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Athena Care
ABA therapy for autism

ABA therapy for autism

Athena Care now provides ABA Therapy for children under 15.

Your child is wonderful. Together, we can help your child realize their potential and ultimately, thrive! 

At Athena Care, we believe neurological differences add to the richness of our world. Like all folks, people with autism have meaningful strengths and capabilities. They deserve more than just our awareness but also our acceptance and appreciation.i

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, they may experience challenges adapting to different environments and routines. We will meet them where they are, learn from them, and teach them skills to help them thrive.

Athena Care provides wrap-around care for you and your child, including:

Through our long-standing relationships, we can also connect our families with:

  • Speech therapists, occupational therapists, and feeding therapists
  • School advocates
  • Judicial advocates
  • Community support

Whatever services your family needs, we provide them or will help you locate them.

Your family’s Athena Care Team: 

BCBA

Board-Certified Behavior Analyst

Provides skills and behavior assessments, develops a Plan of Care, conducts caregiver education and guidance, and supervises RBTs

RBT

Registered Behavioral Technician

Implements a child’s Plan of Care under the direction of a BCBA

Ph.D/ Psy.D.

Psychologist

Conducts testing to diagnose autism

PMHNP

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Prescribes medication if needed

LCSW/ LFMT

Therapist

Provides family or individual counseling services if needed

What Is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

ABA is an evidence-based therapy developed from the sciences of learning and behavior. Central to ABA is the idea that all behaviors happen for a reason. Your child’s behavior is a way for them to communicate their needs and wants. Sometimes this behavior is challenging and difficult to understand.

ABA utilizes strategies to teach your child to communicate and get their needs met more effectively, thus reducing their reliance on challenging behaviors.

ABA helps us to understand:
  • The reasons for your child’s behavior
  • How environmental factors affect their behavior 
  • How interactions with others influence their behavior
ABA therapy can help your child in these areas:
  • Language and communication
  • School readiness 
  • Social interactions 
  • Play  
  • Self-care 
  • Transitioning between activities
  • Independent living

ABA therapy also teaches you new ways to understand your child’s behavior, so that you have the tools, skills, and confidence to best support your child.

For your child (and your family) to get the most benefit from ABA, we will tailor your program to fit your child’s strengths and challenges. No two children with autism are exactly alike, nor should two therapy plans be the same either.

Step 1: Assessing skills and designing a Therapy Plan 

To create the therapy plan, one of our behavior specialists, known as a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), will conduct a thorough assessment of your child’s skills and identify challenges that you and your child experience on a typical day. This assessment consists of a parent interview and direct observation of your child.

Parent Interview 

The Athena Care BCBA will interview you about your child’s communication skills, ability to socialize and play, daily living skills (like toileting, feeding, etc.), and other important skills. The BCBA will ask you about any other challenges that you experience with your child. For example: 

  • What happens when you prepare to leave the house? 
  • What happens when you transition from playtime to mealtime? 
  • What’s your child’s bedtime routine like?
  • How much and how well does your child sleep?
Child Observation 

The Athena Care BCBA will visit you and your child in your home to observe their behavior and assess their skills. Part of this assessment may involve engaging with your child. During this visit, the BCBA will: 

  • Take notes about your child’s interests, behaviors, and challenges
  • Observe how your child interacts with the environment 
  • Get input from you to develop a therapy plan with which you feel comfortable
Making the plan

From all this information, Athena Care’s BCBA will design a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) and Plan of Care (POC). When these are complete, they will meet with you again to: 

  • Review the plan 
  • Get your feedback and answer any questions that you have 
  • Determine a treatment schedule that works for you, your child, and your provider  
Step 2: Securing Insurance Authorization

Athena Care is in-network with most insurance plans and will help you navigate the payment process for therapy. Athena Care’s BCBA will coordinate with our internal billing department and your insurance provider to secure the authorization required to begin ABA therapy. Once your insurance carrier approves the Plan of Care, the BCBA will assign one or two Athena Care registered behavior technicians (RBTs) to begin working with your child. 

Step 3: Implementing the Plan of Care

Under the direct supervision of the BCBA, your RBT will work with your child in environments which may include your home, your child’s school, or out in the community (e.g., a shopping center, playground, restaurant, birthday party, etc.).

Building the relationship

During your child’s first few sessions, your RBT will focus on building rapport. These sessions allow your RBT to develop trust with your child, so that your child looks forward to working with your RBT and benefits from the therapy program.

Working on goals and monitoring progress

While your Athena Care RBT is developing trust with your child, they’ll begin to introduce the goals specified in the Plan of Care. As your child masters specific goals, the BCBA will add new goals to their program and adjust the Plan of Care as needed. These goals might include improving: 

  • Communication skills 
  • Adaptive skills like toilet training or independent dressing 
  • Social skills to communicate and interact with peers 
  • Expanding your child’s food repertoire
Providing family guidance

The Plan of Care also includes Family Guidance goals. The Athena Care BCBA will meet with you and other caregivers between 2-4 times per month to work towards accomplishing these goals. Family Guidance goals are designed to teach you and other caregivers specific strategies, otherwise known as behavior analytic interventions, that may help you: 

  • Identify your child’s strengths and opportunities 
  • Understand how factors in the environment can affect your child 
  • Learn techniques to encourage appropriate behaviors 

Athena Care is your trusted provider and support for mental health and behavioral services. Contact us at 615-320-1155 to schedule a consultation to discuss your family’s needs.

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i. Shore, S.M. (2017, May 5). The Superpower of Autism. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk9T7ngEijs