Applied Behavior Analyses (ABA) is a wonderful therapy for your Autistic child; it works on their negative behaviors, social skills, speech, educational skills and more.
But how do you know if your Autistic child no longer needs ABA therapy? What stage of functioning is ‘good enough’?
How Do You Think Your Child is Doing?
The first step to determine this is the observation from you and the therapist. Interaction with peers, and how other children are behaving and performing around them, will work well as a sounding board. If they appear to work well in classrooms and other environments, it may be time for some evaluations.
Some Issues May Be Hiding
If all tests come back in the same range as peers their age, then your child can probably end ABA. Before making this decision, be sure to check problem-solving, pragmatic language (body language/how we say things), and executive functioning (time management). Which are subtle skills that often stay with Autistic children, but go unnoticed.
Is Your Child Happy?
Take into account how happy your child is. If your child is still struggling, it’s important to get to the root of the issue. They may appear to be functioning with language and IQ, but perhaps there is an emotional issue under the surface.
Continuing Therapy at Home
If you – as the parent – have enough skills in ABA and the child functions well with few areas to work on, ending the therapy is a good next step. You can continue the therapy from home. But if you don’t have the time to put into therapy (on top of all the other things we do as Autistic parents) keeping a behavior analyses around is a good thing too. New behaviors may emerge and a child can always learn more.
Don’t Suddenly Stop
If you do decide to end ABA, be sure to fade it out slowly so you can catch any issues that may arise. Ending therapy and leaving a therapist is an emotional time, especially for a child who may love their teacher. It’s important to give your child plenty of time to adjust.