OAI assesses the skill level of each child referred for intensive programming using industry standard tools such as the VB-Mapps, ABLLS, Adaptive Behavior Scales, and others as needed or required by your health insurer. Additionally, as part of each assessment, each child will be actually taught briefly using ABA techniques to assess how well they respond and identify baseline levels for potential goal skills. Each child’s skills are assessed when they enter the program to determine areas of need, and these are then targeted systematically.
EIBI: Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
We specialize in providing early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) to young children (18 months to 6 years) with autism spectrum disorders. Intensive treatment means that we are there to make sure your child is learning all day, every day. We teach complex social and daily living skills as well as language (including verbal behavior) and pragmatics.
High quality EIBI is widely recognized in peer reviewed literature as the only treatment that is consistently effective in improving the outcome of children with ASD. Early means that treatment is started while the child is very young – preferably before the third birthday, but research shows best outcomes are still possible when treatment is started as late as 4 years old.
Intensive refers to the amount of time that the child is actively provided treatment. Research specifies 30-40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for 2-3 years, as the amount needed to be most likely to achieve best-outcome status. The industry standard specifies BCBA supervision of 2 hours for every 10 hours of direct service by behavioral technicians.
Behavioral means that treatment works by increasing the child’s skills (behaviors). Part of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses a format called DTI (Discrete Trial Instruction ) to increase many skills, especially to children who have very little skills at baseline and who often confuse new skills (such as pronouns, etc.,) when they do appear. Some part of the total time in any EIBI program is likely to contain a significant amount of DTI intervention, especially in the earlier stages. While discrete trial may be a well-known part of EIBI, effective ABA treatment incorporates much more than just DTI. Some skills, especially social skills and some play skills, are more effectively increased using other ABA techniques such as incidental teaching and systematic generalization. All of these techniques (and many more) are incorporated into each child’s unique program, and are used based on the response your child shows every day to a given approach.
FASST: Functional Adaptive & Social Skills Training
We are also equipped to provide ABA at less intensive levels for children when that is appropriate. For older children social, community and functional skills such as maintaining appropriate conversations on topics chosen by your conversational partner, changing the topic when your conversational partner seems to be bored, establishing joint attention before starting a conversation, identifying the perspective of other people when that is different from your own, staying with adults while in the community, tolerating boring trips such as to a grocery store, dressing, toileting, etc., can be addressed via a FASST (Functional Adaptive and Social Skills Training) model. These are relatively brief interventions addressing a specific skill deficit rather than a global treatment such as EIBI.
FBAs/BIPS: Functional Behavior Analyses, Behavior Intervention Plans
Significant behavior challenges can arise in children with autism spectrum disorders. When warranted these can be addressed with a formal FBA/BIP conducted by an OAI BCBA (LABA in Massachusetts and New York).
Less-intensive ABA programs
For some children less intensive programs may be appropriate. Some children are receiving ABA from their school and need additional hours to achieve a clinically effective level of intensity. Some children may need to work more extensively on community and functional skills instead of an all-encompassing program such as is found with EIBI. OAI is equipped to provide programs at this level of intensity as well, with appropriate BCBA supervision.
Autism affects the entire family. Living with and raising a child with autism is demanding at best, and can be completely overwhelming. Parent training to help with improving a child’s independence in functional skills such as toileting, eating, sleeping in one’s own bed, tolerating haircuts, hair washing, tooth brushing, nail trimming, dentist and doctor desensitization, behavior problems, and a variety of other issues is also available from OAI, and is a part of every OAI program.