidence based autism treatment. It works best when a child receives intensive therapy consisting of 20-40 hours per week.
Studies indicate that 47% of children in an experimental group that received 40-hours of ABA therapy per week, with the treatment lasting two-to six-years became indistinguishable from their peers or achieved “best outcome,” with many able to have their “autism” label removed. As a whole, 89% of the children in the experimental group saw substantial improvement (e.g., significant gains in IQ and socialization).
Different forms of ABA training may include discrete trial training, pivotal response training (PRT), applied verbal behavior programs (AVB), structured play, incidental teaching and the use of PECS (picture exchange communication systems).
Additional autism therapies, such as:
Having an occupational therapist available to develop a sensory diet and specific occupational therapy goals for children that also have sensory processing disorder is extremely beneficial as well. When a variety of ABA autism therapies are provided together, the child is much more likely to show improvement in symptoms.
One challenge to finding schools that provide quality intervention when teaching children with autism is that they can be very expensive. There are some schools that are attempting to obtain services by billing health insurance companies in states that have mandated coverage, but I believe this is rare to date.
Often times the school can only provide interventions in more of a group setting that involves setting goals/desirable behaviors for each child and providing positive reinforcement for displaying those behaviors. If you can find an affordable ABA school that provides one on one intervention, then that is very exceptional.
The only public school I am aware of at this point is Croyden Avenue School in Kalamazoo, MI where I was trained as a Discrete Trial Technician. This particular program uses undergraduate practicum students from Western Michigan University to provide one-on-one behavioral based instruction for each child in the pre-primary impaired classroom. If you know of more public schools that provide one on one ABA therapy, please feel free to contact me so I can update this page.
I did find a website that lists a large number of ABA schools and programs throughout the world that you can check out by clicking on the link. However, it does not list all available schools as I noticed that there are some I am aware of that aren't listed.
You may also consider a new online resource from the organization Rethink Autism which teaches you how to implement applied behavior analysis and provides tailored programs to use yourself based on your child's specific needs.
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