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What is an ABA Therapist?
After observing a patient’s behavior, an Applied Behavior Analysis therapist develops a treatment plan to reward positive behaviors and discourage problem behaviors. They frequently use rewards and penalties to teach desired behaviors.1
One of the most important roles in the field of behavioral therapy is that of the applied behavioral analyst. An ABA therapist’s primary duty is to evaluate a person’s behavioral tendencies and patterns across various situations or environments. The interpretation of this data can assist in determining the root causes for different behavioral patterns, which may inspire the creation of an effective treatment plan.2
Programs for ABA therapy can assist with the following:3
- Learn new skills, like language and communication
- Improving academic performance, social skills, memory, and focus
- Decreasing problematic behaviors
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.
When To Seek an ABA Therapist or Therapy
Although working with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a significant part of the ABA’s function, this condition is not the only one for which they are appointed.
Assisting people with developmental delays, other behavioral disorders, and traumatic brain injuries are other areas in which ABA behavioral therapists put their skills to use. They frequently use their abilities in a variety of places, including hospitals, homes, schools, community centers, and government organizations.
Credentials & Qualifications for ABA Therapists
To become an ABA therapist, you must first earn an undergraduate degree. It’s ideal to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a subject like psychology or education.
Getting a graduate degree is the next stage towards becoming an ABA behavioral therapist. The minimum requirement for employment in the field is a master’s degree in a subject like applied behavior analysis. However, some relevant behavioral health treatment specialists in the field may only require a bachelor’s degree in psychology or education.
Although specific requirements differ from state to state, the majority of jurisdictions demand that ABA therapists obtain a license before they may start working. Employers often need ABA providers to be certified in addition to licensed. The Tennessee Department of Health’s Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Committee (ABALC) provides licenses to applied behavior analysts.
A committee-approved national certification, a master’s degree in behavior analysis, education, psychology, or a closely related discipline, and successful completion of a pre-professional supervised experience are requirements for ABA licensure. In addition, some graduate programs in behavior analysis offer an approved supervised experience as a requirement for graduation.4 Furthermore, if ABA therapists want to start their own practice, they must be certified.
Although Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence based treatment, it is distinct from other forms of therapy. Most therapies require counseling to ascertain the reasons behind the patient’s actions, their relationship to their upbringing, and related. For instance, if a child visits a therapist for persistent theft, the therapist might ask about their upbringing or past to determine what motivates them to steal. The therapist will also try to alter the child’s perspective, beliefs, or logic.
Applied behavior analysis places far less emphasis on the individual than the behavior. Changing the behavior rather than the person is the aim of ABA therapy. In ABA therapy, the patient is strongly encouraged to behave well until the positive behavior develops into a habit or a way of life.
In addition, ABA therapy can be provided at a medical facility, home, or school. ABA providers, instructors, and family members can administer the treatment, and consistency is crucial to ABA therapy.5
How Much Does In-Home ABA Therapy Cost?
While most states require insurance companies to pay for the cost of treatment for autism, there are many influencing factors, including how many hours a week an in-home ABA therapist is needed, that affect the overall cost of in-home ABA therapy.
According to Tennessee state law, contracts and plans that offer benefits for neurological illnesses must also provide health insurance benefits for treating autistic children under the age of 12.6
With all that in mind, an hour of ABA therapy typically costs $120. A good generalization is that insurance coverage for behavioral health services pays about $30,000 annually for the care of one child with ASD.7 However, again, these are average expenses that depend on various factors.
How to Choose the Best ABA Therapist Near Me?
Behavioral health testing and autism treatment options are accessible thanks to Athena Care’s numerous behavioral health centers across Tennessee. Our knowledgeable care coordinators are available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They are ready to help with any queries regarding an ABA therapist or treatment program for you and your family.
Before choosing an ABA behavioral therapist, remember that they will potentially be entering your home and effectively assimilating into you and your child’s daily routine for an extended period. Therefore, be sure to ask plenty of questions, including the following:
- Credentials: education, training, license, and years of experience
- Ideally, your child’s therapist should be a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). In addition to completing numerous hours of ABA training, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) monitor and supervise RBTs.8
- Additionally, does the therapist have experience working with children similar in age and behavior to your child?
- Specialties and services offered
- Treatment techniques and philosophies
- Does the therapist use only ABA techniques or other forms of therapy?
- Insurance companies they work with
- Therapy session length
Athena Care offers a full-spectrum of mental and behavioral health services to those in Tennessee.
We have qualified therapists and accept many of the big name insurance providers. Our locations are open Monday-Friday from 7am to 6pm. Learn more below:
- Indeed Editorial Team, editor. “What Is an ABA Therapist? (Plus Duties and Job Requirements).” Indeed, 14 Apr. 2022, www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-aba-therapist.
- Regis College Online. “How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) Therapist.” Regis College Online, 30 Nov. 2021, online.regiscollege.edu/online-masters-degrees/master-science-applied-behavior-analysis/resources/how-to-become-an-applied-behavior-analyst-aba-therapist.
- “Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).” Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org/applied-behavior-analysis.
- Applied Behavioral Analysis. “Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis in Tennessee | Online ABA Graduate Degree Programs in TN.” Applied Behavioral Analysis | How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst, 18 Aug. 2021, www.appliedbehavioranalysisedu.org/tennessee.
- Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide. “How Does Applied Behavior Analysis Differ From Other Types of Therapy?” Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide, 30 July 2018, www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/faq/how-does-applied-behavior-analysis-differ-from-other-types-of-therapy.
- “Autism and Insurance Coverage State Laws.” National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 Aug. 2021, www.ncsl.org/research/health/autism-and-insurance-coverage-state-laws.aspx.
- “ABA Therapy Cost: What to Expect.” Thread Learning, 9 Oct. 2019, www.threadlearning.com/blog/aba-therapy-cost-what-to-expect.
- Cicolello, Megan M. “How Can I Best Prepare for an ABA Therapist in My Home?” Autism Parenting Magazine, 21 June 2021, www.autismparentingmagazine.com/best-prepare-for-aba-therapist.
If you or someone you love would benefit from talking to a mental health provider in Tennessee, contact Athena Care.
One of our Care Coordinators will help you get the care you need.