Assessments & Skill Acquisition Plans
Each child will begin services with a comprehensive assessment and skill acquisition plan. JoyBridge Kids BCBA’s choose assessments based on individual child characteristics, but most frequently utilize the Assessment for Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised (ABLLS-R), Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VBMAPP), and Assessment for Functional Living Skills (AFLS) to develop comprehensive programming and intervention for our learners.
Both indirect assessment (parent interviews and questionnaires) and direct assessments (one-on-one assessment with the child) data is utilized to develop a data-based, comprehensive skill acquisition and treatment plan for each child. After the plan is developed, it is discussed with the parent and caregivers, and then used to develop specific programming and goal mastery plan for the child. Goals are developed with a focus on addressing the core deficits of autism, including communication, social interactions, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. Adaptive behavior, age-appropriate, and developmentally-appropriate goals are also developed and targeted based on individual needs.
JoyBridge Kids focuses heavily on the importance and value of intentional parent support. We provide parents and caregivers with education and support to help them gain valuable skills in helping their children succeed throughout their daily lives. This is a vital and foundational part of our services. Parent support/training is based on each family’s unique culture, situation, and priorities of need.
A key element of Parent & Caregiver Training is helping parents learn how to utilize basic ABA methods at home, so that efforts are consistent across environments. We believe that parents, family members, and siblings play a significant role in teaching developmentally appropriate skills throughout naturally occurring family routines (i.e. breakfast or bedtime). BCBA’s provide parent training sessions on a bi-weekly basis (minimum) that focus on parent priorities, including setting up and implementing routine-based interventions (i.e. structured tantrum-free bedtimes!), decreasing maladaptive behaviors (i.e. aggression), implementing toilet training, teaching communication, and setting up family community outings for success. JoyBridge Kids utilizes several parent training curriculums that are individualized based on family needs, and concepts that are taught throughout Behavioral Skills Training (BST) to ensure family members can effectively implement those strategies in the home environment.
Having supportive family members and friends who consistently use the strategies of ABA can catalyze significant growth! Parents who are eager to learn from these techniques are vitally important for maximizing a child’s outcome. JoyBridge Kids families are expected to participate in caregiver training with their child’s BCBA, and will also be encouraged to observe and participate in ABA, SLP, and OT sessions with their child’s core team of staff.
Play & Social Skills
One of the most important aspects of childhood is play! Children learn many developmental skills through playing and learn social skills through interactions with others during play. There are several evidence-based interventions in ABA therapy that are utilized during child-led, naturalistic play-based interactions such as pivotal response training (PRT) and naturalistic intervention (NI). not only are these interventions used to teach age-appropriate play and leisure skills, but also to embed learning opportunities for communication, social skills, imitation, and joint attention. At JoyBridge Kids, our Early Excellence program utilizes these play-based interventions to teach our youngest learners foundational skills of childhood. They have daily opportunities to generalize their play and social skills with peers during small group times such as circle time, snack and lunch, gym play, and art/sensory group.
Social Skills are especially important for our school-aged learners who are learning how to navigate relationships and friendships with peers. ABA utilizes specific interventions, such as Behavioral Skills Training (BST) and Cognitive Behavior Intervention (CBI), to teach children how to identify and cope with their emotions and the emotions of others, express and respond to anger appropriately, teach self-management strategies for their own behavior, understand nonverbal social cues of peers, teach self-advocacy, and teach social skills that are foundational for developing true friendships. At JoyBridge Kids, staff of our After School Program implement evidence-based interventions during one-on-one instruction to teach foundational social skills, and then support learners in generalizing these skills during Social Skills Groups and structured, age-appropriate leisure time (i.e. table games, gym time, etc.) with peers.
There is often a substantial benefit for children with autism to utilize Occupational Therapy to help in their development. Occupational Therapists utilize various strategies to address daily life skills, motor development, adaptive skills, self-regulation and sensory needs, as well as social participation. Adaptive and life competencies include things like brushing teeth, writing, toileting, opening containers, and basic daily life preparation.
Children who are challenged with sensitivity to touch, light and sound sensitivity, as well as balance and positioning in space can benefit from Occupational Therapy. JoyBridge utilizes different rooms in the same clinic to deliver Occupational Therapy in addition to ABA therapy. This provides a really valuable complement of transformational services in one place.
Behavior Support Plans
A common goal of ABA therapy is decreasing maladaptive, or socially inappropriate, behaviors (i.e. aggression, self-injury, elopement). The first step in decreasing the occurrence of a behavior is to identify the function, or “why” that behavior is occurring. Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) are experts in analyzing environmental contexts where problematic behaviors occur in order to understand why they are happening, and then develop a plan to both prevent and reduce the occurrence of those inappropriate behaviors through the use of evidence-based practices.
At JoyBridge Kids, our masters and doctorate-level BCBA’s complete Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA’s) and/or Functional Analyses (FA’s) to determine the function of behavior, and then develop a Behavior Support Plan (BSP) that includes antecedent-based interventions (how to prevent or decrease likelihood of the behavior occurring), response-based strategies (how to respond when the maladaptive behavior occurs), and replacement behaviors (new, appropriate behavior to teach in place of the maladaptive behavior). Our BCBA’s model, train, and coach JBK staff and family members on each child’s Behavior Support Plan in order to effectively decrease maladaptive behaviors and increase socially-appropriate behaviors.
Speech Therapy is a often a critical service for children with autism and other communication challenges. As a result, we provide access to Speech Therapy services in our clinic to clients participating in our ABA programs. Our teams work together to design programs that maximize communication in tandem with the client’s behavior therapy.
Performing these multiple functions as a team fosters more optimized communication that is centered on providing outstanding care. Having these offerings in one service location to receive ABA and speech therapy helps drive excellent results while also providing a simplified experience for children and parents.
ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is the applied use of principles and methods from behavioral science to create meaningful changes in socially important behaviors. Over 30 years of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of ABA for treating individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children who receive early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) have demonstrated positive improvements in their development.
ABA focuses on teaching a variety of developmentally appropriate skills (such as communication, learning readiness, play skills, toilet training, etc.) and on reducing maladaptive behaviors (i.e. aggression, elopement, pica). Interventions using applied behavior analytic principles have long been established as an effective approach to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease problem behaviors for individuals with ASD. The success of ABA can lead to significant improvements in many areas such as the ability to more effectively communicate, receptive and expressive language, socialization and play, pre-academics, as well as developing critical daily living skills.
At JoyBridge Kids, we only utilize evidence-based practices rooted in ABA that are implemented by clinicians who are trained to deliver effective, child-centered therapy in a loving and sensitive approach.