ABA therapy in a clinical setting
Barriers to Receiving Applied Behavior Analysis Services in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Long-term treatment benefits for children with ASD can be enhanced through early diagnosis and intervention, as findings consistently show in recent research. For instance, children who have been diagnosed under the age of five can quickly integrate their skills into normal classroom settings and even exhibit improved academic performance compared to those who receive a diagnosis much later in life.

ABA therapy

ABA therapy is one of the treatments that has proven effective in enhancing the intellectual function of these children, resulting in a 47% improvement in cognitive abilities – a  significant and noteworthy improvement compared to other forms of therapy, for those unfamiliar with the term ABA.

It’s the acronym of Applied Behavior Analysis – a therapy that involves interactions with board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs).  ABA therapy builds social and cognitive skills, eliminates negative behaviors, & improves a child’s quality of life socially and academically.

The Challenges

The only challenge is that a number of barriers make it difficult for children diagnosed with ASD to receive access to ABA therapy. For example, financial  constraints can be a major impediment in paying for ABA therapy. Also the lack of knowledge about Autism or therapeutic interventions becomes a huge obstacle for parents and caregivers.

To identify the major factors that block access to ABA therapy among families, a research survey was conducted with fifty-one questions, asking about demographics, socioeconomic status, parental assertiveness and self-advocacy, as well as parent perceptions. The questionnaires presented to the caregivers consisted of a variety of response formats such as yes/no options, five-point Likert scales, multiple-choice selections, and text fields, totaling fifty-one questions.

A comprehensive analysis of 540 surveys

A comprehensive analysis of 540 surveys has revealed that the impediments to accessing ABA services are complex and varied. It was found that geographical location, income level, educational background of the primary caregiver, length of time since ASD diagnosis for the child, and their sense of agency all play a role in hindering children with ASD from receiving ABA treatment. Geographical Location, for instance, can affect access to ABA services due to long travel distances or policies related to insurance coverage.

The length of time since ASD diagnosis for the child can also impact access to ABA services as it may result in delayed intervention. Moreover, caregiver empowerment and belief in treatment have been identified as crucial factors that influence the utilization of ABA services.

It is imperative to empower parents and educate them about their role in their child’s treatment, which could potentially improve the utilization of ABA services. Illinois Autism Center is committed to breaking down barriers and increasing access to effective treatment for individuals with autism. That’s why we not only provide ABA services but also empower caregivers.