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What is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)?

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is the science of learning and behavior.

What does behavior analysis help us to understand?

Behavior analysis helps us to understand observations of the environment in which a behavior occurs, and describes factors associated with a behavior, including what factors are present prior to (antecedents) and following (consequences) a behavior. This process can help explain how learning takes place.

How does ABA therapy work?

ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.

Does ABA therapy treat autism?

Yes. Although each child is different, ABA therapy is heavily researched and is clinically-validated to increase the skill levels of children with autism.

When is it best for a child to begin ABA therapy for autism?

Immediately. Once a child has received a diagnosis, a responsible party should begin researching services that are geographically convenient and match the family’s schedule.. Waitlists can be long, so it can take months to begin services. The younger a child is when they start services, the more likely they will maintain and acquire the skills taught to them for years to come.

Is ABA therapy the only treatment for autism?

ABA therapy is the gold standard for treating autism. Other options include a combination of speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and use of pharmacological recommendations. Ultimately, what matters most, is finding the methods, frequency and environment that work best for each individual. ABA therapy does not just treat the individual but programming also includes parents and caregivers with uniquely designed training aimed to help bridge behavior between the center, home and the communities in which the individual lives.

Our doctor said our child is developing slowly but may catch up over time. Should we wait to start therapy?

No, you should not wait. The sooner your child starts services the better. You should not wait when it comes to your child's mental health and development. Children who begin ABA therapy at a young age (18 months - 6 years old), while still in the traditional “brain development” stage, will have a higher likelihood of achieving full developmental capability, as opposed to children who start therapy at a much later age. The research is incredibly clear: the younger the child and the more hours of therapy the child receives, the better the clinical outcome.

My child is seeing a Speech Therapist and/or an Occupational Therapist… is ABA necessary?

Speech therapy and Occupational therapy are very valuable therapies and they should be utilized in conjunction with ABA services when recommended. Full-time ABA has a significant amount of these therapies built into its clinical approach. Adding these services as separate therapies to ABA can be beneficial as long as care is coordinated with all therapists treating the child and the child is not overwhelmed.

Does my child need a formal diagnosis for autism to begin treatment?

Yes, for the majority of private insurance providers, this is necessary for ABA therapy coverage to be authorized. It’s recommended that a clinical psychologist or developmental pediatrician conduct this diagnostic evaluation and in doing so, uses the F.84 diagnosis code in their findings. Ally Behavior Centers provides diagnostic services to individuals who qualify.

Do you employ Board Certified Behavior Analysts?

Ally Behavior Centers employs Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who have either masters or doctorate level degrees and have completed thousands of hours of training and supervision.

Do you perform background checks on your staff?

Yes, all of our employees at Ally Behavior Centers, even those who are not client facing, are required to pass a state and federal background check. This follows an exhaustive professional assessment, a multi-stage interview process, and positive reference checks in order to be employed.

What is the age range of children you serve?

We serve clients up to 6 years old.

Do children receive one-on-one therapy?

Yes. All therapy services are delivered one-on-one. While we do organize and lead circle time and group activities, each child retains their one-on-one therapist during those experiences.

What is your schedule?

Ally Behavior Centers is a year-round, full-time, full-day, early intervention program that does not provide part-time services of any kind. We are open 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. Children come to us for about 40 hours of therapy per week with the exception of daily naps for those who have established this into their daily routine.

Does your program offer parent training?

Yes. Parents and caregivers are crucial members of the ABA therapy process. Part of our individualized treatment plan will focus on parent training. Weekly meetings will be organized to teach and share the skills and techniques necessary to sustain and improve the behavioral advances made in our centers into the rest of life at home and beyond.

Does my insurance cover ABA therapy?

Due to the differences in insurance plans and coverage, your insurance may or may not include coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Our team can work with you and your family to determine your plan's benefits and eligibility for services.

Are you in-network with my insurance companies?

Ally Behavior Centers is in-network with Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield, Cigna, Johns Hopkins EHP, Johns Hopkins Medicine USFHP, Kaiser Permanente, Maryland Medicaid and Tricare. If you have a different private insurer, we may be able to negotiate a single case agreement to receive in-network benefits. Each insurance company has a variety of plans. Despite what company you are insured by, one of the first steps we must complete is verifying your insurance benefits for ABA, speech and occupational therapy coverage. Financial responsibilities will always be shared in writing so there is no confusion on coverage and related expenses.

If you are not in-network with my insurance company, what do I do?

We recommend contacting your insurance company and asking for a list of ABA therapy companies that are local and in-network.

Do you take Medicaid plans, Beacon or CHIP?

Currently Ally Behavior Centers is in-network with Maryland Medicaid, but not in network with these other plans.

What is my financial responsibility? Can I just make a co-pay like I do at the doctor’s office?

Financial responsibilities and co-pays will differ between insurance plans. However, we will help you to determine your out of pocket responsibilities and provide you with an estimate of total costs to consider before you commit to services with Ally Behavior Centers.

My child is enrolled in daycare or a part-time preschool and they are doing well, can we come to Ally Behavior Centers for the remainder of the day?

In order to adhere to proven research and maximizing hours of therapy using ABA to treat autism, we strictly enroll children on full-time schedules.  This is intended to be for each client’s benefit.  However, we realize this does not work for everyone and recommend seeking out another ABA therapy company that can work with you to arrange for a hybrid or part-time commitment.

My child is enrolled in a public school program and has an IEP, will we lose our IEP if we enroll with Ally Behavior Centers?

No, if you have an official IEP, this is a legal document that belongs to you.  As long as it’s maintained with proper updates and communication with your caseworker, this will remain in place should your child enroll in public kindergarten.  Ally Behavior Centers BCBAs are able to participate in IEP meetings and observations and assessments can be completed within our center by public school personnel with the permission of the client’s parents. 

I’m nervous my child is not ready for kindergarten, what are my options?

In Maryland, parents retain the right to choose if their child attends kindergarten when at the legally designated age or they can defer for a year due to what’s called “immaturity.” If approved, this enables a child to receive an additional year of 1:1, full-time ABA therapy at Ally Behavior Centers and can be immensely beneficial to maximize a child’s academic readiness.