Frequently Asked Questions

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

What is ABA?

“Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior” (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968).

Applied Behavior Analysis is a teaching method utilized to reduce inappropriate behaviors and teach new, more socially acceptable behaviors. Applied Behavior Analysis uses reinforcement to increase desired behaviors, while simultaneously replacing inappropriate behaviors so that individuals may get their needs met in socially acceptable ways. Applied Behavior Analysis can be used for an array of behaviors, including but not limited to aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors, self-injurious behaviors, elopement, picky eating, tantrums, and perseveration.

What is a BCBA and why do I need one?

A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. BCBAs develop, train, and implement behavior intervention plans. BCBAs are masters level behavior analysts, with degrees in ABA, psychology, counseling, mental health, special education, or other related fields. BCBAs supervise behavior therapists and Registered Behavior Technicians on the treatment plans they develop. BCBAs also provide parent training and education.

What insurances do we accept?

We accept all major insurances, including but not limited to Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Magellan, TriCare, and United Healthcare. We also accept some forms of Medicaid.

Please note: Insurance coverage is dependent on each individual plan.

What happens in sessions?

All sessions are individualized. Therapists initiate sessions by asking parents/caregivers about events leading up to the therapy session. This helps us to modify sessions, as needed. Typically, we implement the treatment plan in a variety of settings with a variety of materials to promote generalization. Therapists will engage clients in transitions, sensory activities, academic tasks, and social skills training throughout each session. Therapists will collect data and take notes throughout the sessions to document progress and occurrences of behaviors either on paper or on a laptop. The last 5-10 minutes of each session is dedicated to debriefing parents about the session.

Do we only see children with autism?

We provide services to a wide range of clients with and without disabilities. Our services are tailored to meet each individual’s needs. We work with children, adolescents, and adults. Potential clients do not need to have a diagnosis to benefit our services. We believe in treating each individual and the presenting symptoms, not the diagnosis; therefore, services are applicable to all.

Do we diagnose?

We do not provide any diagnostic services. We provide a wide range of treatment services, including ABA, OT, Family Services, Tutoring, and Hypnotherapy. We will gladly assist clients in finding resources for diagnosis, re-evaluations, or any other services that we may not provide.

How many hours per week of therapy does my child need?

The number of hours per week of therapy is based on a number of factors—the assessment, the insurance coverage, and the preference of the family. On average, our clients receive services anywhere between 6 and 15 hours per week. We work with families to best meet the needs of the individual and the family to achieve the best possible outcome. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the recommended treatment hours are the hours that have been determined to best achieve goals.

How long are therapy sessions?

ABA therapy sessions are typically 2 hours long. Research shows that 2-hour sessions allow for the decrease of inappropriate behaviors, the teaching of new and more appropriate skills, and the reinforcement of replacement skills. Sessions, however, are based on each clients level and ability, therefore there may be some variability in length of time.

How do we get started?

To get started with services go to the services section of our website and scroll down. There will be a link to open up the intake application. You can download this application, complete it, and return it to us via email, fax, or drop off in person. It is important that when completing the intake application, you provide us with as much information as possible and submit all supporting documents, such as diagnostic reports, evaluations, and educational plans. This helps us to move the process along faster. Once we receive your completed intake application and supporting documents, you will receive a call from us to schedule a consultation appointment. Consultations are for parents/caregivers and/or family members only not for the individual for which you are seeking services. This allows us time to discuss strengths and weaknesses without the individual present.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

What is OT?

OT is an acronym that stands for “Occupational Therapy.” It focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives.

What is an Occupational Therapist and why do I need one?

An Occupational Therapist helps people to do the things they want and need to do through therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners work with people of all ages to enable them to live life to its fullest. Occupational Therapists help promote health, and prevent further injury or allow an individual to live their life with an injury, illness or disability.

What happens in sessions?

A typical session at Shaping Change consists of therapeutic activities that utilize the occupation of “Play” to target deficits or delays. The activities can range from improving fine motor, gross motor development, social skills, visual perceptual skills, handwriting, upper body strength, cognitive and problem solving skills.

Is OT only for individuals with autism?

OT works with all individuals of all ages regardless of their illness, injury or disability.

How many hours per week of therapy does my child need?

The number of hours a child would need per week depends on how many hours an individual’s insurance authorizes for. It also depends on the need of how much therapy a patient/client would require. OT treatment sessions are between 30-60 minutes for a 6-month duration. For example: A child with moderate-severe developmental delays would benefit from OT services 3 times per week for 60 minutes.

How long are therapy sessions?

Between 30- 60 minutes

How do we get started?

An occupational therapy evaluation referral from your child’s primary care physician will be required to schedule an occupational therapy evaluation.