5 Traits of a Successful ABA Therapist

  • Able to Analyze and Interpret Data
  • Experienced With Communicating
  • Patient With Others
  • Works Well With Others
  • Strong Problem-solving Skills

A person who wants to work with people who have a disability or mental health disorder should know about these five traits of a successful ABA therapist. An applied behavior analysis therapist, or ABA therapist, is a specialty type of psychologist who works with people with behavior or mental health disorders in order to reduce unwanted behavior and increase desirable behaviors. Knowing about the characteristics of a successful ABA therapist could help a person decide if they have the right skills and strengths to do this type of work.

Able to Analyze and Interpret Data

Many ABA therapists conduct research. Even if they do not conduct research themselves, they may need to refer to research publications in order to find out what is new and determine the efficacy of a treatment on a specific condition. This involves an ability to analyze original data. The therapist should also be able to interpret data and draw logical conclusions.

Experienced With Communicating

ABA therapists communicate with a wide range of people. They need to explain things in a way that patients, including children, can understand. They need to be respectful in their communications with families. Some families may speak English as a second language, so the therapist should be comfortable with saying things in different ways or working with interpreters. ABA therapists also need to be good writers, especially if they intend to present their research for publication or in public presentations at professional events.

Patient With Others

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, patience is another key trait of a successful ABA therapist. Because they work with people who may have moderate to severe behavioral problems, they have to be patient with their patients. They must be willing to give solutions some time to work and to know when to try something else. An ABA therapist should also be comfortable explaining the science and research behind different therapeutic solutions.

Works Well With Others

Most of the time, an ABA therapist will be in the company of others. Those other people typically include their patients. If the ABA therapist works with children, the guardians or parents of the child will also interact with the therapist. ABA therapists may also meet with their colleagues in order to discuss difficult cases and get some new ideas on solutions for their patients. They do this with integrity and while holding the patient’s information in confidence. The therapist should be able to establish a relationship of trust and respect with their patients and their families.

Strong Problem-solving Skills

ABA therapists spend a lot of time observing their patients. During those observations, the therapist takes extensive notes in order to review the situation. The goal of making those observations is to identify the problem and offer solutions to solve it. For example, a child with autism may have a problem behavior of spinning instead of sitting still while listening. The therapist may observe what triggers the spinning and offer a solution to end the problematic spinning behavior. The therapist may need to work with parents or guardians on different solutions if the first one does not work or stops working after a period of time.

Related Resource: 10 Best ABA PhD Degree Programs

In addition to these characteristics of a great ABA therapist, an individual should also be willing to continue learning. New discoveries are made on a regular basis when it comes to the effectiveness of different treatments or the use of existing therapies and treatments for conditions on which they had not previously been used. Understanding these five traits of a successful ABA therapist could facilitate a person’s decision for their career path.

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