If you had the choice between a mediocre school or an excellent school, which would you choose for your child?  What if you had to drive 30 minutes farther each day for the excellent school?  Knowing the impact that the difference in schools might have on your child’s future, which would you choose?  

What do you prioritize when you are choosing between a quality ABA facility and a shorter commute? Learn what questions you should ask when interviewing a new ABA center. Click To Tweet

The Choice 

This is the choice that many parents are making when they decide where to take their child for ABA therapy.  There is a proliferation of ABA providers now due to the influx of funds from private equity investors, who are hoping to make big profits by investing in and then later selling ABA businesses.  Because of this, there is most likely an ABA center near the home of any child with autism.  

All ABA providers are not the same and the difference matters.  Just because a specific provider has many locations across town or a location near your home does not necessarily mean that they are providing quality ABA.  

How To Choose the Best ABA Provider

Parents should tour multiple ABA providers before deciding which provider to choose.  Tour not only the providers that are closest to your home, but also providers that may require a longer drive.  Touring many centers and asking the same questions will distinguish them from each other and help you choose the provider that is best for your child.  You may decide that the long drive is worth it to get the best therapy for your child.  

Questions to Ask 

Have a list of questions and ask that same list of every provider.  Ask follow-up questions based on their responses.  Some of the questions that parents may want to ask are:  

Company 

  • Who owns the company and how long have they owned it?
  • What is the history behind the company?  
  • How is the company structured? 
  • How long has the company been in business?  
  • How long has this specific location been open? 

Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)

  • How much experience does the BCBA have?  
  • How much time did they spend as a therapist?  
  • How long have they been a BCBA?  
  • Where were they trained?  
  • How many children are assigned to each BCBA?
  • Does the BCBA prepare the treatment plans for each of the children for whom they are responsible?  
  • Does the BCBA provide all of the supervision for therapy for the children assigned to them?
  • Can parents ask questions and ask for advice from the BCBA outside of parent training?  Is there an opportunity for ongoing communication with the BCBA?  

Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs)

  • What educational backgrounds do the Registered Behavior Technicians have, high school or college?  
  • How are the RBTs trained?  
  • How many RBTs are assigned to each client?  
  • How much time does each RBT spend with each client every week?  
  • Will your child see the same RBTs every week?  If so, how often will they see them each week?  
  • How long are the sessions that each RBT has with a client?  How is a session covered if an RBT calls in sick? 

Therapy 

  • Ask them to give you an example of a program that they would run with a child.  What type of positive reinforcement techniques do they use?  
  • If your child has tantrums, ask how they would deal with your child when having a tantrum. 
  • What do they do to encourage speech?  
  • How do they determine that the child is ready to end services?  Is the child “graduated” at a certain age or does the child attend until the parents and BCBA agree on transition?  Does the center have age limits?
  • What assistance do they provide for the transition of the child to school?  Will the BCBA attend ARD/IEP meetings?  Will they communicate with teachers?  Can the child attend ABA part-time while also attending school?  
  • How are lunches handled?  Do the children have lunch together or with their RBT?
  • Is the parent allowed to observe or sit in on their child’s session?  Is advance notice required?  
  • What is parent training comprised of?  Will the child’s BCBA do the training?  Will the training involve the parents working with their child or a BCBA meeting with the parents? 

Safety

  • What are the safety policies/procedures?  
  • Are there cameras in each therapy room?  
  • Is the interior of each room visible from outside the room?  
  • How are parents notified of any safety issues that may have occurred with their child?

Operations

  • What are the hours of operation of the center?  How often is the center closed? 
  • How often are parents invoiced?   
  • Is there a waiting list?  Is it first come, first served, or is the intake order determined by other factors, such as which insurance company will be paying for the child’s services? 

Make An Informed Decision 

After touring several providers and asking the same questions parents will most likely be ready to make the decision about which provider they prefer.  It may be that one of these questions is pivotal in your decision-making. We encourage you to make an informed decision in selecting your child’s provider. 

Steps to Progress has been providing exceptional ABA therapy for over ten years.  Please contact us at 713-782-1330 or info@stepstoprogress.com if you are interested in services and a tour.  We are happy to answer your questions.