How BHCOE Helps Ensure Quality ABA Care and Parental Peace of Mind

BHCOE Accreditation serves parents and autistic individuals by ensuring access to quality services in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

What is the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence?

As a parent, understanding the role of BHCOE can make an impact on your child’s ABA therapy program. BHCOE provides oversight to the Applied Behavior Analysis community to ensure those with autism get access to the quality care they deserve. We understand the challenges these children and individuals face, which is why we provide resources that will help you partner with an ABA provider that offers the best outcome possible for your loved one. Our Accreditation programs focus on quality, compassionate care, patient outcome, and cost-effectiveness of ABA therapy. Our goal is to support the delivery of the best possible services to all stakeholders in the autistic community.

BHCOE Decals (white + blue) set

What is ABA Therapy?

If you’re new to Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA therapy is a type of therapy for autistic individuals that is grounded in principles and processes that help people improve their quality of life. ABA providers work with individuals in clinics, schools, and homes to identify ways that behavior change and learning can improve the quality of life for them and their families. ABA is typically delivered in either a comprehensive (25-40 hours per week) or focused program (less than 25 hours per week), working with the child’s natural environment whether it is in a clinic, a school, the home, or community.  

What should you look for in a quality ABA provider?

A quality ABA program should adhere to the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and meet best practices in quality programming. All programs should be supported by data and result in meaningful improvements. Some of the essential elements that parents should consider when choosing an ABA provider include the following:

1. Staffing
Appropriately staffed ABA providers utilize certified and/or licensed staff. A quality ABA organization will utilize Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) to oversee programming, and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) to provide direct therapy or other similarly credentialed staff. ABA providers should adhere to appropriate staff-to-patient ratios to ensure that each child gets the attention that they need. You can ask an ABA provider you are interested in working with how they train their staff, what level of education and certification their staff hold, and what their client-to-staff ratio is. A BHCOE accredited organization has had the quality of its staff vetted through observation, interviews, and surveys.
2. Safety
Safety should always be a high priority for your ABA therapist. Whether the sessions take place at home or in a clinic, an unsafe area could result in injury and a loss of valuable therapy time. In many cases, a quality ABA organization should have protocols to avoid physically managing children without their assent,, ensuring that there are no sharp or unsafe objects present, that there is a low risk of the child escaping the clinic during a therapy session, and ensuring that the furniture is arranged properly. These are all often overlooked details that BHCOE accreditation is able to address during our onsite visits and organization reviews.
3. Approach to Treatment Planning
While strategies used in ABA should be similar across providers, each child’s ABA program should be person-centered and individualized to their needs. A quality ABA provider will not have a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. There are different approaches to ABA ranging from more structured, trial-based therapy, to more naturalistic play-based therapy. Ideally, these approaches should be chosen based on your child’s needs and their responsiveness to therapy. A quality ABA organization should have processes in place to guide skill-building and reduce challenging behaviors. In addition, a quality provider will ensure they receive consent from you as a parent, and assent from your child before implementing any new strategies or interventions. All of these should be based on the best available research and should be selected to reflect your family values and your family choice and preference. With a BHCOE Accredited organization, you can rest assured that we’ve reviewed these areas of your child’s ABA therapy provider.
4. Data & Documentation
The cornerstone of a quality ABA program is that a clinician will use data to guide all of their decisions. A quality ABA organization has a process for prescribing data collection and analysis procedures including the types of data to be collected, the method of data collection, the frequency of data collection, procedures for ensuring the reliability of data collection, and frequency of data analysis. As a parent, you should be involved in and aware of what skills or behaviors the clinician is focusing on, and how those behaviors are changing over time.
5. Cost
Prior to the initiation of services, a quality ABA organization provides, in writing, requirements for providing services, patient rights, financial agreements, and responsibilities of all parties. If terms change, the organization will notify parents/guardians and/or patients in advance of the new terms taking effect. Proceed with caution if an organization begins to provide treatment to you and your child without clear expectations on the financial burden to you and your family.
6. Complaint Resolution & Feedback System
A quality ABA organization regularly measures patient satisfaction and has processes for responding to the results of satisfaction measurement. In addition, before the commencement of service delivery, the organization should inform parents/guardians and/or patients how they can file complaints and grievances internally and externally about any service provided by the organization and with their accrediting body.
7. Accreditation
Accreditation is an important oversight component for any quality ABA organization. Accreditation demonstrates that the organization is open to external feedback from an independent third party. If you are asking an ABA organization about their Accreditation status ask them: 1) Who has accredited their organization and whether that organization is an independent entity, not owned or operated by an organization representing ABA providers 2) Whether the standards development is ANSI-accredited or not, and 3) How long that accreditor has been evaluating ABA organizations and under which standards. It’s important to stay informed and aware of your ABA therapy provider’s oversight body.

Why choose a BHCOE-Accredited ABA therapy provider?

BHCOE Accreditation provides peace of mind. Our accreditation differentiates an ABA provider from those who are not accredited by ensuring they have undergone peer review, are in compliance with health-care related laws, all staff have undergone background checks, and that there is a formal complaint resolution process in the unlikely event that you have concerns. 

Choosing a BHCOE-Accredited ABA provider helps to ensure that your child’s therapy provider meets minimum quality standards, ensures the validity of the program, and whether their staff are qualified. Quality is critical for us, and if you see a BHCOE decal in an ABA provider’s clinic or office, it means that organization has met the Standards of Excellence for Applied Behavior Analysis required to earn BHCOE accreditation.

Locate an Accredited ABA Provider

Our Accredited ABA Provider Directory makes it easy for parents and guardians to find quality providers in their area.

Do you have questions, comments, or concerns about the Quality of ABA services or a specific ABA provider?

If you have any questions or concerns about the quality of care your loved one is receiving by an accredited organization, we encourage you to let us know by contacting us here. We value the input and opinions of everyone involved. From patients to caregivers to the parents and guardians of children with autism. If it matters to you, it matters to us. Your submissions are confidential and play a critical role in ensuring quality ABA services are accessible and deliverable to all.  

We invite your feedback and look forward to developing and sharing more resources with you: complete the form below to share any feedback and to be added to our mailing list.

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