An autism behavior technician can play a major role in the progress and support your child receives when implementing new behavioral changes in children with autism. A behavior technician can work in a different variety of settings that range from in-home services, in-clinic services, in-school services, and within the community, to better assist and support the family they are helping.
Each environment is important because the technician can provide different levels of support and have different levels of control. For example, in the home, it’s easier to control any triggering factors that may contribute to negative behaviors. Being able to know what to expect can help the behavior technician teach the client new skills during training because they can better predict what behaviors will be like when the client is exposed to a specific stimulus.
When out in the community, like a public park, it’s harder for families to predict what varying factors may trigger their child’s challenging behaviors because you cannot always predict what that environment will be like during your visit. Even when the public park is a place you regularly visit, there can be a variety of variants including weather, number of children playing, noise, a ball, a stray dog or bird landing nearby, or even seeing a classmate or neighbor. Any of these factors could create a different reaction from a child receiving aba, or applied behavior analysis, therapy.
What does a behavior technician do?
A behavior technician works under the supervision of a BCBA, or board certified behavior analyst in a clinical setting. Behavior technicians teach skills to children that have behavior challenges so that negative behaviors are changed or altered to be more appropriate and functional.
Behavior technicians also support parents with training they are receiving from a behavior analyst to better support the family at home, as well as to receive the continuity of care when the technicians are not there. This provides parents a chance to practice their new skills they learned from their BCBA with their child. When the technician or RBT (registered behavior technician), is in the home, they can provide a level of supervision in working with the family on their training and provide support and feedback on skills that have been scientifically and research proven to provide positive results in behavior treatment in children with autism.
What is a behavior technician for autism?
A behavior technician for autism is a technician that works directly within the autism community helping families impacted by autism. Behavior technicians can work with neurotypical children as well, who may have other conditions including psychological, developmental, or intellectual disabilities. A behavior technician for autism lets you know that the technician supports clients who have an autism diagnosis and can best support the unique needs and challenges that a family with children on the autism spectrum might struggle with the most.
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A behavior technician is an entry level position and is often in RBT training to earn their RBT, or registered behavior technician title. A RBT has more hours of training and additional sets of skills than a behavior technician and is often an assistant to the BCBA (board certified behavior analyst). An RBT (registered behavior technician) can be in charge of teaching behavior technicians the skills they have learned as they help to increase the education of the team they work with for the client’s success while working with their behavior program. An RBT also receives a higher salary to match the additional education and skills they have in comparison to a behavior technician.
How should parents choose a behavior technician for their child?
Choosing a behavior technician for a child with autism can sometimes be taxing and overwhelming for families who are new to ABA therapy and are unsure what to look for. Here are some tips that parents can use to find a great ABA company and to ensure they are working with a reputable technician:
- Research the program or company you are most interested in to find out how many children they have assigned to each BCBA. There should never be just one BCBA overseeing large groups of clients at once. A reputable company should not have more than eight children assigned to each BCBA. This allows the client to achieve growth by always being able to be accessible to the family and to provide maximum amount of supervision time to the technicians and RBTk who is on the team to support the client.
- A behavior technician should also be collecting data at each appointment to graph progress made within their program. If your technician is not collecting data, there is no way for them to scientifically show growth made during the course of time that they provided services to you. Insurance companies request this information as well to justify the services as medically necessary
- A reputable technician should be on time and consistent with quality of services. The jobs of technicians can sometimes feel like a juggling act when rushing from one client to another, especially if there is a large drive between clients. You should always have the phone number or contact information to your client or a scheduler with the company you are wanting to use so there is clear communication between both the parents and the technicians that are providing the service to the families
- A reputable BCBA or ABA school should also include a fading program with a timeline of how long services will be expected to be given and how they will measure that progress to graduate the client from the program. Clinical health treatment plans have a defined beginning and end. Behavior health treatment plans should have a contract that defines the beginning and end of services as well so that parents know what to expect over the course of their therapy without any financial surprises
Should autism parents train to become RBTs?
Autism parents do not need to train to become RBTs or registered behavior technicians. One of the benefits in working with a behavior technician for your autistic children is that the parent will learn a lot about ABA therapy at the entry level from the training they receive from the behavior analyst, or BCBA, who provides the parent training and the registered behavior technician or behavior technician that works with their child.
A board certified behavior team takes on many jobs when implementing therapy to an individual with a disability. A group or center is there to provide assistance to families who have a child with a disability to help them achieve success with implementing behavioral changes. Parents are always welcomed and encouraged to educate themselves on ABA techniques for personal growth, but are not expected to make a career for themselves in ABA.
Another benefit for parents who seek out behavior technicians to work with them is that it can provide respite care for the family. When a parent drops their child off for therapy sessions at a medical clinic or within a free group event for teaching or education within the community, they are able to take time for self-care and strengthen family and friend relationships that make up their personal support team. Self-care is a skill that many parents fall behind on, but it can provide emotional strength to parents who have many challenges in their family unit where an assistant is necessary.
A behavior technician works under the supervision of a BCBA, or board certified behavior analyst. Their role is to support the families and clients with education, challenges with developmental delays, and in a variety of settings to best support the family in different situations where negative behaviors may occur. Their job is to help alter or change negative behaviors into more positive and functional behaviors that improve the quality of life of the clients and improve family dynamics. Behavior technicians teach skills and support skill retention to increase independence in children with autism that allows their personal growth to continue without limits as they transition to their adult years.
Developmental delays can be challenging to overcome in autistic children because there are often other challenges that can impede success, such as having a comorbid diagnosis of other medical conditions, lack of support from school, or lack of family support that could improve the quality of care a child receives in therapy. Learning how to find a reputable company and technicians, or registered behavior technicians to work with, can provide a wealth of support to families with autistic children and increase success with implementation of new behavior strategies.
A career in the field of applied behavior analysis can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not necessary for parents to change their personal career plans for the success of their child in adopting new positive behavior traits. Getting support from a behavior technician or registered behavior technician can provide education in ABA and also provide parents with respite care so they can actively participate in self-care and strengthen their family bonds. Elders will often joke, “it takes a village” when raising children, and in many ways it is true! Autism families are not alone in their journeys and the services that technicians provide are there to assist you and your family.