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ABA THERAPY

ABA therapy applies the principles of learning to teach socially significant behaviors in a safe clinic environment. It is proven to be effective in supporting kids with autism.

What is ABA?

Ages Served

Our Approach

The Process

Outcomes

FAQs

What is ABA Therapy?

ABA Therapy is an evidence-based therapy service used to address individual needs in the areas of cognitive, behavioral, social, and executive functioning. ABA is recommended as the best practice treatment for individuals with autism by both the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. ABA Therapy is often provided in a clinic setting where outcomes are shown to be the highest.

At Westside, ABA focuses on the acquisition of skills that enable children and young adults to live more independent and fulfilling lives. The skills that are taught in ABA Therapy are:

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Language and communication

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Social and play skills

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Attention and focus

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Coping and tolerating skills

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Self-care/Daily living skills

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Safety skills

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Learner readiness

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Academic skills

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Self management skills

Ages Served for ABA Therapy

Most ABA Therapy learners at our clinics are between the ages of 2 and 18 and have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder.

Whenever possible, it is critical for children with autism to begin ABA services by age 3 or 4. Research shows that Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is one of the most effective strategies for improving the language, social, and adaptive deficits associated with autism. In addition, we can prevent challenging behavior from developing in the future by teaching skills early on.

Similarly aged children typically come to therapy at the same times. For example, we run our IGNITE School Readiness Program for 2-6 year olds in a shared social setting during the day.

an aba therapist at westside helps a child with a drawing exercise

What do ABA Therapy sessions at Westside look like?

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Enjoyable Learning Environment

Skills are taught in a positive and fun environment. Our learners’ interests are incorporated into teaching to capture motivation and make learning enjoyable. Instead of traditional discrete trials at a table, most skills are taught through play and in the natural environment.

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Multidisciplinary Approach

At Westside, we strongly value a multidisciplinary approach to treatment for children with autism. With occupational, physical, speech, feeding, counseling, and ABA services under the same roof, therapists frequently collaborate to maximize progress across all areas of development.

westside team member does an aba activity with a child
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Focus on Skill Acquisition

We focus on skill acquisition, rather than behavior reduction. Many children with autism engage in challenging behaviors to get their needs met. Challenging behaviors are always related to a skill deficit. At Westside, we address areas of difficulty, such as communication and coping skills, to help children get their needs met in socially appropriate ways.

westside aba team member is working with a child on a skills acquisition activity in this photo.
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Strong Communication

Our team of therapists collaborate with parents or caregivers, school support, medical team, and any other member of a learner’s care team.

Angled view photo of the activity rug, nooks, and sensory gym at Westside Children's Therapy in Plainfield Illinois clinic

Process

aba therapist at westside does an activity with a child for an evaluation

We Learn About Your Child

ABA Therapy begins with an evaluation from a clinician. During the initial evaluation, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) conducts a variety of assessments to determine a learner’s strengths and areas of difficulty. Then the BCBA develops an individualized treatment plan to meet the learner’s unique needs.

calming space for ABA therapy schaumburg clinic

We Create a Therapy Plan

After evaluating your child and learning from you, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts put together a therapy plan for your child. This therapy plan is individualized to your child’s needs and the skills that you seek to see improvement on. This therapy plan guides the ongoing treatment sessions.

Sensory Gym for Kids Pediatric and ABA Therapy

We Support You and Your Child

ABA Therapy sessions are 1-on-1 and take place in our clinics. Our clinics are designed to be kid-friendly (rockwalls, ball pits, jumping ledges, etc.), where kids have such a blast that they forget that they are in therapy. It is a refreshing change from a typical medical office. Data on your child’s progress is taken every session to ensure the therapy plan goals are being met. Progress and strategies are discussed with parents at ongoing meetings with the BCBA.

During sessions, Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) are responsible for implementing the treatment plan and collecting data to track progress. BCBAs analyze the learner’s data, make modifications to programs as necessary, and provide regular feedback and support to RBTs. BCBAs also provide support to caregivers through weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly collaboration meetings.

Achieving Outcomes

Research shows individuals achieved 200% more learning per hour during clinic-based services relative to home-based services. There are many reasons for accelerated progress in clinic settings:

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Clinic settings allow for higher quality and quantity of supervision by BCBAs. At Westside, there is always a BCBA on site to provide support to RBTs and learners when needed.

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ABA providers have greater access to resources and materials in a clinic setting.

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There are greater opportunities for learners to practice social skills and peer interactions.

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Turnover rates are significantly lower in clinic-based settings than home-based settings. At Westside, the turnover rate for ABA over the past year was 10.3%, which is significantly lower than the industry average of 47- 52%.

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Clinic settings allow for greater collaboration and support across all members of a treatment team.

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Clinic-based ABA helps prepare children who will soon be starting school.

Everything you need to know about ABA Therapy

Why is Westside considered the best provider?

There are many reasons from low staff turnover to having over 800+ pediatricians referring to us for services. Above all is our parents’ feedback.

Every parent is sent a survey at the beginning, middle, and end of their therapy services. It asks: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to refer Westside to your friends and family.” Here is what parents say:

  • Average Beginning Score: 9.71/10
  • Average Middle Score: 9.83/10
  • Average End Score: 9.89/10

This is exactly why Westside is deemed the best.

Do you have a waitlist?

Westside uses proprietary software to measure demand and seasonality to predict hiring needs.

Accordingly, we try to hire before waitlists develop. This reduces how long it takes for new families to start.

That said, it is common that we have to request authorization from your insurance company. That part of the process is out of our control and can add at least several weeks of wait time. 

What does ABA Therapy cost?

While cost varies by insurance plan, number of therapy hours, and other factors, the average cost in Illinois if you are using insurance is $1500 to $3000 per year. Read our ABA Therapy Costs page to get a full breakdown.

Do you do anything to help families with costs?

Yes! This is where Westside is different. We don’t exist to maximize profit like many of the private-equity backed ABA companies (this is a trend in ABA right now). Such investors require a financial return paid for by you. Westside does not play that game.

Instead, we dedicate resources to making care more affordable. For example, every year the Westside Foundation gives away $50,000 in support to families with children with special needs that are struggling economically. You can apply quarterly.

Which insurances do you accept?

We work with a wide variety of insurance companies and HMO networks. We are always expanding our network – click here to view the list of our currently accepted insurances.

How often will my child need ABA Therapy?

The frequency of therapy depends on: (1) Your availability and preferences, (2) Our clinical recommendation, and (3) Approval from your insurance. 

Our rule of thumb is that we need to have enough therapy to make meaningful outcomes AND remember that these kids are kids. We have to balance clinical recommendations with what works for the family and the child. We are not hard-liners about this, and instead, take a more balanced approach that is accommodating of each family’s unique needs. 

We also teach parents to carry over the treatment plans at home. Then, when a child graduates, families can continue providing the support.

ABA Therapy Clinics

We locate our ABA centers near you! We have locations in Willowbrook, Schaumburg, Orland Park, Plainfield – North, Plainfield Downtown, Joliet, Shorewood, Frankfort, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Tinley Park, New Lenox and a headquarters office in Mokena.

If you take a look at our ABA Centers, you will see why kids excitedly run through our doors when they arrive for therapy.

Getting Started

If you are interested, submit an inquiry below. Our Patient Coordinator will call to help you determine a plan forward.  If you are still unsure, you can call us anytime at (815) 469-1500 for more information.