As a parent who started up an ABA programme in 2011, I can totally relate and understand how daunting setting one up can be, it can be sometimes overwhelming for parents and you may not know where to start… I know I didn’t.
- How will ABA work within our family?
- School/nursery setting?
- How do I go about setting up and starting a programme?
- How do I fund it?
- Where do I find tutors?
- How do I get a consultant on board?
All very valid questions, so I hope the following information may help you and make your ABA journey a little easier, I truly hope it helps.
I would recommend that you go and see some sessions in action in a home setting, chat with parents that are applying ABA and get advice from them, see how it works within their family structure.
Please remember all ABA programmes are individualised, therefore you will not necessarily be doing the programmes you see but you will get a good idea of how they work around family life. Also I would welcome you to come and visit our ABA Parent and child training scheme in Bolton to see ABA in action.
Starting your ABA Journey – setting up an ABA programme
The first thing I recommend you do to start your ABA programme is find a consultant, your consultant is a very important part of your programme.
An ABA consultant is a professional who is a BCBA (Board Certified Behaviour Analyst) or a Behavioural Consultant who is working towards becoming a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and is supervised by a BCBA.
Your Consultant is a professional who oversees your ABA programme, provides ongoing staff/parent training and implements ABA programmes based on your child's individual needs. The consultant will assess your child at the beginning of your ABA programme, creating targets based on the results of the assessment, whilst observing progress via regular workshops and data collection.
They are also trained to implement strategies to reduce inappropriate behaviour - replacing with appropriate behaviours (behaviour development plans), along with conducting functional behaviour assessments (FBA's) to understand why behaviours occur and to guide them with what interventions to use.
Consultants also regularly liaise with schools/nurseries if an ABA programme is running in this setting.
Your consultant will have workshops that your child, yourselves and your tutors attend so they can observe those working with your child including family members (depending on who you have working with your child). The consultant will observe and see that they are applying programmes correctly and move programmes on if needed. These workshops are normally scheduled every 4-6 weeks.
Finding a Consultant
There are 2 ways of finding your consultant a) though a company b) an independent consultant. There are many consultancies listed on our consultancy page: Consultancies
It is best practice to call more than one, many will offer you a free initial meeting so ask if that’s a possibility, you can discuss in a meeting or over the phone your requirements and see if the consultant fits in with you and your family’s lifestyle, work commitments and budget, you can discuss prices and ask them to email you over their fee structure. Take your time don’t rush this decision, the consultant maybe with you a long time and will have a lot of programme input, so ring around and see who you feel fits best.
When your consultant gives you their prices; normally an hourly rate; be aware your consultant will come in every 4-6 weeks or every 6-8 weeks not every day or every week! I know when I first started I was confused at how often and how much was this going to cost me! I disregarded some consultants due to fee’s not realising that it would be for approx. 3-4 hrs every 4 – 6 or 6-8 weeks.
Next you will need to recruit tutors.For me this was the hardest… recruiting and keeping tutors, the demand outweighs the supply but more good tutors are being trained up in the Northwest and supply is better than it was in 2011 when we started.
There are experienced tutors, trainee tutors and volunteer tutors that you can recruit. Everyone’s budget is different so decide on what is right for you. Tutors are self-employed and will invoice you an hourly rate and some may also charge travel costs. A good way to keep your costs low is to hire an experienced tutor and then take on a volunteer and offer all training free with a view to becoming a paid tutor, you can do double ups and cross overs to train a trainee tutor by your experienced tutor. You can also train family members if you have those who have the time to work consistently with your child, who are fit and fully committed.
Importantly: Always interview potential tutors, check for at least 2 references, a working reference from a family they are currently working with or the last family they worked for and also a character reference. Check they do have an Enhanced DBS check (formally known as the CRB) if they don’t then ask they get one done if you decide to take them on.
** Once you have your BCBA; your tutors you are ready to ‘Start your programme’
Your consultant will require an initial workshop and is usually over 2 day’s depending on your chosen consultancy.
Between yourselves (parents) your consultant & tutors your programme will be set up and put in place, every consultant is different on how they work and your decided hours and programmes will be devised dependant on the needs of your child. Once your programme is set up tutors will begin to work with your child in the setting’s you have agreed, home, school, nursery etc.
Most programmes have some form of home programme; a home programme enables tutors to work on programmes that they may not be able to work on in schools or nursery settings.
At home I suggest, if at all possible, to have a room for your sessions, if this is not a possibility a room were your tutors are less likely to be disturbed or interrupted. If not possible tutors can work anywhere within the home setting in multiple rooms too.
I bought a lockable storage cupboard that I stored all our programme materials in and the data file, if space is limited you will need to find somewhere to store your materials that tutors can access when required. You can use storage boxes to keep everything together.
I hope this has helped a little and you feel like you have a little more direction on setting up a programme - Good Luck and enjoy the progress – small steps make big steps in the right direction.
This information has been written in good faith, all the information is considered up to date and correct at the time of writing but may change over time. The companies on the consultancy page – I do not or may never have had any contact or used any of the those services and they are listed with the intention you yourself vet and contact the services and make your own choices and are not recommendations. Autism Support UK will not be held responsible, liable for any decisions you make regards to using any of the information provided in the above and you agree to take full responsibility. The Rights and the Intellectual Property Rights (including, but not limited to the copyright) of the material contained in this write up belongs to Autism Support UK. No part of such materials included may be reproduced, transmitted or given out and saved (unless otherwise stated) without the prior written consent of Autism Support UK.