If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), you may wonder which is the most effective, home vs. center-based ABA therapy. You realize how important it is for your child to master the skills they need to live the most independent life possible, so you want to make the best decision possible. You may have experienced a range of stressful scenarios that led to frustration for you and your child. You recognize that things must change and need support, but you’re unsure where to start. In this case, ABA therapy may be the best option for helping your child learn essential skills while increasing positive behaviors. ABA is often covered by insurance, relieving financial pressure for many families. In this blog post, we will explore home vs. center-based ABA therapy!
Choosing Home vs. Center-Based ABA Therapy
If you’ve selected ABA therapy for your child, the good news is that this approach is the industry’s gold standard. In a big way, you’ve already set your child up for success! Now you get to zero in on the details to make their treatment as comprehensive as possible. Upon researching, you realize that some ABA agencies offer home vs. center-based ABA therapy. Deciding where treatment will most typically occur is a big decision, and you want the facts in order to make the best choice. Understanding the differences helps. As with anything, there are disadvantages and advantages to both options. What works best will vary significantly from one child to the next. But the great news, both are excellent options!
Home-based ABA Therapy
A board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and a registered behavior technician (RBT) will work with your neurodivergent child during home-based ABA treatment. They will regularly visit your home to work on an individualized treatment plan with the child. By outlining teaching points according to priority, RBTs ensure your child achieves their goals and meets essential milestones. The BCBA assigned to your case will help you ensure the home environment is a practical area for them to conduct therapy sessions with your child. Providers will work with your child on daily living skills as a team. In doing so, they will occasionally occupy home areas like the kitchen for teaching skills related to eating and the bathroom for self-care. Many parents find it beneficial to create a particular place for their child to meet the RBT consistently. Doing so helps the child determine that it is time for learning when they are in that designated area of the house.
What Are the Benefits of the Home-Based ABA Approach?
1) Ability to navigate stressful situations at home.
Having a therapist present for the challenging moments at home helps your child work through them. You will now have professional support at your fingertips. So, if bath time is a problem, the session will be a great time to practice the activity. Be vocal with a therapist about the behaviors you’re seeing at home and ask questions for added support.
2) Familiarity with the environment.
The most valuable asset of home-based ABA therapy is how comfortable your child is already in the setting. They have an established history at home and access to all their favorite personal items. While comfort at the center will come with time, the convenience of being home is unmatched.
The BCBA working on your case will take your child’s familiarity with the natural environment and use it to observe the child. In doing so, they can understand what a typical day looks like for the child. Because the child is already comfortable, in many cases, they may cooperate and participate in therapy more quickly.
3) Limited distractions and no need to adapt.
While there may be some distractions in a home setting, they can be controlled and limited. Most often, there will not be other peers or adults in the room that can disrupt activities as there would be in a busy center setting. The child and the therapist will most typically be in a space with minimal stimulation during an active session.
4) Individualized and undivided attention from an RBT and BCBA.
Together, these providers will help detail your child’s treatment plan perfectly. This will include one-on-one time with your child, where the RBT or BCBA can make observations, and treatment can be adjusted as needed. RBTs will explicitly take data on your child’s needs and current responses. The team will study this data to determine the plan’s effectiveness. How your child is responding to the ABA plan will be communicated through the data.
Another fantastic benefit of in-home ABA therapy is there is no need to go anywhere! All your resources and requirements are in one place. The BCBA comes to your door, eliminating the need to transition to a different environment. In many cases, this leads to fewer missed appointments. Additionally, the rest of your family’s schedule is left uninterrupted because you can stay where you are.
6) Helps children practice and implement academic and play skills that encourage independence.
Doing homework with an RBT can help the child to understand the assignment better. At the same time, they can practice the appropriate behaviors for sitting and learning.
7) Family involvement.
ABA therapy is most effective when the entire family is involved and participating. Throughout sessions and training, parents and siblings get quality teaching on supporting their neurodivergent loved ones. Being at home makes it easier to include siblings and other caretakers in what’s happening. There are more opportunities to practice language and social skills when a child is treated at home.
8) Ability to focus on in-home behaviors.
Some behaviors only occur at home. With home-based treatment, your RBT can focus on these issues within their natural context. Behaviors that can be shaped at home include:
- Teeth Brushing
- Bedtime routine
Center-Based ABA Therapy
Center-based ABA provides your child with a structured environment to learn various essential skills. This approach is excellent if a child will soon be entering school. Additionally, it can be helpful to break up the routine and help with practicing transitions.
Benefits of Center-Based ABA Therapy
Some studies suggest that center-based ABA therapy may help children with autism learn and grow faster than home-based treatment. This is because when a child is at home, they may be tempted by familiar distractions and have increased difficulty focusing. While in-home therapy may have a designated area for your child to learn, a center encompasses a place solely for therapy. When your child comes into treatment, they know it’s time to focus and learn.
2) More supervision and opportunities for observation.
The child can access many BCBAs and RBTs in center-based ABA therapy. While a BCBA coming to the house is fantastic and delivers excellent results, with more than one BCBA observing the child, there is an opportunity for collaboration and discussion.
3) Helpful in transitioning children to mainstream environments.
Most families of a child with autism hope their children will eventually transition to a mainstream classroom. In center-based autism therapy, your child can practice transitioning more than at home.
4) Increased opportunity for social interactions.
Your child’s individualized treatment plan will include one-on-one practice with their BCBA. Still, in a center, children will also be able to practice in fabricated environments. By working together, therapists can simulate many unique situations within the center, like a classroom environment or support group. There will be many opportunities to practice. ABA centers provide safe and clean spaces for increased social interaction and practice that don’t require leaving the building or transitioning. Social interaction is a significant aspect of your child’s flourishing. It is vital to practice real-world interaction.
By Choosing ABA, You’re Making the Right Decision.
Choosing between home vs. center-based ABA therapy for your child can be challenging. Know that ABA therapy is a fully understood behavioral science supported by decades of evidence that will help your child learn and grow. It’s essential to find a location that fosters and nurtures their growth. Either option will be a significant step forward in your child’s developmental goals.
ABA Centers of America Treatment Options
Here at ABA Centers of America, you don’t have to choose between home vs. center-based ABA. We offer in-home as well as in-center ABA as options. Using both, you can reap the benefits of everything a center provides with the individualization encompassed by an in-home ABA plan. Your therapist can be with you to cope with transitions, classroom settings, and difficult at-home moments. The RBTs and BCBAs at ABA Centers of America will support you and your family in both scenarios. Our professionals can make your child feel seen and heard with great attention to detail in the home or at a center. We can help make your children’s dreams a reality while engaging them on their level about their passions. ABA is a proven method for coping with autism at all levels of severity. For more information about ABA Centers of America and how we can help your family, call (844) 923-4222 for a free consultation or visit abacenters.com.