Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where and How to Find an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Provider or Center


Contributed by Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D
Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism



Parents recognizing the importance of early intervention and the research behind ABA, often have questions about locating and choosing specific ABA programs and providers. As the demand has grown, so too has the number of options available. ABA providers and centers are multiplying across the state of Indiana. In some areas of the state, the options are fewer or harder to access. In areas that offer many options, parents often have a difficult time choosing the right center/provider for their child and family. Because these centers/providers use somewhat different approaches and interact with families in different ways, it may be hard to know which center or provider will best meet their needs.
Below are a list of questions that can help guide you in the process of finding a provider or center that best fits your child’s and families’ needs.
  1. Are your staff Board Certified?
    Note: You want to be sure staff providing services have the proper credential. More specific information can be found at the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (http://bacb.com/
  2. How many BCBAs work in the center/program? How many BCaBAs?
    Note: Does your program follow the BACB Practice Guidelines, related to BCBA supervision recommendations, and caseload size of the team providing services to my child? BACB Guidelines note that oversight of 6-12 clients is the average, with a higher range possible based on circumstances (see page 31 of http://www.bacb.com/Downloadfiles/ABA_Guidelines_for_ASD.pdf).
  3. How many Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) work in the center/program?
    Note: Direct ABA treatment is typically provided by a “front line therapist” or RBT under the direction of a BCBA.
  4. Is the treatment 1:1 with the RBT or in a group format? If group, how many learners to one RBT?
  5. What level of oversight is provided by the BCBA? Is the BCBA on the premise at all times? How many hours of direct oversight of the program are provided?
  6. What are the training procedures of the clinic/provider? Is regular and ongoing professional development available to staff?
    Note: The certification board (BACB) has requirements that people obtain ongoing training to maintain certification.
  7. How frequently will the BCBA meet with the parent/caregiver?
  8. Will the BCBA coordinate services with other providers (e.g., Occupational therapists, Speech Language Pathologists) and at what frequency?
  9. What is agency policy for implementing behavior plans? Are restricted interventions (e.g., time-out procedures, restraint, etc.) being used? What is the approval process for behavior plans that have restrictive interventions? Is there an external review process (e.g., advisory board, etc.)?
  10. What policies are in place for preventing abuse? Exploitation? Protecting privacy? Does the center/provider have policies in place? Ask to see relevant policies.
  11. What is toileting or diaper changing policy? If children are showered, what policy is in place to protect your child?
  12. How frequently are parents allowed to observe the child in therapy?
    Note: While an agency/provider may have basic protocols on how to schedule an observation, the ability or inability to easily access your child at any time may be something worth considering. Also, if at any time you notice a procedure with your child that makes you uncomfortable, you have every right to stop the procedure and/or ask for more information about why the procedure is in place, the potential harm and good of the procedure, and about potential alternative procedures.
  13. What data collection methods are used?
    Note: Data collection is a critical component of ABA programs. All providers and centers should be able to regularly provide you data in a format that is understandable. They should explain how to interpret the data. Some professionals become so accustomed to using data that they hand you reams of data that simply don’t make sense to anyone. Providers and staff at centers should be able to summarize data so you can see trends that show if your child is improving or not.
  14. How does your center assess if progress is being made? Can I see examples of how this is done at your center?
    Note: After you have selected a provider or center, ask about their plan and the documentation they will maintain about your child’s progress. Once your child is in a program, you should have regularly scheduled meetings with your child’s BCBA or supervising provider to review progress, make updates to the program, and to provide you with the skills to help maintain and generalize your child’s mastered skills at home or in the community.
  15. Do you provide regular training for family members/parents?
  16. How much will treatment cost?
    Note: ABA providers and centers charge different rates. Costs will vary greatly. Please do not assume more expensive means better services.
  17. What is the practice for billing my insurance?
    Note: Be sure you are aware of possible co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles.
  18. What other payment options are available (e.g., Medicaid, Children’s Special Health Care Services)?
  19. What is the rate of staff turnover?

There is no ABA magic wand. It takes a lot of work by many people (including you) to help your child reach his or her potential. So be very careful of grandiose promises about unrealistic outcomes. Providers who promise instant cures should be questioned. None of us can say with certainty what a child will be able to do in the future. Most children will make progress when provided with effective intervention and support, but each child will progress at a different pace. Many factors may affect progress. Factors like your child’s health, behavioral challenges, quality of program, and how challenging it is for them to carry over their skills to important settings (like your home or in the community) all influence how quickly progress is made. Any provider or center that promises your child will be “just like a child without ASD” in a few years is making promises they can’t keep.
Our hope is that the information provided in this article will help you think through some issues that may be important as you explore options for your child and family. For other information on this topic, visit our website at https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/what-to-consider-when-looking-for-a-qualified-aba-provider (What to Consider When Looking for a Qualified ABA Provider) and https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/tips-for-choosing-a-provider-for-applied-behavior-analysis-aba (Tips for Choosing a Provider for Applied Behavior Analysis).
Below is a list of agencies and providers across Indiana. The Indiana Resource Center for Autism does not recommend a specific organization or person, and this list is not intended as a critique or endorsement of any individual provider or agency. Again, when contacting those listed below, discuss the cost of services, and the type of services provided. Contact your insurance company to determine coverage for ABA. You can also check the website at http://www.bacb.com/index.php?page=100155 to find a BCBA provider in your area.
If you are an ABA provider and you want your organization added to this list, contact Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D at prattc@indiana.edu.
If you have evidence that a provider has not acted ethically or professionally, and should not be included on this list, or if you are concerned about the manner in which they have treated your child, please do not hesitate to email Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D directly with specific concerns at prattc@indiana.edu.


Bloomington

Little Star Center
3101 North Canterbury Court, Bloomington, IN 47404
Contact: Victoria Blessing-Wade, Family Services Director, 812-650-3032
victoriaw@littlestarcenter.org
Website: http://www.littlestarcenter.org

Carmel

Little Star Center
12650 Hamilton Crossing Boulevard, Carmel, IN 46032
Contact: Victoria Blessing-Wade, Family Services Director, 317-249-2242
victoriaw@littlestarcenter.org
Website: http://www.littlestarcenter.org

Clarksville

Little Star Center
630 Eastern Boulevard (opening Spring 2017), Clarksville, IN 47129
Contact: Victoria Blessing-Wade, Family Services Director, 317-249-2242
victoriaw@littlestarcenter.orgWebsite: http://www.littlestarcenter.org

Fort Wayne

Lizbeth A. Anderson MS, BCBA
9419 Silverfox Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Contact: Liz Anderson, 260-348-7007,  AndersonLz@aol.com

Indianapolis

Damar ABA Autism Services
9905 Fall Creek Road, Indianapolis, IN 46256
Contact: Lisa Goldberg, 317-813-4690lisagm@damar.org
Website: http://www.damar.org/aba/
Damar ABA Autism Services
6067 Decatur Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46241
Contact: Lisa Goldberg, 317-813-4690lisagm@damar.org 
Website: http://www.damar.org/aba/
The Indiana Institute for Behavior Analysis
8650 Commerce Park Place, Suite A1, Indianapolis, IN 46268
Contact: Angelica N. Gray , 317-388-8131Angelica@tiiba.org 
Website: http://www.tiiba.org

Jeffersonville

Adapt for Life, Center for ABA and Autism
607 North Shore Drive, Jeffersonville, IN 47150
Contact: Samantha Setty, BCBA, 812-590-2157sam@adaptforlifeindiana.com 
Website: http://www.adaptforlifeindiana.com

Lafayette

Little Star Center
3922 Mezzanine Drive, Lafayette, IN 47905
Contact: Victoria Blessing-Wade, Family Services Director, 765-447-3800
victoriaw@littlestarcenter.org Website: http://www.littlestarcenter.org

Kokomo

Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy
125 West Taylor, Kokomo, IN 46901
Contact: Lisa Steward, 765-419-0411lisas@indianabaa.comWebsite: http://www.indianabaa.com

Merrillville

Innovations In Learning 
8200 Georgia Street, Merrillville, IN 46410
Contact: Maryann Furmento, 219-791-1400contact@innil.netWebsite: http://www.innovationsinlearning.net

Mishawaka

Lighthouse Autism Center
525 Park Place Circle, Mishawaka, IN 46545
Contact: Pat Sweeney, Family Outreach Coordinator, 574-387-4313
PatS@LighthouseAutismCenter.com
Website: http://www.LighthouseAutismCenter.com
Lighthouse Autism Center
3730 Edison Lakes Parkway, Mishawaka, IN 46545
Contact: Pat Sweeney, Family Outreach Coordinator, 574-387-4313
PatS@LighthouseAutismCenter.comWebsite: http://www.LighthouseAutismCenter.com

Newburgh

Little Star Center
3777 Haley Drive (opening Spring 2017), Newburgh, IN 47630
Contact: Victoria Blessing-Wade, Family Services Director, 317-249-2242
victoriaw@littlestarcenter.orgWebsite: http://www.littlestarcenter.org

Plymouth

Lighthouse Autism Center
1550 Pidco Drive, Plymouth, IN 46653
Contact: Pat Sweeney, Family Outreach Coordinator, 574-387-4313
PatS@LighthouseAutismCenter.comWebsite: http://www.LighthouseAutismCenter.com

Warsaw

Lighthouse Autism Center
1535 Provident Drive, Warsaw, IN 46580
Contact: Pat Sweeney, Family Outreach Coordinator, 574-387-4313
PatS@LighthouseAutismCenter.comWebsite: http://www.LighthouseAutismCenter.com


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