Verbal behavior? Is that the same as speech therapy?
No. Verbal behavior is based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which uses a functional approach to shape and increase language while speech therapy uses a structural approach. Check here for more details.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
ABA is a type of therapy that focuses on increasing desired behaviors or skills and decreasing undesired behaviors by manipulating the environment. It is based on behaviorism and is a small part of the larger field of behavior analysis. ABA is an evidence-based therapy with thousands of research articles showing that it is effective at increasing communication, increasing social skills, increasing daily living skills, and decreasing problem behavior. To learn more, check out the BACB info page on ABA.
Is ABA just for kids with Autism?
ABA has been endorsed by the US Surgeon General as the most effective, evidence-based treatment for Autism, but it is not only for individuals with Autism. Behavior analysts work with companies to improve the productivity and efficiency of employees (organizational behavior management), in safety industries reducing human error and accidents, in medical compliance, in health and wellness improvement, in animal behavior, with pediatric behavior issues such as toilet training, picky eating, behavioral issues, sibling issues, sleeping issues, and more.
Who will be working with my child?
The treatment team includes a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) and behavior technician. BCBA's have a masters degree in ABA, psychology, education, or related field, have specialized training in the science of behavior analysis, and pass a certification exam. The BCBA conducts assessments, creates and updates goals, and provides parent training. The behavior technician is trained in ABA with an emphasis on verbal behavior and provides direct therapy. While a degree is not required for this position, most technicians are working on a relevant degree and there is a high level of training before providing therapy and ongoing training throughout.
How many hours will be recommended?
You won't be able to find out exactly how many hours are required until after the evaluation and report, typical ABA therapy programs recommend between 10-40 hours per week. A Verbal Approach focuses on early intervention, in which intensive services of 35-40 hours are often recommended based on evidence-based research for best outcomes. Parent education meetings are also necessary alongside these sessions to make sure you are carrying over the therapy, even when we aren't there.