Aha Therapeutic and Behavioral Services, LLC (d.b.a. ATBS), founded in 2019, is owned and operated by Anna T. Bennett, MAT, BCBA, LBA. ATBS provides in-home and community-based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other pervasive developmental disabilities that meet the medical necessity and need for behavioral therapy as outlined by regulatory guidelines and provisions. Through providing ABA services in the natural environment, ATBS can focus on increasing adaptive functioning, behavioral, social, and communication skills while also decreasing maladaptive or aberrant behaviors more efficiently. Additionally, family members/caregivers receive education, support, and training related to the implementation of the behavioral therapy necessary for treatment outcomes to maintain. Treatment results are expected to generalize across people, settings, and time, and maintain outside of intervention. Measurable variables include but are not limited to: increased manding and tacting, increased social reciprocity and play skills, increased verbal and nonverbal communication skills, decreased aberrant or maladaptive behaviors such as aggression or self-injury, and increased independent and adaptive functioning and activities of daily living. Although treatment goals and objectives will be individualized and created based on the clinical need of the client and family (derived from assessments and functional analyses), services will always be performed with the intention to 1) ameliorate the medically necessary conditions that qualified the individual for services; 2) use only evidence-based and researched effective treatment strategies that are the least restrictive in nature; and 3) ensure the caregivers or providers involved in the client’s care are trained to effectively manage the individual’s behavior at home and in the community. ATBS will collaborate and coordinate with other medically necessary services that the individual receives to effectively serve the client.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by varying degrees
of difficulty in social reciprocity, communication, and the presence of
repetitive or restricted behaviors or interests.[i] Based on variability of symptom
presentation and other situational variables, no two individuals with ASD are
the same in respect to how the disorder manifests or what impact it has on
families. Individuals with ASD
often will not achieve independent functioning without appropriate medically
necessary treatment.[ii] According
to the CDC, approximately 1 in 59 children has been identified with ASD, and
approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States has a developmental
disability. On March 26, 2015 the
General Assembly of Virginia approved health insurance coverage for Applied
Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for ASD as a means to treat the condition.[iii]
ABA is a scientific discipline that focuses on the analysis, design,
implementation, and evaluation of social and other environmental modifications
using the principles and methods of behavior analysis to produce socially
significant and meaningful improvement in human behavior. ABA includes the use of direct observation,
measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environment and
behavior.[iv] Using changes in environmental events,
including antecedent stimuli and consequences, ABA produces practical change in
behavior. The use of ABA as a
behavioral therapy/health treatment has been proven to be effective for
individuals with ASD, substance abuse, dementia, pediatric feeding disorders,
traumatic brain injury, severe destructive behaviors, and more. The successful remediation of core
deficits of ASD, and the acquisition of skills and abilities, has been
documented in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies over the past 50 years, making
ABA the standard of care for the treatment of ASD.[v]
[i] ICD and DSM systems for Autistic Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
[ii] Information derived from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practice Guidelines for Healthcare Funders and Managers.
[iii] Virginia Acts of Assembly – 2015 Session, Chapter 650, Approved March 26, 2015; code § 38.2-3418.17. Coverage for autism spectrum disorder.
[iv] Commonwealth of Virginia. Regulations Governing the Practice of Behavior Analysis. Virginia Board of Medicine. Title of Regulations: 18VAC85-150-10 ct seq. Statutory Authority: § 54.1-2400 and Chapter 29 of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia. Effective Date: October 2, 2019
[v] Information derived from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practice Guidelines for Healthcare Funders and Managers.
Applied Behavior Analysis – What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. Applied Behavior Analysts focus on objectively defined behaviors of social significance; they intervene to improve the behaviors under study while demonstrating a reliable relationship between their interventions and the behavioral improvements; and they use the methods of scientific inquiry – objective description, quantification, and controlled experimentation. ABA is a scientific approach for discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and for developing a technology of behavior change that takes practical advantage of those discoveries.
ABA is a well-developed scientific discipline among the helping professions that focuses on the analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation of social and other environmental modifications to produce meaningful changes in human behavior. ABA includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environment and behavior. ABA uses changes in environmental events, including antecedent stimuli and consequences, to produce practical and significant changes in behavior. These relevant environmental events are usually identified through a variety of specialized assessment methods. ABA is based on the fact that an individual’s behavior is determined by past and current environmental events in conjunction with organic variables such as their genetic endowment and physiological variables. Thus, when applied to ASD, ABA focuses on treating the problems of the disorder by altering the individual’s social and learning environments.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of the principles and procedures of behavior analysis to better understand and improve lives. Treatment approaches based on ABA have been empirically shown to be effective in a wide variety of areas. However, because ABA was first applied to the treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, this practice area has the largest evidence base and has received the most recognition. https://www.bacb.com/
Seven Defining Characteristics of ABA:
Applied – a commitment of the field to affecting improvements in behavior that enhance and improve an individual’s life. An emphasis on socially significant behaviors.
Behavioral – behavior analysts conduct studies of behavior not about behavior! Behaviors must be measurable and observable.
Analytic – demonstrate effectiveness and provide functional and replicable relations between interventions and socially significant outcomes.
Technological – all operative procedures are identified and described with detail and clarity.
Conceptually Systematic – there are infinite tactics and procedures that can be used to change behavior, but all are derivatives and/or combinations of a few basic principles of behavior.
Effective – behavior must improve or change to a practical degree
Generality – behavior change has generality if it lasts over time!
Additional characteristics of ABA: accountable, public, doable, empowering, and optimistic!