Being a BCBA or RBT is a rewarding job. You get to teach individuals new skills that are socially significant to them and help to decrease inappropriate behaviors. Therapist can work in a variety of settings; clinics, schools, hospitals, and in individuals’ homes. I am here today to talk about being a “traveling” therapist or providing in-home ABA and how to prepare for a successful day.
Doing in-home ABA means that you are going into a client’s house and working with them on skills that are critical. You could be working on social skills, teaching chores, doing different assessments, working on toilet training or working on eating, just to name a few. When going into a client’s house one thing that is always difficult is controlling the environment. If the family has not designated an official therapy space, you may be doing the VB-MAPP at the kitchen table, while the parents are trying to cook dinner. My suggestion, to make therapy successful, is talking with the family to designate a therapy location. This location should not be distracting, it should have all the materials necessary for a session and it should be organized, so you can control reinforcement and the schedule.
I have been working in individuals’ homes ever since I got my BCBA back in 2014. Over the past 5 years, I have learned how to prepare my car, materials and personal needs to have a successful day.
My first suggestion is creating bins for each client that you are going to see. The night before, pack the individual’s binders, materials you are going to use and any new reinforcers that you might be introducing. Having individual bins prevents you from searching in your car for materials when you arrive at the house.
The second suggestion is packing extra clothes and shoes in your car. You never know when you will have paint spilled on you or accidentally get urinated on.
My third suggestion, is having a binder full of extra data sheets that you may need. Being an in-home therapist, you can’t run back to your office when you forgot to print a manding sheet; however, if you had a binder with extra materials you would be ready to go.
My fourth suggestion is preparing your car by having an air pump in case of a flat tire, first aid kit and extra food and drinks. I suggest having extra food and drinks because your schedule could change quickly, and lunch or dinner may be missed.
My final suggestion is having a good planner, this allows you to track sessions, make notes on what materials you still need and track if you have cancellations.
Providing in-home ABA is a wonderful job and the progress you can see with a client is amazing, but also working with the parents is very rewarding.