How Elemy’s Ecademy is Shaping a New Era for ABA Therapy
The need for qualified, compassionate autism care providers has never been greater. At Elemy, we’re announcing an innovative program to help to bridge the gap between what families need and what the medical community has offered them.
Elemy’s Ecademy will train the next generation of skilled professionals to help children with autism grow into their talents and potential.
Finding Help Isn’t Easy
About 1 child in 44 has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is the main form of treatment offered to people with ASD. ABA is one of the most researched behavioral interventions for autism.
Unfortunately, many parents struggle to connect with qualified ABA therapy providers. In a survey recently conducted by Elemy, we discovered that:
- 60% of families said it wasn’t easy to get an initial evaluation for ABA
- 63% of families waited longer than 2 months for that initial evaluation
- 35% of parents would be willing to relocate out of state to get better care for a child with autism
Those delays matter. Early intervention can help children improve their communication and social skills, and it may even assist with brain development. Watching the months tick by as they wait for an appointment is agonizing for parents. It’s no wonder that some families consider moving.
ABA Therapy Should Evolve
When the wait is over, and ABA therapy begins, some parents are disappointed by the techniques used and the lack of progress they see.
- Overly repetitive. Classic ABA therapy sessions involve placing a child at a desk and asking the child to do the same task repeatedly. With repetition, the child learns to perfect the task. But these sessions can be boring, frustrating, or both.
- Not instructive. A child in a classic ABA therapy session isn’t truly learning. Instead, the child is simply repeating something over and over again. This session emphasizes eliminating a behavior, not learning.
- Focused on conformity. In a classic ABA therapy session, the child is rewarded for behaving like a neurotypical child. The therapist offers no exceptions for individuality.
At Elemy, we advocate for a modern form of ABA that tackles existing ABA challenges head-on. Our approach to ABA (which we call Advanced Behavior Analysis is):
- Empathetic. Our goal is to help a child live his or her best life (not conform to society’s ideals). We meet children where they are, and we help them reach goals that are meaningful to them and their families.
- Technologically advanced. We don’t use simple repetition and in-person drills to help a child grow. We also use technological advances to bring the family into therapy and keep everyone apprised of progress.
- Playful. Instead of having a child seated at a desk for the duration of a therapy session, our approach is play-based, so we encourage them to explore their surroundings and interact with what they find—that could be a toy, art supplies, or an activity they enjoy. We naturally incorporate that into the session, so your child has control over what their sessions look like.
- Rewarding. We make your child’s favorite toy a part of the session. When they choose the activity, they become more engaged and learn more. We believe in recognizing your child when they’ve accomplished a task. Your therapist uses positive reinforcement to thank them, such as playtime or a favorite game.
The Elemy ABA Difference
Let’s do a side-by-side comparison. Classic ABA therapy uses Skinner techniques. A child performs drills, over and over, to get a reward. In our therapy, a child finds the solution through play. Here’s what this might look like if a child needs to learn how to look someone in the eye during a greeting:
- Classic. The therapist and the child sit on opposite sides of a desk in the therapist’s office. The therapist has a child’s favorite treat. The therapist says, “Hello, Johnny!” The child must look up and say, “Hello.” If the child complies, the child gets a treat. If not, the child hears, “No. You must look in my eyes.” This is repeated for an hour.
- Elemy. The therapist and the child sit side by side on the floor in the child’s home, with the child’s favorite toys nearby. The therapist picks up the child’s favorite doll, looks into the doll’s eyes, and says, “Hello!” The child watches this and begins to mimic the action. The two practice saying hello to the doll for several minutes and then practice saying hello to each other. The session stops when the child grows tired of the game. We hear time and time again from our clients that Elemy’s RBTs become part of the family.
Not every child would practice eye contact in the Elemy model. Instead of encouraging children to change or conform, the goal of Advanced Behavior Analysis is to minimize the barriers a child faces so they can have the best life possible. Families—and especially the child—have a say in what outcomes are important to them. Each child receives a personalized plan based on their unique needs and is even part of the goal-setting process.
Training Professionals to Deliver the Best ABA Therapy Possible
While ABA therapy is critical for children with ASD, finding skilled professionals isn’t easy.
Almost half of all counties in the United States don’t even have one board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), and coastal cities have more resources than other parts of the country.
While we know demand is high, we also believe that children with ASD deserve skilled, professional treatment. We hold our BCBAs and registered behavior technicians (RBTs) to the highest standards and want to ensure they have the proper credentials, training, and experience needed to deliver the best care.
As we looked for professionals to join our team, we saw a need for additional training that would help people further their careers as RBTs while getting more families access to care.
Elemy’s Ecademy Solves the Issue
This April, Elemy will formally launch Ecademy, our custom-designed registered behavior technician (RBT) training program that trains people with a background in childcare on the knowledge and skills necessary to get credentialed and/or work as an RBT Therapist at Elemy.
After completing Elemy’s Ecademy, participants will be prepared to pass the RBT exam and provide in-home ABA services for children with ASD. The program contains five training stages:
- Onboarding kickoff. We’ll introduce you to the program and Elemy in a 3-hour orientation call.
- 40-hour online training. This asynchronous online training will provide you with a baseline RBT skillset.
- Practical skills training. During three days of virtual and in-person meetings, apply the skills you learned during virtual sessions.
- Competency assessment. Participate in role-play with other students or work with a client to demonstrate your skills to a supervisor.
- Active shadowing. Work with an active RBT and watch them working with an Elemy client. Take competency assessments to prove your readiness.
Anyone with a background in childcare can participate in this innovative and exciting program. If you’re interested, you can apply to be part of the next graduating class.
Work With Skilled Professionals
Elemy’s Ecademy will expand the availability of skilled, compassionate ABA therapy providers. If you’ve been looking for help for your child and you’re not sure where to turn, consider us. We have therapists throughout the United States, and we’d love to work with your family.
Learn more about our world-class autism care.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Data and Statistics. (March 2022). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Autism Speaks.
Autism Statistics and Facts. Autism Speaks.
The Controversy Around ABA. Child Mind Institute.
The Controversy Over Autism’s Most Common Therapy. (August 2016). Spectrum News.
By the Numbers: Unequal ABA Access, Autism Incidence by Insurance Type, Criminal Charges Counts. (January 2022). Spectrum News.