Frequently asked questions

Welcome to our frequently asked questions page. This is for parents, professionals or anyone with an interest in First Bridge Centre. Please try asking a question and if you do not find the answer you are looking for, please get in touch.

  • What model of therapy do you use?

    The model of therapy we use is derived from the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis and the curricula we follow comes from a number of naturalistic-developmental-behavioural programmes (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-revised – ABLLSr, the Verbal Behaviour Milestones Assessment and Placement Program – VB-MAPP, the Early Start Denver Model – ESDM, Essential for Living – EFL, and the Early Behaviour Intervention Curriculum – EBIC).

    We focus on changing behaviours through 1:1 discrete trials/table time activities but also in naturalistic activities and using a reinforcement/reward-based approach to encouraging learning and especially focuses on developing play, language, and communication skills.

  • How long will it take before we start to see change?

    Every child is unique in the speed their acquire new skills. However, if your child is accessing an intensive behaviour intervention programme (e.g., 21+ hours per week) then you should begin to notice changes within the first three months of service. There are a number of key skills that we look at to predict overall progress and response to an ABA programme such as imitation skills, consistent response to their name, requesting (manding) skills, and listener skills (i.e., receptive language skills).

  • What is a therapy programme?

    A therapy programme is a treatment plan which selects goals/targets which aims to teach skills which are lacking and/or to reduce behaviours which are barriers to the individual achieving their potential.

    In ABA, the therapy programme is informed by scientific principles from the study of human behaviour in order to change those skills (i.e., measurable behaviours) that are socially significant for that individual or their family.

  • How will I know how my child is doing?

    Your child’s progress is tracked daily during their sessions by the data that the therapists take for each of the teaching plan targets. This data is graphed during the last 15 minutes of each session while your child is completing their independence targets.  These graphs—which depict your child’s progress–are discussed during the fortnightly clinical team meetings. These will be explained to you by the BCBA during direct and/or virtual supervisions and during the monthly team meetings which you attend.

  • We speak other languages at home, will we have to stop and speak only English since the therapy is delivered in English?

    There is a large body of research that shows that speaking your primary home language(s) is most beneficial for your child – whether or not they have delays in speech, language, or communication. Building the foundation skills for communication occurs in the same way in all languages. That is, building an understanding of the words you hear, developing an expressive vocabulary/word bank, using sounds/single words to communicate, building phrases, etc. all occur in each language.

    Rather than having a negative effect, hearing and using multiple languages has an additive effect. It is also important that your child be exposed to the specific speech sounds in your home language(s) as there is a critical acquisition period for those sounds and if your child is not exposed to and practice saying some of the sounds that are unique to a specific language then they will lose that ability and will not be able to acquire this skill when they are older.

  • My child is already getting help from other providers such as a SLT and/or an OT, can we continue with those services?

    The best outcomes result from a collaborative and comprehensive approach (i.e., interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary). That is, an intensive ABA programme which incorporates the recommendations from other disciplines within the daily sessions will be most beneficial.

    At First Bridge Centre we are happy to collaborate with other colleagues to develop a cohesive treatment plan that is individualised to your child. If providers are working on similar goals but in different ways, there are often impacts on progress and this type of programme could result in delays or barriers to progress.

  • When is the best time for my child to begin therapy?

    Simply stated, the earlier the better! There is plenty of clinical research that demonstrates that children who begin intervention as early as possible (e.g., <2 years of age) show the most significant improvement in their areas of deficit. Many children who receive early intensive behaviour intervention (EIBI) for 2 – 3 years can often transition to least restrictive settings such as nursery or reception.

  • What qualifications do your therapists have?

    Our ABA therapists/RBTs have varied qualifications, including but not limited to: undergraduate degrees in Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Education, Linguistics, and/or the Sciences or Master’s level degrees in Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Education, and/or Applied Behaviour Analysis.

    Each therapist also undergoes 75 hours of company training including the 40-hour accredited coursework required for the Registered Behaviour Technician credential. Within the first 90 days of joining the company, our frontline therapists are required to pass their RBT credential.

    Our BCBAs have varied qualifications, including but not limited to: Master’s level degrees in Education, Psychology, and/or Applied Behaviour Analysis, a specific verified course sequence applicable to the field of applied behaviour analysis, and 1500 – 2000 supervised hours and passing of a comprehensive accredited exam.

    We also have qualified Early years practitioners as part of the team with a minimum of level three qualifications and many years of experience working with children.

  • Do you offer assessments for diagnosis?

    No, our assessment is used to create a personalised curriculum for a child coming into services at First Bridge Centre. The assessment does not give a diagnosis, it can only give an indicator if we think there are red flags.

  • Do Behaviour Analysts take into consideration the reasons why a behaviour might be happening?

    Yes. Credentialed ABA providers very deliberately take into account the reasons why recipients of their services perform certain activities. In fact, an entire methodology known as functional behaviour assessment is designed around this basic idea. These reasons are expected to be incorporated into treatment to ensure needs, wants, and preferences are being met.

  • Does ABA contradict a philosophy that promotes independent living and neurodiversity?

    Not at all. The focus of ABA therapy is on empowering autistic persons to develop skills they need to be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. ABA providers teach individuals with autism how to be self-sufficient so they can safely navigate their world and live long and healthy lives. To that end, credentialed ABA providers teach communication skills to people with autism so they are able to express their wants and needs, strengthening their ability to advocate and participate in ongoing treatment decisions.

  • Does ABA acknowledge the differences that make a person with autism unique?

    Yes. ABA providers serving individuals with autism seek to develop or restore abilities that are important to autistic people. For example, a provider might teach a person with autism how to shop for their favourite foods or how to interview for a preferred job. ABA providers celebrate each autistic person’s individual identity and personality and incorporate personal preferences throughout treatment.

    The Council of Autism Service Providers (2020). Applied behaviour analysis treatment of autism spectrum disorder: Practice guidelines for healthcare funders and managers, 2nd https://casproviders.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ABA- ASD-Practice-Guidelines.pdf

  • When should I arrive at centre?

    You should arrive at the centre approximately 10 minutes prior to your scheduled start time for therapy. You will wait in the lobby area until one of your team therapists comes for you to handover your child to the therapy team. You will be able to provide them with any quick/last minute information which may be helpful to the therapy staff during the day (e.g., didn’t sleep last night, didn’t eat breakfast, is feeling better now from a recent illness, etc.).

  • What are the scheduled times I can speak to my BCBA?

    You will be invited to a team meeting near the end of each month where your therapy team, led by the BCBA, will review your child’s programme, discuss areas that are going well, and areas to focus on for the next month. This is a great time to interact with your child’s team and ask questions.

  • Can I ask my therapist to babysit or do additional duties like pick-up my child from school?

    No, our therapists are not able to take on childcare responsibilities within nor outside of their ABA sessions. Therapists are governed by the BACB ethical conduct guidelines and the regulatory laws which restricts them to the duties of their therapy role only (even outside of work hours).

  • Can my therapists do additional sessions out of hours?

    Your therapy programme is individually tailored to your child’s developmental needs and progress. If you feel you require additional sessions, please speak to your BCBA who will discuss options with you. An increase in therapy hours, if clinically appropriate, will occur as soon as possible but may take 30 – 60 days depending on your therapy team’s availability. FBC therapists are unable to work outside of services contracted through FBC due to the requirements of their credential (i.e., the BACB ethical conduct guidelines) as well as our employment contracts.

  • What do I do if my child is sick?

    If your child is unwell or feeling too poorly to come to the Centre (please see our traffic light guide to sickness to help you decide whether your child is well enough to attend the session), you should contact the sick line as early as possible (e.g., by 7am) and let them know your child will not be attending.

  • Can I use the resources provided at home outside of sessions?

    Using the therapy materials and toys outside of the teaching sessions is strongly discouraged for a number of reasons.  Often the teaching must be delivered in a systematic way so that your child learns correctly and if they are allowed open access to the materials and toys, they may experience significant difficulty when we try and use them in a different manner within the session.

    As well, it is extremely important that all of the materials we use remain organised and ready for the next session so that we don’t spend time looking for the materials required. If you are having home sessions, we ask that you leave the resources in the therapy box for the therapy session. Your BCBA will change the resources in line with the therapy requirements.Should you wish to purchase any of the resources from a programme please speak to your BCBA to arrange this. Unfortunately, if any of the resources are broken, damaged, or lost, we will bill you for their replacement.

  • Why do I have to be present at home during the at home sessions? 

    During home session our therapists work does not fall under the category of childcare and therefore they are not deemed responsible for the safety and welfare of the children they are working with. Because of this a parent or caregiver is required to be present at all times.

  • Do you charge for Bank Holidays?

    We do not charge for Bank Holidays.

  • Will I get a refund if we go on Holiday on dates outside your closure weeks? 

    As we are closed for four weeks to allow family holidays, we still charge for any additional days absent outside these times. We hire therapists on a full-time contract to support your child and still need to cover their charges should you decide to go away.

  • What kind of feedback will I get when the therapy programme starts? How often?

    Over the first few weeks, the BCBA will present you with the formal teaching plans and target goals to be introduced and by the end of the first month will share your child’s individual EIBI (early intensive behaviour intervention) curriculum for your review. Thereafter, this curriculum plan will be updated monthly to reflect the progress that your child is making and the new programmes that will be added in the following month. You will also be provided each new teaching plan, for your consent, which outlines the targets and skills to be introduced.

  • To what extent do behavior analysts seek compliance with arbitrary social standards?

    Many social standards are not arbitrary. For example, people cannot walk down the street naked without consequence because our society does not accept public nudity. By teaching persons with autism to be aware of and make informed choices about existing social standards, ABA providers are helping autistic individuals to access new opportunities safely and as independently as possible.

    From early in ABA history, providers have recognized the importance of individualizing interventions to pursue results that are important to our consumers (e.g., Wolf, 1978). In doing so, providers work directly with recipients of their services to select meaningful, functional, and applied goals.

  • Do ABA providers allow recipients of their services to make choices?

    Yes. Credentialed ABA providers incorporate client choice throughout the treatment process. This begins at intake when clients and caregivers work with providers to set treatment goals that meet their needs (BACB, 2014, 4.02, 4.03, 4.04). It extends during treatment when clients are given the opportunity to choose the items and activities to be used during therapy.

  • Why do I have different therapists?

    Therapists will change for a variety of reasons.  To ensure that your child gets used to interacting with ‘new and different people’, it is hugely beneficial to their development and learning that they are taught by different therapists. It is important that your child learn to interact and tolerate a wide variety of therapists.

    In this way, should a change in circumstances mean that your child moves to a different group, or a particular therapist leaves, or is temporarily unavailable to deliver the session, your child’s progress will be unaffected. To follow best clinical practice we will change therapists on a regular basis to ensure that your child continues to progress and that the progression is not tied to a specific person(s).

  • Why are you closed for 4 weeks a year? 

    In order to ensure that our therapists are available for your structured programme we ask that they take their holidays at specific times so we can plan for their absences.

    Because of this, like most schools we close for set periods of the year:
    A week over the Easter holidays
    The final two weeks in August
    Christmas holidays from Christmas Eve through to early January

  • What is included in your fees? 

    The direct therapy sessions with the ABA therapist/RBT™ (Registered Behavior Technician™)
    15% weekly supervision (minimum 2 hours/week) with the BCBA® (Board Certified Behavior Analyst®)
    Fortnightly team meeting
    All resources and materials required during your child’s sessions
    Monthly progress reports/curriculum updateConsultation by FBC SLT and/or OT to the team as needed
    Re-assessment every 6 months
    Lunch time coverage and general group goals
    Outdoor/garden coverage and general group goals