ABA therapy starting

How does ABA Therapy work and how is it successful?

ABA Therapy at Westside Children’s Therapy is always 1 to 1. Every child has their own therapist that is continuously providing support and guiding their session. 

IGNITE is our ABA therapeutic school-readiness program for children ages 2-6. IGNITE allows children to have individual and group sessions and both maintain 1:1 supervision. 

The consistency of a child in ABA Therapy seeing the same therapist, receiving up to 20 or 30 hours each week, allows for our therapists to create meaningful and impactful relationships with the child. This builds trust and vulnerability for both the child and the therapist. 

This also allows the therapist to know exactly what the child needs to be working on and how they need to be working on. In a school setting, a child may not have that same individualized attention, and they follow what the majority of the class does. 

That can leave a child behind.

We’re moving at the child’s pace. Not the pace of the group as a whole

We will be working in groups at times and there are activities that have beginnings and endings, but each child will be working on improving their own, individual skills while participating. 

Having the 1 on 1 attention gives the therapist the ability to truly help the child with what their main focus is in therapy. 

IGNITE always begins with “Circle Time.” It looks and operates in a way a typical preschool class would. It has an intro song to say hi to everyone, storytime, an activity of sorts, and more. Circle Time is always led by a lead “teacher” or in our case, a BCBA. 

That may be what it looks like on the surface but each child may be working on something different. 

For Example:

  • One child is working on tolerating sitting there to participate
  • One child is working on sitting next to his/her peer
  • One child is working on raising their hand
  • One child is working on conditional questions
  • One child is working on recognizing the teacher/therapist as the authority figure in the room
Child with ABA therapist in a session

These are just a few examples. But, with the 1 on 1 attention, it allows for the therapist to guide and implement in the moment. 

What is comforting about this is that every kid in the ABA Therapy program, IGNITE, are all working on similar goals and have similar challenges and therefore, able to watch and learn from each other as they all progress.

How is Westside’s ABA program, IGNITE, different from preschool?

A child around preschool age can be set up, not only academically for success, but for all-around success. 

*NOTE: IGNITE is not an ISBE-accredited school program in Illinois

In IGNITE, we provide exposure and incidental teaching of basic preschool skills like letters, numbers, colors, and more, all while focusing on the child’s direct 1 on 1 needs and functional skills.

We also teach other all-around skills that sometimes can’t be taught in a preschool classroom. These include: tolerating other peers, potty training, getting dressed, etc. Those are things we can work on and have the time to work on in ABA at Westside. 

We hope that every day a kid walks in, they can have fun while they learn and develop great skills, and leave their best self when they graduate from the IGNITE program. We’re always working to get them to their next best spot. ABA is not about just getting through the day, but building a happy and supportive future for the child and their family.

How do we measure growth?

Whenever a child starts ABA Therapy at Westside, it starts with an initial evaluation that is appropriate for their age and skills. 

From there the BCBA is consistently assessing the child and taking notes to make sure we have the best goals in place and get the best acquisition of skills. We can always add/remove targets as therapy is ongoing to adjust to the current needs of the child (If sitting in groups was not a challenge at the initial evaluation, but becomes one, we can add it into their therapy plan). 

In ABA Therapy and IGNITE, therapists are able to generalize the skills for school, home and other relevant settings. Children in ABA Therapy are also provided positive behavior support to reward them until they fully acquire the skill.

We create an environment that has the child excited and ready to learn

Our therapists strive to create an environment that allows the children in ABA Therapy that promotes joy and excitement for learning. 

Two children starting ABA therapy at Westside

Westside Therapists will follow the child’s lead and provide empathy if they are upset. We work on empowering the child and teach them to advocate for themselves. If they don’t want to do something, we teach them to say “no,” but also to be flexible when needed. We give value to their words. 

Another big difference is, for example, we won’t do a lesson on space for everyone if only one child likes it. We’re always learning from the children on what makes them happy and what they like to do, rather than what we do. But at the same time, teaching flexibility. 

IGNITE can be an option for you and your child if you question if they are ready to succeed in a school environment. 

To get the process started for IGNITE, click below or call (815) 469-1500.