Innovators in the ABA software market are determined to make therapists’ work faster for a reason. It is directly connected with making the world a better place.
I’m Wojciech Bieroński, Head of Research and Development in DrOmnibus, the first company from the ABA industry in Google Launchpad Accelerator. Today I would like to talk about a topic that’s directly related to ABA therapy and innovation industries. That is time.
It’s old news that behavior analysts are very busy people. Whenever you are, like me, attending a major ABA conference from the perspective of an IT industry representative, you hear that a lot. You meet therapists who work hard every day, you combine that with the fact that the number of BCBAs worldwide is increasing, and it still seems that time demands are not getting easier. On the contrary, it seems that with each year, there’s more work to do in order to help children with autism in their lives.
What is happening now is directly connected with autism demographics. According to the latest update from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States one child out of 59 has autism. This is an increase when compared with the previous reports (one out of 68) and, consequently, it is not an exaggeration to say that today autism is a disorder on the civilizational scale. It doesn’t look like this will change anytime soon.
More children with autism means that the industry has to offer more in order to cover all the needs. While in some states, the waiting lists are short – to the point of being non-existent, there are some regions in the US where the child may have to wait for therapy for months. You may have heard stories about BCBAs being begged by telephone to relocate. It’s yet another proof that in some places the needs are big and urgent.
In Europe, there are some countries where the availability of ABA therapy is no good at all. We need to remember that by “availability”, we mean not only the waiting list, but also the time a therapist can spend weekly with a child after the child has begun therapy. There are some countries where this time is so short that it is close to the minimal amount of hours needed for the effort to make sense at all.
Consequently, it is hardly surprising that we all talk so often about time. We have to. Time is crucial for the BCBA, for the technician, for the clinic owner and, for the parent and, most importantly, for the child.
As a representative of the innovations industry, I have talked with many behavior analysts about time, wondering how technology could help there. These days, the ABA industry uses technology mostly for data collection, billing purposes and general management works. But it’s not the only area where it could help. Actually, management is only one of four major areas where we can think of a technological support. These areas are:
- resource preparation;
- running ABA programs;
- reporting, graphing, and data collection;
When DrOmnibus was accepted into Google Launchpad Accelerator, one of the things that Google taught us was to think outside the box. That’s when we realized that saving BCBA’s time could actually involve much more than providing a tool for scheduling, billing, and graphing. There are many more areas where behavior analysts could save time. For example, the process of gathering resources for therapy (finding and buying them, or printing and laminating your own pictures) is something that can easily last upwards of two years from start to finish. And it is completely ignored by most of the apps.
My point is: only if we think about BCBA’s time as a whole, will we realize how many things could be improved by technology.
And this is where making the world a better place comes in. Imagine a dream scenario: in the nearest future, the BCBA is able to save, say, 25% of their time thanks to technology. I’m sure you realize what it means. In many cases, it means that more children from the waiting lists start their therapy earlier. It means that the private company in the middle of nowhere can work with more clients instead of begging professionals to relocate. It means that more children get a chance to receive the appropriate amount of therapy as early as possible.
Do I need to say more? This is why scientists and innovators in the ABA industry should really think a lot about time. Autism is becoming more and more statistically present. Simply put, time is of the essence.
Wojciech Bieroński – psychologist, Head of Research & Development at DrOmnibus. Expert in video game psychology, he explores the fields of software technologies used in educational and medical settings. Visit Wojciech’s LinkedIn.
*Paid content by DrOmnibus.