Arranging therapy sessions with school, work, and other family members’ schedules is a careful balancing act. With school back in session, many parents are rearranging schedules and making decisions about what combination of day-time schooling and ABA therapy is right for their child. We want to help!
We know that ensuring your child with autism has every opportunity to learn and grow is at the top of your priority list. As you work through decisions on day-time ABA therapy and schooling, here are a few things to consider.
School and ABA Therapy Address Different Types of Goals
At Innovative Behavior Options, we create individualized behavior plans to promote independence. ABA therapy focuses on decreasing potentially maladaptive behaviors and increasing fundamental skills—such as communication skills and toilet training—to help each family achieve its goals. In ABA therapy we create a structured environment where we can, in essence, teach children how to learn. In ABA therapy, children with autism learn behavior and communication skills.
In school, children learn academic skills and are exposed to social-emotional learning opportunities, as well. In school, children learn math, reading, and science skills with their peers in the least restrictive environment—whether that’s a general education classroom with supports or a special education program. Children with autism and other special needs have a right to a free public academic education that is tailored to their specific needs.
Should my child attend school or ABA therapy?
Determining how best to balance ABA therapy with school is a big decision, and it depends entirely on your family’s goals and your child’s needs. If your child is working through behavior issues that would put their safety at risk during the school day, we recommend sticking with full-time ABA therapy until they’re ready for a structured classroom environment.
For many of our clients, a combination of time in school and ABA therapy is ideal for learning behavioral, communication, academic, and social skills (while school teaches the academic skills, ABA therapy can help with social emotional goals, transitions, following instructions, and communication skills with peers). And there are a few different ways you can do that.
Your family can choose for your child to attend school half days or just 2-3 days a week with medically necessary ABA therapy the on the other days (or half days). As you work with the school to determine how best to accommodate your child, consider including ABA therapy provisions in your child’s IEP.
As you plan and prepare to make these big decisions, we’re here to help! We have years of experience working with families transitioning between school and ABA therapy. To learn more about this process, give us a call at 770-250-0093.