The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) defines ABA therapy as a “therapy that uses the natural environment, interpersonal interactions between people, and self-management to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders.” These professionals are trained in a variety of areas including social skills training.
“ABA Therapists: Resources & Guides to Improving Your Practice” is a blog that provides resources and guides for ABA therapists. It has printable materials, including checklists and worksheets. Read more in detail here: aba printable materials.
You chose to work as an applied behavior analyst because you wanted to assist others. But what can you do to improve yourself so that you can better assist your clients?
You are not alone in asking this question. Most professionals who care about their job are always looking for ways to improve.
We’ll look at resources you may utilize to increase your knowledge, solve common difficulties, and network with peers in this guide. If you want to start your own ABA practice, we’ll show you how to accomplish that as well.
What are the responsibilities of ABA therapists?
It’s important to establish our terms before diving into self-improvement advice. If you’re not already employed in the ABA but want to work in the field, this section may be of great use to you.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a kind of therapy that is focused on the idea of behavioral change. Practitioners think that enhancing people’s behavior may help them feel better. Every intervention is designed to produce tangible results.
ABA is employed in a variety of sectors, but autism is its most well-known use. According to specialists, ABA has been shown to assist persons with autism improve their speech, behavior, and cognitive abilities. Children often find therapy enjoyable, therefore few refuse to participate in it.
Anyone who employs this kind of treatment might be labeled an ABA professional, but most of the time, persons with specific degrees undertake the job. An ABA provider might be one of the following:
- Behavior analyst with a board certification (BCBA). Students get a master’s degree and pass a qualifying test after completing a practicum.
- Doctoral level behavior analyst who is board certified (BCBA-D). Students may have PhD degrees, but they must go through the same steps in order to begin working.
- Autism specialist certification (CAS). Students get a master’s degree, work in the profession for at least two years, and complete two years of continuing education credits.
Clients may also get ABA treatment from board certified assistant behavior analysts (BCaBA), but they must work under the supervision of a BCBA. RBTs may provide therapy to clients in sessions, but they do not create treatment plans. BCBAs, BCBA-Ds, and BCaBAs oversee RBTs.
Professionals in certain states are required to go through additional stages before they can begin working. For example, you may be required to apply for a state license and submit to a background check.
Boost Your Academic Performance
Some ABA certificates require you to study about autism and treatment on a regular basis. Even though it isn’t required, learning is a good concept for those who wish to better their skills.
Autism research is continuous, and experts are learning more about how the illness develops and what help individuals need to live their best lives every month. You won’t know about the newest statistics that might aid your customers if you don’t engage in continuing education activities.
There are several educational possibilities available, including:
- Webinars on behavior. This association provides BCBAs with continuing education opportunities. You may use your credits to apply for continuing education units (CEUs). Take lessons at your own speed from the comfort of your own home.
- ABA Technologies is a company that specializes in software development. This group collaborates with Florida Tech to provide BCBAs with continuing education opportunities. For the courses you take, you may earn CEUs.
- AATBS. CEUs are awarded for approved classes, and you may take them online. Because the teachers are present, you must keep up with them. The art is both engaging and enjoyable. Learn from the experiences of other behavior analysts.
Credentialing boards will be aware that you have completed courses. When you use your expertise, your customers may notice a difference as well. However, you will not increase your reputation by adding anything to your title or business card. Only a second certification will suffice.
Some parents place a high value on qualifications. The more research you can show, the more likely people are to believe you and follow your suggestions. However, some families may be unmoved by your research, and the time you spend in class may reduce the amount of time available for treatment.
Consider the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards if you want to get further qualifications and deal with autistic people. Enroll in classes to get an autism care certification and demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of the illness.
Make Friends With Your Coworkers
Your colleagues are a gold mine of knowledge when it comes to autism, ABA, and practice management. They’re either dealing with the questions you’ve asked or have already addressed them. It’s best if you can learn as much as you can from them.
Make sure to include specialists from various fields in your circle of experts. According to researchers, when dealing with other disciplines, ABA professionals can take a combative stance, which can obstruct communication. You may want everyone to follow your methods, but you will learn much more if you start a dialogue with an open mind.
When you advise on matters, talk to your colleagues. Make plans to meet for lunch or coffee to share tales and best practices. When you have a query, send it to me through email.
Join a group to meet others your age. Consider the following options:
Attend an annual convention to network with hundreds (or thousands) of other professionals. Alternatively, you may utilize your subscription to get access to materials like white papers and journal articles.
Establish Your Own Practice
The workplace is a source of conflict for certain professionals. They know what they’re doing and what their customers want, but the environment in which they operate doesn’t encourage progress. For others, this is an indication that private practice is the ideal option.
Proceed with care if you decide to create a store under your own name. Make informed hiring choices that include:
- Billing. The ABA codes are notoriously difficult to decipher, and if you deliver the incorrect papers to the insurance company, you will not be reimbursed. Make sure your accounting staff is capable of handling this task. Make sure you’re up to date on your company’s financial situation. Don’t go overboard with your spending.
- Employees. Are you capable of handling your caseload on your own? Or would you rather enlist the help of another expert to guarantee that you are able to adequately serve your community? It’s possible that you’ll need to recruit more therapists, RBTs, or support workers. Make contact with your institution or university and explain that you’re looking for the ideal person to join the team. You may be able to receive the recommendation you need.
- Marketing. To preserve your BCBA certification, you must follow professional ethical standards, and many of those requirements require public declarations. If you send out the incorrect marketing messages, your company might be jeopardized.
Making a good hiring isn’t always simple. On applications, people falsify their qualifications, and in formal interviews, they smooth over bumps. Experts advise having a few informal conversations to assess how they respond in less formal settings.
Examine Difficult Problems
You spend your days assisting others and part of your weekends and holidays studying about your field. Even if your schedule seems to be jam-packed, chances are you have a few free minutes throughout a typical workday. Use that time to research your industry in depth.
Buying a book or starting a diary enables you to learn on your own schedule and at your own speed. Making the most of your leisure throughout the workday might be as simple as bookmarking a webpage.
Consider the following options:
- The Application of Behavior Analysis. This peer-reviewed publication delivers science-based information for behavior therapy practitioners. Authors examined optimal methods for autism evaluation in a recent edition. They completed the paper by discussing the issues they examine while developing primary school programs. Our is just one of the types of articles you’ll find in this publication.
- The Future of Behavioral science in the twenty-first century. This interactive website has material on a variety of behavioral treatment topics. Authors explored how to get young clients to pay attention to their therapists during ABA sessions in a previous piece. This kind of practical knowledge might help you serve your customers even better.
- On How to Become a Better Therapist The American Psychological Association published this book with all therapists in mind, thus it isn’t particular to ABA treatment. It contains basic information as well as practical advice that you may use in your practice.
- The Psychologist’s Office. The British Psychological Society’s publication offers news digests, competitions, and first-person narratives published by professionals from throughout the globe. You may subscribe to the print edition or view the articles online. Professionals examined characteristics of great psychologists in a recent issue, and everyone appeared to have a distinct definition.
This is only a small sample of the educational materials accessible to applied behavior analysis practitioners and lifelong learners. Choose one that is a good fit for you and commit to studying it.
Look for yourself.
You’re dedicated to assisting your customers and growing your business. These are admirable objectives, but keep in mind that you must first help yourself before you can genuinely assist others.
Allow yourself time to do activities you like that are unrelated to work. Self-care is crucial. Bike, cook with your kids, go a long stroll, or snuggle up with a nice book are all terrific options. Feed your soul so you can assist your customers in doing the same.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment and Intervention Services (Updated September 2019) The CDC stands for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What Do ABA, BCBA, and CAS Stand For? In August of 2014, The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards is a non-profit organization that sets international standards for credentialing and continuing education.
Webinars on Behavior.
Continuing Education Courses Available On-Demand ABA Technologies is a company that specializes in software development.
With BAs in mind, live CEs are available. AATBS.
Health-care providers. The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards is a non-profit organization that sets international standards for credentialing and continuing education.
Maintaining Professional Relationships in an Interprofessional Setting: Strategies for Navigating Nonbehavioral Treatment Recommendations for Autism Patients (May 15, 2015) The Application of Behavior Analysis.
Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) home page.
Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) home page.
Four Corners ABA is my home.
BABAT is a brand of BABAT. Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy is a non-profit organization dedicated to behavior analysis and therapy in the Berkshire
ABA Therapy Entrepreneurial Hustle: 5 Tips for Starting (and Running) a Business (2016, August). The Future of Behavioral science in the twenty-first century.
Applied Behavior Analysis: Some Thoughts (Updated September 2019) Psych Central is a website dedicated to mental health.
How Do You Handle Difficult Customers? (Updated June 2018). Journal of the American Bar Association.
When beginning intervention for a child diagnosed with autism, there are three things to keep in mind. (2010, Fall). The Application of Behavior Analysis.
How to Persuade Your Client to Pay Attention to You. (Updated December 2015). The Future of Behavioral science in the twenty-first century.
Second Edition of On Becoming a Better Therapist. The American Psychological Association is a professional association of psychologists.
What Qualifies Someone to Be a Psychologist? (In January of 2020) The Psychologist’s Office.
The “aba therapy” is a form of therapy that is used to improve the lives of individuals with autism. It is also one of the most common therapies for children with autism. There are resources and guides available for those who want to learn more about this type of therapy and how it can be used in their practice.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.