Research shows that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an effective treatment, so it is referred to as being “evidence-based.” ABA works for children, adolescents and adults. ABA uses techniques and principles such as reinforcement to address socially important problems and effect meaningful behavior change.
When it comes to intervention, the sooner, the better. In fact, research shows that intervention is most effective in the preschool years, when the brain is developing most rapidly.
The commonwealth of Virginia provides early intervention services for children until they are three years old. Sadly, many families miss out on these services because they are reluctant to seek a diagnosis when concerns first arise. If you suspect a developmental delay, ask your doctor for an assessment. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s also important to remember that intervention at any age can still help. In fact, according to the National Autism Center, many educational and behavioral interventions have been proven effective for people up to the age of 22.
It’s important to note that there is a lot of misinformation about ASD on the internet and elsewhere. At best, this misinformation is confusing. At worst, it may be harmful. We recommend the following resources to anyone interested in learning more about evidence-based treatments and interventions:
Our blog is another great source of information regarding treatment and intervention.
In Virginia, there are several ways to pay for treatment and services:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that ensures services to children with disabilities. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention services (for ages birth to three) and special education and related services (for ages 3-21).
Remember, just because your child has a medical diagnosis of ASD does not mean they’ll automatically receive the educational disability category of autism. If your child does receive an educational diagnosis of ASD, their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team decides whether your local school division can provide FAPE. If it can’t, the state will pay for out-of-school placement. For more information regarding placement decisions, read A Parent’s Guide to Special Education from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).