Our New Partnership With SensAble Kids

Here at Key Autism services, we are very excited to announce that we have recently partnered with SensAble kids for our client’s speech and occupational therapy needs. SensAble Kids began providing speech and occupational therapy at our Oak Lawn ABA clinic at the beginning of June. With this new partnership, our clients are able to receive speech and/ or occupational therapy through SensAble kids here at the convenience of our Oak Lawn ABA clinic. Speech and Occupational therapy are now built into each of our client’s schedules and offers the ease and convenience of a single therapy location. 

The decision to partner with SensAble kids was an easy one and came down to 3 key factors;

1. Being able to meet all our clients’ therapeutic needs in a whole child approach. 

2. Identifying a highly reputable company providing quality therapeutic services. 

3. The convenience of 1 location for all of our client’s therapy needs. 

Since agreeing to partner with SensAble kids our team of BCBA’s and behavior therapists have been able to shift their focus from strictly an ABA model to a co-treatment approach. Our BCBA’s, speech therapists, and occupational therapists now have an opportunity to work together as a team focusing on the whole child. With this unique set up, our team has the opportunity to come together and meet to review the progress and goals of the child’s individual therapies and ensure that they are working together towards a common goal. 

Our second driving factor in this partnership was the quality of services that SensAble kids adheres to and their reputation in the community. SensAble kids core values truly line up with the core mission and values here at Key. We were quickly able to identify that this would be a great fit based on their desire to work collaboratively with other liked mind professionals, the willingness to collaborate in all areas of the child’s treatment, and the integrity of their services. 

Our third and final factor in this decision to partner was the ability to offer these services on site in a single location for all of our Oak Lawn center clients. We understand that modern families are always busy and on the go. Juggling school, extra curriculars, and therapies can be a scheduling nightmare. We see a huge value in the ability to combine and reduce our families drive time to and from therapy so they can focus on the things that really matter like quality family time. 

We are confident that this exciting new partnership model provides an exciting opportunity for all disciplines to collaborate on a child’s treatment and we are looking forward to future partnerships at all of our clinic locations with local speech and occupational therapy partners.

A Deeper Look at ABA

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has evolved in to one of the most effective therapies for Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders. It is a therapy based in science and results. Children with autism that receive the recommended amount of ABA hours per week show a substantial improvement in behavior and learning. Simply put, the goal of ABA is to increase positive behaviors and decrease behaviors that negatively impact learning and daily life. This article will take a deeper look at ABA, and how it works.

Evidence-Based

ABA is an evidence-based best practice treatment of Autism. That means it has been scientifically proven through many valid and reliable experiments to work. This is a very important point. There should be a certain level of confidence associated with the treatments of any condition or illness. In fact, when intensive ABA is provided (between 25-40 hours per week), substantial gains are shown to be made. This has been presented in many studies targeting ABA.

How it works

Behavior Analysts go through a tremendous amount of training to be able to successfully provide the service. For the sake of this article, how ABA works will be simplified. The main goal of ABA as stated above is to increase positive behaviors and reduce negative ones. One of the main strategies behavior therapists use is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is providing a reward for when a positive behavior has been used. After repetition and time, the behavior should be changed permanently. The reward is appropriate and applies well to the person receiving it.

Behavior analysts and therapists heavily focus on the cause of a certain behavior (Antecedent), what behavior was exhibited, and the consequence of the behavior. The consequence is a direct result of the behavior and may positive or negative. Using this method allows analysts to build programs tailored for individuals that are unique in what they are targeting.

Other helpful tidbits

ABA is provided by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT), also referred to as Behavior Therapists. The BCBA’s evaluate the child, build the programming for the child, and then supervise the RBT as the program is implemented. All the data shows that the more hours of ABA a child gets, the more optimal results will be seen. An ABA team may consist of one BCBA and several RBT’s. The important thing is that the programs are followed closely, monitored for success, and adjusted for improvement. Most insurance companies do cover ABA services at this point, though, that wasn’t always the case. Benefits should be verified by the ABA company prior to therapy starting. This is a standard practice. Embarking on an ABA journey is a huge step in the development of any child with autism. Like anything else, the unknown may be scary. Having some information about it in advance can make all the difference in the world.

Helping Children Cope with Changes as a Result of COVID-19

Families across the country are adjusting to the many changes resulting from COVID-19, including changes in daily life, the way we educate our children, and what we will now define as the new normal. This also includes keeping children occupied and focused on what is important. It is important to note that during this stressful time, children look to adults for guidance, so the way you react can have a major impact on how your child perceives and reacts to the changes occurring and information presented. COVID-19 gives parents the ability to model routines, schedules, and remote school lessons in creative ways. The following tips can help:

· Children look up to you. Staying calm, collected, and informed during this unsure time can decrease your child’s fears and ensure your child has the facts. Carefully listen to your child and help your child draw or write out concerns, thoughts, and feelings, then respond with truth, validation, and reassurance.

· Explain what COVID-19 and social distancing are. Children most likely do not fully understand what COVID-19 is and why we are social distancing. Create visuals or hands on activities for your child to explain what the COVID-19 virus does and exactly why we are participating in social distancing.

· Keep a morning routine, and don’t forget to relax. Keeping up with a regular schedule, especially as things start to shift to the new normal, is important to keep your child at ease. Working with your BCBA to identify preferences for activities that are calming and relaxing in nature to your child can help. An example of an activity that may be a preference to your child is yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.

· Model basic hygiene and health practices. Encourage your child to practice regular hygiene like washing hands for at least 20 seconds, wearing a mask in public, and teaching personal space.

· Be aware of your child’s mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to change the way we interact. This can mean decreased contact with friends and family. Pay close attention to your child’s eating and sleeping habits – if you see a sudden change, consult with a mental healthcare professional.

Keeping an open, understanding mind towards your child’s concerns can help your child adjust to the fears of going back to school in the fall and others concerns your child might have.

For more information on COVID-19 and other helpful resources, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/children.html

For more information on hand washing and hygiene, visit https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/hand-sanitizer-factsheet.pdf