Treatment plans are completely customized to your child, as every child is different and has unique needs! This customization includes specific activities and hours designed to help your child. Regardless of the amount of time recommended, it is important for you to prioritize attendance in ABA sessions for your child.
Below, we’ve outlined five reasons why you and your child should be maximizing their clinically recommended hours:
Hours & Productivity
Treatment plans are similar to any other prescription; you should abide by the hours of service recommended! If a doctor prescribes a certain medication daily, and you only take it weekly, the outcomes will differ. The same goes for ABA! If a client spends fewer hours in ABA than recommended, some children may experience worsening symptoms.
For example, if a client spends 20 hours at ABA per week instead of a clinically recommended 40 hours, the child might become resistant to all therapy techniques. As a result, a child might feel that they can “wait out” their therapists instead of engaging in new learning opportunities. Learners on the spectrum often require several re-presentations of task demands to help them learn skills, more often than neurotypical learners.
If less intensive services are provided, families will spend more money on their child’s treatment while seeing fewer beneficial outcomes. This is because out-of-pocket costs and deductibles are met faster when pursuing full-time services. Pursuing part-time services can be harmful to families as they will likely see less progress for their child while spending a similar amount to full-time services.
When a provider recommends a certain number of hours per week, they outline a set amount of goals for the children to achieve. For example, if the provider recommends 40 hours of ABA per week, they may propose 20-30 goals over 6 months. If a learner attends only 20 hours instead, they will generally only achieve 50% of their targeted goals.
When insurance sees this at the six-month follow-up, they will reduce the number of hours covered. Once hours are cut, it is nearly impossible to increase those hours in the future if it becomes necessary to do so.
Staff & Child Burnout
When therapists dedicate their lives to providing services for clients who are unable to reach their recommendations and goals, those clients are likely to show little progress. This, in turn, can cause burnout for children and staff alike. To encourage progress and confidence in their abilities, we recommend that children attend 90% of the clinically approved sessions.
Although 30-40 hours may seem like a lot for young children, intervention occurs early when children soak up intervention more readily and have less of a learning history to compete with. At Essential Speech and ABA Therapy, we train our practitioners to utilize naturalistic interventions. This means intervention is generally implemented into play. With this approach, goals can be targeted through joyful and personalized engagement. Children are less likely to burn out on treatment with this approach, and still make maximized progress.