Frequently Asked Questions

CARD experts answer the most common questions.
ABA is the most effective treatment for autism and research confirms that. Starting early and receiving a high number of therapy hours improves your child’s potential for success. Most medical insurance covers ABA as a medically necessary treatment.

We do not provide diagnostic services. You will need an independent evaluation for a diagnosis so you can ensure that ABA is the right treatment for your child.

Your child will receive an evaluation to identify their strengths and areas of need. Based upon this assessment, individual treatment recommendations will be made.

The recommended hours are considered medically necessary for your child to gain new skills and to help with the problem behaviors. We require parents to commit to what is medically necessary so that children can have the opportunity to make optimal progress.

Your schedule is created based on your child’s needs and the amount of medically necessary hours. Our centers are open early and close after 5. If a child is recommended for 30 hours a week of treatment- sessions from 8am-3pm each day with breaks, time for snacks and lunch, and time to play, learn, and practice new skills throughout the day.

Patients typically receive most of their services in our centers; however, our recommendation for treatment location is individualized based on the child’s needs. We also provide home-based, community-based, and school- based treatment depending on what is medically or educationally necessary and within the guidelines of funders (insurance companies, school districts, and mental health entities).

We do provide weekend hours and we often provide sessions on holidays when our staff are available and it is appropriate for the patient.

ABA is often covered by medical insurance but there are many different insurance plans with different deductibles and co-pays. The best way to understand the costs for your family is to contact your insurance company for coverage/financial details once you know the total recommended hours per week. With a signed contract in place, ABA coverage from school districts and local mental health entities are also a possibility for coverage.

One of the first things to notice is a lack of social engagement. This could present itself in things such as the child not seeking out interactions, struggling to make eye contact, or paying more attention to objects and sounds than people and faces. Another key indicator is if the child is lacking communicative intent, whether this means being non-verbal or the avoidance of using gestures and body language to communicate with other people. Limited development of skills used for playing is also something taken into consideration. It may appear as more repetitive or ritualistic than other mimicked play skills.

An intake is essentially an interview between the BCBA and the family. This is where we would discuss the priorities of the primary caregivers and explain the services we offer, along with company policies and procedures. We would also go through the research behind ABA therapy and what that would look like.

In order to ensure that your child their full dosage of hours, we may have different behavioral technicians working with your child at different times. This is ultimately a good thing because your child would then learn to generalize the skills they are learning.

Research shows that early intervention is key. We want to maximize learning during that time to ultimately impact their progress. With some higher recommendations, we may start at a smaller dosage of hours and then systematically increase the hours as the patient builds rapport with their behavioral technician and gets comfortable with ABA, so that we can set them up for success.

We always seek to learn more. We learn more about our individual patient through observation, talking to their caregivers, and expanding our own knowledge. There are so many answers that we don’t have because the population we work with is so unique in their own way, but CARD makes it possible to always have someone to talk through things with.

ABA is the science of behavior. It’s the application of principles of learning and motivation to areas of social significance. ABA is the most effective treatment for individuals with autism.

Our center-based sessions involve one-to-one ABA therapy sessions between your child and a trained behavioral technician. They have time to learn, eat, take breaks, and play all in the structured setting of our center. The board-certified behavior analysts are also able to provide ongoing training and support as needed to your child and their team.

A board-certified behavior analyst will interview you, meet your child and observe them to assess their individual needs. Then, they will design a program specific to those needs which includes a recommendation of how many hours per week they need in order to archive their goals.

There are typically four main functions of behavior, or reasons a child may be behaving a certain way. The first is attention, such as waving or making a funny sound. The second is called the tangible function, which gets the individual something that they want. An example of that would be pointing or asking for an object. Escape is the third function, such as falling to the floor or crying, which serves to show that the individual does not want to do a certain activity or wants to leave. Automatic behaviors are the last of the main four, and these are behaviors that give some pleasure to the individual directly, such as chewing gum or twirling hair.

It is first important to know that there is no medical test that you can give to get diagnosed with autism. Diagnoses are based on observation and if the child is on track with developmental norms. If parents see that their child is not reaching certain guidelines, their individual pediatrician can follow up and, if needed, recommend them to a developmental neurologist or development psychiatrist. Some non-medical tests may be used, such as using a lineup of toys or asking the child to call them by name.

There are different levels of perspective taking. The first, most basic one is what we call “first order perspective taking” which can also be described as “you know things by how you sense them.” This stage typically begins around ages 3-4 and completes by the end of kindergarten. One element of perspective taking is deception. For example, many children on the autism spectrum who lack this level of perspective taking are often bullied because they are unable to distinguish between laughing at someone versus laughing with someone. By working on this skill, individuals with autism can practice recognizing difference of intentions and the basis of some more complex emotions that rely on perspective taking, such as embarrassment or surprise. This is why it is a key part of our curriculum at CARD.

For the most part, we encourage families to treat their child with autism the same way they would treat their neurotypical child. It is important that they feel they can participate together and be valued equally. However, a neurotypical child will likely require less instruction and learning how best to approach the way a child with autism thinks is sometimes a challenge. BCBAs will help both parents and siblings help feel involved with therapy and support systems by discussing their observations on the best ways that they learn and the patterns of their behavior. Play time is a great opportunity for us to incorporate siblings into the therapy so that when the children are playing at home, they have a comfortable and effective structure to work with.

We want your child to be able to go into school with readiness skills. It is important to use their early years to teach them the skills they will need to be successful. We spend a lot of time teaching them how to attend to their teachers and peers, respond to non-vocal cues, and how to express their needs and wants.