A junior ABA therapist will work one-on-one with patients. He or she will likely spend 1-2 hours per session for an early learner and 3-4 hours for an intermediate or advanced learner per session. He or she will likely have 2-4 sessions per week per individual they are working with. Here at NETwork, we find the optimal number of sessions per week per individual is 3.
Therapy often takes place in the patient’s home and in some cases, the child’s school, teenager's college or adult's care centre or workplace. It is most likely that the programme your therapist is working on is a Verbal Behaviour programme as this is the most recent application of Applied Behaviour Analysis, and it is most likely that your therapist will be using Natural Envirronment Teaching.
ABA therapists utilise highly structured treatment programmes that are geared toward the specific patient’s needs. Therapists do not create these plans themselves, but instead use programmess that are devised by behaviour analysts. ABA therapists use the principles of behaviour analysis to help patients improve social, play, language and academic skills, while helping reduce interfering behaviors, which may include aggressive behavior like biting or pinching. They reinforce positive behaviours and intervene when patients exhibit undesirable behaviors.
ABA therapists continually evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment program, and make any necessary changes to help patients learn new skills and behaviors more effectively. This is tough for a junior therapist as a junior therapist typically has 1-2 years of hands on experience. He or she most likely will not have been to University or will still be an Undergraduate. The most important qualitites of a junior therapist is that he or she can follow instruction well, receives regular and ongoing training, and is able to take data and send this to his or her consultant. The ability to video themselves in action is a must!
Junior Therapists typically will need a fair amount of shadowing and ongoing training. They will have a high amount of energy and committment to the individual patients, but also their career path. Without this, it is unlikely that your junior therapist will stick around for long. It is the job of your consultant/behaviour analyst to provide an environment that your junior therapist can ask questions in and learn from. It is your job to ensure that your junior therapist feels safe and appreciated. It is unlikely that the pay will keep your junior therapist!
Your Junior Therapist will not be tweaking programmes or altering reinforcement schedules as they will unlikely be confident enough in their experience to do so.
Your Junior Therapists will comprise the bulk of your team.