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Parent Perspectives - Real answers from real parents about their experiences with ABA.

Questions and answers to help you better understand the process and experience of starting or continuing services.

Parent insight from the mother of a 4 year old diagnosed with ASD

How did you find out about ABA?
ABA was referred to me by the San Diego Regional Center because of his diagnosis of autism. I didn't know it existed until I got an autism diagnosis for my kiddo. 

What were your concerns about getting started with ABA?
Personally, I didn’t have any concerns. I wanted to get him support. I didn’t know what it was or what it was going to mean. It was what they were recommending to support him in being more content, learning how to cope, and learning all the tools we’ve learned. I had no fears, but I wondered what it was going to be like. I was not worried about it, I was more thankful that we found support for him. 

What has been your overall experience with ABA?
My experience has been positive, I’ve seen a lot of great changes and a lot of great progress with him behaviorally and just as a kiddo. When we first started this process we were going through the autism diagnosis and trying to understand his needs. I felt very helpless -  but I feel like I have tools now. The overall experience for us has been great. I’ve always felt with Dedicated Healthcare that you guys are not doing anything that I feel is not positive or isn’t practical or isn’t modified for him. There's times when we have a goal and he’s not taking to the goa, Dedicated modifies it (for success). 

What do you think parents should ask their ABA providers before starting?
 What kind of children do you work with. The more I’ve learned about it and the more I realize that honestly I think every kid should have it because every kid has something that might be really challenging for them. 
I think what parents should ask is what typical goals are you working with other children and what goals would be good after meeting my child. I think they should ask questions regarding treatment in general. Not to compare but to understand that there are a multitude of things that need assisting. It's all meant to be supportive and helpful -  not meant to be one size fits all. I also think they should ask about what ABA does because googling ABA is not going to give you the full picture and may turn people away when that should not be the case. Ask questions before and during to modify goals. 

What are the biggest improvements that you’ve seen in your child?
I would say he seems more confident, more independent - he wants to be independent- and more content. With the ABA he’s learned and  understands the tools. So, when I am using the tools you have shown me how to use with him, he catches on to what we are doing. His biggest improvements I think are overall comprehension and independence. He seems to have a better ability to cope with situations that were hard for him in the past. He was unable to go to family functions and now he has been open to more participation without being overstimulated. The change has been great for our family as a whole, not just him. 

What is the hardest part about your child getting ABA services?
The hardest part for me personally is that where I work, my insurance doesn’t fund it. The hardest part for me was finding out where and how I could get resources. Everything that primary care was putting in was denied. I felt helpless because I wondered where to go to find services. The hardest part was knowing where to turn to obtain services. 

What advice would you give to parents who are not sure if ABA is the right answer for their child?
I would say if you’re dealing with any behavioral issues regardless of what it’s related to, whether it’s autism, ADD, ADHD, or any diagnosis, I would do ABA. I think all kids would benefit from ABA therapy. I would say if you’re concerned about something with your child and this is the recommendation, then try it. If it’s not for you then it’s not for you. I've learned with any special needs child that the process of getting resources will lead to the understanding of what works for your child or doesn’t. You have to give the providers a chance to truly do their work, because it takes time to get to know your child- I’d say try it for 6 months to a year and if it’s still not for you then you can stop services. Trying ABA is my advice. 

Did you know about ASD before your child was diagnosed?
Yes I did, my mom was a school teacher and my cousin is autistic. I’ve always heard of autism, but had never experienced someone as close as my child who has been diagnosed. We didn’t know that then, but now we know.  

How long has your child received ABA services? 
A little over a year and a half, so almost 2 years. 

What are your child's current biggest challenges?
Speech and communication are still big struggles but still leaps and bounds compared to
 what it was. He is signing, using an AAC, and spontaneous speech but it’s still a barrier because he is not fluent in any of these ways to communicate. He does not like surprises but we have tools now that help a lot. 

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