How Our Therapy Delivery is Best Practice

At L4Life, we focus on delivering the highest standard of Autism services in Melbourne and into rural Victoria to help children with ASD and their families reach their full potential.

As demonstrated in the NDIA’s February 2016 report Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence-based/evidence-informed good practice for supports provided to preschool children, their families and carers, the government and major stakeholders in the ASD community have been focusing on establishing principles to help guide families in choosing quality early intervention programs. L4Life excels in adhering to these principles.

Evidence-based program effectiveness

Our early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) programs are based on the principles of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA therapy). Beginning with Professor Ivar Lovaas’s groundbreaking 1987 study at the University of California, nearly 30 years of clinical research supports ABA’s effectiveness in helping children with autism become as functional as possible. The Australian Government’s 2012 Early Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: ‘Guidelines for Good Practice’ acknowledges ABA as the only effective early intervention therapy based on established research evidence.

The above programs include ongoing support to help ensure that the child successfully transitions from their intensive early intervention program to school or another educational setting.

Individual child and family-centred program design

As no two individuals with ASD are the same, no two EIBI programs should be the same. We assess each child’s strengths and challenges and design their program to target their individual development areas.

Likewise, no two families are the same. Families have different preferences and capacities. From the onset, through fortnightly program review meetings and regular parent training, L4Life ensures that families are integrally involved in the development and implementation of their child’s program, and that their own concerns and needs are factored accordingly.

Highly trained and experienced staff

The Lovaas Institute — a globally recognized, pioneering organisation in ABA research and therapy delivery — is our senior consulting body. We train all L4Life therapists in the Lovaas Certification Training Program. Lovaas’s US President and CEO Scott Wright reviews our training processes annually.

In addition to this training and their academic studies, L4Life program supervisors have at least five years experience in delivering EIBI programs. They regularly attend and speak at Autism and EIBI-related conferences, such as the Asia Pacific Autism Conference and the ABA Today Conference. They also train other aspiring ABA therapists through Victoria’s peak ABA body, the Autism Behavioural Intervention Association (ABIA).

Our Clinical Consultant and Business Manager, Pam Roy, and our Clinical Director, Emma Miller — who both have over 20 years experience in ABA therapy delivery and therapist team management and development — provide regular expert consultancy support. Emma was a finalist in the 2014 Victorian Disability Sector Awards for Excellence in Improving Learning and Development Outcomes.

During his annual visits, Scott Wright also conducts individual, full-session observations for every child undertaking a L4Life EIBI program.

Commitment to therapy intensity

Based on the recommendations by numerous scientifically rigorous sources, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US National Research Council, L4Life is committed to delivering one-on-one EIBI for a minimum of 25 hours/week to as much as 40 hours/week, over an average of two years, to help ensure that a child achieves their potential.

Ongoing program review and evaluation

According to the government’s good practice guidelines, a child’s early intervention should be reviewed by the program support team at least every 6 months. At L4Life, the clinical team, along with the parents, review the program fortnightly.

Furthermore, L4Life therapists collect data during every therapy session to measure the child’s progress. This is in addition to the range of standardized assessment tests—the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence or Psycho-educational Profile, Reynell Language Scale, Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule—that children undertake at the beginning, middle and end of their programs.

Carlie and Harry painting