Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy is the most effective treatment for children with Autism. ABA focuses on specific individual needs, and targets tantrum behaviors and replaces them with appropriate behaviors using coping mechanisms and can help establish their emotions with behavioral support plans. ABA helps create healthy environments for not only the child but the family as well.  Now that we have established that, the next question would be, “Which ABA location suites my child better”. Since both ABA locations offer unique treatment benefits, we must observe your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and functionality to know which would be more beneficial. Below we will discuss the benefits of In home vs. center ABA services. At the end of this series, you will be able to identify which service suits your child best. Since Autism may affect more than one area of your child’s life, ABA should not be confined to only one location. You always have options, and you might think both suit your child and that is perfectly okay.

In-home therapy is beneficial since the child is in Natural environmental training (NET). The therapist can provide treatment in everyday situations that happen in your home whereas center-based therapy allows the therapist to preform therapy in a structured setting just like a school classroom. Both locations provide unique benefits for your child. In-home therapy can teach your child skills that are required at home. For example, teaching your child bedtime routines, toilet training, brushing teeth, wearing a shirt or pants, even making a simple snack when they are hungry. This can provide your child independence and learn skills that they would utilize daily. In-home therapy has its perks since it is a familiar setting, provides convivence since you do not have to go anywhere, working on in-home behaviors that occur only in home, and even incorporating family in therapy sessions. 

Center-based therapy can teach your child important skills in a structured setting.  For example, if your child is going to start school soon, center-based therapy can help adjust your child’s routine of going to a set location to learn. Center-based therapy also can provide skills like transitioning, attending to a non-preferred activity, and even social skills. Socializing with other children is the main benefit of center-based therapy. Again, it all depends on the skills that are strong and the skills that need improvement. Center-based therapy can help your child learn much more, because in home therapy can be distracting for the child since it is a comfortable and familiar environment. Center-based therapy has perks as well. For example, being in center your child always has access to more than one therapist and supervisor instead of just having one therapist in home.  Either way, you are making a smart decision. 

Both locations can be beneficial and choosing both is also an option. Thus, you do not have to limit your child to strictly in home vs. center by implementing a mix of both. For example, you can choose to bring your child in for center-based therapy, and with a little break in between the day you can then have in home therapy as well. You can target goals that would help your child in school such as social skills, turn taking, parallel play, working in a group, 1-step instructions and so much more in center. Then, you can target goals that are in their daily routine such as cleaning their toys, making their bed, toilet training, working on chores, kitchen safety and even have community outings. 

Community outings are always a great benefit. For example, parent, child, and therapist can go to the grocery store and the therapist can observe the child’s behaviors. The therapist can show parent what to implement when they go out into the community and what will help decrease behaviors like using planned ignoring rather than giving the child attention to increase behaviors.

Article Written By Maria Kakosimidi, M.S., Ph.D.
Maria Kakosimidi, M.S., Ph.D. is a Clinical Program Supervisor for our center-based location. Dr. Kakosimidi has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for the past 6 years. She started off as a Behavior Therapist for 4 years and then got promoted to Clinical Program Supervisor once she earned her master’s degree in ABA. Dr. Kakosimidi earned her bachelors and master’s degrees in ABA from Purdue University. She recently earned her second master’s in psychology along with a PhD. Her experience ranges from working in home and center settings. She has worked with individuals from 3-21 years of age. Dr. Kakosimidi is very passionate about her line of work. Dr. Kakosimidi is on her path to become a BCBA and Clinical Psychologist. Her passion comes from within, and is very excited to grow in the field of ABA and psychology. 

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In 2020 myHHBS become accredited with BHCOE, Behavioral Heath Center of Excellence. myHHBS had to go through an audit process against 200 other behavioral agencies to determine center of excellence, and by holding high standards and providing quality service myHHBS was recognized as a Center of Excellence! Read more about it here.

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