FAQ about Applied Behavioural Analysis

How does the Intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Program unfold from diagnosis to starting therapy?
Children with a confirmed diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are referred to the Intensive ABA program. This diagnosis must be made by a pediatrician or a registered psychologist. Once we receive the referral, you will receive a letter asking you to contact the Intensive ABA Program Social Worker to discuss service. The Social Worker will also help you connect with other services and supports that may be beneficial.

If, after meeting with the Social Worker, you choose to participate in the Intensive ABA program, a Senior Therapist will be assigned. A Senior Therapist is a Child Management Specialist that has specialized training in Autism Spectrum Disorder and ABA. The Senior Therapist will call you directly to arrange visits with you and your child to complete a developmental assessment. This developmental assessment, along with input from you and any other relevant professionals who are involved with your child, will identify your child’s strengths and needs, and will form the basis of your child’s therapy program. The number of home therapy hours your child will receive will be based on your child’s age and the results of the Senior Therapist’s developmental assessment. After this developmental assessment is complete, a meeting will be held to develop an Individual Support Services Plan (ISSP) for your child, if one has not been developed already. Visits from your Senior Therapist will occur in your home on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

What does ABA therapy look like?
ABA therapy is designed to teach to the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder: social/play skills, communication and behavior. The Intensive ABA program employs only evidence based treatments and strategies with demonstrated effectiveness. All learning is activity and play based and is individualized based on your child’s strengths and needs. The goal is always that your child will learn to transfer (generalize) skills among a variety of environments. All of your child’s programs should be explained to you in terms of how these are related to the goals set by you and by the ISSP team.

Is all therapy done in the home?
Therapy will likely begin in the home. However, learning through generalization may take place in all settings the child may be in. Activities outside the home can be an important part of the home therapy program depending on the child’s needs. Social skill development for example, occurs best in natural social settings such as play dates, community outings, play groups, or child care settings.

How are Home Therapists hired?
Hiring is done by the parents. The Social Worker provides an information package and will meet with you to review the package, discuss every aspect of the recruitment process from advertising to conducting interviews and checking references and answer any questions you may have.  

Who is the employer of the Home Therapist?
The Regional Health Authority provides the funding for the Home Therapist salary but parents are considered the employer of the Home Therapist. Government of Newfoundland Labrador covers the required Employment Insurance and Canada Pension premiums but does not provide Worker’s Compensation coverage.

What training will parents and Home Therapists receive?
The Intensive ABA Program provides an upfront three-day training program. There is no cost for the training and it is recommended that parents / caregivers attend if at all possible. Home Therapists are required to attend this training prior to beginning work with a child and they are paid for their attendance. Some of the topics covered include: Intensive ABA Program Overview, Roles & Responsibilities, Core Features of ASD, Evidence Based Treatments, ABA Strategies, Individualized Programming Development, Transitions, Visual Supports, Behavior Modification and Fun and Exciting Therapy. Senior Therapists also provide intensive hands on training for the child’s individualized programming in the home with the parents and Home Therapist on a regular basis and at every visit, as needed.

Should my child stay in child care if he/she is already enrolled when therapy starts?
The final decision rests with the parents with input from the results of the developmental assessment and discussion with the ISSP team. Participation in child care will be an individualized decision based on the needs of the child and the family.

How long will my child be eligible for Home Therapy?
With adherence to the Funding/Service Agreement, funding is based on the child’s age and the Senior Therapist assessment of their developmental needs. The Intensive ABA Program funding ends prior to Grade 4 entry.

How to become an ABA Home Therapist:

Step 1: Families recruit and hire home therapists. They are encouraged to recruit through advertisement in local papers, by posting online at various job sites, as well as posting at various community locations. A standard job search in these avenues should point you towards families who are hiring.

Inquiring Home Therapists can also send their resumes to the ABA Program Managers/Designate, they may circulate them to the teams who may share them with their families who are actively recruiting.

Step 2: Once you complete the job competition process with a family and are hired, you will attend the 3 day ABA training.  Families are encouraged to attend the 3 day ABA training as well as in home training individualized to the child’s ABA programming.