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Providing Choices for Autistic Clients

Did you know when you provide autistic people with choices that it teaches them various skills?

During ABA therapy sessions, behavior analysts and RBTs should allow autistic clients to choose which programs they want to work on. It allows autistic clients to lead their learning while behavior analysts and RBTs are getting goals accomplished from their clients' behavior intervention plans (BIPs). For example, I ask my client if they want to work on having a conversation or answering yes/no questions. From there, my client chooses what they want to learn today, such as answering yes/no questions. By allowing autistic clients to choose what they want to learn, it will decrease problematic behaviors overtime while increasing their independence and various skills, such as social and communication skills. By providing choices, more learning occurs during ABA therapy sessions. How can you provide choices for autistic clients during ABA therapy sessions?

  1. Use visuals! This can be done by creating a choice board for young autistic clients or a check list for older autistic clients. Both a choice and a checklist can be incorporated based on an autistic clients' individual needs.

  2. Schedule times for choice making! If you got an autistic client who is starting to learn about choosing activities, incorporate it during their free time. Eventually, it can be expanded to their daily routine of programs during ABA therapy sessions.

Now when should we provide choices for autistic clients?

Providing choices can be applied throughout a daily routine! I encourage behavior analysts and RBTs to have their autistic clients choose activities from their programs to work on in order to be proactive participants in their learning process. Choice making can be a reinforcer as well as a desired behavior associated with other reinforcers. For example, when an autistic client responds appropriately with choosing an activity from their programs to work on, an RBT or behavior analyst allows the client to play with a computer for 5 minutes before working on their chosen activity or program. Providing choices should occur gradually based on the student’s needs and level of functioning. When more opportunities of choices are provided, then autistic clients will grow with various skills.

Now that you have learned the importance about providing choices, it is time to let autistic clients choose how their learning occurs during ABA therapy sessions. They can become pro-active participants in their progress and growth! Would you want to start providing choices for your autistic client during ABA therapy sessions? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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