Don't Just Be Aware: Autism Acceptance Month

April marks the start of Autism Acceptance Month, a 30-day advocacy campaign that aims to increase visibility, raise money, and share information about life as a person with autism. But the campaign didn't start as an all-encompassing push for "Acceptance."

Moving From Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance

Originally, the month grew out of an "Autism Awareness Week" that started in the 1950s. While important to discuss, the program primarily shared information about the then-misunderstood diagnosis and sought ‌a vague "cure." This framed autism as a medical problem that needed to be solved, instead of a neurodivergent diagnosis affecting many people who live whole and fulfilling lives. 

As time passed and people with autism began engaging in self-advocacy, they could express their concerns and alter the previous campaign, moving away from the term "awareness" and other outdated forms of support.

What Makes Autism Acceptance Month Different From Previous Iterations?

The new "Autism Acceptance Month" campaign grew out of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), which was formed in 2006 by a group of people on the spectrum. ASAN sought to share more accurate information about autism and promote fair support systems for people with autism. 

It moved away from finding supposed cures or solutions to autism—instead of trying to influence the societal perceptions of the diagnosis to make public spaces more inclusive. This means the ASAN shied away from the stereotypes of the disease, which often only featured extreme or misrepresentative examples. 

The new movement still seeks support for those most affected by the diagnosis, but it carved out extra space for people who live day-to-day with the diagnosis to talk about their daily life and how it could be positively impacted by those around them.

That cultural push centered on giving autistic self-advocates the floor in the discussion of the diagnosis. The "awareness" efforts of previous years were mostly conducted by advocates who were not on the spectrum. These people might be well-intentioned, but the self-advocates turned the conversation away from cures to highlighting issues or misconceptions.

ASAN and the change to "acceptance" culminated in a petition that asked the White House to officially recognize April as Autism Acceptance Month. President Obama signed that petition on October 2, 2014, officially recognizing April as Autism Acceptance Month. 

In his letter, President Obama wrote, "I hope that during this month we raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders, show compassion towards those with the disorder, and support efforts made by families and communities to enhance the lives of all individuals living with autism spectrum disorders."

The president's recognition of Autism Acceptance Month is an important step forward for the movement. But it's still just thata step forward. There is still a lot of work to do.

Speaking Out For Autism Acceptance

Because of the petition, many organizations and advocates now can promote autism acceptance. And they can leverage the high-profile advocacy month to raise money and share their stories without alienating those in the community that don't want a ''cure". Many people with autism take pride in their diagnosis, and with the acceptance month, they can visibly express that pride while helping others in the community who struggle.

There's no doubt that there is still work to be done. But this is also an exciting time for self-advocates and their allies because they are taking control of their own message. They are making sure that the public understands what it means to have autism, rather than allowing those people without an autism diagnosis to write the narrative. The movement is growing in size and influence. And it has been achieved with no significant professional support or funding.

The movement has come so far so quickly because self-advocates fought for their own rights. In doing so, they disrupted conventional wisdom about how society should treat autistic people and challenged long-standing assumptions about what is best for them. They are changing how people view the diagnosis, from something that needs to be cured or eradicated to something that is natural and that affects 1 in 44 children in America.

So as Autism Acceptance Month begins this April, consider the history of the movement and its advocates while learning something new about the diagnosis.


Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Autism Assessment & Intervention Series - An ABAC Partnership

FREE CE Credit Event for Behavioral Health Professionals

 

Dr. Bridget Taylor & Dr. Lina Slim  discuss interprofessional, culturally-responsive, informed, and person-centered collaborative practices in a 1-hour discussion with FREE CE Credit

Thursday, April 14, 2022  | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
All registrations include 2-week recording access

This event will set the stage and provide a foundation for the six to seven event series produced by ABAC in partnership with Rethink Behavioral Health on interprofessional collaborative practice in autism assessment, intervention, and treatment.

The goal of this event is to introduce interprofessional,culturally-responsive, informed and person-centered collaborative practices to a wide range of professionals who work with individuals diagnosed with autism and their families in behavioral health settings.


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ABA Therapy Business Continuity Plan

Amid economic volatility and the public health crisis, not all businesses are prepared. The daily grind of running an ABA therapy practice can keep your plate full, and the last thing you want to think about is building a business continuity plan. 

As a business owner, being prepared is just as important as running your business. No business is 100% immune to interruptions. These interruptions can be cyber threats, server outages, or a health outbreak like COVID that prohibits staff from working. If these occur, what’s next? What will happen to your clients? What will happen to your business and employees?

Benefits of Business Continuity Plans

Many believe business continuity plans are for enterprises and large corporations, but even small businesses can benefit from having something in place. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Limit Interruptions - With a plan in place, you will have a standardized process and response to minimize downtime. Less downtime equals less stress and less revenue lost.
  • Lay Out Alternatives - There should always be a backup plan. This could be as simple as reducing hours, limiting capacity, or delaying services. If you actively communicate with clients using an email marketing solution, leverage that to communicate with all your clients in different ways.
  • Empower Staff - Having a plan in place will ensure that your team is on the same page. Employees will know what needs to be done to keep your business running, but it will also allow them to step up in places you may not have thought of. 

Having a plan in place will reduce your anxiety during a crisis. No plan will be perfect, but it will align all stakeholders on how to approach the common problem. 

How To Get Started? 

Before you get started on putting a plan together, first identify internal challenges. For example, if your emails and computers go down, who do you call? Does everyone in the office know what to do?

Planning for every situation is complex and hard to manage, but a lot businesses only need a basic plan in place. For the purpose of this article, we want to keep things simple. A simple plan you can put together is a spreadsheet of important contacts. This spreadsheet should include:

  • Name of Contact
  • Responsibilities
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Comments

These can be internal or external contacts. Make sure you communicate this spreadsheet with your staff, have printed copies available, and periodically update to reflect any changes made. 

That being said, for therapists that still rely on paper and pencil, it’s important to consider that those files are at an even greater risk if an environmental emergency occurs. As mentioned above, no business is immune to interruptions, but practice management providers have systems in place to recover data during worst-case scenarios. 

While some businesses may experience no issues, others may experience multiple over the course of their existence. At Rethink, we have multiple plans that are actively reviewed and updated in case of emergencies. During an emergency, the best any business can do is actively communicate with customers while addressing the problem internally. 


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How to Start an ABA Therapy Practice & Clinic: A Step-By-Step Guide

Due to the staggering impact of Covid-19, in 2020, the global autism spectrum disorder therapeutics has reached a whopping 3.6 billion US dollars. If you have dedicated your life and your career to providing your community with specialized ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy services, you might consider taking your commitment to the next level. 

As a board-certified behavioral analyst (BCBA), you’ve had the chance to supervise behavior analysis and mentor ABA therapy providers. However, by starting your own ABA clinic, your expertise and experience can become irreplaceable assets for your community, especially in this moment of unprecedented need. 

If you are unsure where to start in your pursuit of launching your own ABA therapy clinic, check out this step-by-step guide by Rethink

Benefits and Potential of Starting an ABA Clinic: Understanding the Market

If you are launching an ABA practice to serve your community, you might be doing so with a humanitarian, compassionate mindset. Nonetheless, it is essential to keep in mind that you are, in fact, running a business. It’s not strictly going to be using the ABA therapy skills that you’ve developed.

For how enriching this venture is, there are some new skills you have to learn when running a company. Let’s start with one of the most important ones: understanding the market.

Starting an ABA clinic represents a significant financial investment. At this time, the market is in the midst of a full global boom, which has both positive and negative ramifications.

In particular, ABA therapy providers represent the fastest-growing segment within the “communication & behavioral therapies” category within the autism spectrum disorder therapeutic sector.

While there is certainly not a lack of business opportunities, the competition for new ABA clinics is fiercer than ever. The main competitors you will have to deal with include:

  • Other local and multi-state clinics and practices
  • Franchises
  • Private equity-owned and large corporations

Nonetheless, local practices are the pillars of community wellbeing and sector growth. Join this thriving industry with the tips below. 

Taking Care of Your ABA Therapy Business’s Administrative Side

While the goal of a local ABA practice is to provide a service to the community, some thornier aspects of owning a business cannot be overlooked. The administrative side of things might not be the most exciting aspect for you, but that’s where the help of a trusted accountant and attorney come into play!

Develop a Business Plan

Whether you are looking to start a small, local business, or you are looking to build out a franchise, you will need funding. There are several pathways you might consider, including:

  • Self-funding
  • Investors, angel investors or family members
  • Loans through specialized lenders or banks
  • Grants - such as the ones offered by SAMHSA or HRSA
  • SBA Line of Credit 
  • Local government and private company grants

No matter what type of funding you are hoping to get, you will need to craft a business plan for your ABA therapy practice. Your business plan should include your value proposition, mission, vision, financial forecast, target market insights, competitor analysis, and details about your unique selling points. 

There are two main reasons why you should not skip this step:

  • A business plan defines a clear roadmap for your business and helps you keep track of your goals, achievements, and efforts
  • A business plan is needed by investors to verify your credibility and understand what is worth investing in your ABA business. After all, a return on investment is their number one concern. 

Choosing Your Business Model and Registering Your ABA Business

The business model and type of business for your private ABA clinic should be chosen wisely. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Sole proprietor - a sole proprietor or sole trades is the only owner of an unincorporated company. A sole proprietor only pays personal income taxes, and can keep the rest of the profits. It also comes with unlimited liability, which can cause you to struggle to get capital funding. 
  • Partnership - partnership, limited partnership, and a limited liability partnership are business types used to get into business with a co-owner. After paying taxes, profits, losses, and liability are shared among the partners. 
  • Limited liability company (LLC) - LLCs are legal entities regulated by the state or country they are in. They can be treated as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, depending on the number of owners. While there is plenty of paperwork linked to starting an LLC, this business structure can help you protect yourself and your company from significant losses. 

Generally, the best option is to register your private ABA clinic as an LLC. Setting up a sole proprietorship or partnership might seem easier, but it might not offer you the legal protection to operate with peace of mind. In any case, since each practice is unique, consulting a specialized lawyer or accountant can help you understand the pros and cons of each. 

Once you have decided on your business entity, you can register it with the IRS here

Policies, Legal Contracts, and Compliance

Policies and legal contracts are what determine the relationship between the ABA provider and its clients, and they are the backbone of a business - especially for ABA companies. These include:

  • Billing and fees - some payment models include fee-per-service and predetermined per-person payments. Your contract will also outline billing schedules, cancellation fees, and payment types
  • Confidentiality, nondisclosure, and privacy policy - privacy policies and terms and conditions of service are essential aspects to consider, especially because your ABA therapy clinic and providers will handle sensitive data such as a patient’s medical history and conditions. 
  • Liability release - when operating as an ABA therapy provider, your business entity will carry a liability. If you have registered your clinic as an LLC, you might only be subjected to limited liability, but legal contracts can help you keep losses at bay.

In terms of compliance, before opening a business you will need to:

  • Obtain your employer identification number (EIN)
  • Set up your business taxes
  • Determine your forms of payments
  • Select a payment processor, if taking credit and debit cards
  • Decide on whether you will be accepting insurance

Legal contracts and complaints are essential to shaping your business, so make sure you are working in partnership with a specialized lawyer. 

Finding the Right Premises and Location

To determine what location will work best for you, you will need to answer these questions:

  • Will you offer in-home services?
  • Can you deliver services via online platforms?
  • Do you need a physical space for your practice?
  • Can you rent an office space hourly?

The cost of buying or renting depends on location and size. It’s hard to give an estimate, but larger cities tend to have higher costs, while rural areas are lower.

Deciding on Your Company Name

The name you decide to give your ABA therapy company can influence your marketing strategy and brand image. Some key factors to keep in mind when choosing a name include:

  • Ensuring it is easy to spell and remember
  • Checking that it is unique - you can check this in the state’s business registry
  • Making sure the name you choose describes what you do
  • Don’t make your name too specific as this could limit your company’s future development 
  • If you are using an abstract name, double-check the meaning of it in different languages
  • Check domain availability. If possible try to get a .com domain and avoid dashes or numbers.

Insurance and Enrollment

ABA clinics develop important relationships with insurance providers. Accepting insurance as a form of payment is an excellent option which can add considerable value to your business, make your ABA therapies more accessible, and expand your practice’s reach. 

If this is the strategy you have chosen, there are different factors to keep in mind:

  • Each insurance provider has different requirements, payout timings, and reimbursement rates.
  • You must create the right insurance contracts with the insurance providers in your network to maintain control over your cash flow
  • You need to be aware of the credentialing process

Both you and the insurance provider need to agree that you will be able to offer insurance as a payment type. The process of becoming a certified care provider on an insurance provider’s panel is called credentialing. During the credentialing process, the provider will verify your education, certifications, and training to ensure your clinic meets its network standards. 

While getting credentialed is essential for your budding clinic, the process can take longer than a year. Thanks to the right practice management software, you can effortlessly keep on top of your Enrollment and Credentialing tasks and focus on what’s important. 

Putting Together a Team 

Your clinic’s team will be your most important asset, and ideally, you should focus on a diverse team. Below are some team members to consider:

  • Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) - covers similar roles and tasks to the BT, but also offers a certification issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) for meeting their strict requirements.
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) - these independent practitioners have graduate-level certifications and can supervise the administration of ABA treatments by the BT and RBT.
  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) - this is an undergraduate certification that allows practitioners to work under the supervision of a BCBA or BCBA-D. BCaBAs can assist with tasks above the level of competency of BTs and RBTs.
  • Biller - this person will be responsible for billing, revenue cycle management, eligibility checks and insurance verification. This position is extremely important because cash-flow is the lifeline of any business. You may consider doing this yourself or leverage our outsourced billing services so you can focus on increasing billable hours and providing more care to clients. 

Supporting tasks of your business can be delegated to experienced contractors, such as marketers, billers, accountants, IT professionals, and attorneys. You also have the option to hire these positions in-house, but when starting a new business it might not be the right time to do this.

Investing in the Right ABA Therapy Clinic Technology

As businesses become more reliant on technology, ABA practices must as well. However, technology can represent a significant cost for a young ABA practice so understanding what is needed, beneficial, and profitable is essential. 

Here are some pieces of tech that you shouldn’t skimp on.  

Choosing a Practice Management Solution

A tailored Practice Management Solution is the most important system to integrate. Whether you are running a small practice or you are planning on opening multiple outlets, a Practice Management platform designed to meet your unique needs can:

  • Collect and analyze data
  • Help you manage your clients
  • Streamline appointment scheduling
  • Manage billing, fees, and insurance reimbursements
  • Increase the level of cybersecurity of your practice
  • Provide better, more customized services to your clients
  • Give authorized personnel immediate access to necessary documents and information
  • Streamline the channels of communication with your clients

All this not only helps you cut down costs, but can help you prevent financial losses, damage to your practice’s reputation, and customer dissatisfaction. 

Try to resist the urge to default to paper and pencil. We understand it’s easier to get started, but in the long run it can be overwhelming. The right practice management system is highly scalable, so you can entirely focus on expanding a company without having to switch or adapt systems. 

Setting Up a Business Email Address

Your clinic will require a custom business email address, which you can set up via Google Workplace or Microsoft 365. There are other valid alternatives, but these two options are the most widespread and provide a high level of integrations, spreadsheets, documents, calendar features, scheduling benefits, and team management features. 

Depending on your budget, you could also set up a professional address for your customer service, ABA therapists, and BCBA professionals, so that your clients can communicate directly with their providers and have a direct channel of communication with your clinic. 

Installing a Phone System

An integrated phone and VoIP system that connects multiple lines is an efficient solution to streamline your ABA clinic’s communication channels. These solutions are affordable even when you are getting started. 

If you end up using Google Workplace, you can sign up for Google Voice which integrates with your email system. Again, it’s easy to use your personal phone number, but we highly discourage that. Over time your phone number will be picked up by sales people and you will receive a lot of solicitations. 

Devising a Marketing Plan to Grow Your ABA Therapy Business

Now that you have set up your ABA therapy business, you will need to make it more easily visible, accessible, and discoverable by potential clients. To start growing your ABA business, you will need to design a marketing plan that is suitable for your goals and target market. 

If you are already focused on managing your practice and supervising ABA therapies delivered in your budding clinic, you should consider letting a professional marketer devise a strategy to attract patients. 

Some of the aspects to cover include:

  • Deciding on your brand voice and visual identity - The key goal of marketing campaigns for ABA businesses is to gain the trust of clients and patients. Creating a trustworthy voice and visual identity can not only help you increase traffic, but also improve your reputation!
  • Building a business website and focusing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Having an online presence is essential to build trust and make your new business more discoverable. Use local SEO techniques to help patients, who are already looking for your services in your area, discover your practice. 
  • Gaining visibility with a Google Business Profile - Registering for a Google Business Profile is essential for any business. Thanks to this service, your clients will be able to immediately know your contact details, reviews, operating hours, and location. 
  • Create a social media community - While social media channels might not seem like the best marketing channel for your practice, there are many ways to use these platforms to your advantage. For example, giving them free advice, tips and suggestions can offer you unparalleled returns!  
  • Generate reviews and testimonials - Reviews help your organic visibility, but also help convert prospects into potential patients. It’s also important you are following the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts guidelines regarding reviews.
  • Network with other practices and ABA clinics - Not all providers are your competition! By expanding your network and cooperating with other providers, you can help your clients enjoy better care. 

Keep The Future (and Scalability) of Your ABA Practice in Mind

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), businesses in the social assistance sector are among the longest surviving ones. However, the rate of survival of businesses has been shortening over the past 20 years. 

Around 25% of businesses survive past their 15th anniversary today, and over 65% of new businesses fail within their first 5 years on the market. These statistics tell us that the first years of your business are the most crucial ones. 

During this delicate time, it is important to focus on what investments can help your ABA therapy company grow and become more resilient.

Launching an ABA Therapy Clinic: Your FAQs, Answered!

  • Who can start an ABA therapy clinic?

To start an ABA therapy clinic, some states require you to be a Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst. Please check with your state’s requirements before fully investing into an ABA Therapy business.

  • What accreditations do I need to start a credible ABA therapy practice?

While you just need your training and certifications to get started, you can increase the credibility of your practice by getting accredited by BHCOE.

  • How much does it cost to start an ABA therapy clinic?

There is no clear data on this as it depends on various factors such as your personal goals, location, etc.

Get Started on Launching Your ABA Therapy Today

In this guide, we have explored the steps required in order to build an ABA therapy clinic. However, don’t forget that what makes it successful is the relationships you build with your customers. 

Partnering with the right contractors and professionals such as accountants, attorneys, and marketers will put you in the position to create these new relationships. But in order to increase reliability and growth, which is a contributing factor and result of building strong relationships, consider partnering with Rethink to integrate a personalized Practice Management System. 

 


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Free ABA Data Sheets & Forms - Updated 2022

At Rethink Behavioral Health, we offer all-in-one behavioral health solutions for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) providers. We believe that technology allows providers to grow quicker through efficiencies, but we understand some still prefer paper and pencil.

At the end of the day, we want to be a resource for everyone, because when it comes down to it, all we’re trying to do is improve care for those who need it. With that in mind, we developed several data sheets that ABA providers can use to track their data.

These free ABA data sheets are easy to download. We encourage you to customize each sheet to meet the needs of your clients or service delivery model. If you’d like to learn more about our clinical and practice management solutions, please contact us here.

To download our Free ABA Data Sheet, please fill out your information below:

What’s included

We’ve broken this bundle of free ABA data sheets down into two primary categories, they are:

  • Programming
    • Skill Acquisition (SA)
    • Behavior Reduction
  • Supervision forms

Programming includes any goals that are trying to be accomplished to increase a variety of skills, such as daily living, communication and social skills, along with behavior reduction strategies, which includes any forms dedicated to tracking challenging behaviors.

Supervision forms will include any Procedural Integrity (PI) forms, Inter-Observer Agreement (IOA) and other tracking forms which we’ll go into more detail on below. These are more for program and staff evaluation.

Programming

As mentioned above, Programming pertains to any goals that are to be accomplished to increase skills and replacement behaviors, and decrease problem behavior. Programming is broken down into two categories; Skill Acquisition and Behavior Reduction.

Skill Acquisition

The first component related to programming is SA. In this section we’ll review Task Analysis (TA) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT), as well as several methods of data collection.

Task Analysis (TA) Data Collection

Clinician monitoring parent-caregiver behavior with complex behavior chains use this method to break them down into smaller steps.

A sequence of brushing teeth, washing hands, then going to bed is a common example.

Additional steps and targets can be identified by understanding each step.

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

One of the most common ABA teaching methodologies is Discrete Trial Training. It is a one-on-one approach aimed at teaching students new skills in a systematic way.

DTT allows for massed or interspersed trial options. In our DTT Data Sheet, clinicians can track up to 10 individual trials and track accuracy and independence in responding.

Cold Probe Data Sheet

Cold Probe Data Sheets are ideal for tracking skill acquisition with many targets within a program.

They allow the parent or therapist to probe correct or incorrect responses at the beginning of the session prior to teaching. This can be used instead of trial by trial data collection.

Rate Data Sheet

The Rate Data Sheet helps track both the frequency and rate of targeted skills. These two factors are related, but have different definitions.

Frequency is defined as the number of times something occurs, while rate is the frequency of that same activity over a specified period of time.

Interval Data Sheet

Tracking intervals allow for an observer to set any amount of time to monitor the occurrence and/or duration of a behavior, and is an estimate of how often behavior is occurring. This sheet has space to track 20 intervals, which can be defined as whole, partial or momentary-time sampling (MTS).

Whole means that a behavior occured for the entire interval, partial describes a behavior that occured at any point throughout that interval, and MTS tracks if behavior is occurring at the end of the interval.

Duration Data Sheet

These sheets allows clinicians and therapists to track the lengths of time of each occurrence of behavior for each skill.

Behavior Reduction

Behavior reduction focuses on any maladaptive behaviors targeted for decrease. The two primary sheets that will be used in this component are the Antecedent Behavior Consequence (ABC) Data Log and Scatterplot Data Sheet.

Additionally, the Rate, Interval and Duration sheets detailed above can be used for tracking behavior reduction.

Antecedent Behavior Consequence (ABC) Data Log

The log provided is an unstructured ABA data log, as opposed to structured. This log can be edited to create a structured data sheet per client, which can be helpful for parents and caretakers as it makes the process more objective. Parents can select from a menu of options as opposed to writing their own thoughts down.

ABC Data allows parents to see patterns in behavior, including challenging behaviors such as tantrums, aggression, self-injury, etc, what causes them, and what follows them. This sheet helps track a specific behavior during an activity, along with the antecedent (before), consequence (after) and possible function.

Total duration is also an important component to track here, as duration may decrease before frequency of episodes decreases.

Scatterplot Data Sheet

Our Scatterplot Data Sheet helps to determine behavioral patterns with regard to time.

These sheets allow clinicians to track when behavior occurs in 15, 30 and 60-minute intervals over a 24 hour period.

Supervision Forms

Supervision forms included anything related to Procedural Integrity (PI), Inter-Observer Agreements (IOA), and additional forms used for tracking, but not necessarily related directly to client behavior.

Their purpose is to record data on parent and caregiver performance, so supervisors can provide feedback to improve performance as needed.

Task Analysis (TA) Procedural Integrity (PI) Data Sheet

When it comes to Task Analysis, procedural integrity is essential. PI is defined as how accurately a program is consistently implemented as it was intended.

This method is used by a clinician monitoring parent-caregiver behavior with complex behavior chains and breaking them down into smaller steps. Examples include a sequence of brushing teeth, washing hands, then going to bed. By understanding each step, additional steps and targets can be identified.

With TAs, any type of skill can be targeted. Our TA PI Data Sheet allows clinicians to track trials for pre-teaching behaviors, in-session steps and space at the end for error correction.

Discrete Trial Training (DTT) Procedural Integrity (PI) – Data Sheet

This is a structured method for teaching a new skill. Because of this, it’s especially important that caregivers implement trials as programs.

It is also used to evaluate a parent or caregivers implementation of DTT trials. This free ABA data sheet tracks up to 10 individual trials, along with pre-teaching, within-session and error correction responses.

Natural Environment Training (NET) Procedural Integrity (PI) Data Sheet

Last, but not least, is Natural Environment Training. NET is less structured than DTT, and allows clinicians to capture teaching opportunities as they occur naturally.

A child may be able to learn a skill in a structured environment, but may struggle to generalize the skill in the natural environment. This is an important factor for educators to understand, so they can tailor instruction so students can apply lessons learned naturally.

Similar to DTT, this free ABA data sheet tracks up to 10 individual trials, including pre-teaching, within-session and error correction responses.

Inter Observer Agreement (IOA) Templates

IOA data sheets are designed to evaluate accuracy in ABA data collection and identify observer drift or bias.

With IOA data collection, two people will observe a child or client at the same time, and record data on the target behavior or response. Once completed, they will compare their data.

The process helps determine if behaviors are well-defined, recorded accurately and consistently. This is also known as program correctness, and highlights the importance of recording data accurately.

Behavioral Skills Training Tracking Form

The Behavioral Skills Training Tracking Form is used to teach a new skill to a caretaker or caregiver. This may be an especially effective method of training with telehealth services.

The instructor provides a set of instructions and models for parents what to do step by step. The parent practices while the ABA therapist or supervisor watches and provides feedback, and this process continues until the skill has been mastered.


Growing Resilience to Manage Compassion Fatigue in Healthcare

About This Webinar

The mental & emotional wellbeing of employees is the #1 concern for 93% of healthcare employers. Join us to learn how Whil (Rethink’s new division for employee mental health) helps healthcare professionals build the foundational skills for resilience, emotional wellbeing, and good mental hygiene.

Join Joe Burton, CEO of Whil for this fast-paced, experiential and funny peek into stress management. Learn practical techniques that you can immediately apply and best practices to create a culture of wellbeing. See first-hand why the top healthcare organizations are now investing in training to help employees manage stress while improving focus, results, and patient relationships in high-performance cultures. You’ve never had this much fun learning how to reduce stress!

About the Speaker

Joe Burton

Founder & CEO of Whil, a Rethink Division

Joe Burton is the founder and CEO of Whil, a Rethink Division. Whil is the leading digital wellbeing training platform helping professionals manage their Personal Well-being, Professional Resilience, and Parenting Challenges. Joe is an entrepreneur in scientific wellbeing, former President of Headspace, and spent fifteen years as a global COO in public companies. He’s an alumnus of Harvard Business School, author of Creating Mindful Leaders, and regular contributor to Forbes, Business Insider, and HuffPost. He’s worked in over 50 countries and travels the world speaking on disruption, leadership, resilience, culture, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness as a competitive advantage.


How to Prevent BCBA/RBT Burnout Yourself

Whether you are new to the workplace or have been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) for years, you’ve likely heard of the phrase “burned out”. Those working in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy are known to experience this phenomenon, along with those in many other industries, so it’s important to understand and combat it effectively. This will lead to a happier outlook on life and more positive feelings regarding your occupation, along with greater health and more motivation to succeed.

What Is Burnout?

Before we can combat burnout, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers it an occupational phenomenon versus a medical condition, and defines it as follows:

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Now that you understand what exactly it is, it’s time to look at the common signs so you can determine if you’re currently burned out or if it’s something you should just watch out for in the future as an ABA Therapist.

How to Know If You Are Burned Out

Here are some common signs that you might be burning out:

  • Increased errors and omissions during work activities
  • Absences from work without notice
  • Frequent complaints about feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities with no end in sight for increasing demands at work
  • Unwillingness to engage socially outside of work
  • Lack of enthusiasm for new initiatives or projects
  • Increased cynicism, criticism, and apathy toward company policies or procedures
  • Decreased motivation to engage in work activities and/or loss of interest in tasks

Tips To Prevent Burnout

If you are a BCBA or an ABA Therapist, you know that burnout is one of the biggest problems in the field. Here are some tips on how to prevent that burnout from ever happening in the first place.

Create Boundaries 

Create boundaries between your private and professional life. A lot of BCBAs find themselves working longer hours than they should because their colleagues, friends or family expect it from them. However, this can lead to burnout very quickly, reduce the quality of work you produce, and reduce your level of enjoyment in your job.

Learn how to say “no” when people ask for help with something, and make sure that you are not overextending yourself by saying “yes” when a simple “no” will do just fine. This way, nobody will be disappointed, nor expect too much out of others all the time, which can cause stress overload leading to burnout eventually.

It’s also important to reduce work-related tasks when feeling overwhelmed. A lot of BCBAs start getting burned out by doing too many things at once, so make sure you take advantage of opportunities available where you can reduce some workload without affecting other processes. 

Strive for Growth

Make sure that you are learning something new at work to reduce your chances of feeling overwhelmed. This way, if anything goes wrong in the future, you will be able to solve it effectively without getting too stressed out about what might happen next.

Another thing that people tend to forget when trying to reduce stress levels and reduce their risk for burnout is getting enough rest every night so they can wake up fresh and full of energy throughout the day, instead of struggling through each task and focusing on when bedtime will come again.

Stay Positive

When it comes down to reducing your risk for burnout, staying positive is one of the best ways. Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who will encourage and support you no matter what, rather than people who bring you down. This can reduce stress levels very easily. 

When somebody has a negative thought about themselves or their abilities, try your best not to join in on this kind of thinking because it’s ultimately not productive for either party.

You should also take care of your mental health. A lot of people reduce their stress levels by exercising or meditating to reduce the pressure that they go through every day at work. This is because you are making sure that your mind and body are both in good shape, and you’re not getting too stressed out about life's problems.

Live a Burnout-Free Lifestyle

Now is the time to act if you feel burned out, so get to work on fixing it! While it might seem stressful to make so many changes while you feel behind in the workplace, it’ll ultimately be better for you in the long term. 

Reach out to us if you’ve experienced burnout and found other techniques effective. We’d be happy to report back on them to everyone else reading this piece.

If you found this blog post on How to Prevent BCBA/RBT Burnout interesting or effective, please share with your coworkers, other friends in the industry, or anyone you know who may be burned out from work!


Best Practice Guidelines for Clinical Implementation - Video and PDF

Create a plan for stopping the previous data collection system.

  • Determine if your organization will have a hard stop date in the current data collection system?

    • Often customers will select a date at which staff will start using Rethink’s Clinical data collection system. This allows for the creation of a benchmark goal of when assigned tasks for Clinical staff must be completed. For example, when training must be completed, all client programs added, and data collection can commence.
    • How will data be saved and pulled for sequential authorization and data analysis?
      • For best practice for saving previous data, Rethink recommends that Clinicians download all data from the previous system and upload to each client’s file cabinet prior to the hard stop date. This will allow Clinicians to access any needed data after making the switch to the Rethink platform.
  • When completing sequential authorizations, there are 3 options a user can consider. Each organization should choose the BEST option that fits their Clinical needs:

          1. The first treatment report completed in Rethink may contain 2 sets of graphs for certain programs if data were collected in both the previous system and within Rethink. Users would need to cut and paste the additional graphs as needed into the Treatment Report they create within the Rethink platform.
          2. Clinicians can create a Treatment Report from the old data collection system, then create a second Treatment plan in Rethink, and attach a cover letter when submitting the report about the current change in data collection platforms, and sequential reports will be one seamless report.
          3. Staff can backdate data if needed, but this can be cumbersome depending on how many months the clinician needs to backdate, though this is an effective way to have all data displayed on one graph.

Identify if staff will be entering programs in addition to their normal job responsibilities or if they will be given additional time, if so how much?

  • Entering client programming takes on average 2-4 hours/client. This includes adding any needed skill acquisition programs and behavior plans.

    We recommend if your team is on an expedited timeline you consider:

          1. Provide staff time outside of their normal responsibilities each week to enter programs
          2. Have additional staff assist with adding in client programs
  • Have information from Funders on what is required in a Treatment Plan to be able to build and customize your report templates.

  • During training, our team will teach you how to use our template builder to create custom templates for treatment reports. To use the template builder your team will need to know what your Funder requires for treatment reports as this varies from funder to funder and state to state.

    Some information that will be helpful to gather prior to training and implementation would be:

          1. Contacting your Funders for a sample template or a list of treatment plan requirements
          2. Decide if you will have a master temp or individual template per funder
          3. If you have a copy of your previous Treatment plan template, be sure this is readily available during training
          4. Identify Rethink experts and have content area experts regularly solicit questions from staff regarding clinical features.
  • All companies should have at least one Rethink expert for Clinical. If you are a part of a larger organization, you may have 1 per location or multiple. These individuals are essential for a successful implementation and for continued training when hiring new clinical staff. These staff should be your team’s first go-to for assistance. During training and implementation, you will want to be sure your internal Rethink contacts attend ALL needed trainings.

  • Have Clinical experts guide staff to Rethink’s Self-Help Center which houses tons of guides that include guides/images to walk staff through using the platform.

  • If questions cannot be answered by content the Clinical Expert or Self-Help Center, reach out to the Rethink team.


Halloween Guide For Children On The Autism Spectrum

Halloween is a child-centered holiday full of candy, costumes, and decorations. The same reasons Halloween can be fun and exciting for children may actually contribute to overstimulation and behavioral challenges for many children on the autism spectrum. Our team has created a downloadable Halloween Guide.

  • Have a plan. Practice safety skills and know your route for trick-or-treating. Practice with your child beforehand
  • Avoid the most crowded times for trick-or-treating by going early
  • Let your child wear their costume ahead of time at home to prepare for sensory needs
  • Limit the amount of time at each house and the overall trip
  • Opt to stay home and have friends and family come to you! Your child can participate in handing out treats in their costume
  • Wear costumes that reduce stimulation (i.e. wearing headphones or avoiding face masks)
  • Encourage your child to communicate when they need a break from the activity
  • Ensure dietary restrictions are accounted for by sending appropriate treats your child can receive to neighbors ahead of time
  • Non-vocal children can carry a card with the words “Trick-or-treat!” when going door-to-door


The Heart of Applied Behavior Analysis: Harnessing Existing Capacities, Recognizing New Opportunities

What You’ll Learn In This Webinar

ABA’s commitment to research-based interventions, high-quality implementation of services, transparency, individualization, and accountability are foundational to our practice. At the heart of our work with clients and families is collaboration, choice, acceptance, self-advocacy, and compassion. Recognizing these values gives us much to be proud of and can also serve as a reminder that we are works in progress, as we actively embody these values to the fullest extent in our practice. In this webinar, we will showcase several aspects of our work that embraces the humanity and heart of ABA.

About the Speakers

Dr. Bridget Taylor

Executive Director @ Alpine Learning Group

Dr. Bridget A. Taylor is co-founder and CEO of Alpine Learning Group and is Senior Clinical Advisor for Rethink. Dr. Taylor has specialized in the education of children with Autism for over 30 years. She holds a Doctor of Psychology from Rutgers University and received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University. She is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychologist. She is past president of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and past Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She currently serves on several editorial boards and the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. Active in the Autism research community, Dr. Taylor has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters, on innovative practices to improve the lives of individuals with autism. Dr. Taylor was recently recognized by the Association for Applied Behavior Analysis International for her outstanding contributions and was given ABAI’s Fellow designation.

Dr. David Celiberti

Executive Director @ Association for Science in Autism Treatment

Dr. David Celiberti is the Executive Director of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and the Past-President of its Board of Directors, a role he served from 2006 and 2012. He is the Co-Editor of ASAT’s online publication, Science in Autism Treatment. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rutgers University in 1993 and his board certification in behavior analysis in 2000. Dr. Celiberti has served on a number of advisory boards and special interest groups in the field of autism, applied behavior analysis, and early childhood education. He works in private practice and provides consultation to public and private schools and agencies in underserved areas and minority communities. He has authored several articles in professional journals and presents frequently at regional, national, and international conferences. In prior positions, Dr. Celiberti taught courses related to applied behavior analysis (ABA) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervised individuals pursuing BCBA certifications, and conducted research in the areas of ABA, family intervention, and autism.