header icon

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) / Behavioral Therapy – School Based

kindergarten kids with teachers

School-Based Behavioral Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, refers to a variety of treatment options that are based on the principles of behavior analysis. ABA uses scientifically based techniques for understanding and changing behavior and is the most widely accepted approach to assess and intervene with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental challenges or delays. This type of therapy is conducted one-on-one, is customized for each person, and is appropriate for individuals of all ages.

Our program is designed to increase language and communication, improve attention and focus, and decrease problem behaviors. We build on each person’s interests and strengths using structured and fluid opportunities to facilitate learning. During ABA therapy, skills that are useful in everyday life are broken down into easy-to-learn steps, with positive reinforcement and goal-focused treatment that meets the unique needs of each individual. At its core, ABA therapy helps individuals function more effectively in their natural environments.

Throughout the process, progress is measured to ensure the teaching approach is working. These routine assessments guide any adjustments or modifications to the personalized treatment plan that may be necessary or appropriate and ensure continual progress toward goals.

How a Behavior Intervention Program Works for School-Based Services

Our school-based behavior intervention services are typically provided in the classroom. A classroom-based approach is beneficial because it provides the opportunity for the individual receiving therapy to participate in a normal school environment – often with their peers or siblings – while receiving the support they need to effectively participate in classroom-based instruction.

Under this traditional school-based service delivery model, each child receives one-on-one support from a Behavior Intervention Implementation (BII) professional in the classroom. Additional support is provided by the Behavior Intervention Development (BID) professional who designs each child’s customized program, monitors program delivery and tracks progress toward established goals.

Our traditional school-based services are available during the COVID-19 public health crisis for children who continue to attend class in person. While providing classroom-based services, our BII and BID professionals work closely with the school district and local school staff to ensure all established COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols for classroom-based instruction are followed.

Virtual Support During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 public health crisis, many children are not attending class in person.  Instead, school is being conducted remotely and kids are “distance learning” at home.  Lessons may be conducted by the teacher online or may be assigned and completed independently at home – or some combination of these two approaches.

Children who were receiving one-on-one behavior therapy and intervention in the classroom still need – and can still receive – assistance as they participate in distance learning. Our school-based services have been revised to adjust to the current situation and now include a virtual or telehealth-based option.

Under the telehealth-based option, each child still receives support from the BII and BID. But instead of supporting the child in the classroom, support and assistance is provided remotely. We can consult with the teacher and other related service providers to coordinate services to ensure we help the student in a meaningful manner.

Components of our Virtual Program can include:

  • Communicating with parents and / or students over the phone, computer, tablet or email.
  • Attending the student’s Zoom sessions – as a remote participant – along with the student and the teacher. Attending these sessions allows our BII professional to observe the student’s behavior and assist with the completion of follow-up assignments.
  • Conducting virtual sessions where the parent and the student can see the BII and/or the BID and the BII and/or the BID can see the student. This allows our BIIs and BIDs to engage with the parent and/or student outside of Zoom sessions and recommend strategies for behavior management as well as assist with completion of assignments.
  • Meeting with the parent and/or student remotely to help with assignments and address IEP goals as needed or appropriate.

In-Home Support During COVID-19

We understand that a home-based behavior intervention program may be relatively new to the school districts we partner with and to parents whose children we serve, however, California Psychcare has been providing ABA-based behavioral treatment services in the home for more than 20 years. We are experts in this delivery model, and we’ve demonstrated significant positive results through the delivery of our in-home ABA-based behavior therapy programs.

During the COVID-19 public health crisis while many kids are “distance learning”, our school-based services have also evolved to include in-home ABA-based services. This option is similar to our telehealth-based option, but instead of supporting the student remotely, our BII professional assists the child with “distance learning” one-on-one right in the student’s own home.  This is a great approach for parents and children for whom a virtual model may not be the preferred option to maximize success with distance learning.

Components of our In-Home Program can include:

  • Communicating with parents and / or students in person during in-home visits, as well as over the phone, computer, tablet or email.
  • Attending the student’s Zoom sessions – in the student’s home – along with the student and the teacher. Attending these sessions in person allows our BII professional to observe the student’s behavior and to assist with the completion of follow-up assignments during in-home sessions.
  • Conducting behavior therapy sessions with the student outside of Zoom sessions and recommend strategies for behavior management as well as assist with completion of assignments.
  • Meeting with the parent and/or student to help with assignments and address IEP goals as needed or appropriate.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Keeping our students, families and staff healthy is a top priority for us, and we have robust COVID-19 guidelines and programs in place to help keep everyone safe during all in-home visits.

Our COVID-19 safety protocols include:

  • Conducting daily wellness checks with all in-home care providers.
  • Assigning just one BII and BID to each student receiving in-home services – and having the same two professionals conduct in-home sessions consistently – to the greatest extent possible. This approach minimizes the number of people who need to come into the home to provide services.
  • Mandating that staff follow appropriate handwashing / hand sanitizing practices, wear face coverings and gloves, and adhere to other important safety measures.
  • Providing all our in-home service providers with essential personal protective equipment (PPE). To date we have procured and distributed more than 100,000 medical grade masks, 50,000 pairs of medical grade gloves, 140,000 sanitizing wipes, 8,000 bottles of individual hand sanitizer and gallons of bulk hand sanitizer. We’ve also provided hand-held thermometers for use as needed and appropriate.  We will continue to procure and distribute essential PPE to our in-home staff as long as necessary.
  • Rescheduling sessions if the student or anyone in the student’s household is sick.

Who Pays for Care?

The California Department of Education pays for school-based behavior intervention services that are provided through the local school district.

Who Can Get School-Based Services?

School districts make the decision about who receives school-based behavior intervention services, and these services are included in a child’s Individual Educational Program (IEP) if the school district determines that these services are appropriate for the child. Parents can contact their school district for more information.

Services Provided By:

360 cpc logo
Help for Families with Kids with Autism as School Resumes

September 11, 2020 | David Yim, MA and Junxiang (Mark) Hao, BA

Many parents of children with autism are struggling to manage their own work or other responsibilities while their child is attending school virtually. Various services are available, including state-funded services available through local regional centers. Communicating with the service coordinator is key to accessing services.

Read More
Social Skills Development for Kids with Autism During COVID-19

August 10, 2020 | Melina Barragan, MS, BCBA and Lilian Hernandez, MS, BCBA

Socials skills are essential to establish and maintain healthy social relationships. Kids with autism sometimes struggle with their social skills. Dealing with social distancing during COVID-19 is making social skills development more challenging. Telehealth has evolved as a new platform to help kids advance their social skills development.

Read More
Helping Kids with Autism Keep Up with Learning During Summer

June 23, 2020 | Judith S. Cohen, Psy.D., LMFT

Disruptions tied to COVID-19 likely resulted in less learning this past school year. The impact has been even greater for those with autism. Parents can take action at home over the summer to get their kids ready for the Fall. Discovering favorite learning websites and exploring resources for social skills development are just a few examples.

Read More