What’s TeleHealth and How Does it Work in Applied Behavior Analysis?

With advances in technology, therapists are able to provide therapy to clients without being in the same room as them. Telehealth is a form of videoconferencing where a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is at a remote location, but still provides the same therapy to their clients. These sessions can be done if the family lives in rural areas, for health reasons where families are not able to travel, if a parent needs extra assistance and busy schedules mean it’s hard to find time to meet in person, or if a child is quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), telehealth has been researched and this suggests that it can be used to support parental learning and improve behaviors for the child (Vismara, McCormick, Young, Nadhan, and Monlux, 2013). Through telehealth, parents can learn the terms and procedures that are used with their children while they are face-to-face with an RBT. These concepts can then be modeled between the parent and RBT or BCBA for parents to get a hands-on idea on how to deliver treatment. When comfortable enough, the parents can try running programs with their child and the RBT or BCBA can give feedback and answer any questions that come up during this time. Additionally, if there are challenging behaviors, the techniques that are used and the plan that should be followed can be gone over with the parents. The parents can then implement these procedures while being given reassurance that they are doing them correctly. 

Our Registered Behavior Technicians provide services with the supervision of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and the real-time feedback of telehealth allows our team to adapt to your child’s unique needs. BCBAs and RBTs are in constant communication and continually assess what techniques work best for RBTs and their clients. 

While telehealth has become commonplace for doctor’s visits and mental health counseling, you may feel apprehensive about applying telehealth to applied behavior analysis. Researchers have found that telehealth services have not disrupted ABA treatment and telehealth is just as effective as face-to-face in-person treatment (Pollard, Karimi, Ficcaglia, 2017). Even though RBTs or BCBAs may be providing services through a screen, they have the client’s best interest in mind, continue to run programs as if they were face-to-face, and give helpful information to parents to support our clients and families.  

Resources

Pollard, J. S., Karimi, K. A., & Ficcaglia, M. B. (2017). Ethical considerations in the design and implementation of a telehealth service delivery model. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 17(4), 298-311. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bar0000053 

Vismara, L. A., McCormick, C., Young, G. S., Nadhan, A., & Monlux, K. (2013). Approach to parent training in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 2953-2969. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1841-8 

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!