ABA Connections is dedicated to ensuring that all ABA providers and services across Ontario are following the appropriate ethical guidelines and implementing evidence-based interventions in order to deliver the highest quality of service possible. With this, we have compiled a list of questions that we encourage all families to ask any ABA provider (even us!) prior to enrolling in ABA services.
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Staff Training and Supervision
Procedural, Billing and Management
Ask a BCBA
A quality ABA provider will begin services with an initial assessment period to gather information on your child’s strengths and needs. This assessment should include direct observation, skill testing, case review, parent interview, and collaboration from outside professionals. The length of an assessment period may vary depending on level of need, frequency of service, and the chosen assessment however parents should be kept informed at all times throughout the process.
1. What assessments are used to guide ABA programming?
There should be a number of assessments available to families that will help identify areas of strength and need of the client. Be cautious of providers who rely on only one or two assessments regardless of client.
2. How are assessments chosen?
The assessment should be chosen based on the goals of the family and the learners profile. Be cautious of providers that have already selected an assessment prior to interacting with or observing your child.
3. When can I expect results of the assessment?
Results should be provided no more than 30-45 days after the start of service and parent communication should occur continually. Be cautious of providers who complete reports in a shorter or longer amount of time or who are not transparent of delays.
4. How will the results be provided to me?
Results should be summarized in a manner that allows for ease of interpretation, documentation and tracking. Be cautious of providers who do not provide an opportunity to review or discuss the results with the individual responsible for the assessment.
5. What are the assessments for?
Assessments should be used to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Be cautious of providers who are unable to identify why a particular assessment is being conducted or how the results will be used.
6. What does an assessment look like?
Assessments should consist of probing skills in a manner that isn’t intrusive or stressful for the client. It should be overseen by a qualified professional who is actively involved and primarily take place in the natural environment. Be cautious of providers who do not use antecedent or natural environments to probe skills or are not actively involved.
7. How often are assessments completed?
Assessments should be completed on a fixed time frame. Be cautious of providers who do not complete reassessments or complete assessments too often/not often enough.
8. Are there additional costs for the assessment?
Additional costs may be associated however these should be discussed prior to commencing. Be cautious or providers who can not provide an exact charge for their assessment.
9. What happens once the assessment is done?
Once an assessment is done the results should be provided to parents that outline a course of action. Be cautious or providers who do not created a treatment plan/programming once the assessment is complete.
A quality ABA provider will develop programming based on your child’s needs and strengths, as identified through assessment and collaboration with others, as well as goals developed by the family. Programs should be regularly monitored and updated by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or a Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).
1. When are program started?
Programming should begin once an assessment has been completed, results have been reviewed and you have provided consent. Be cautious of providers who begin programming without an assessment or without your explicit consent.
2. How are programs and goals selected?
Programs and goals should be selected based on the results of the assessment and input from yourself and professionals working with the child. Be cautious of providers who do not conduct an assessment, do not include your input on goals or do not consult with others working with your child.
3. When will I receive programming and goals?
Programming and goals should be provided to families after the assessment has been conducted and reviewed prior to implementing. Be cautious of providers who implement programming or select goals without your consultation and consent or who do not provide an outline of programming.
4. How are programs/goals tracked?
Data should be taken on every program that is implemented throughout a session. Goals should be regularly updated based on the results of the data. Be cautious of providers who do not take data, regularly analyze data, or who do not update goals.
5. Do I have input in programming?
Parents should play an active role in goal setting and programming. Be cautious of providers who do not include your input.
6. How is programming individualized to my child?
Programming should be based of the results of the selected assessment that best suits your child needs as well parental and outside professional input. Be cautious of providers whose programming does not align with assessment results or your goals.
7. What domains or programs will be implemented?
Programming should include variety of skill domains from multiple curriculums. Be cautious of providers who only implement programs from a skill domain (i.e. only receptive language) or who utilize only one type of curriculum.
8. How often is programming updated?
Programming should updated on a regular basis on communicated to parents. Be cautious of providers who do not have a set time frame for program updates or who not provide the results of these updates.
9. How do you include parents into programming?
Parents should have the ability to provide input into programming and ask questions about progress and updates. Be cautious of providers who do not allow opportunities to discuss programming or who do not take into account your goals.
Data collections is the heart of Applied Behavior Analysis and should be the guiding factor for all decisions made regarding programming.
1. Is data collected on my child’s performance?
Data should be collected throughout each session on all programs being targeted at that time. Be cautious of providers who do not take data regularly.
2. How often is data collected?
Data should be collected every session. Be cautious of providers who do not collect data every session your child is in attendance.
3. How is data collected?
There should be a clear method of collecting data (i.e. paper/app etc.). Be cautious of providers who do not have a method of data collecting.
4. How is data used?
Data should be used to guide decision making regarding progress and action plans. Be cautious of providers who do not collect data, use data to make objective decisions, or do not share data with you or other professionals.
5. How often is data analyzed?
Data should be regularly analyzed by members of the clinical team including the Clinical Supervisor or Clinical Director. Be cautious of providers who do not regularly analyze data or do not have a set schedule for the Clinical Supervisor or Director to review data.
6. How is data used to guide programming?
Data should be used to guide whether a program requires modification, advancement, or additional support. Be cautious of providers who do not regularly review data or use data to guide programming.
7. Do I have access to data?
Data is considered your child’s Personal Health Information (PHI) and you should have access to it upon request. Be cautious of providers who do keep data, who charge unreasonable amounts for access to data or is unable to provide data in a reasonable time frame.
A high quality ABA provider will have an experienced, educated, and supervised clinical team that consists of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Board Certified assistant Analysts (BCaBAs).
1. Is there a clinical team?
ABA services should be overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the minimum and should be based on the number of clients and client hours currently in service. Be cautious of providers who are not a BCBA, do not have a BCBA on staff, or who use an external BCBA for supervision purposes.
2. What training does the clinical team have?
The clinical team, at a minimum, should have training in Applied Behavior Analysis however additional training should also be expected. Be cautious of providers who do not have training in Applied Behavior Analysis from an accredited college or university or do not specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis.
3. How often does the Clinical Team supervise clients?
The Clinical Team should supervise clients based on a variety of factors such as the number of hours in services, their needs, and their programming . Be cautious of providers that provide the same amount of supervision for each client, who do not have a set “minimum” amount of supervision, or who do not provide regular or reoccurring supervision.
4. How often does the Clinical Supervisor supervise clients?
The Clinical Supervisor should supervise clients on a regular basis through observations, data analysis, and team meetings. Be cautious of providers where the Clinical Supervisor is not present, does not provide client supervision or provides the same amount of supervision for all clients.
5. How often does the Clinical Director supervise?
The Clinical Director should supervise the clinical team on a regular basis through case consultations, team meetings, and staff training. Be cautious of providers where the Clinical Director is not present or available, does not provide supervision, or is not available at all locations.
6. What happens during client supervision?
Client supervision should be an opportunity for the clinical team to observe, discuss, or modify client goals or programming. Be cautious of providers who do not engage in client supervision, do not provide regular client supervision, or do not allow access to supervision notes
Staff Training and Supervision
A high quality ABA provider will provide staff with initial and ongoing training developed and overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with experience in training and supervision.
1. What are the minimum qualifications of staff members?
Minimum qualifications vary depending on the role within the organization and should be based on the guidelines set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Be cautious of providers who do not have minimum qualifications or do not abide by the qualifications set by the BACB.
2. What is the training process for staff?
Initial staff training should include competency based training and consist of timeframe before being allowed to work alone with clients. Be cautious of providers who do not provide training, who allow staff to work with clients while training, or who do not provide competency based training.
3. Who provides training for the staff?
Training should be provided or developed by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has experience in training and supervising staff. Be cautious of providers who do not provide training overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
4. How often are staff supervised?
Staff supervision should be in compliance with recommendations by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and may vary based on how hours of work, position, and case load. Be cautious of providers who do not provide staff supervision, who do not provide frequent and reoccurring staff supervision, or provide the same level of supervision for all staff.
A high quality ABA provider will have ensure parents/guardians play an active role in their child’s services and ensure there are multiple opportunities for parent involvement.
1. How are parents involved in ABA services?
Parents should be involved in all aspects of service delivery from goal setting to teaching methodologies. Be cautious of providers who not encourage or support parent involvement or do not incorporate parent input.
2. Do you offer parent training?
Parent training should be included in all ABA services and be individualized to your child. Be cautious of providers who not provide parent training, provide generic parent training only or provide parent training that is not supervised by a BCBA
3. Are parents allowed to observe sessions?
Parents should be allowed and encouraged to observe and engage in client sessions. Be cautious of providers who not allow you to observe sessions, place a limit on the amount of time or number of sessions that you can observe or place obstacles surrounding observations beyond client confidentiality.
4. How often do we meet with the clinical team?
Meetings with the clinical team should occur after every assessment and at regular intervals or upon request. Be cautious of providers who not provide opportunities to meet with the clinical team.
5. How do you communicate with parents?
Parents should be able to regularly communicate with the clinical team through a means that is agreed upon by both parties. Be cautious of providers who not provide a means of communication, communicate only through one means, or charge for communication.
6. How do I know how my child’s day went?
There should be a consistent and regular method of communication established to provide information on your child’s day. Be cautious of providers who not regularly communicate, provide minimal communication, or do not communicate at all
7. How is my main point of contact?
You should be able to identify who your main point of contact is with regards to questions or concerns. Be cautious of providers who provide a generic point of contact, cannot establish a main point of contact or do not provide any contact information.
Procedural, Billing and Management
A high quality ABA provider will have a clear set of policies and procedures for families to follow and refer to when needed. As these policies and procedures are individual to each organization, parents are encouraged to use their judgement when determining whether or not a service provider is a good fit.
1. How do you access services?
ABA services should begin with an intake meeting to provide families with information on available services and support and to gather more information about needs and goals. Be cautious of providers who do not have a process for accessing services which includes sharing information.
2. What are the cost of services?
Service providers should be able to provide you with a cost of services upon request. Be cautious of providers who do not provide a cost of service, provide a cost that is well beyond the average, or appear to have hidden fees.
3. What do the fees cover in terms of services provided?
Service providers should be able to explain what is and is not included in the cost of service .Be cautious of providers who have a number of expenses outside of their regular fee.
4. Are there any extra charges not included?
Service providers should be able to provide you with a list of any extra charges that may be applicable throughout your services. Be cautious of providers who are unable to provide you with a cost of potential extra charges or who have a long list of extra charges.
5. Am I required to sign a service agreement?
Service providers should require all clients to sign a service agreement outlining the services, fees, cancellation policies, termination policies and other relevant information. Be cautious of providers who do not have a service agreement or who has a service agreement that is not complete or missing important information such as a termination policy.
5. What is your cancellation policy?
Service providers should have a clear cancellation policy regarding the need to cancel services. Be cautious of providers who do not allow cancellations or who do not have a cancellation policy.
6. What is your termination policy?
Service providers should have a clear termination policy regarding the termination of services. Be cautious of providers who do not allow for termination of services within a reasonable time frame, who do not have a termination policy, or who do not have means of navigating immediate termination.
7. How are services billed?
Service providers should bill for services received in accordance to Ministry and Ethical guidelines. Be cautious of providers who require payment prior to services rendered, who do not provide itemized billing, who has additional services billed without consent or who cannot provide documentation for items billed.
8. How often will I receive invoices?
Service providers should bill for services on a regular basis. Be cautious of providers who do not have a regular timeline for billing.
9. Is there a Policy and Procedures Handbook?
Families should be provided with all policy and procedures that are applicable to their services prior to beginning. Be cautious of providers who do not provide families with written policies and procedures, who not regularly update their policies or procedures or who do not notify families of new policies and procedures.
10. Who should I contact if I have a question?
Families should be provided with an individual to contact should they have any questions regarding the services they are receiving. Be cautious of providers who are unable to provide the contact of an individual, who provide a generic email to address questions to, or do not respond in a timely manner.
Ask a BCBA
Have a question that was not covered? Ask our Clinical Director and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Leigh Giles.