A new clinic in San Antonio is aiming to bring Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy, to more children on the autism spectrum in the area.
ABA principles aim to develop language, social, academic, and daily living skills to kids ages 0 to 18 with autism and other developmental disorders. The San Antonio clinic opened on July 11th and is funded through a state grant.
ABA is widely considered to be the “gold standard” for the treatment of autism. Yet, many children on the spectrum go without because of the cost of care, and because of a shortage of specialist trained in ABA therapy. Many facilities that offer ABA have waiting lists ranging from one to three years.
The new clinic has a dozen therapists and offers ABA on a sliding scale basis depending on family income. Also offered is up to 20 hours of parent training in the ABA technique, through a grant from John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.
It is also a training facility for future ABA specialists, as a part of the effort to reduce the shortage in trained ABA therapists. Internship hours and clinical experience will be available for almost 40 students from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
ABA is effective and intensive and focusses on one-on-one work with children. It is best to start the therapy at an early age.
“Children who receive ABA at a young age are 50 percent less likely to require special education once they’re in elementary school,” said Leslie Neely, an assistant professor of educational psychology at UTSA.
The clinic is aiming to treat between a dozen and thrity children every week.