What to Expect During An Initial ABA Assessment

What to Expect During An Initial ABA Assessment

Once your child has been diagnosed with Autism and referred for an ABA assessment, you may be wondering what to expect. This process can be intimidating for parents, especially those with a newly diagnosed child, who have not yet had experience in ABA therapy. An assessment can be completed once you have filled out and returned an intake packet, diagnostic summary, scripts, and provide a copy of your license and insurance card. Here is what you can expect during your child’s ABA assessment at the Sunshine Center.

Step 1:

Once your insurance company authorizes an initial assessment, a BCBA/Center Supervisor will call you to schedule the appointment. We will need about an hour of your time to complete this portion of the assessment and the assessment will take place at the center nearest to you. Assessments can be scheduled during our business hours seven days a week, and we do our best to schedule a day and time that are convenient for you!

Step 2:

When you arrive at the center, you and your child will be greeted by our front desk staff and provided with a folder containing forms that need to be kept for reference or filled out and returned. These forms include: introduction letter, important contact numbers, release of information, internet/photo release, text alert notification notice, policy regarding viewing your child’s session, insurance disclaimer, financial rates and payment policy, assessment questionnaire, parent-therapist collaboration survey, occupational therapy resources, and behavioral family contract. Please complete what you can and return them to the front desk before you leave.

Step 3:

The BCBA will greet you and your child and bring you to a therapy room where the assessment will be conducted. Your child will be provided with a choice of toys and activities to complete. Although this may look like free play, it will give the assessor an idea of your child’s ability to play independently, gain joint attention, follow directions, share, and take turns.

Step 4:

The BCBA will ask questions regarding your child’s background information, family history, diagnoses, history of therapies, strengths and weaknesses, behaviors, and treatment goals. While you are answering these questions, the BCBA will also be observing your child’s behavior and skills in order to complete an informal assessment. This informal assessment is needed in order for your insurance company to approve the requested hours.

Step 5:

The BCBA will describe what sessions will look like for your child. This is based on your preferred location for services (i.e., home, center, community) and the number of hours per week of therapy.

Step 6:

After the interview and observation are complete, the BCBA will review all of your information including your child’s intake documents, diagnostic report, scripts, and their assessment notes and will compile all of the information to submit to the insurance company. This typically will be completed within 1 week of your child’s assessment.

Step 7:

When we receive authorization from your insurance company, we will inform you and discuss when we are able to begin services. You will also receive a notice from your insurance company regarding the number of hours authorized.

It’s important for you to be informed of your insurance obligation (i.e., co-pay, co-insurance, deductible) prior to services so that you do not receive unexpected bills! Understand that you are financially responsible for services not covered or deemed medically necessary by your insurance carrier and all co-payments are due at the time of service.

We look forward to meeting you and your child and welcome any and all questions you may have regarding this process.


Anna Richardella, Edison Center Supervisor

Anna Richardella joined the Sunshine Center team as the Edison Center Supervisor in February of 2020. While babysitting for a child with autism, she developed a passion for working with children with special needs and began providing childcare and adapted community services to families. Anna earned her bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and a minor in French language from West Chester University. After falling in love with Applied Behavior Analysis while volunteering in college, she earned her master’s of Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from Capella University. She has provided services in a variety of settings including schools, centers, home and community and has worked as an instructional aide, ABA therapist and, most recently, BCBA for children with autism and developmental delays and disorders.

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