Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Choosing an ABA Therapist for ASD: What to Look For

Choosing an ABA Therapist for ASD: What to Look For

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There are many amazing ABA therapists but choosing the one that’s perfect for your child is quite a significant moment and a big challenge in itself.

First, it’s important to find someone whose approach and demeanor align with your child’s unique requirements. Second, you need to ensure they possess the necessary expertise to handle your child’s delicateness. 

Navigating this process and evaluating therapists can be disconcerting, especially for families new to ABA therapy. 

But there are certain questions that can provide valuable insights into the therapist’s method of work as well as their personality, so you can better determine if they’d be a good fit to work with your child.

What to initially ask the ABA therapist?

Here are five key questions to ask any ABA therapist you are considering for your child.

1. What academic and professional history do they possess?

ABA therapists are highly qualified professionals who have attained a masters or PhD degree, along with passing a national certification exam. 

When considering a potential therapist, it’s essential to check if their academic background specializes in areas relevant to your child’s needs. Inquire about their professional history, the number of families they’ve worked with, and the lessons they’ve learned from those experiences.

For example, if your child is preschool-age, ask about the therapist’s expertise in working with children in this age group.

Ensuring that the therapist’s qualifications align with your child’s requirements will contribute to a successful therapy journey.

2. What kind of treatment plan do they propose? 

The approach an ABA therapist takes in developing treatment plans holds immense significance, as a personalized and tailored treatment plan that addresses your child’s specific needs is more likely to be effective.

Furthermore, treatment plans should target the root cause of behavioural problems, not merely the observable behaviour. 

For example, if your child faces difficulties every Monday morning before starting school, a successful treatment plan would focus on understanding the triggers behind this challenge and helping your child develop better coping strategies. 

Addressing the underlying causes leads to more meaningful and lasting behavioural improvements, rather than just treating the surface-level behaviours.

3. What kind of personality do they have?

The therapist’s personality is a critical but often overlooked aspect of the selection process. 

The ABA therapist you choose should be knowledgeable, skilled, engaging, and full of energy. They should be able to make each session enjoyable and productive for your child, as their ability to connect personally with them will significantly impact the therapy’s effectiveness.

Additionally, patience is essential, especially during sessions when the child is facing a challenging moment and the therapist should provide the necessary support and understanding.

To assess a therapist’s personality, arrange a meeting, understand their approach, and measure their comfort levels. Proceed to a trial period to observe your child’s interaction with them and remember that a strong rapport is crucial for the therapy’s success.

4. What is their methodology when dealing with data?

ABA therapy is based on behavioural science, keeping track of progress and adjusting the treatment plan relies a lot on collecting and analysing data.

When choosing a therapist, it’s essential to inquire about their data collection methods, the metrics they use to measure progress, and how they report their findings to you.

Objective data is crucial for assessing whether behaviour goals are being achieved and simply relying on subjective observation and general feedback may not provide a robust evaluation. 

What you can do in this case is request examples of how the therapist collects and analyzes data. Have them walk you through a sample report and explain how they utilize this data to make informed adjustments to their therapy sessions. 

Keep in mind that understanding the therapist’s data-driven approach will ensure a more effective and evidence-based therapy experience for your child.

5. In what way do they keep parents involved?

You should also enquire about the therapist’s approach to involving parents in the treatment process. 

Effective therapy relies on a collaborative effort between parents and therapists, with parents continuing techniques between sessions. 

Ask the therapist about the feedback they will provide after each session and the instructions they’ll offer to help you incorporate ABA techniques into your daily routines.

It’s crucial to assess whether the therapist’s treatment plan aligns with your family’s needs and can be accommodated, and if you find the proposed plan overwhelming, always communicate your concerns with the therapist.

This way, they can adapt the strategy to make it more manageable for your family in the long term.

Takeaway

Choosing the right ABA therapist to treat your child is certainly a hard decision so allow yourself the time needed to make the right one.

Avoid rushing to choose a therapist hastily or setting arbitrary deadlines. Take the necessary time to find an ABA therapist partnership that feels right for you. There are over 33,600 ABA therapists spread across the US. You can find good ABA therapy in Charlotte NC, Miami, New York, Atlanta, and many other cities and towns.  

Above all, trust your instincts. If you have reservations about a therapist’s personality, style, or approach to therapy, or if you sense that your child may not connect with them, don’t hesitate to explore other options. 

Additionally, feel free to speak to multiple therapists and repeat the process until you discover the perfect fit for you and your child’s needs.


Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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