The Benefits of Summer Social Skills Programs for Kids with Autism

Even though the school year is still in full swing, it’s not too early to think about how you’re going to fill your summer schedule.

For parents of children on the autism spectrum, planning for summer involves more than just vacations and relaxation. You want your child to continue to make progress even during a school break.

When regular routines and structured learning environments pause for the summer, children with autism can be at risk of not maintaining skills. They might lose social skills, behavior improvements, and communication. This loss can mean that skills learned over the school year may diminish, leading to a challenging start when school resumes.

Summer Can Provide Continuous Learning Opportunities

Experts at LEARN say consistency is key for reinforcing learned skills. A disruption in routine can be unsettling for children with autism. They often thrive on predictability. Summer programs can provide a framework where they can thrive.

Consider enrolling your child in a social skills program this summer. Here’s why:

  • LEARN’s summer social skills programs are structured activities. They are designed specifically for children with autism.
  • Our summer social skills programs take place during the school break. They focus on improving social interaction, communication, and behavioral skills.
  • Our programs can include group activities, one-on-one sessions, and a range of therapies. We tailor them to each child’s unique needs.

What Will Kids Learn in a Summer Social Skills Program?

A summer social skills program can continue the momentum of what your child learns over the school year. These are some of the skills we work on:

  • Communication skills: Children with autism often find it hard to advocate for their needs to be met or express their preferences. They also might have trouble using language effectively and maintaining conversations. Our program gives kids a chance to practice these skills through guided activities, role-playing, and peer interactions.
  • Building confidence and self-esteem: Our summer programs can also have a tremendous impact on a child’s confidence and self-esteem. By mastering new skills and successfully interacting and forming friendships with peers, children with autism can gain a greater sense of self-worth. This boost in confidence can positively influence other areas of their life, from academic performance to relationships with family and friends.
  • Learning to interact with peers and make friends: Children with autism sometimes have difficulties making friends and maintaining relationships. Summer social skills programs specifically address these issues by providing opportunities for children to interact with others in a supervised, safe, and nurturing environment. This can help them understand the nuances of social interaction, learn to cooperate with others, and even form lasting friendships.
  • Fostering independence: Another key benefit of these programs is that they foster independence. By participating in new activities and routines, children can gradually become more comfortable with change and learn to adapt to different situations.

Keeping Skills Sharp During the Summer

Sometimes, educators talk about the “summer slide.” That refers to an educational phenomenon where students experience a loss of learning gains that they made during the previous school year over the course of the summer vacation.

If you want to prevent that kind of regression for your child, a summer social skills program can reinforce what they’ve learned over the school year and help them continue their growth and development.

Summer social skills programs for children with autism are more than just a way to keep kids occupied during the break. It’s another tool for keeping them engaged in learning. So, as we approach the summer season, consider enrolling your child in a social skills program. It could be just the thing to make the transition to next school year easier.

Learn more about building social skills during the summer in this LEARN blog post.

Advancing Autism Services: Our Commitment to Public Policy

Written by Dr. Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Vice President

National Social Justice Day is a time to reflect on the progress made in creating a more equitable and inclusive society. At LEARN Behavioral, this commitment goes beyond the confines of our therapy rooms; it extends into the heart of public policy advocacy. Our dedication to social justice is evident through our active involvement in various organizations and our continuous efforts to champion policies that support the autism community.

1. Advocating for Autism Services Nationwide

LEARN Behavioral is proud to be an active member of the Council for Autism Service Providers (CASP). Our leadership team actively participates as CASP Special Advocacy Group Leaders in 11 states where LEARN Behavioral operates. This engagement allows us to contribute firsthand to the shaping of policies that impact individuals with autism and their families. Additionally, our membership in the National Coalition for Access to Autism Services (NCAAS) underscores our commitment to addressing state and federal barriers to autism services. By collaborating with like-minded organizations, we strive to create a unified voice advocating for positive change on a broader scale.

2. Advancing Autism Equity Through State Organizations

At LEARN Behavioral, we understand the importance of grassroots efforts in promoting social justice. Our active involvement in local trade and professional organizations, including CalABA, BABAT, WAPA, ORABA, MAC, MIBAP, reflects our dedication to the larger behavior analytic community. Through volunteering and membership in these organizations, we aim to contribute to the development of equitable services for the diverse communities we serve. We believe that fostering connections within the behavioral community is crucial to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

3. Leading National Advocacy Efforts for Autism Policy Reform

LEARN Behavioral is fortunate to have resident experts in public policy who actively contribute to the
advancement of the autism community. LEARN leaders have published peer-reviewed journal articles on
public policy, presented at local and national conferences, and provided numerous testimonies
advocating for access to care. Our chief clinical officer, Dr. Hanna Rue, is a beacon of leadership in this
regard. Her participation in NCAAS’s “day on the hill” in Washington, D.C., exemplifies our commitment
to effecting change at the highest levels. By engaging with House and Senate offices, we strive to
influence initiatives that positively impact the autism community on a national scale.

4. LEARN Advocacy Network

The LEARN Advocacy Network, led by Dr. Rebecca Thompson, is a vital part of LEARN Behavioral’s public policy efforts, providing a monthly meeting ground for leaders from each state. Driving our advocacy initiatives, this collaborative team engages in meaningful discussions, sharing insights, and staying abreast of the latest developments in public policy. The network serves as a platform where LEARN Behavioral leaders exchange information, ensuring a well-coordinated and informed approach to navigating the complex landscape of policy initiatives.

As we observe National Social Justice Day, it is imperative to recognize the multifaceted approach LEARN Behavioral takes to contribute to a more just and equitable society. Through active participation in national and state organizations, as well as championing public policy initiatives, we are dedicated to making a lasting impact. Our commitment to social justice extends beyond our therapeutic interventions, reflecting our belief in the power of advocacy and policy to create positive change for individuals with autism and their families.

5 Simple and Fun Imaginary Play Ideas for Kids with Autism this Summer

By Laura Squiccimara, BCBA, MS

Assistant Clinical Director, Northeast Region, Behavioral Concepts (BCI)

Are you dreading the upcoming summer break because you worry about your child not having enough to do at home? For parents and caregivers of kids on the autism spectrum, that’s a common worry.

Long school breaks can disrupt your family’s routine, and children with autism often rely on schedules and predictability to feel secure and comfortable in their environment.

Changes at the end of the school year can be difficult to manage but have no fear. We’ve gathered simple, practical ideas for keeping your child engaged this summer. But first, let’s create a sense of consistency and structure.

Planning ahead and creating a schedule with specific activities for each day can help your family maintain a routine. By doing this, you’ll create a balance between structured and unstructured activities.

You can incorporate sensory play, arts and crafts, and fun outdoor activities into your summertime routine. Here are five ideas you can add to your list:

1. Mountain Explorers

This activity requires minimal preparation. To get started, gather some pillows, blankets, and cushions to create “mountains.” Help your child line up and stack the items in a way that resembles a mountain range.

Once your mountain range is complete, grab your gear and go exploring. This is a great way to encourage your child to use their imagination and pretend they’re hiking, camping, or climbing to the top of a mountain peak.

Practice taking turns, following someone else’s lead, and discussing your expedition with your child. You can even create lasting memories by snapping some pictures and placing them in an album that you can add to all summer long.

2. Dress Up

Dressing up is a classic activity that never goes out of style. It’s an excellent way to use old clothes* you might otherwise donate. To get started, gather your well-loved shirts, pants, hats, shoes, and accessories, and lay them out on a table or bed. Now you’re ready to use them in a game of dress-up.

Have your child pick an outfit and then play out different scenarios or even have a fashion show. You also could have a contest to see who can come up with the silliest, most mismatched outfit. This is a great way to work on daily living skills. Your child can practice putting on and taking off clothes, choosing appropriate clothing, and even learning how to fasten buttons and zippers.

*Keep in mind that some children with autism have sensory issues with clothing. You know your child best and what types of clothing materials they prefer. This could also be a way to introduce new materials that your child might like.

3. Pots and Pans Band

Start your very own home band this summer. To do this, all you need are some common household items like pots, pans, and spoons.

Explore different utensils such as wooden spoons, plastic spoons, and rubber spatulas to see how the sounds and tones change with different materials.

Encourage your child to create new beats and follow along with rhythms that you create.

You can challenge your child to a game to see who can repeat the longest beat, play the most recognizable song, or try to play as loud* or softly as possible.

This activity not only encourages creativity and imagination but also enhances important cognitive skills such as pattern recognition, memory, and fine motor skills. So, gather some pots and pans and let the music-making begin.

*Again, every child with autism exhibits different sensory sensitivities to sound. Your child might not enjoy this activity due to sensitivities, and that’s okay. Or, if your child seems interested but is sensitive to sound, they can try wearing headphones.

4. Hometown Restaurant

Hometown Restaurant is a fun and exciting activity that lets your child use their imagination while learning important life skills.

To start, gather some kitchen utensils, plates, bowls, cups, and pots and pans to create an in-home restaurant. You can use play food or gather simple no-bake ingredients so your child can create snacks and meals for the family.

Help them take orders, gather ingredients, “cook” their meals, and serve them to family members. They can even practice cleaning up when finished (wink wink).

Hometown Restaurant enhances creativity and improves important life skills, including problem-solving, communication, and social skills. Put on your aprons, and get ready for an unforgettable dining experience.

5. Box City

Here’s a way to put your delivery boxes to good use. Gather boxes of all shapes and sizes and help your child cut, glue, tape, stack, and arrange them however they like.

If you have big boxes, you can even create a fort. Otherwise, create a town or city for your child’s dolls, action figures, or favorite stuffed animals.

Try taking turns as the architect and builder to practice following directions and taking play suggestions. This activity presents endless opportunities for your child to ask for help, problem solve, and work together.

Boredom Is Your Imagination Calling to You

Refuse to be boring. Teach your child to use their imagination with activities that will keep them engaged. These activities promote creativity, imagination, communication, and problem-solving skills.

With these activities up your sleeve, your child will have a summer filled with adventure, learning, and fun. Get ready to watch your child grow in ways you never thought possible.

Laura Squiccimara, BCBA, MS, is the assistant clinical director of the Northeast region of Behavioral Concepts (BCI). BCI is part of LEARN Behavioral, a national organization dedicated to nurturing the unique potential of children with autism.

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Vacation for Your Autistic Child

Embarking on a family vacation is a time for creating cherished memories and bonding with your loved ones. For families with a child with autism, finding the perfect destination that caters to everyone’s needs might seem like a daunting task. These resources can make planning easier.

More vacation destinations than ever are prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility. From autism-friendly theme parks to sensory support on cruises, there are countless options for creating an unforgettable experience.

Here, we break it down and look at five vacation options that celebrate your child’s individuality while providing fun and relaxation for the whole family.

1. Autism-Friendly Travel by Plane

Wings for Autism is a program that helps families with children on the autism spectrum become more familiar with air travel. They offer airport “dress rehearsals” so children can experience the entire process, from checking in to boarding the plane, without actually taking off. This helps them become more comfortable with the idea of flying.

The program started in Massachusetts and has been adopted by more than 70 airports nationwide. JetBlue, Delta, American, and United are among the airlines that routinely participate in programs that support passengers with autism. Some airlines, like Delta, even have multi-sensory rooms in some airports — rooms with calming colors, sounds, and a small aircraft mock-up to let passengers get familiar with air travel.

2. Autism-Friendly Travel by Car

The car brand Chrysler recently partnered with the Autism Society of America to support the needs of travelers with autism. Chrysler now offers a sensory package option for the Chrysler Pacifica. This package includes noise-cancelling headphones, fidget toys, and a weighted blanket to help create a comfortable and calming environment for children with autism during car rides.

No matter what kind of car you have, you can create your own DIY sensory station with similar options. Other things to keep in mind when planning a road trip are to:

  • Plan frequent breaks to allow your child to stretch and decompress.
  • Create a visual schedule to help your child understand the trip’s timeline.
  • Pack familiar items and sensory tools to help soothe your child during the journey.

3. Autism-Friendly Travel by Cruise Ship

Some cruise lines have begun offering sensory support for passengers with autism, including:

  • Autism on the Sea: This international charity provides tailored cruises for autism families. Their teams manage these cruises, which take place across multiple cruise lines.
  • Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival offers a variety of “sensory inclusive” activities, including modified youth programs and designated quiet spaces for relaxation.
  • Celebrity Cruises: This cruise line offers accessible cruises and interactive initiatives for families. They train their youth staff in autism awareness. They also cover various developmental disabilities and offer priority check-in, boarding, and departure.
  • Disney Cruise Line: Disney offers a number of services for guests with autism, such as priority check-in online and options for children who have trouble waiting in lines or crowds.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: They have a team of “accessibility coordinators” who support travelers with special needs. They work closely with families with autism, addressing their concerns individually.
  • Royal Caribbean: Their “Autism Friendly Ships” program includes sensory-friendly films, toys, and modified youth activities to accommodate children with autism.

4. Autism-Friendly Theme Parks

Many popular theme parks have made efforts to accommodate guests with autism:

  • Disney: Disney offers a Disability Access Service (DAS) pass that allows guests with autism to schedule return times for attractions, reducing wait times and providing a more predictable experience.
  • Legoland: Legoland provides a Hero Pass for autistic guests, granting them the opportunity to bypass lines and access quiet rooms when needed.
  • Sea World: Sea World offers a Ride Accessibility Program (RAP) that helps guests with autism plan their visit and enjoy attractions at their own pace.
  • Six Flags: Six Flags has an Attraction Access Pass for autistic guests, allowing them to avoid long lines and access designated quiet areas.
  • Sesame Place: Sesame Place is the first theme park to be designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) and offers sensory guides, quiet rooms, and noise-cancelling headphones for guests with autism.

5. A Staycation for You and Your Autistic Child

If you prefer to stay close to home, there are plenty of ways to create a memorable and enjoyable staycation for your family:

  • Set up a backyard camping experience with tents, a fire pit, and s’mores.
  • Visit local attractions, such as museums, parks, and zoos, that offer sensory-friendly hours or events.
  • Create a themed week with daily activities based on your child’s interests — such as art, science, or nature exploration.

Planning an Autism-Friendly Vacation Can Be Simple

Autism-friendly destinations can make planning a family vacation less daunting and more exciting for all.

Focus on your child’s needs and explore autism-friendly places. Choose the best locations and accommodations for your family and your budget. A little thoughtful preparation can pave the way for a memorable and enjoyable trip for everyone involved.

A Fresh Approach: Empowering Children with Autism

Written by Alison Spanoghe, Behavior Analyst, Autism Spectrum Therapies (AST)

When I first started working in a school system with children on the autism spectrum in the early 2000s, my leaders told me to stick to my instructions — no matter what. They told me this would be best for the children in the long run. As a newbie, I followed orders.

Often, though, that approach led to anger, tears, and resistance from the children who needed my help the most. Despite science backing up the “follow-my-orders” approach, it didn’t always feel “right.”

Today, my approach has evolved to something called “assent-based practice.” It’s a model that puts an end to instruction through coercion. It prioritizes the child’s agreement to participate in therapy rather than mandating that they follow orders.

The Old Way: Extinction

If you’re familiar with applied behavior analysis (ABA), you may have come across the term “extinction.” In simple terms, extinction means not reinforcing a previously reinforced behavior. The aim is to reduce the chances of that behavior happening again.

Let’s say your TV remote stops working. After a while, you’ll stop pressing the power button and maybe look for batteries or ask for help instead. The same principle applies to ABA services. If a certain behavior — like screaming — is not encouraged, the child will eventually stop doing it. You could then teach them a better way to communicate their needs instead of screaming.

While that might be good in theory, behavior isn’t always that straightforward. Also, the extinction approach can sometimes lead to other issues, like longer tantrums, aggression, or even distrust toward caregivers. That’s where assent-based practice comes in.

The New Way: Assent-Based Practice

Assent-based practice focuses on making sure the child agrees to take part in therapy — even if that agreement is nonverbal. When a child is actively engaged, that’s one indication that they are communicating that they agree with participating in treatment.

This type of approach involves:

  • Constant check-ins
  • Respecting when the child no longer wants to participate in treatment
  • Adapting the approach based on the child’s response
  • Teaching the child to communicate

The goal of this technique is to equip children with autism with skills that are useful in any situation. It also helps them advocate for themselves and make it clear when they want to say “no.” It’s more of a compassionate way of providing care.

Why Assent-Based Practice?

There are many benefits to using assent-based practice. It can:

  • Build Trust: It helps establish a safe and trusting relationship between the child and the therapist.
  • Promote Expression: The child learns that they are seen and heard. It encourages them to express their feelings.
  • Respect Autonomy: The child’s “no” is respected, promoting their dignity and independence.
  • Enhance Learning: This approach avoids standoffs. It allows more reinforcement of language use and engagement in the session.

Assent-based practice has become a popular topic in ABA services. It emphasizes getting the child’s agreement before continuing therapy. It teaches children to express their feelings. It also respects their dignity and independence.

Therapists can use this approach with any child at any time, leading to faster learning and better rapport with the child. While our understanding of assent-based practice continues to evolve, it is a worthwhile approach to consider because it puts the child first.

Alison Spanoghe is a behavior analyst with Autism Spectrum Therapies (AST).

Understanding Your ABA Provider’s Partnership with Schools

As parents, we always want the best for our children. That’s especially true when it comes to their education and development.

For parents of children with autism, finding the right support system is crucial. A key part is the partnership between your applied behavior analysis (ABA) provider and your child’s school.

This partnership is important for your child’s treatment and Individualized Education Program (IEP). Here’s what you should know.

Why Is an ABA Partnership with My Child’s School Important?

Collaboration: ABA providers and schools work together to help your child develop. This partnership makes it easy to switch between therapy sessions and school.

Consistency: By working in tandem, ABA providers and schools can create a consistent learning experience for your child. Consistency in ABA therapy reinforces targeted skills and behaviors. That leads to improved progress.

Alignment with your child’s treatment: ABA providers and schools help make sure your child’s education goals match their treatment plan. This means that the strategies and interventions at school match the ones used in ABA therapy.

How Does This Partnership Benefit My Child’s IEP?

Goal-setting: ABA providers work with schools to set goals that are meaningful and achievable for your child’s IEP. We create goals to help your child improve in communication, social skills, and academics.

Progress monitoring: ABA providers often talk to school staff to check how your child is doing with their IEP goals. By collaborating, we can share data and make sure interventions work in both places.

Behavioral support: ABA providers help school staff use behavior strategies from your child’s IEP. This support helps the school team handle challenging behaviors and create a welcoming learning environment.

Dispelling Misconceptions: The Partnership Is Not Competitive

It is important for parents to understand that the partnership between ABA providers and schools is not competitive. Instead, we base it on mutual support and shared goals. Here’s why:

Complementary roles: ABA providers and school staff have different roles, but they both help your child develop. ABA providers focus on intensive therapy and individualized interventions. Schools provide a broader educational environment. Both work together to create a comprehensive support system.

Information exchange: Regular communication between ABA providers and schools allows for valuable information exchange. ABA providers can report how your child is doing, and schools can tell you how they’re performing in school and with other students and school staff. This two-way communication strengthens the partnership and makes sure everyone involved is on the same page.

Advocacy: ABA providers often act as advocates for your child within the school system. They work with school staff to understand and help your child with their specific needs. This advocacy promotes a positive and inclusive educational experience for your child.

The partnership between your child’s ABA provider and school is important for their education and growth.

By working together, we can ensure that your child’s treatment is consistent and effective. Parents can contribute to their child’s success by communicating openly. Ultimately, this sets children with autism up for success in school and life.

To learn more about ABA therapy and school, visit our website.

The Importance of Sticking to Consistent ABA Therapy

By Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D

Schedule Transitions Make Sticking to ABA Therapy Even More Important

Anyone in charge of the family calendar knows how important it is to stick to a schedule. It helps keep life on track.

For children on the autism spectrum, a steady schedule is even more important. A daily routine can create a sense of structure and predictability. It can reinforce a sense of stability and allow them to focus better on learning and interacting with others.

When family schedules change — like the transition from summer to back-to-school — it can be anxiety-provoking. The sudden shift from a relaxed summer schedule to a structured school routine can be overwhelming. However, maintaining a consistent daily routine during this transition can help alleviate some of this stress and anxiety.

Back to School and Back to ABA Therapy Services

For children with autism, continuing with applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy when going back to school gives them a big advantage.

It helps to improve social, communication, and learning skills through reinforcement strategies. It also provides them with a set of tools to navigate the complexities of the school environment, helping them to learn how to interact with their peers, follow instructions, and interact in a classroom setting—all of which should be fun.

ABA therapy can be tailored to meet each child’s unique needs and goals, making it an effective way to support their overall development and learning. By incorporating play-based activities and strategies, children not only enjoy themselves but also experience the joy of learning through play.

5 Reasons Why Consistent ABA Services Are Essential

  1. Skill Maintenance: Consistency in ABA services helps children maintain the skills they have already learned. Without ongoing practice and reinforcement, they may experience skill regression, which can impede their progress. Consistent ABA services reinforce learned skills across different settings.
  2. Generalization of Skills: ABA services can provide opportunities to practice and generalize their skills in different environments. By working on skills outside the traditional school setting — such as in community settings or during recreational activities — your child can learn to adapt to skills across various real-life situations.
  3. Individualized Support: Consistent ABA services allow for ongoing individualized support tailored to the specific needs of your child. ABA programs are highly individualized, focusing on the unique goals and interests of each child. Continuity of services allows you and your team to monitor your child’s progress, adjust goals as necessary, and introduce new skills based on your child’s development and needs.
  4. Behavior Management: Summer break may have introduced changes in routine and increased leisure time, which can sometimes lead to challenging behaviors. As your child goes back to school, consistent ABA services provide behavioral strategies and interventions to address and manage these behaviors effectively. ABA professionals can work closely with you and your child to develop behavior support plans and provide guidance on how to address challenging behaviors as they arise.
  5. Transition Preparation: For those transitioning to a new school or educational setting in the upcoming academic year, consistent ABA services can facilitate a smoother transition. ABA professionals can focus on specific skills that will support your child’s adjustment to the new environment. That focus can include social skills, communication, and self-help skills. By addressing these areas during times of transition, your child can feel more prepared and confident when starting their new educational journey.

For children with autism, transitioning back to school requires a careful balance between preventing skill regression and having fun. At LEARN, our goal is both. A collaborative relationship between your family and your behavior analyst can help you create a steady schedule that works during this time of transition and sets your child up for ongoing success in school and life.

Ashley Williams is a senior clinical director at LEARN Behavioral.

For more resources about ABA consistency, watch our video “How ABA Therapy Helped Our Children Succeed: Insights from Two BCBA Moms.”

Upholding Clinical Integrity: A Cornerstone for Leadership and Clinical Practice at LEARN Behavioral

Written by Dr. Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Vice President

In the realm of healthcare and behavioral sciences, integrity stands as an unwavering pillar that supports both the practitioners and the individuals seeking assistance. Within LEARN Behavioral, a leading organization dedicated to enhancing lives through applied behavior analysis (ABA), the significance of clinical integrity resonates deeply, shaping not only the quality of services provided but also how we lead our teams.

The Essence of Clinical Integrity

Clinical integrity encompasses more than just adhering to ethical guidelines; it embodies a commitment to honesty, transparency, and a genuine dedication to the clients’ well-being. In the context of ABA, clinical integrity means adhering to evidence-based practices, valuing the principles of behavior analysis, and consistently providing high-quality services. As a leader at LEARN, integrity is my core value, and choosing to lead with integrity is a choice and commitment that I make each day to guide every decision I make.

Leadership and Clinical Integrity

As leaders, we understand that we serve as role models for our teams. We recognize that upholding clinical integrity isn’t just a checkbox but a responsibility that influences the organization’s culture and outcomes. When leaders prioritize integrity, it creates a ripple effect. Employees witness the importance of their work and feel empowered to maintain the same level of commitment. The leaders’ commitment to clinical integrity sets the tone for the team, fostering an environment of trust, professionalism, and continuous learning.

Impact on Employees

For employees, working within a culture of clinical integrity brings a profound sense of purpose, pride, and trust. When team members see their leaders consistently making ethical decisions and prioritizing evidence-based practices, it enhances their job satisfaction and motivation. They feel secure in the knowledge that they contribute to meaningful change in clients’ lives. This sense of fulfillment, in turn, translates into increased productivity, better teamwork, and reduced burnout.

Impact on Clients

Clients receiving ABA services from LEARN benefit from an organization rooted in clinical integrity. They can trust that their well-being is the top priority and that the interventions and strategies suggested are backed by contemporary, evidence-based behavior analysis. This trust is vital in fostering a strong therapist-client relationship, a cornerstone of successful behavior intervention. Clients experience progress that is not only effective but ethical, ensuring their dignity and respect are upheld throughout their journey.

What does clinical integrity look like each day? Here are a few examples:

  • Commitment to Neurodiversity: LEARN’s commitment to contemporary ABA and supporting neurodivergence goes hand-in-hand with clinical integrity by promoting the dignity and respect of all of our clients in all settings and at all times.
  • Continuous Professional Development: LEARN offers a monthly Speaker Series and a library of recorded trainings for our clinicians, allowing both behavior technicians (BTs) and behavior analysts access to continuing education on an ongoing basis.
  • Adherence to the Ethical Code: The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Ethics Code and relevant state licensure requirements, as applicable, serve to guide our clinical practice.
  • Honesty in Reporting Data: As behavior analysts, we are responsible for maintaining data accurately and honestly.
  • Clinical Assessments and Evaluations: Regular assessments and evaluations ensure that practices remain aligned with the latest research and ethical standards. Our clinicians choose from a battery of assessments that includes norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tools that help inform their clinical practice.


A commitment to clinical integrity is at the heart of our practice at LEARN. As we see the field of behavior analysis evolve and as our company continues to grow and change, our support of clinical integrity is our constant. My hope as a leader is for all clinicians to make a renewed commitment to leading with integrity every day. Collectively, a shared commitment to honesty, transparency, and respect will profoundly impact the clients we serve and build trust in the autism community.

Ashley Williams is a Vice President at LEARN Behavioral.

7 Versatile Skills You’ll Gain as a Behavior Technician

Starting your career as a behavior technician can help you build valuable skills that transcend the field of autism.

It can serve as a springboard for launching a successful career in any industry, like human services or education, because it gives you a solid foundation.

Behavior technicians and behavior therapists — what we commonly refer to as BTs — develop “transferable” skills. These competencies can make you versatile and adaptable. Cultivating these talents as a BT can help you gain the expertise to excel in the field of autism. At the same time, you’ll position yourself as a well-rounded professional.

Here are seven of the top skills you’ll learn working as a BT.

1. Adaptability

As a BT, you’ll learn to adapt to different situations and environments. Autism is a complex spectrum, and each person you care for requires a unique approach. You can use this aptitude in other areas that require flexibility and quick thinking. Your ability to adjust to changing trends, new technologies, and unexpected challenges will make you stand out in the crowd.

2. Effective Communication

Communication is at the heart of behavioral therapy. As a BT, you’ll learn to communicate well with people on the autism spectrum, their loved ones, and your colleagues. You’ll cultivate the ability to share ideas, give instructions, and offer support effectively. This is essential in any field that involves working with others. Clear and concise communication fosters positive relationships. This skill prevents misunderstandings and allows for collaborative problem-solving.

3. Empathy

Working closely with people on the autism spectrum requires empathy and compassion. As a BT, you’ll learn about their challenges and truly care about their well-being. These qualities are universally valued and can benefit you in any field. Empathy and compassion create a supportive work environment. This skill also improves customer service and builds strong connections with colleagues and clients.

4. Analytical Thinking

BTs use analytical thinking to understand behaviors, identify patterns, and develop effective strategies. Knowing how to analyze data and find important information is valuable in many jobs. Whether you work in business, education, healthcare, or research, thinking analytically helps you make good choices and achieve positive outcomes.

5. Problem-Solving Abilities

Problem-solving is a fundamental skill where BTs excel. You’ll learn how to spot problems, find out why they happen, and come up with new ideas to fix them. This skill is transferable and valuable in many professions. Employers appreciate people who can face challenges directly and come up with solutions.

6. Collaboration and Teamwork

BTs work with families, other therapists, and educators as part of a team. This collaboration fosters excellent teamwork skills, which are sought-after in any field. To succeed in many jobs, it’s important to work well with others. This means sharing ideas, respecting different perspectives, and contributing effectively to group efforts.

7. Organizational Skills

As a BT, you’ll learn to manage schedules, paperwork, and resources effectively. In any job where you need to manage time and tasks, being organized is crucial. This skill helps you finish tasks on time, stay organized, and work efficiently.

Becoming a BT equips you with a diverse set of talents that can open doors to various career paths. The skills you’ll gain are highly valued in today’s job market.

To succeed in any job, it’s helpful to be adaptable, a good communicator, empathetic, analytical, a problem solver, collaborative, and organized. Cultivating these skills as a BT can propel you toward success and open doors that will get you there.