Compassionate Care In ABA Therapy For Autism

Reposted with permission from Action Behavior Centers

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, most commonly known as ABA therapy, has grown to become the leading therapy for children with autism. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) primarily work with children on the autism spectrum and their families. As the field continues to grow, it is important to identify potential variables that will lead to a family choosing behavioral therapy (in this case ABA therapy) for their autistic child. 

The therapy that BCBAs and RBTS (Registered Behavior Technicians) provide, when done effectively, creates a genuine relationship between each therapist and child. To better understand each child’s individual needs, it is important to recognize the child’s unique perspective. Vast majority of BCBAs are trained in educational programs that focus primarily on teaching technical and concept-based skills. However, to be able to successfully work with families of children with autism, we require skills beyond conceptual scenarios.  

Critical interpersonal skills are essential when providing our families with the best, highest quality care possible. Amongst these skills, providing compassionate care is the most important stepping stone in building a relationship with the autistic child. This type of care also plays an important aiding factor in distressing families from any potential concerns. Compassionate care is vital to the success of ABA therapy as it builds the trust between the behavioral therapist and the child. This then helps strengthen the engagement and outcomes for each child. By providing compassionate care, a child is willing to move forward with the concept-based scenarios as if it is normal day-to-day activities, which ultimately results in the successful progression of positive skill development. 

In simple terms, compassionate care refers to one being able to put themselves in the shoes of those they are working with by responding with sympathy, empathy, and compassion. By applying techniques of compassionate care, an ABA therapist can identify a family’s perspective and tactfully use their own personal experiences to provide the appropriate response to both the child and their parents. We understand that receiving an autism diagnosis for your child can be overwhelming. After receiving a diagnosis, parents have just as much to learn about autism as the child. By providing compassionate care, we are able to help alleviate the stress that these new situations can cause. 

It is important to understand that being diagnosed with autism does not make your child less than. If anything, a child on the spectrum could be highly intelligent and extremely curious. Action Behavior Centers’ ABA therapist understands that providing compassionate care is understanding that your child may need a little extra support and attention. This extra support does not mean your child is lacking in ability. We believe in helping your child reach their full potential by believing in your child and helping them achieve new milestones. 

This blog post on compassionate care is built upon the insights gathered from two key studies, “The Training Experiences of Behavior Analysts: Compassionate Care and Therapeutic Relationships with Caregivers” by Linda A. LeBlanc, Bridget A. Taylor & Nancy V. Marchese and “Compassionate Care in Behavior Analytic Treatment: Can Outcomes be Enhanced by Attending to Relationships with Caregivers?” by Bridget A. Taylor, Linda A. LeBlanc & Melissa R. Nosik. To delve deeper into the subject of compassionate care, we encourage you to read these studies.

About Action Behavior Centers

Action Behavior Centers (ABC) is an organization committed to the treatment of children using empirically validated methods and strategies to assist each child in reaching his or her greatest potential and improving their quality of life.

Learn more at their website:

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About Different Roads to Learning

Our Difflearn blog was created specifically for sharing. Here, we’ll collaborate with trusted professionals and parents to share experiences, concerns, new and exciting products and events and best of all, our collective treasure of information. It is our hope that you will find the information posted here helpful, practical, and interesting and that it will help all of us – especially our children – learn and grow. And this is just the beginning…We hope that professionals and parents who have advice, information or a story to share will contact us and submit thoughts and ideas for blog posts. We intend for this to be a true community and all who are interested in the education of our ASD children are invited to participate.