Look what’s happening... Professional Development Parent Education & Support

“Training, education and support for parents, carers and
professionals working with children with Autism”
Look what’s happening...
Parent Education & Support
 ABA Information - are you new to ABA? A 2-hour
information session where families new to ABA will
learn what ABA is, how to set up an ABA program,
where to start, recruiting therapists and sourcing
This session is facilitated by an
experienced psychologist.
Running an ABA program for your child – learn
the role of behavioural therapist: the role of ABA is
to teach play, communication, self-help, and
academic skills to children. This 3-day course
focuses on developing and acquiring these skills, and
working one-on-one with your ASD child. Don’t be
afraid of the academic sounding terminology: many
understanding and applying basic ABA principles.
Parent Support Network: meet the parent group
that understands Autism and Applied Behavioural
Analysis (ABA) therapy! We support parents of
children with Autism who are involved in ABA therapy.
We understand the highs and lows of Autism and ABA
because we've all been there. We organise regular
meetings, dinners and play groups. Our aim is to have
an enjoyable time and to facilitate a positive attitude
towards Autism and ABA.
Professional Development
‘Making it Work’ with an ASD student in your
classroom or kindergarten: this one-day Professional
Development program is specifically designed to equip
Early Childhood educators, teachers and integration
aides to meet the challenges of teaching children with
an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This program offers a
range of topics covering practical classroom and
playground strategies to help facilitate a positive
school/early childhood experience for all.
Level 1 ABA Therapist Training - become an ABA
therapist! This highly sought after three-day course
imparts the practical skill and theoretical knowledge
required to work as an Applied Behavioural Analysis
(ABA) therapist. This course focuses on developing and
acquiring these skills, and working one-on-one with the
ASD child.
Level 2 ABA Therapist Training - are you eager to
learn new skills? This training is suitable for therapists
or parents who have completed Level 1 Training and
have a minimum of six months therapy experience. This
course builds on Level 1 training, covering new skills and
includes a two-hour therapy session with a child, and
debriefing with an experienced ABA supervisor.
Parents & Professionals
ABIA is proud to present a series of practical and
topical seminars for parents of children with an Autism
Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and professionals working
with ASD children and families.
Based on ABA
principles, each two hour seminar imparts skill and
knowledge, and provides specialist information, to more
confidently manage complex yet common behavioural
 CHOOSING A CURRICULUM (deciding what a child
needs to learn)
 FINDING ORDER IN CHAOS (making home life more
 TASK ANALYSIS (breaking down skills to set a child
up for success)
 GENERALISATION (using skills effectively in the
wider environment)
Group discounts apply
To register or for more information, contact ABIA : 03 9830 0677 | [email protected]
Autism Behavioural Intervention Association Inc (ABN 85182741277) | Level 1, 121 Maling Rd, Canterbury VIC 3126 | PO Box 239, Canterbury VIC 3126
P: 03 9830 0677 | F: 03 9830 0211 | W: www.abia.net.au | E: [email protected]
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an umbrella
term for a group of pervasive developmental disorders
including Autism, High Functioning Autism, Asperger
Syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder-Not
Otherwise Stated (PDDNOS or Atypical Autism).
The common link for all children with an Autism
Spectrum Disorder is problems with social interaction,
verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive
behaviours or interests.
Depending on the child,
problems in each area will range from mild to severe.
Many children with an ASD are also abnormally
sensitive to sounds, textures, tastes and smells. In some
children hints of future problems may be apparent from
birth. Other children begin life well enough, but between
12 and 36 months developmental and reaction differences
become apparent.
Current Centrelink research shows that
approximately 1 in 160 children will be diagnosed with an
ASD. While the cause is not yet fully understood, the
consensus is that ASD is caused by a biological or organic
dysfunction in the brain. Regrettably there is-as yet-no
ABA breaks a range of every day skills into small discrete
steps. These steps are then taught in a precise and systematic
way. This approach is applied in an intensive manner (over 2040 hours per week) with trained therapists working one-onone with the child.
The ABA program focuses on the range of skills a child
needs to be able to function successfully and to enjoy life to
the full! Language, social play, academic and self-help skills are
all addressed through programs tailored to meet individual
children’s needs. Children are also taught how to pay attention,
imitate, use communicative language appropriate to their age,
show and receive affection, and relate to other children –
things that most children do not formally need to be taught.
Central to ABA therapy is a process designed to be fun and
enjoyable for the child..
ABIA is us!
ABIA stands for Autism
Behavioural Intervention Association -- and we
stand for ABA therapy and children and families
with Autism.
Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) is an
intensive education therapy for children with Autism. It is
scientifically proven and backed by over 50 years’ clinical
In the USA, UK, Canada, Europe-and
increasingly in Australia-it is the preferred method of
The single most important factor for children with
Autism is that they do not learn naturally or innately.
Instead, they need a little help in acquiring skills and
knowledge, and developing age-appropriate behaviours.
This is where ABA comes in. ABA teaches children how
to learn. It teaches children how to develop the social,
academic, self-help and behavioural skills needed to
interact effectively with others, and cope with the
challenges of everyday life.
ABA therapy is a highly structured program. It’s
designed to meet each child’s individual requirements,
while building foundations for life-long learning. Evidence
shows that with ABA-based early intervention a
significant number of pre-school aged children with
Autism can achieve normal educational and intellectual
function. Many become indistinguishable from their
Autism Behavioural Intervention Association Inc (ABN 85182741277)
At present families with an ASD child have to contend with
long wait lists for early intervention services. In addition,
parents are often faced with the harsh and devastating reality
that their child may get access to just two to four hours of
therapy each week. In contrast, research clearly shows that
early intensive behavioural intervention can significantly improve
the capacity and capability of children with Autism. In fact
recent studies show that quite dramatic and lasting
improvements can result (Lovaas, 1987, Behavioural Treatment
and Normal Educational and Intellectual functioning in Young
Autistic Children, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,
55, no.1 3-9).
Over the years and for a variety of reasons, a number of
misconceptions and some controversy have surrounded ABA
therapy. Facts about ABA include
 ABA is a highly individualised and dynamic process. It can be
used to build skills in all areas including play and social skills.
 ABA can significantly impact a person’s behaviour by
teaching new skills. It is also the only effective approach to
Autism that is supported by substantial documented
evidence of effectiveness.
 ABA remains the most documented and most effective
approach for pre-school and older learners. Using ABA,
learning is achieved through motivation and positive
reinforcement which makes learning enjoyable.
 Punishment is never used as part of any ABA program.
(Buchanan, S. M., & Weiss, M. J. (2010). Applied behaviour
analysis and autism: An introduction. Robbinsville, NJ: Autism New
Level 1, 121 Maling Rd Canterbury VIC 3126 | PO Box 239 Canterbury VIC 3126
Our role is to train, educate, and support
parents, carers, and professionals working with
children with an ASD. We work hard to raise
awareness about ABA therapy - its scientific basis
and potential positive life outcomes - and to
promote it as the preferred method of care and
treatment for children with Autism.
ABIA was established 14 years ago by a group
of determined parents who, quite rightly, wanted
the best learning and life outcomes for their
children. This group heard about ABA in America,
but was frustrated that a scientifically proven and
evidential method of intervention was not [then]
available in Australia.
Proactively this group of parents recruited
professionals from the USA to establish local
programs, and set about providing training and
workshops for Australians interested in Autism and
behaviour-based treatments. These families were
amongst the first Australians to run ABA programs
and based on their children’s progression and
learning, sought to share the experience and
If you would like to learn more about
how ABA or ABIA can help your child or
family, please visit www.abia.net.au or
contact us on 03 9830 0677. Email
queries can be sent to [email protected]
p: 03 9830 0677 | e: [email protected] | w: www.abia.net..au
Early Intensive Behavioural
Intervention Treatment Models
What, Where, When
In recent years, behavioural-based treatments such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Early Intensive Behavioural
Intervention (EIBI) have gained significant recognition as an effective treatment method for children with autism. Yet
in synchronicity with their growth there has been criticism about the rigour behind the research and questions about
their replication.
On behalf of the Autism Behavioural Intervention Association, Melbourne-based psychologist and senior EIBI specialist,
Kim Sheppard, debunks a number of the myths and misconceptions and offers insight into the practice and theory.
In 2006, Margot Prior and Jacqueline
Roberts authored Early Intervention for
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders:
Guidelines for Best Practice. Undertaken
on behalf of the Commonwealth
Department of Health and Aging, this
paper evaluated ‘the evidence of the
available intervention programs and its
value’. Most importantly for behaviourists
and families, Prior and Roberts’ identified
behavioural interventions as effective
in teaching new skills and managing
behaviours of concern.
Like the seminal work of Dr Ivar O. Lovaas
almost 20 years earlier (which originally
catapulted ABA/EIBI and Discrete Trial
Teaching into the literature and clinical
practice), the Prior and Roberts report
bought a renewed and revised interest
Treatment Models
One of the first queries from parents and
families is which model? ABA/EIBI offers
four: clinic-based, home based, 1:1, and
group EIBI. Parents also (rightly) want to
know what each model is about, and
which one is likely to work best for them.
In 1987 Lovaas reported significant
improvements in Intelligence Quota in
almost half the children with an Autism
Spectrum Disorder. These children
received 40 hours of 1:1 clinic-based EIBI
per week for a period of two years.
findings prompted further research on
issues regarding generalisations of skills
from clinic settings to the community,
and maintenance of the skills the children
acquired in treatment. The research
challenge was taken up by McEachin,
Smith and Lovaas (1993), and Sallows and
Graupner (2005), who demonstrated that
generalisation and maintenance of skills
beyond the clinic setting was possible
and that Lovaas’ original findings could
indeed be replicated.
Too little, Too Much?
There’s little doubt that EIBI is intensive.
It commonly involves between 20-40
hours of intervention per week over a
period of at least two years. To commence
an EIBI program families typically seek
services from a recognised professional
and establish a program tailored to their
child’s individual needs. The program will
include provision of therapy either in the
family home or in a clinic setting -- or at
times a mix of both. Therapy is provided
on a sessional basis with families
arranging their child’s therapy sessions
to occur at various times throughout
the week and occasionally on weekends.
Autism unfortunately doesn’t honour
the Sabbath or respect Saturday sports
and family activities, and these activities
and outings allow therapy to take place
in different yet common situations.
Therapy sessions typically run from
one to five hours depending on factors
relevant to the individual child.
Centre-Based Versus Home-Based
Centre-based EIBI typically involves a
team of trained instructors, a senior
instructor/program supervisor, and
oftentimes a psychologist who oversees
the program and provides ongoing staff
training and support. Centre-based
The challenge was taken up by
McEachin, Smith and Lovaas
(1993), and Sallows and Graupner
(2005), who demonstrated that
generalisation and maintenance
of skills beyond the clinic setting
was possible, and that Lovaas’
original findings could indeed be
treatment requires that the family travel
to the clinic where their child receives
individualised treatment for a specified
number of hours per week. Intervention
includes direct work with the child, and
family/professional team meetings which
discuss, analyse, and evaluate the child’s
progress, the individual program, and the
behaviour management plan.
In contrast, home-based EIBI occurs in
the child’s home. In most cases the family
will source and employ instructors to
work directly with their child. Similarly,
the family will enlist the service of various
professionals experienced in establishing
and supervising a home-based program.
While the role of recruiter can be time
consuming and frustrating for families,
the consensus is that it’s worth the time
invested to find the ‘right’ treatment team
for your child.
As most of us know, children with autism
often present with sensory sensitivities
and high levels of anxiety. Learning
environments that minimise distractions,
whether in the family home or the
clinical centre, will therefore be most
advantageous. Environments optimised
to capture the child’s attention will
expedite progress.
1:1 or Group Treatment?
A review of the various teaching
curriculums available for families running
IBI programs identifies a number of
treatment phases. The initial phase
typically focuses on ‘getting ready to learn’
and specifically targets skills such as sitting
in a chair, sitting at table, following simple
verbal directions, and play and imitation.
Many children with autism learn most
efficiently in a structured, distractionfree environment (ie home based
1:1 teaching). For these reasons a 1:1
teacher student ratio can lead to a more
organised learning environment where
the child’s attention and learning are both
maximised. The instructor can focus solely
on the one child, potentially leading to a
more productive and efficient session.
The hallmark of ABA as
used in an EIBI program is
the ability to individualise
a child’s treatment.
number of sessions each week. Parents
do not typically attend these sessions.
Like their 1:1 counterparts, group-based
programs set individual goals for the child.
However, they contrast in that the centre
provides the family with instructors and
the required teaching materials.
Group treatment programs can be an
excellent part of a child’s comprehensive
EIBI treatment program. They provide the
child with an opportunity to be involved in
larger settings, and the chance to manage
their behaviour in a setting that is quite
different to their home. Furthermore, the
child is presented with the opportunity to
acquire many skills that cannot be taught
in a 1:1 teaching environment. Social skills
are best taught in a social environment
and centre-based care provides a good
avenue for this learning.
And The Winner Is?
The hallmark of ABA as used in an EIBI
program is the ability to individualise a
child’s treatment. This process allows for
numerous possibilities regarding specific
programs, behaviour management plans,
and teaching and treatment modalities.
Essentially the answer to the question
‘what works best?’ is what works for
each individual child and their family
at a particular point in time. EIBI is a
developmentally sequenced approach
to teaching children with autism. It is
reasonable and realistic that a child’s
learning environment and teaching
method will change dependent on their
developmental age and their current
phase of treatment.
About ABIA
ABIA is the peak body for ABA/EIBI for
autism in Victoria providing training,
education and support to parents, carers,
and professionals who work with, live with,
or love a child with autism. Kim Sheppard
holds a Masters of Psychology, is an
experienced ABA Service Provider working
in private practice, and a member of ABIA.
For further information about Applied
Behavioural Analysis or Kim Sheppard’s
work, email info @abia.org.au
Lovaas O I (1987), Behavioral treatment and
normal education and intellectual functioning in
young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and
Clinical Psychology, 55(1), 3-9
McEachin J J, Smith T & Lovaas O I (1993). Long
term outcome for children with autism who
received early intensive behavioural treatment.
American Journal on Mental Retardation, 4, 359172
Roberts J M A & Prior M (2006). Early Intervention
for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders:
Guidelines for Best Practice
Sallows G O & Graupner T D (2005). Intensive
Behavioral treatment for children with autism:
Four-year outcome and predictors. American
Journal of Mental Retardation, 110(6), 417-438
Group EIBI is centre-based treatment
and requires that the child attend a set
Therapist Tip Sheet
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Being an ABA therapist can be a challenging, yet rewarding role. A therapist will learn
about child development, and effective behaviour management in a hands-on way. If
working with several children, a therapist will learn the different ways that the triad of
difficulties in ASD can present in different children.
Being an ABA therapist can give the satisfaction of seeing a young person with ASD
learn and grow over time, and a sense of achievement in contributing to this process.
Students in the disciplines of speech pathology, psychology, teaching, early childhood
studies and occupational therapy often find that ABA work complements their learning,
by giving practical experience to build on their theoretical studies.
Some attributes of an effective therapist are:
• Energetic personality. Many children with ASD require ‘over the top’, expressive
people to capture their attention
• A logical mind. ABA involves utilising techniques such as task analysis and
prompting hierarchies to teach skills. Although there is guidance by the program
supervisor, an effective therapist needs to problem solve during therapy sessions in
order to teach the child most effectively
• Patience. A child’s learning can sometimes be slow and there is much repetition
involved in teaching a child with ASD
• Willingness to continually update the reinforcement used to keep the child
• Commitment to the job in the medium term. ABA therapy involves working with
children and families. There is a big financial and emotional commitment by such
families in order to run an ABA program
• Intuition. Knowing when something is not working with the child’s program
Building on these attributes is the following knowledge:
• Understanding of the principles of ABA
• Understanding of Autism and how this impacts a child’s behaviour and learning
In order to get started working as an ABA therapist, it is advisable to undertake a
training program in order to learn the principles of ABA therapy.
ABIA also offers an intensive therapist training program to give more in-depth information about how to be an effective ABA therapist. It is highly recommended that all therapists complete this program.
Contact ABIA on (03) 9830 0677, or e-mail [email protected], to find out when the next
intensive training course will commence. Some ABA service providers also run courses
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Therapist Tip Sheet
Finding Work as an ABA Therapist
In order to connect with families seeking ABA therapists, try the following:
• Register your details on ABIA’s therapist list for families to contact you directly
Becoming an ABA Therapist
• Place an advertisement in ABIA’s newsletter
• Look for advertisements in the ABIA newsletter, newspapers, University campus, or
• Approach private ABA providers
When taking on work as a therapist, think about how far you are willing to travel for
work. Think about the ages of children you would like to work with, the timeslots you
have available for therapy sessions, and what hourly rate you are prepared to work for.
There are currently no regulatory guidelines about rates of pay, so you will need to
negotiate a fair rate with each individual family.
Contact families and be prepared to meet them in person before committing to working
with their child. You may be asked to demonstrate your skills in interaction with the
child, so be prepared for this.
Being an effective therapist
After completing training as a therapist (or you may get ‘on-the-job’ training), it is
advisable to put together an array of reinforcers to use with the children you are working
with. Many therapists put together a ‘treasure box’ of interesting cause-and-effect toys,
such as spinning tops and bubbles, and sensory toys, such as a koosh ball and toys
with flashing lights. Anecdotal reports from parents suggest that children look forward to
ABA sessions when the therapist brings a ‘treasure box’.
For older children, the reinforcers included could be token boards, stickers, or figurines
of children’s TV characters. Think also about the social reinforcers you can use. An
important part of beginning to work with a child is determining which reinforcers will
motivate them to learn best.
See the tipsheets ‘Running an ABA session’ and ‘Using Effective Reinforcement’
for more ideas.
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Therapist Tip Sheet
The Role of an ABA Therapist
Becoming an ABA Therapist
The role of an ABA Therapist in any ABA program is integral to the overall success of a
child’s program.
An ABA Therapist implements a significant proportion of the
educational program. Their role is critical and the specified learning outcomes can
reflect the abilities and commitment of the therapist.
An ABA Therapist works closely with the child’s ABA Program Supervisor, the family, other
therapists and of course the child.
The role of an ABA therapist is incredibly rewarding as therapists contribute to the
education and development of a child/ren who, without certain intensive specialised
intervention, would not develop the education and life skills essential for them to reach
their true potential.
What is an ABA Therapist?
The primary role of an ABA Therapist is to teach play, communication, self-help and academic skills to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. An ABA Therapist works as
part of a team, alongside the family and other therapists and is supervised and trained by
an ABA Program Consultant. An ABA Program Consultant/Supervisor on the other hand
has usually completed a minimum of an undergraduate degree in a health related
discipline and/or a postgraduate degree in Psychology, Speech Pathology,
Disability Studies and has a lot more experience than an ABA therapist. A Program
Supervisor has usually had around 2yrs experience as an ABA Therapist as well as completed an internship with a recognised ABA Service Provider. An internship usually
consists of the following:
Mentored Experience: Acceptable mentored experience must meet all of the following
• The primary duties during the mentored experience are – a) designing,
implementing and monitoring behaviour analysis programs for persons and/or
b) overseeing the implementation of behaviour analysis programs by others.
• Monthly contact between the trainee and the mentor. During the monthly contact
the mentor discusses and evaluates the behaviour analysis programs designed by
the trainee.
• The mentor must either be currently listed with the ABIA or work for a similar ABA
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
An ABA Therapist works one-on-one with the child. Initially the one on one therapy
usually takes places within the home environment, however as the child grows and
develops, the sessions can take place outside the home environment such as kinder,
school, shopping centers, playgrounds etc. Moving the therapy outside of the home
environment is an important part of the child’s education as they need to be able to
generalise the skills they learn within each session to other environments, with other
people and be able to cope with other distractions that are a part of every day life.
How do I start?
You can approach ABIA and add your contact details to our Therapist List. When parents
are looking to employ new therapists they often contact ABIA to access this list. Please
note that if you are a therapist wanting to add your details to our list, or if you are a parent
wanting to access this list, you must be a member of ABIA. Furthermore, anyone wanting
to add their details to the ABIA Therapist List must have
completed ABIA’s 3-day Therapist Training program. For details of ABIA training programs, please contact ABIA on 03 9830 0677 or e-mail [email protected]
What type of skills or qualifications do I need?
The most important skill a potential therapist can bring to a job, is a genuine commitment
and interest in working with a child/ren with autism. ABA therapy is more than just a Parttime job and should not be considered just as means of earning a few extra dollars. It is
a commitment to and a potential career move for those people interested in working with
children in the disability field in the long term. Essentially, the skills you need to possess
are enthusiasm, patience, problem solving, creativity, discretion, the ability to think on
your feet and most importantly you must be energetic. A good sense of humour and a
positive outlook will also contribute immensely to the success of a good therapist.
Therapists must also be able to accept constructive criticism and work both
independently and as part of a team.
Do Therapists need training?
Most ABA programs incorporate initial and ongoing training for therapists. Training
usually takes place while working with the child and is provided by either the Program
Supervisor and/or a more experienced therapist. ABIA’s 3-day Therapist Training program is highly recommended for anyone wanting to practice as an ABA Therapist or who
works with a child with an ASD. For details of ABIA training programs, please contact
ABIA on 03 9830 0677 or e-mail [email protected]
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
What is the job role of an ABA Therapist?
In the initial stages an ABA Therapist will just be building rapport with the child they will
be working with. Building rapport may take several sessions as all children are different
and a therapist will need to get to know a child’s likes and dislikes, what makes them
laugh and how to motivate them to want to learn. Knowing how to motivate a child with
autism and provide the right kind of reinforcement to encourage learning will be one of
the most important skills an ABA Therapist will learn. Children with autism may not
necessarily be interested or motivated by the same things that typically developing
children are interested in. To some degree therapists need to be detectives in finding
out what makes the child they will be working with “tick” or as one ABA Service Provider
once said “Find out what floats their boat”.
Some of the tasks therapists will be involved in are as follows:
• Providing regular one on one therapy sessions which include teaching new skills
and managing challenging behaviours
• Observing and recording a child’s progress
• Communicating with Program Supervisor, parents and team
• Participating in clinic/ team meetings
• Maintaining and revising student’s program folder
Who are therapists responsible to?
If a therapist is employed by a family as opposed to directly through a private ABA
Service Provider then the primary responsibility of the therapist is to the family who has
employed them to work with their child. If on the other hand a therapist is employed by a
Private ABA Service Provider then their primary responsibility is with the organisation
they are employed with.
How do you become an ABA Therapist?
There are various ways to attain work as an ABA Therapist. As mentioned earlier, one
way is to register your interest on the ABIA Therapist List. Families have access to this
list when looking to employ new therapists. In addition to this you can also approach
some of the Private ABA Service providers and let them know you are interested in
doing some therapy work. In general, a Private ABA Service Provider will require that
any potential therapists have at least undertaken an intensive course in ABA before they
will even consider you. The demand for therapists often exceeds the supply, so
generally there is plenty of work out there.
What can a Therapist expect to be paid?
Payment can vary from family to family, or provider to provider and will depend on a
therapist’s experience and academic qualifications. However, as a general rule,
therapist’s pay can range from anywhere between $15.00 (inexperienced) to $25
(experienced) per hour. Again, rate of pay depends on the experience of the therapist
and the rate the family or private provider is able to pay.
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Therapist Tip Sheet
Becoming an ABA Therapist
How are therapy sessions structured?
Most ABA sessions can run anywhere from 1.5 to 3.0 hours, depending on age,
ability and stage of program. A session of 1.5-3 hours may seem like a long time for
a young child to concentrate, however, it includes many small play breaks throughout. Typically, a very young child is only working with a therapist for 1-5minutes at a
time. The child is then free to have a short 1-5 minute play break whilst the
therapist records his/her data and prepares for the next task. Approximately every
hour the child is given a much longer break of about 10-20 minutes.
Where will the therapy take place?
A Major goal of any ABA program is for the child to be able to generalise the skills
they learn during therapy to everyday life. Initially, a significant part of the therapy
will take place in and around the home. But with time and confidence (of both child
and therapist) more therapy/ incidental learning can take place outside of the home
environment. This is very important for the child as they need to practice what they
learn throughout therapy in the wider community. Therapy can take place in the
following environments:
Shopping Centres
Child Care Centres
Indoor Play Centres
Birthday Parties
Do therapists work on their own?
Initially a therapist will overlap with either the Program Supervisor or another more
experienced therapist, who will provide training and guidance. As mentioned earlier
the first few sessions will be focused on establishing some rapport with the child and
becoming acquainted with the program. In addition to this therapists are expected
to attend regular (usually fortnightly) Supervision meetings where he/she will be
expected to work with a child in front of the Supervisor and other therapists working
on the program. During this time the Program Supervisor will provide feedback to
the therapists and parents on their performance. The Supervisor will also update
the program and discuss any concerns that either the parents or therapists may
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Therapist Tip Sheet
What are the ages of the children I will be working with?
The age of a child can vary however, most children tend to be between 2-8yrs.
Becoming an ABA Therapist
What happens if there is conflict between the parent/ Program Supervisor and the
Conflict can arise in any given situation. The best way to handle this is to be honest
and non-confrontational from the outset. Try to resolve the matter quickly and amicably.
Don’t forget parents are often under a great deal of stress as they are not only trying to
come to terms with their child’s diagnosis they are also trying to run and fund their
child’s ABA Program. There may be situations where for whatever reason, the
arrangement simply does not work. It may be better for all concerned to terminate the
relationship and seek work with another family.
What are the benefits of being an ABA Therapist?
Therapists have the opportunity to work with some wonderful yet challenging children.
With a therapists help children with autism can develop new skills which in turn help to
reduce a lot of the frustration and behavioural outbursts that are often apparent in
children with autism who have not had appropriate intervention. The benefits for
Psychology Students, Speech Pathology Students, OT Students and Disability Study
students are invaluable. Working as a therapist provides much needed hands on
experience for these students. Many students find that therapy work leads into
prospective career opportunities for individuals wanting to work in the Disability Sector.
Individuals trained in ABA are now becoming well recognised for their training and
expertise in behavioural intervention.
Do therapists need to use their own materials and car?
It is recommended that therapists create their own “Treasure Box” so that when they roll
up to their next therapy session, they can draw the child’s attention and interest to what
they are carrying in their “Treasure Box”. It can make therapy interesting and the child
can look forward to the therapists arrival to see what they have in their “Treasure Box”.
The child will also associate the therapist with a pleasant experience and hopefully look
forward to sessions with them.
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Therapist Tip Sheet
Becoming an ABA Therapist
What about Insurance, Sick Leave and Work cover?
In most instances, families or private organisations will hire therapists on a casual basis.
Casual employees are not entitled to holiday or sick leave. In regards to work cover, the
family or organisation that is employing the therapist is responsible for this. In some
cases, therapists will be employed by families on a contract basis and will be responsible
for their own taxes, work cover etc. In this case therapists will also need to apply for an
ABN through the tax office. Every family or private organisation will differ in terms of how
they wish to employ their therapists. It is important, therefore, for a therapist to find out
the terms of employment before commencing work.
What are the future prospects for an ABA Therapist?
The experience and training therapists receive while working as ABA Therapist is
priceless. Where else can students get “hands on” experience whilst also being trained
and paid on the job! Most ABA Therapists are generally Psychology, Speech Pathology,
OT and Teaching students who gain extra experience and expertise by working as a
therapist. Some therapists go on to become full time therapists and ABA Supervisors,
where they supervise and run ABA programs themselves.
Contact ABIA on 03 9830 0677 or e-mail [email protected] for information on what
criteria is needed to be listed as a Private ABA Service Provider with ABIA. Therapists
who wish to work as an ABA Supervisor with an already established Private ABA Service
Provider will need to directly contact the relevant organisation they wish to work for and
ask them for details on their trainee ships etc.
For a list of current ABA
Service Providers, contact ABIA on 03 9830 0677 or e-mail [email protected] .
Becoming an ABA Therapist
Therapist Tip Sheet
Level 1 ABA Therapist Training
“Become an ABA Therapist”
This highly sought after three-day course imparts the practical skill and theoretical
knowledge required to work as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapist.
The ABA therapist’s role is to teach play, communication, self-help and academic skills to children with an Autism
Spectrum Disorder. This course focuses on developing and acquiring these skills, and working one-on-one with the
ASD child. Many professionals, educators and parents, have benefited greatly by understanding and applying ABA
Upon course completion participants will receive a certificate. For those seeking employment or study in the
education or disability fields, this credential is highly regarded.
Topics covered include:
 Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder.
 Discrete Trial Teaching.
 Reinforcement.
 Task Analysis.
 Functional Behavioural Assessment.
 Behaviour management strategies.
 Generalisation & maintenance of behaviours.
 Problem Solving.
Trained ABA professionals, with extensive experience in the Autism field, facilitate the program.
If you are genuinely interested in learning more about Autism and behavioural intervention, this training program is
highly recommended.
COST (all prices include GST)
$550 ABIA member/Student
Autism Behavioural
Intervention Association
9.30am – 4.30pm
(see dates below)
$595 Non-member (includes ABIA
E: [email protected]
P: (03) 9830 0677
$600 Helping Children with
Autism/FaHCSIA funding
Level 1, 121 Maling Rd
Canterbury VIC 3126
 14-16 July (Mon-Wed)
 4-6 August (Mon-Wed)
 8-10 September (Mon-Wed)
 9, 16 & 23 October (3 x Thu)
 13, 20 & 27 November (3 x Thu)  17-19 November (Mon-Wed)
 1-3 December (Mon-Wed)
 9-11 December (Tue-Thu)
Places are limited so book now!
1. Visit http://www.trybooking.com/EYII
2. Select program date
3. Pay by credit card to reserve your place
Organisations requiring a tax invoice can register online and request an invoice for payment.
ABIA reserves the right to cancel a program if minimum numbers not achieved. Program is confirmed within two weeks of the commencement date.
If program is cancelled, a full refund is provided.
Autism Behavioural Intervention Association (ABN 85182741277 | Inc. Assoc. A0034541J)
Level 1, 121 Maling Rd, Canterbury VIC 3126 | PO Box 239, Canterbury VIC 3126
P: 03 9830 0677 | F: 03 9830 0211 | W: www.abia.net.au | E: [email protected]