Will ABA Suit My Child?

What age should we start a program?

Research has focused primarily on young children (aged 2-4 years), but it’s never too late to start. There is clear evidence that the strategies of ABA can help individuals of all ages.

Does this treatment work for high functioning children?

The treatment program is individualized for children with their own unique needs. It’s a common misconception that ABA doesn’t apply to children who are higher functioning. In fact, the strategies are incredibly effective for this population.

My child is still young, won’t he get tired?

Fatigue is something you do need to watch carefully. However, we work with children as young as 20 months, so we’re adept at ensuring we work within the stamina of the child. You can experiment with the number of hours you undertake. Also, remember the sessions are supposed to be fun and playful. Most the time your child should love being there!

If you see clear signs of tiredness, perhaps shorten the session length. Or, you could try having mini breaks throughout the session to go outside, grab a snack, listen to some music, and re-charge. Some families schedule longer sessions in the morning, when the child is fresher, then a lighter session in the afternoon. Overall, it’s up to you to read the signs in your child and see if you have the balance right.


How many hours of therapy should we do?

The research is very clear that children who receive more hours of quality behavioural intervention have better outcomes. An Australian review has recently recommended that children with autism receive, as a minimum, 20 hours a week of intervention. Research findings in the ABA field also indicate that 20-40 hours/week is very effective


How do I find therapists?

At Autism Partnership, we ask families to seek and employ therapists themselves. This allows you to keep the cost of therapy down. Our staff will train and support your team, but you will be their employer. There are many places we’ve seen families successfully recruit therapists from:

  1. Place an ad on university job sites, seeking psychology & speech pathology students
  2. Place an ad with the association email newsletters (e.g., ABIA, ABIQ)
  3. Use word of mouth – sometimes other families will have staff who would like to work with other children
  4. Try www.seek.com.au – if all else fails, we’ve had some success placing ads here

How much do I pay a therapist?

That’s entirely up to you to negotiate with your therapists. It will depend a lot on the therapists' experiences and training. Rates start at around $15 per hour for newer staff and gradually increase from there.

As a parent, am I able to do the therapy myself?

It’s certainly important for parents to be heavily involved in your child’s program, and we recommend spending some time working with your child to learn the techniques. However, we don’t encourage parents to undertake the bulk of the therapy hours. There are a few reasons for this;

  1. You need to have the energy to continue to do ABA outside of session time. If you spend a great deal of time doing sessions as well, you’re likely to get pretty burnt out;
  2. Often it’s easier for people who aren’t related to the child to implement the programs in a more objective manner. There are less ‘emotional ties’ to cloud judgment. A therapist gets to leave at the end of the day, so they can come back with energy, and possibly less frustration;
  3. It’s important that parents get some respite from the everyday demands of having a child with autism. If you can, use some of this time to have a break, get some chores done, and generally get some space!

Treatment Program

How long should we be on a program for?

That’s a difficult question to answer. The vast majority of our families require services for 2-4 years. Some stay longer, but with a reduced model of service. If you’re going to embark on an ABA program, you should prepare for a long, but incredibly rewarding journey.

How much will it cost?

The cost depends on a whole range of factors: number of therapy hours, number of supervision hours, hourly rate of therapists, whether you can access funding, etc. The annual cost of an ABA program can range from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. However, there are ways to reduce the cost through funding, rebates and tax refunds.

Agency Questions

Where are your offices?

In Australia, our main office is in Essendon, Victoria.  We also have staff working in the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas of Queensland.  We have international locations in Canada, U.K., USA , Singapore and Hong Kong.

How do I know if Autism Partnership is a right fit for our family?

We are not the agency for you if you are interested in:

  • using a variety of treatments that do not adhere to a behavioural model, follow an eclectic approach, or do not make treatment decisions based on solid research
  • not participating in the intervention process or parent training

We are the agency for you if you are interested in:

  • utilising treatment strategies that are scientifically supported
  • working with professionals who have been providing effective ABA treatment since the 1970’s with students on the autism spectrum
  • actively participating in the process by learning all you can to effectively relate to and respond to your child
  • having high expectations for your child’s future & would like to be a partner with you in their treatment process