Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for the Early Intervention/ABA clinic
1. How is Bright Eyes different from other ABA service providers?
Our service offers a highly individualised program, supervised and implemented by staff who have extensive experience within the field of early behavioural intervention, psychological principles, and assessment and training. Our staff include those who are currently board certified behaviour analysts, studying in order to become board certified, and registered psychologists.
We differ from many other service providers in that the program supervisor who develops your child’s individual program also works directly with your child on a weekly basis. This ensures the program maintains the highest quality and ongoing supervision that will enable best outcomes for your child.
2. What are the costs associated with the program?
We are a small business and aim to stay small and boutique, we do not charge administration costs, we offer flexibility in how often the program update meetings are run, and we do not require two staff to oversee and run each program. The qualified and experienced program supervisor takes the place of a ‘senior therapist’ or ‘team leader’ as we want to work directly with the child and family, and make changes to the program as and when they are needed, ensuring a more personalised program.
3. Do you require the program to have a minimum number of hours per week?
Best practice guidelines indicate that a successful early intervention program for a child with an autism spectrum disorder requires a minimum of 20 hours per week of therapy. We also encourage families to aim for this, however we recognise that some families may find it difficult financially or practically to implement 20+ hours a week or that their child may not require an intensive early intervention program. We do offer flexibility in our programs and will work with parents to help them implement the goals of the program throughout the day within daily routines so that the child still has ample learning opportunities even if they are unable to do 20 formal hours of therapy.
4. Do you help with sourcing and training junior therapists?
Some programs will involve junior therapists to help enable the child to receive enough hours per week to gain benefit from their early intervention program. When junior therapists are required, we will advise parents in the best ways to recruit, interview and choose what junior therapists will be suitable.
Following selection, we will advise junior therapists in what online training we will require them to complete and will then provide extensive practical, hands on training in sessions with your child and the behaviour analyst as well as ongoing supervision and regular overlap sessions to ensure your child is receiving a high standard of intervention at all times.
Parent training is also available via online theory training and practical hands on training during your child’s therapy sessions.
5. Do you have a set curriculum or assessment you use at your clinic?
When assessing your child, we rely on our knowledge of child development and experience, as well as parents goals to develop the program. At times, the VB-MAPP (Sundberg, 2008) is used at Bright Eyes to establish a baseline for each child. Re-assessments often occur every 6-12 months to determine and monitor progress. The VB-MAPP has been identified as containing all of the critical components (comprehensive, based on early childhood development, considers behaviour function, provides a direct link from assessment items to program goals, and can be useful to track progress over time) that an assessment should possess when determining the content of early intervention programs (Gould et al., 2011). We use this assessment as well as information gathered at the initial meeting to develop goals which will form the basis of your child’s program. We do not rely on a ‘curriculum’ to determine what programs your child needs however we will draw on a range of curriculum resources.
6. I’m not sure that an ABA program is suitable for my child.
ABA programs are essentially early intervention programs that are based on the principles of learning and motivation. These principles are based on the framework of how typically developing children learn, but have been deconstructed and modified to teach those with challenges in learning and behaviour. Your program supervisor at Bright Eyes has extensive knowledge of this science and is able to implement these principles within a program that is designed specifically to suit your child and your family. The programs will differ in how play based they are according to the age and developmental level of the child as well as what the parent’s goals are for their child. ABA gives us the most effective, well-researched tools for teaching your child and for monitoring their progress to ensure they are learning at an optimal rate.
7. Can you assist with transition to school?
Our therapists understand that a successful transition to school requires detailed planning and preparation in the year leading up to school commencement. Our therapists will program school readiness skills into your child’s program as well as help you decide on which schools may be the most appropriate for your child. Once your child has been accepted into a school we will then work with the school and parents to establish meetings and orientation sessions to enable your child’s transition to school is as successful and as stress free as possible. If and when appropriate we may also look at shadows/ aides for your child and help integrate them into the school environment. Continued school support/ meetings are also advisable once your child has started school.
8. Other services/ approaches:
Bright Eyes encourages clients to work with Speech Pathologists and Occupational therapists (if and when needed) as we feel that an early intervention program that is comprehensive and covers all the child’s needs is important. If your child does work with other professionals then it is important that we work together as a team to ensure there is no conflict between goals/ programs for your child. It will also help to optimise your child’s progress if there is consistency amongst professionals when working with your child.
9. Can we use our FaHCSIA funding with you?
Bright Eyes Early Intervention is an approved FaHCSIA service provider. Once you have received your ‘letter of introduction’ from an Autism Advisor then you are able to access this funding with our clinic.
10. My child doesn’t have autism?
Whilst being highly experienced in the field of autism, our staff also work with children with a range of needs and presenting difficulties such as behavioural concerns, anxiety, and various developmental disabilities.
FAQ for other services
1. What assessments do you administer?
We offer diagnostic assessments for autism (ADOS-2 and ADI-R) and psychometric /IQ (SB-5 and WISC-IV) testing for all children. For more information see the Psychological Services menu.
2. When/ why do I need a formal assessment?
A diagnostic assessment for autism may be needed when there are concerns about your child’s communication, social skills and behaviour. Diagnoses can be made from 12 months through to adulthood.
Psychometric testing may be necessary for school placement or appropriate to assess learning ability and giftedness. These tests measure cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, visual and auditory processing, reasoning and perceptual skills.
1. I’m worried about my child’s anxiety levels, what should I do?
Before commencing an anxiety session, many parents like to meet with the psychologist to discuss their child’s anxiety. The psychologist can describe the program in more detail, as well as gaining a greater understanding of the child’s worries. Then the best course of action can be decided upon. In some cases, it may be possible to work on anxiety within the settings that have been identified as the cause of anxiety. As each child’s intervention is an individual process, parents can call the centre on 9498 1596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information.
1. What strategies will you use with my child?
The intervention strategies implemented with your child to tackle their challenging behaviour will ultimately depend, not only on the behaviours your child is displaying, but more importantly on the function(s) of that behaviour i.e. what is my child trying to communicate by engaging in that behaviour? Identifying the function of the behaviour will then lead to the development of a behaviour intervention plan using principles of ABA. This will generally include reinforcement of replacement behaviours your child can use to appropriately communicate their needs and wants, and strategies to specifically reduce the challeging behaviour.
Sometimes, strategies such as Stop-Think-Do/Stop-Think-Pick a Plan may be used if suitable for your child. These strategies teach the child the steps invovled in making productive choices when presented with challenging situations.
2. How many sessions will my child need?
Again, this depends on how your child is progressing. A minimum of six sessions is recommended before re-assessing your child’s progress.
Gould, E., Dixon, D. R., Najdowski, A. C., Smith, M. N., & Tarbox, J (2011). A review of assessment for determining the content of early intensive behavioral intervention programs for autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Sundberg, M. L. (2008). Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). Concord, CA: AVB Press.