Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy is Covered by Insurance in 32 States
Applied Behavior Analysis, also known as ABA therapy, is an umbrella term that can cover many specific strategies for teaching, managing and reducing behaviors. While many people know of ABA therapy because of its use with autism therapy, it is also used in many other behavior modification programs as well.
ABA training uses positive reinforcement to teach a child a desired behavior. Once the child demonstrates the correct behavior in response to a trigger, the child is rewarded with an appropriate reinforcer. The trigger can be a sound, but is more often a request from a teacher, parent or therapist. A reinforcer can be a special treat or a chance to play with a favorite toy. In some cases, the reinforcer might be as simple as a smile and a hug from the person making the request. Careful observation of the child’s typical environment is used to determine what triggers cause the child to behave undesirably. Using this information, the therapist works to remove triggers that lead to undesirable behaviors, or works to change the child’s response to those triggers.
Most states in America, in fact 32 out of the 50, have laws that require health insurers to cover ABA therapy. This insurance coverage is important because traditional ABA therapy involves a therapist spending 20 to 40 hours per week working one-to-one with a child. In modified ABA therapy the therapist spends 10 to 15 hours per week working with the child one-to-one. This modified version allows time for others, such as speech and occupational therapists, to also work with the child.
Current research shows that a diagnosis of autism at age two can be reliable, as well as valid and stable. An early diagnosis can often reduce the cost of lifelong autism-related care by two-thirds. ABA treatment can be a significant part of the successful treatment of autism.
In a time when autism affects one in 68 children, continuing to use proven therapy treatments is essential. More than 3.5 million Americans live with a disorder that places them on the autism spectrum. Families, schools and job sites across America benefit from the progress therapists make with both children and adults with autism. ABA therapy is a proven method for working with not only people with autism, but also people who need other types of behavior modification. If you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to find help for someone you love and care for, asking about the benefits of ABA therapy is a major step in the right direction.