Autism Behavior Communication Center
The ABC Center is comprised of professionals experienced with children with autism and other disabilities. Our professional staff provide direct Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children through direct, one-on-one services. Training of family and educators may also be provided to ensure that our children continue to progress in their homes, schools, and in the community. We believe that every child has the potential to learn. The team focuses on the increase of communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior as well as the reduction of inappropriate behaviors. We use Applied Behavior Analysis, Verbal Behavior, Intensive Teaching Trials, and Natural Environment Training in every behavioral treatment program, specifically balanced for each child.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA Therapy)
ABA therapy applies the principles, by which every living organism learns, to an individualized program created specifically for each child. Applied Behavior Analysis is the most effective treatment of autism**. It is a scientific discipline that allows us to derive the function of the behavior through systematic analysis of environmental contingencies. This allows us to develop a treatment package based on how the child related to his or her specific environment. We focus on teaching necessary pro-social behaviors, functional communication and daily living skills, while reducing challenging behaviors.
Verbal Behavior (VB)
Just as we use the functions of behavior to see how a child relates to the environment, we also use the functions of communicative behaviors (behavioral analysis of language) to understand how the child is communicating with people in the environment. Language and communication can be broken down into receptive, listener skills (e.g., following directions), and expressive behaviors such as mand (request), tact (labeling), echoic (vocal imitation and gestural imitation), intraverbal (answering questions), textual and transcriptive (reading and writing). We use evidence-based curricula to build language and communication including the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised (ABLLS-R, Dr. Partington) and Verbal Behavior-Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP, Dr. Sundberg).
Intensive Teaching Trials (ITT)
This is a language intervention involving highly structured, fast paced teaching across operants (such as language areas). B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior and additional teaching procedures (e.g., errorless-teaching, pairing, short ITI’s, mixing and varying) make ITT a very effective method of teaching children with disabilities (e.g., Smith, 1983; Lovaas, Koegal, Simmons, & Long, 1983; Lovaas, 1981).
Natural Environment Training (NET)
This type of teaching occurs in the daily environment and focuses on the child’s immediate interests. This allows the facilitation of language through manding (requesting) and promotes generalization of skills. By focusing on the child’s interests, we often see increased spontaneous verbal behavior. A reduction in problem behavior in the NET can also be attributed to environmental arrangements centered on the child’s motivation.
Assessments generate baseline measures of verbal skills, self-care abilities, social skills, imitation skills, play skills, barriers and challenging behavior inventory. Assessments are conducted across settings (home, school, ABC Center), by the BCBA and BCaBA, through a combination of descriptive assessments, parent and teacher interviews, questionnaires, direct observation, and one-on-one assessments. We use a variety of assessment tools including the ABLLS-R, the VB-MAPP, and other social rating scales.
From the assessments, the BCBA and BCaBA create suggested goals in all areas via the Treatment Plan (IEP). Additionally, the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) outlines contingencies controlling problem behaviors and strategies to promote pro-social behaviors.
Intensive Program: direct teaching (one-on-one) includes 20-30 hours per week of ABA/VB therapy. This high intensity of hours facilitates increased progress. Children with more severe behavior and many learning barriers would benefit from an intensive program. We use Applied Behavior Analysis, Verbal Behavior, Intensive Teaching Trials, and Natural Environment Training in every treatment program, specifically balanced for each child. Communication skills, imitation skills, play skills, social skills, self-help skills, and other skills that facilitate learning are the focus of the intervention along with the reduction of challenging behaviors. Necessary skills will be derived from systematic assessment of behavior and tools such as including the ABLLS-R and the VB-MAPP. In addition to the treatment plan for pro-social behaviors, BIP will be created to specify behavioral contingencies for the reduction of problem behavior. All services are provided under the supervision of the BCBA and BCaBA.
Moderate Program: direct teaching (one-one-one) includes 4-18 hours per week of ABA/VB therapy. This moderate intensity of hours facilitates increased progress for children with less severe behavior and fewer learning barriers. We use Applied Behavior Analysis, Verbal Behavior, Intensive Teaching Trials, and Natural Environment Training in every treatment program, specifically balanced for each child. Communication skills, imitation skills, play skills, social skills, self-help skills, and other skills that facilitate learning are the focus of the intervention along with the reduction of challenging behaviors. Necessary skills will be derived from systematic assessment of behavior and tools such as the ABLLS-R and the VB-MAPP. In addition to the Treatment Plan for pro-social behaviors, BIP will be created to specify behavioral contingencies for the reduction of problem behavior as well as positive behavior supports. All services are provided under the supervision of the BCBA and BCaBA.
Consultative Training (teachers, parents, professionals, etc.): After an initial assessment has been completed, a Treatment Plan and Behavior Intervention Plan will be created and provided by the BCBA or BCaBA. Initial and ongoing training will be provided via consultation to the caregiver/professional. This is a self-paced program based on a model-practice-feedback design.
DARS Autism Program - Focused ABA Treatment
The ABC Center for Children is a contracted provider for DARS Focused ABA Treatment.
Focused ABA treatment is targeted to address a few specific outcomes instead of all developmental needs of the child. It is particularly useful when children have challenging behaviors and when improvements in social and adaptive skills ae sought. Focused ABA treatment is used to target specific behaviors. The treatment may be to:
- minimize a challenging behavior; or
- maximize a social or adaptive skill in a specific area.
A trained therapist provides treatment on the specific behavior. The level and intensity of treatment should be driven by the child's needs. Since the therapist is focusing on specifically defined behavior, the treatment period is shorter. The treatment through the DARS Autism Program is limited to 30 hours per month with a six-month limit in a twelve-month period.
A child is eligible for focused ABA treatment through the DARS Autism Program if the child:
- has a documented diagnosis on the autism spectrum made by a qualified professional;
- is three through 15 years of age (services end on the child's 16th birthday); and
- is a Texas resident.
The length of treatment received in any combination of DARS Autism Program ABA treatments is limited to a maximum of 24 months during the child’s lifetime.
Contact the ABC Center for Children to see if your child is financially eligible for this service:
E-mail address: ABC@mhmrcv.org
Telephone Number: (325) 617-5845
Fax Number: (325) 617-5844
For more information on DARS Focused ABA Treatment: http://www.dars.state.tx.us/autism/ServicesProvided.shtml
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