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What to expect

What to expect

1. Assessment

Before designing an ABA programme a BCBA/MSc qualified and experienced clinical practitioner will carry out an assessment with your child, usually in the home, school and community. Assessments consist of meetings and observations with the individual, family members, teachers and other professionals to identify things in the individual’s learned history and physical makeup that can affect their behaviour.

The primary purpose is to collect information about events that influence problem behaviour. Through this process we identify the behaviour and define the potential environmental settings/events such as medications, medical or physical problems, sleep patterns, eating routines, daily schedule, staffing patterns and interactions, likes/dislikes, things to avoid, etc.

The next phase of assessment includes direct observation from the ABA Consultant and the various stakeholders (teachers, parents, support staff). This helps us to identify the antecedent for when a problem behaviour does or doesn’t occur, as well as the consequences or outcomes of the undesirable behaviour that may be maintaining them. 

This important research is the first step for all ABA programmes. With this information we develop a working hypothesis and outline summaries explaining the function the behaviour serves or the reinforcing outcomes they produce in specific situations.

2. Teaching strategies

Our ABA programmes are guided by research and outcome-driven practices that are evidenced-based and peer-reviewed.

Our team utilise the following methodologies:

  • Principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)
  • Discrete Trial Training
  • Incidental Teaching
  • Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
  • Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
  • Observational Learning
  • Fluency Based Instruction/Timed Practice
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Video Modelling

3. Programme delivery

Once assessments are complete and staff teams have been assigned, service delivery commences. Within the first few weeks of an ABA Programme, an individualised Behaviour Support Plan (BSP) will be created. This will outline clear proactive and reactive strategies to manage behaviour based on data analysis and assessment conclusions. BSPs ensure consistency amongst staff on how to best respond to particular behaviours. These BSPs are regularly monitored and updated based on emerging data, staff feedback, and direct observations, and are only implemented following consultation with the family and other professionals as appropriate.

Personalised Plan (PP) is developed following the BSP, and this focuses on particular areas of learning and skill acquisition. Highly individualised, a PP may focus on areas such as increasing leisure skills, improving self-help skills, generalising life skills to the local community, as well as developing and generalising a functional communication system.

Again, these targets are discussed and agreed with the young person and their family as appropriate so that the targets are likely to bring about socially significant improvements in the young person’s life.

Teachable moments occur in everyday activities and in a variety of settings, and are an integral part of generalisation and maintenance of desired skills and abilities. We promote skill development and adaptive behaviour in a variety of settings, including home, community, and in specific service delivery settings such as primary schools or universities. 

A typical ABA session will last around 3-5 hours and occurs across contexts to ensure the individual remains motivated. Data is collected on behaviours of interest, be it how often a behaviour occurs (frequency), for how long (duration), and/or under what specific conditions. This data is readily available for the ABA Consultant to analyse, monitor and report on progress.

4. Monitoring & Reporting

Individual outcomes and goals are determined by each ABA programme based upon assessment, recommendations, ongoing observations and best practice. The following are general categories of desired outcomes for the individuals we work with:

  • Individual objectives are met
  • A marked decrease in undesirable behaviour
  • An increase in healthy, socially meaningful, independent behaviour
  • An increase in the individual’s personal, communication, social, recreational, and other life skills

All ABA programmes are data-driven and empirically validated. Examples of reporting and monitoring include:

  • Frequency, duration and/or intensity data of behaviours of interest
  • Interval and activity based data depicting occurrence and nonoccurrence of target behaviour across settings and activities
  • Self-monitoring depicting perspective of the learner as it relates to his/her performance
  • Quarterly Progress and Annual Summary reports
  • Reports of satisfaction from stakeholders obtained through client satisfaction surveys