As a consumer, you know that getting the best services its important, specially if the services you are looking for involve the treatment of your own child. And with so many ABA companies popping out every day, it is essential to be aware of the special characteristics and features a compassionate care provider will offer you.
There are many actions of compassion a company can show you, but here are five that we believe will be especially important for families to look for when selecting an ABA provider. A recent study revealed what compassionate care look like for clients. Here are the top 5 compassionate actions:
1. Listening and Paying Attention As a parent, it’s important to find a company that listens and pays close attention to your needs and the special needs of your child. With so much information circulating at the top of your fingers, it has become more important that ever that not only your ABA provider would be knowledgeable, but also be someone who takes the time to listen to what you have to say in terms of treatment options. To achieve this, it’s important to pay attention to the initial interactions with the company. Are they taking the time to listen to you on that first call when looking for services? Are they explaining with clarity the process and time frames you are about to encounter before actually receiving services or are they just directing you into an automated system? Listening and paying attention to clients start from the moment the company engages with you and its willing to patiently open the space for you and those who you love. 2. Following Up and Running Tests ABA in known for its scientific orientation. In fact, ABA is characterized by being the field of human behavior in which data collected, directs the course of treatment. With increasing number of providers and a higher demand for treatment, ABA has also become a lucrative business, but it’s crucial that as a consumer you are aware that the science of Applied Behavior Analysis must prevail when it comes to assessments and treatment delivery. It is true that ABA requires more hours of treatment than other therapies such as OT and Speech, at least from the insurance perspective. When a typical rate of speech therapy can be 30 minutes, twice per week for example, ABA can request anywhere from 6 to 30 hours per week or more in severe cases. In order to know how many hours of treatment are necessary to achieve a good outcome in terms of reduction of disruptive behaviors and the learning of new skills, it’s important that you know that the best way to obtain this number is to conduct a direct observation of the client and to run a standardized assessment. Then with a clear picture of your child’s weaknesses and strengths, and strong goals and objectives, a clinician will be able to make an objective recommendation of hours of treatment per week. Please don’t fall for that “30 hours of treatment for everyone”, your child is as unique as his own needs.
3. Continuity and Holistic Care Families nowadays are not only looking for someone who can teach their child to reduce his or her tantrums, but instead, someone who can compassionately care and teach with love and respect for the client as well as to provide continuity of care. Staffing is an unfortunate reality in our field, as many other industries like schools, ABA companies have been affected by the pandemic aftermath in terms of hiring new personnel and are struggling to keep their talent. One of the side effects of COVID our industry experienced, is the lack of behavioral techs and analysts. It seems like the pandemic caused a lot of people to leave their eight to four jobs to work online while they travel and live their best lives. In fact, a Gallup survey in June of 2022 found that 8 in 10 people are working hybrid or remote, while only 2 in 10 are entirely on-site. And an AT&T study found the hybrid work model is expected to grow from 42% in 2021 to 81% in 2024, and while Telehealth is a good alternative for some healthcare providers, in our field, it only applies to caregiver training and staff supervision, because as of right now, there is no replacement or a better treatment delivery alternative as one-to-one in person services. To make sure you are getting the best service, it’s important that your ABA provider can provide you with a clear timeline, to be transparent about waiting lists and staff availability in your area and to deliver clear expectations in terms of treatment delivery options such as locations (home-based VS center based), and in-person and Telehealth alternatives. The pandemic left us with a mental health crisis affecting children with record numbers. A systematic review of survey studies revealed that from December 2019 to December 2020, children, and adolescents with psychiatric and/or developmental disorders, were especially vulnerable to the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Age, gender, psychological quality, and negative coping strategies were identified as risk factors for the development of mental health problems. Taking all of that into consideration, finding an ABA provider that can offer you with a holistic approach, meaning that they can see you and your child as a combination of factors and not just treat the symptoms, it’s more important than ever. To take a holistic approach, means to treat the whole person not only mentally, but physically, emotionally, and spiritually as well, and delivering services that are individualized to your own needs and environmental factors. 4. Respecting Preferences With almost 20 years of experience in the field of ABA, I have personally worked with families from diverse cultural and social backgrounds, especially in South Florida, where people from around the world convey. One way to show your respect to families is to be open and flexible to listen to their particular background and culture, and to be respectful about family preferences. You want to look for a provider who is willing to observe your situation with compassion and without judgement, so you both can come up with the best approach of treatment for your child. 5. Genuine Understanding
When looking for a professional behavior analyst, it’s recommended to look for certain characteristics that help you identify if the provider is genuinely understanding your situation or just trying to make a sale.
Ethical providers, can assist their clients with a genuine sense of care, evidenced by them taking notes, following-up with you and being attentive to answering your questions. You want to find a provider that can understand and validate your feelings while making objective recommendations and working on the best interest of the child. Remember that your ABA provider should also be willing to act as an advocate for your child, making sure his or her rights are respected, and they are loved and care for specially when services are provided at schools where parents are not allowed in daily bases.
Empathy is the ability to step on another person’s shoes to better understand their feelings and actions. When you have experience a similar situation as the other person, you become more sensitive and can understand better their emotions and behaviors. Many personal and professional experiences can provide a clinician with that sense of care for others, in fact, empathy it should be a requirement for this career.
We offer tailored advice and support to help families like yours succeed in a world populated by companies that focus on revenue instead of service and we are known for our family-oriented practices.