Home-Based vs. Center-Based ABA Therapy

Home-Based vs. Center-Based ABA

ABA therapy is an effective treatment option for children and adults with autism. There are several ways ABA therapy can be rendered, such as in-home and in an ABA center. Which option works better? That entirely depends on the patient, their home environment, and their support system! Keep reading to learn about the similarities and differences of home-based and center-based ABA therapy.

What is Home-Based vs. Center-Based ABA Therapy?

Home-based ABA therapy is executed in the patient’s home. With home-based ABA therapy, a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) will visit the patient’s home on a scheduled basis to work with the patient’s individualized autism therapy plan. The BCBA will work with the children and adults in the home to create a space dedicated to ABA therapy. This space helps children with autism associate the space with “learning time” and should be used even when the BCBA is not present. In-home ABA therapy is great for children with autism who aren’t comfortable leaving their homes.

Center-based ABA therapy takes place in an ABA clinic or school. Clinic-based ABA programs are centers that children with autism can attend during the day, sometimes instead of school or before and/or after school, to work on decreasing unwanted behaviors. With center-based ABA therapy, patients can work with a team of BCBAs to set up a treatment plan. One therapist will be assigned to the child or adult receiving treatment to encourage connection, trust, and consistency. Parents and other caregivers should be involved in the ABA treatment plan because ABA techniques should be continued outside of therapy sessions.

What are the benefits of in-home ABA therapy?

benefits of in-home ABA therapy

There are many benefits of in-home ABA therapy. Children with autism are generally more comfortable at home than in an unfamiliar place. Home can feel both comforting and safe, both things that foster learning. In-home therapy sessions allow BCBAs to observe the patient’s behavior in their natural environment, which gives them the ability to see where the patient is struggling with life skills. Research has shown that young children learn best through play. The BCBA will be able to play with the child in their home, which can encourage turn-taking, communication, and boundary-setting.

Children with autism may cooperate quicker and experience fewer distractions with in-home therapy. In-home therapy appointments are scheduled when most convenient for the patient and the family, and family member involvement is easier to achieve. 

What does center-based therapy provide that home-based doesn’t?

Center-based therapy sessions offer more one-on-one time for the BCBA and the child or adult with autism. ABA therapy centers also provide more structure, heightened supervision, and social interaction with people outside the home. ABA therapists also have access to resources they may not have access to at someone’s home.

Why is parent training important in ABA?

ABA therapy is more successful when parents are able to continue therapy techniques outside of therapy sessions. This is because ABA therapy focuses on teaching life skills that are necessary to live independently. When parents are trained in DTT and other ABA methods, they can use the tools and techniques to help their child in the home, in school, and in social situations. When children with autism are given the opportunity to practice new skills outside of therapy sessions, they can master those skills quicker, bringing them one step closer to independent living.

Which option should you choose?

ABA therapy is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. You should choose the option that works best for your child and your family, whether it be in-home or center-based. The most important part is involving yourself in the treatment to give your child the best chance in life. For more information, please visit the Learning Continuum website, or call us for more information about our ABA therapy services.

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