Early Intervention & ABA
Why do you specialize in Early Invention?
Research has demonstrated that the most effective treatment to improve outcomes (I.e. adaptive behaviors, communication skills, and cognitive abilities) for children with ASD is through comprehensive and focused early invention programs (Maglione, Gans, Das, Timbie, & Kasari, 2012). Early invention services aim to bridge the gap between a child’s current functioning and that of their same age peers.
Current research encourages parents to obtain at least 25 hours of intervention per week across multiple years for their child in order to see their greatest gains (Maglione et al.,2012). Some children have been able to participate in regular education classrooms with little or no additional support following two or more years of early, intensive ABA services.
What is ABA Therapy?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of behavior. ABA focuses on improving positive behaviors and eliminating negative behaviors in order to teach a variety of skills (communication, adaptive skills, feeding, toilet training). Interventions using applied behavior analytic principles have long been established as effective approaches to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease problem behaviors for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; National Autism Center, 2009; Wong et al.,2014)
Why does ABA work?
Over 30 years of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of ABA for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children who receive early, intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) have demonstrated positive improvements in their development. Areas of improvement typically include communication, socialization, following instructions, daily living skills, etc.
What are the ABCs of ABA?
A – Antecedent (what happens before the behavior)
B – Behavior (observable and measurable action)
C – Consequence (events that follow a behavior)
What behaviors can ABA help with?
Communication Skills: language, social skills, conversation, reading and writing.
Daily Living Skills: toileting, dressing, fine motor skills, personal self-care, domestic skills.
Problem Behaviors: self-injury, noncompliance, aggressive behaviors, self-stimulatory behavior, property destruction.
What does an ABA therapy program entail?
ABA therapy at CAC is completely individualized. There is no one size fit all program because each child is different in their own unique way. Each program is written to meet the needs of child. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will design and oversee the program that involves the child’s skills needs, deficits, interests, as well as family preferences. These are all used to determine treatment goals for the individual in different skill areas. We use multiple assessment tools to ensure that programing is progressing. Goals are adjusted as the child progresses and the BCBA will meet regularly with the family for parent training that will help them apply what is being done successfully in the center into the home environment.
How much therapy is needed?
During the assessment process, a trained clinician from CAC will determine a plan for how many hours of therapy they would recommend for your child to make progress.
In 2001, the National Research Council Report recommends a minimum of 25 hours per week.
In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 20 hours or more of active engagement in evidence-based intervention. We offer flexible scheduling and do our best to accommodate what works best for each family.
Is ABA therapy covered by insurance?
CAC has a dedicated intake team who can help you navigate the terms of your insurance policy. Your type of plan determines which health benefits may be available to you.
The State of California has a specific autism mandate, which requires certain insurers to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorder. The mandates require all health care service plans contract that provides hospital, medical, or surgical coverage to provide coverage for behavioral health treatment for pervasive developmental disorder or autism no later than July 1, 2012. Treatments include professional services and treatment, including applied behavior analysis and evidence-based behavior interventions programs, which includes speech-language pathology and audiology.
CAC Services & Eligibility
What kind of services do you provide?
At the California Autism Center & Learning Group (CAC) we provide 1:1 customized ABA Therapy in center-based environments to children who are medically diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We also offer seminars and exciting events for the whole family. Our main goal is to increase positive behaviors and skills (eye contact, language, etc.) and decrease behaviors that are interfering with a child’s ability to thrive (non-compliance, aggression, self-injury, etc.) We look to replace negative behaviors with those that benefit a child’s needs (asking for a break, etc.).
What ages does your program serve?
We specialize in early intervention between the ages of 18 months to six years of age. We do work with older children; however, we do not accept any new clients older than five years old. We encourage families with children 6 years and up to reach out to other ABA providers (view our resource library here).
My child is not medically diagnosed with autism. Can you help?
Yes! But we do not offer diagnostic assessments or testing. Our focus is your child’s needs rather than their label, however, we need to discuss funding in more detail because many insurance companies only cover our services for specific formal diagnoses. Please feel free to contact us for more information, or you may also visit our resource library to view licensed psychologists and physicians who offer diagnostic services in Fresno and surrounding areas.
What insurance plans do you accept?
We currently accept most major private insurance plans including: Advantek, Aetna, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Beacon Health Strategies, Community Care, ComPsych, Kaiser Permanente, MHN, and Sante. We also accept managed Medi-Cal insurance including Anthem Medi-Cal, Cal Viva, and Central California Alliance for Health. If you do not see your insurance listed here, or have questions about insurance, please feel free to contact us.
In order to expedite the insurance intake process, we suggest reaching out to the Member Services department of your insurance plan and let them know you are interested in ABA services. They can give you a more detailed outline of their intake process and the steps you need to take to start services with us.
Do you offer home sessions?
We are not currently accepting new clients for in-home services. Our services are primarily center-based due to the many benefits of this model.
What are the benefits of center-based services?
Center-based services have shown to be superior to home-based for mastery of program targets and rate of mastery (Dixon, Burns, Granpeesheh, Amarasinghe, Powell, & Linstead, 2017). Increased treatment hours increase the number of targets mastered. Center-based services provide more structured learning environments to train parents and caregivers. Furthermore, the quality and quantity of therapy supervision by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) of behavior technicians is improved with center-based services. Learn more here.
Do you offer speech therapy?
While we do not offer speech therapy, our services do focus on improving communication and language. Please visit our resource library to find dedicated speech therapists in the Central Valley.
Can you help me help my child?
We provide and highly encourage parent training. We can train you in techniques and programs for your use at home, and we can help troubleshoot issues occurring outside of therapy. As a parent or caregiver you are a very important part of your child’s programing. We appreciate your expertise on your child and can always come into the home or community environment as needed. We approach all challenges as a team.
I fit the above criteria. How do I get started?
Please complete the First Contact Form here.
How long is the intake process?
The intake process varies from insurance to insurance. Most of the wait time has to do with collecting all the documents needed in order to begin services (questionnaire, insurance cards, referral form, etc).
Getting Started with CAC
My child is in pre-K setting, should I stop school there and come to you?
Many pre-K environments do not offer individualized programming and a 1:1 staff to child ratio at all times like an ABA provider does. Keep in mind that you are not legally obligated to enroll your child in school until 6 years of age. If your insurance covers ABA services and you are eligible for our program, we highly encourage you to start ABA as soon as possible in order to help bridge the gap between your child’s current functioning and that of their same age peers. We completely understand that every family’s needs are different, so ultimately, it’s up to you.
Is your program right for my child?
It’s hard to make that determination until we meet. The best way to find out if our program is right for your family is to come in for tour. Tours are free and there is no obligation to start services.
How do I schedule a tour?
What should I bring to a tour?
Before the tour you’ll be asked to complete a brief questionnaire that will help us learn more about your child. Please bring your photo ID, insurance card and insurance information, and a copy of your child’s current IEP (if you have one). If you happen to have a diagnosis from a licensed psychologist or physician, please bring that too, along with any other relevant reports. If you are ready to get started with services once the tour is complete, we will request an assessment authorization from your insurance provider. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for an assessment authorization to be approved, at which point we will contact you to schedule your child’s assessment with our clinical team.
What do I need to bring for my child’s assessment?
Before the assessment you’ll be asked to complete a General Intake Information Form (GIF) that will give us more details about your child. It’s also helpful for our clinical team to have a highly preferred item during the assessment, so please be sure to bring us some of your child’s favorite things. Snacks, drinks, diapers and wipes, a change of clothes, and other needed items are appropriate for an assessment. We only feed your child what you send, as we are mindful of our clients’ dietary restrictions.
How long is the assessment?
Typically, an assessment averages 1.5 hours but please plan for at least two hours.
Should I stay with my child during the assessment?
You and your child will remain at the center for the entirety of the assessment. The clinician conducting the assessment will typically request a period with you to discuss goals for your child. The assessor will also typically want to have some time with your child without you present. An employee goes over the handbook and policies with the parent, while clinician is actually assessing the child. We will go over the General Intake Information Form (GIF).
Community & Events
How can I find out more about your upcoming events?
You may check out our online calendar here, which allows you to view details about events, holidays and center closures. Or join our mailing list and be the first to receive announcements about upcoming events. You can also follow our Facebook page to keep up with current happenings. Each year we host the Big Blue Block Party in April and Photos with Santa in December, plus a variety of parent seminars and Autism Eats inclusive brunches. Most of our events are open to the public so we hope to see you soon!
Do you accept donations or host fundraisers?
Since we are a medical corporation and not a 501(c)(3) organization, we cannot accept tax-deductible donations. We also comply with the BACB Ethical Code, which states “behavior analysts do not accept any gifts from or give any gifts to clients because this constitutes a multiple relationship (and a conflict of interest).” We do not put on fundraisers, but we do offer many free events that are open to the public throughout the year. Check out our event calendar for a current listing.
Do you accept volunteers?
We do not accept volunteers due to the sensitive nature of our business, but if you are interested in applying for a job with us you may view our open positions and apply online here. Local organizations who accept volunteers are Fresno Autism Network and The TALK Team.