So many families we talk to don’t know where to start or what to think about Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA). Here you will find information and resources (most of which is free) that will help answer those questions.
You’re welcome to call if you would like to speak with a member of our team to help break it all down for you. There’s a lot to consider.
An organisation that advocates and actively campaigns for the use and access of ABA for assisting individuals diagnosed with Autism. If there is anything going on regarding ABA in the UK, Jane McCready knows about it. A must visit site! There is tons of helpful information here, for parents and professionals alike.
No credentialing body for ABA in the UK is yet established. The UK Society for Behaviour Analysts is the closest organisation we have to achieving this goal. UK-SBA now provides a register for professionals that have met their requirement standards. They also provide a forums for various topics related to the profession. For those new to the field, or have an active interest, such as a parent, it could be worth signing up (there is a small annual fee).
The USA industry body, was created to credential and oversee the professional administration of ABA services. The BACB currently fills the credentialling void in the UK, and will do so at least until 2025. So they do have a presence here also. All ABA Horizons tutors will be taught in congruence with the standards and practices determined by this international organisation. Lots of information here worth exploring.
A free online guide about the autism spectrum and ABA, created for anyone concerned (professionals and families alike). A fantastic, free resource for those wanting to learn.
What is an EHCP?
- An Education Health Care Plan (commonly referred to as EHCP or EHC Plan) is essentially a legal statement that specifies and details the special or additional needs of your child. Typically a SENCo will create the document, liaising with family, the local Education, Health and Social sectors in your area, to ensure those needs are met (as the Local Authority has a legal obligation to so).
Why are EHCPs important?
- Other services (Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy etc.) are frequently included. Typically however, there is no seat for ABA at the EHCP table. Mainly because it's an expensive service to provide, and LAs are usually short of funds anyway. ABA can be included in an EHCP (and relieve families of much, if not all, the financial burden), but it's by no means an easy or simple process to successfully navigate. Decisions on including ABA often go to tribunal, where evidence for the efficacies of ABA must be demonstrated, and ultimately convince an impartial panel.
Though we're learning all the time, we're not professionals with regards to EHCP and other source of funding. The following resources will point you towards that specialist advice that can serve you best.
SENLegal operate throughout the country, and can help you with your EHC Plan application (they do charge). They have a fantastic record getting ABA approved on a child's EHC Plan. There is also lots of free webinars with useful information on their facebook page.
Sunil has both success and experience working with many Local Authorities. Not just advocating for children with additional needs, but also to help families recruit funding needed for ABA programmes. He offers a free 20 minute consultation, so worth reaching out to!
A huge UK resource to help parents and families navigate the legal issues related to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) community. There are some really useful blogs and information on this site.
A UK charity dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for disabled children. Has the knock on of helping the family too. You can apply for support to help overcome any financial restraints.
Another UK Charity that assists families with special needs individuals. They help provide the resources or equipment to help make life that bit easier.
An organisation set up by parents in Liverpool. They run a Saturday School for families in the area. This lets volunteers and caregivers get trained in ABA, whilst teaching kids valuable social and academic skills.
Create your own gamified exercises and engaging activities, that collects data at the same time! A “must use” for tele-services, or even in person.
Visual performance and matching apps for kids on the spectrum. They are free to use, you just have to agree to submit the data, fill out a large questionnaire, to the company which they use for research purposes
They don't ask for any identifiable info, only age, diagnosis etc. for their research purposes.
Is ABA a cure for Autism?
- No. ABA is simply the best methodology we have to date for helping many individuals with additional needs become as independent as possible. We are not interested in "curing" anyone. Our job is simply to help those children and families the best we can.
Does ABA try to change or "normalise" my child?
- No. Autism is a spectrum populated with individuals that have their own strengths and needs. Many of which however need help to express themselves, understand what is going on around them and to become as independent as possible. ABA is way to help this process. Analagous to Vygotskij's zone of proximinal development.
How long should my child receive ABA for?
- The short answer is: it depends, as every one on the spectrum has different strengths and needs. What must always be remembered however is that ABA is a therapy. Like any other therapy, it should be faded out as soon as it's not needed. A therapy that's not fading is a therapy that isn't working.
Is ABA abusive or unethical?
- No. Though regrettably, like our cousins in science, ABA does have a checkered history which, we as a company at least, don't deny. As ABA is a young science, many of those unethical practices remain fresh in memory. In your research online you will likely read many complaints, that simply put: are legitimate (we wish it was otherwise!) Fortunately now though, ABA looks very differently today to what it once did.
Is ABA recommended for every child with Autism?
- Although ABA is hugely beneficial for anyone (neuro-atypical or neuro-typical), it's not necessarily needed for everyone on the spectrum. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) could be more suitable for more advanced learners.
What else is ABA used for, how else is it beneficial?
- The majority of research into ABA has focused on autism and other learning difficulty related diagnoses over the years. Many other fields however have utilised behavior science, including:
What do you mean by "ABA is evidence based"?
- Basically, that ABA (like physics, chemistry and biology) is upheld to the rigorous standards of the scientific method. Any results must be recorded objectively, and reproducible (so others can repeat and verify the results).
What does an ABA programme look like?
- ABA is provided by a tutor in a one-to-one setting. The number of hours a tutor works with a child for depends upon the child's individual strength and needs. The evaluation is the first step before service provision. The work a tutor does is overseen (5-10% of tutor hours) by a supervisor (also referred to as consultant), who is responsible for:
- designing the child's individualised program.
- training the tutor(s) so they can implement the plan effectively.
- train the parents so they know what to do in the absence of the tutor.
The bad news is, is rife with acronyms, and it's easy to get confused! The good news is, we have many of the most common/important ones listed for you here
- ABA - Applied Bheaivour Analysis
- BACB - Behaviour Analyst Certification Board
- BCBA-D - Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (Doctorate)
- BCBA - Board Certified Behaviour Analyst
- BCaBA - Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst
- RBT - Registered Behaviour Technician
- BT - Behaviour Tutor
- EHCP - Education Health Care Plan
- LA - Local Authority
- CCG - Clinical Commissioning Group Group
- LO - Local Offer
- FCT - Functional Communication Training
- PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System
- AAC- Augmentative & Alternative Communication Device
- EIBI - Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention
- SEN - Special Educational Needs
- EHCP - Education Health Care Plan
- SENCO - Special Educational Needs Coordinator