Qualifications of an Ideal ABA Therapist

When your child is diagnosed with Autism, one of the first things that you have to consider is getting a qualified ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist. ABA is the most widely used and the most proven among all the known interventions for autism spectrum disorder. Later on, you might want to have yourself certified or at least learn the basics in order to give your child therapy sessions at home. There are many resources and tools, including many offered through Special Learning, that you may use for ABA exercises. But in the beginning – especially starting from the time your child is diagnosed – it is best to get a good ABA therapist for your child to ensure the therapy plan is implemented properly and to provide a solid example for you to imitate as you observe and learn how therapy sessions are conducted.  

 

Here are the qualifications you should look for in a therapist:

 

Education:

  • Holder of BA degree in the following fields: Applied Behavior Analysis, Psychology, Child Development, Education and other related fields.
  • Holder of certification for ABA coursework in an undergraduate level or BCABA.
  • Graduate students that are looking for hands on experience.
  • Junior or Senior students of the above mentioned fields.

 

Experience:

  • The best candidates have previous experience in ABA and working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Work experience with pre-school age children.
  • Work experience with children of the same age as your child.
  • Undergraduates that want hands-on experience.

 

Personal Characteristics:

  • Enjoys teaching and interacting with children. Can you see her playing with your child?
  • Has high-energy level. Sessions with children with autism can be very tiring; does she have what it takes?
  • Can work independently.
  • Can take and process directions from others.
  • Able to take constructive observations and suggestions. Is she flexible and open-minded enough to accept criticisms or at least try out any suggestions that you have?
  • Must be reliable. Can you rely on her to be responsive even during off hours? If she cancels a lot of sessions she might not be fit for your needs.
  • Does not see the job as just a paycheck but more of a passion, deep interest or good deed.

 

Other Considerations: These are just additional things to ask about that are unrelated to experience or education.

  • Does she have a means of transportation?
  • Is her schedule not too tight as it might cause her to spread herself too thin?
  • Can she give you a yearly commitment?
  • Does she have any plans of relocating in the future? Does she leave for vacations?
  • Can she commit to a regular schedule of at least 8-10 hours a week? In order for the therapy to be very effective, she should have at least 3 scheduled shifts per week so that she can familiarize herself with your child and build rapport. 

Taking note of these simple guidelines in looking for an ABA therapist will be a very big advantage for your child’s development. You, on the other hand, will learn a lot and will be able to not worry so much for your child, as you are sure to be in good hands.

 

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