What does BCBA stand for?
Behavior certified behavior analyst. This is a nationally recognized certification given to individuals who demonstrate knowledge and field experience applying behavior strategies to socially significant behaviors. These behaviors are inappropriate ones that do not allow an individual, with special needs or otherwise, to learn and access their environment like the rest of us. These behaviors "get in the way" and applied behavior analysis guides board certified behavior analysts to decrease those behaviors so that these individuals can become more independent in our society. This certification allows the BCBA to work with anyone, any age, people and animals, to change a behavior that is maladaptive – inappropriate, too severe, disrupting the person from living a better life.
How do I pay for therapy?
There are a few ways to pay for ABA therapy. Private pay allows families / individuals / companies / schools / organizations to access behavior change and find the best behavior analyst for their needs. Families and individuals who qualify for MediCal / MediCare may be covered for ABA therapy by the state. More details can be provided via consultation. Families and individuals also have the option to speak with their private insurance company and inquire what their coverage would be should they decide to pursue ABA therapy through their insurance.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
Yes, insurance is accepted. Health insurance plans may cover ABA therapy, to a different degree, have different copays or coinsurance amounts, individuals may need to meet their deductible before the health insurance begins to cover any amount of the claims. I highly encourage you to contact your health insurance company and ask the following questions: What are my ABA benefits? What are the eligibility requirements for me to access those ABA benefits? How do I qualify for the ABA benefit? What does the insurance cover if I can meet the eligibility requirements?
What is the new insurance mandate (in reference to SB946)?
It mandates insurance coverage of ABA therapy if a patient is diagnosed with Autism or other pervasive developmental disorders. The coverage by your insurance company is to be provided in the same way and is subject to the same requirements as provided in California's mental health parity law.
What about medication as it relates to therapy?
Any individual who presents with severe behavior challenges is sometimes approached with medication as the first step. But medication is not the only way to change a person’s behavior. ADD, ADHD are the two common conditions that are most often medicated and present with behavior challenges. Bottom line: behavior therapy improves skill deficits and reduces inappropriate behaviors, there is no risk of harmful side effects like with medication. It is effective for an individual to apply to themselves to achieve the change they want to see in their lives and for parents to apply to their homes to better manage their children’s behaviors. In some rare occasions, medication is necessary to address behavioral symptoms to underlying conditions.
How long does therapy take?
It all depends on the individual whose behavior we are trying to change, the history of the behaviors, the level of involvement of those who will continue to manage the behaviors after the therapy. Because the therapy is individualized for each individual / family / school / group, it is difficult to answer how long the process will take. How many sessions will it take to help me / my family / my company / my school? Successful therapy for behavior reduction is generally short term in nature (6 months – 2 years). Some behaviors begin to decrease / change in a few weeks and some behaviors require months to see the slightest bit of change. Factors that contribute to behavior change are : the individual whose behavior we are trying to change, the history of the behaviors – how long has this behavior been happening, the level of involvement of those who will continue to manage the behaviors after the therapy, the intensity / severity of the behaviors we are trying to change.
When and where do sessions take place?
Sessions take place in the location where behaviors are the “worst” or most difficult to manage. Most often, this location is the home for parents who are struggling to manage their children's behaviors, in the classroom for schools who are struggling, in the office place for organizations who are struggling. For individuals trying to change / manage their own behaviors, the setting can vary from the gym in the morning (to increase appropriate working out behavior) to the club at night (to increase appropriate social behavior with the opposite sex). If working with parents to manage their children's behaviors, parent training sessions can take place when children are in school or not at home to further learn behavior management strategies.