17 ABA Therapist Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an ABA therapist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

ABA therapists help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn how to communicate, interact socially, and engage in other age-appropriate activities. ABA therapy is one of the most effective interventions for children with ASD, and there is a high demand for ABA therapists.

If you’re looking for a career in ABA therapy, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to know what questions to expect. In this guide, we will provide you with a list of common ABA therapist interview questions and answers.

Are you familiar with the principles of applied behavior analysis?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of ABA therapy. It also allows the interviewer to see how you apply these principles in your work as an ABA therapist.

Example: “Yes, I am very familiar with the principles of applied behavior analysis. In fact, my bachelor’s degree was in psychology and behavioral science, so I had to learn about ABA during my undergraduate studies. During my internship at the local hospital, I worked closely with an ABA therapist who taught me many of the fundamentals of this type of therapy. She even helped me develop some of my own techniques for working with patients.”

What are some of the most important skills for an ABA therapist to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. A strong answer will include a list of important skills and examples of how you’ve used them in your previous roles.

Example: “The most important skill for an ABA therapist is patience, as it’s often challenging to see results with this type of therapy. I also think that empathy is essential because you need to be able to understand what your client is going through. In my last position, I was working with a child who had autism, and I would always try to put myself in their shoes when they were having a meltdown or acting out. This helped me remain calm and figure out ways to make the child more comfortable.”

How would you go about creating a treatment plan for a new client?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and organize it. Your answer should show that you are organized, detail-oriented and able to prioritize tasks.

Example: “I would first meet with the client to get a better understanding of their goals for therapy. I would then research any background information about the client’s diagnosis or history so I could create an individualized plan based on what they want to achieve in therapy. I would also discuss my findings with my supervisor so we could collaborate on creating the best treatment plan.”

What is your experience working with children with autism?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level and how you might fit in with their team. If you have previous experience working with children with autism, share what skills you developed while doing so. If you don’t have direct experience, you can talk about any similar experiences you’ve had working with special needs children.

Example: “I worked as an ABA therapist for a private practice that specialized in helping children with autism. I learned many valuable skills during my time there, including how to use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior and how to create individualized treatment plans based on each child’s unique needs.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to make a change to a client’s treatment plan.

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you adapt to change and implement new strategies. In your answer, explain the steps you took to make the necessary changes and what the outcome was.

Example: “I had a client who I worked with for several months before they started showing improvement in their behavior. After some time, I noticed that my treatment plan wasn’t working as well as it used to, so I decided to try something different. I introduced a reward system into our sessions where he would earn points for good behavior. He quickly learned that his actions affected his rewards, and within two weeks, he began making more progress than ever before.”

If a client is making progress but starts to regress, how would you handle this situation?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you respond to challenges and setbacks. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills, ability to remain positive and commitment to helping clients succeed.

Example: “If a client regresses during therapy, I would first try to understand why this happened. For example, if they were making progress with their communication but then stopped using words, I might ask them what was going on in their life at that time. If they are older, I may ask them about any changes in their lives or routines. Then, I would work with them to develop strategies for avoiding regression in the future.”

What would you do if you noticed that two of your clients were exhibiting similar behaviors?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you might handle a situation that could arise in your work as an ABA therapist. In your answer, try to show that you would take steps to ensure that one client’s behaviors did not influence another client and that you would address both clients’ behavior issues separately.

Example: “If I noticed two of my clients exhibiting similar behaviors, I would first make sure that they were not simply acting out for attention or trying to get away with something. If it was clear that their behaviors were related, I would separate them from each other so that neither child learned the wrong lesson about the consequences of their actions. Then, I would talk to each child individually about what they had done and why it was wrong.”

How well do you handle stress while working with clients?

ABA therapists often work with clients who have challenging behaviors. The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your stress management skills and how you react when working with these types of clients. To answer, think about a time when you worked with a client who had particularly difficult behaviors. Explain what steps you took to manage the stress while still providing quality care for the client.

Example: “I find that I can handle stressful situations quite well as long as I am prepared for them. In my previous role, I worked with a child who was very aggressive toward me during therapy sessions. I knew that he would be like this every day, so I made sure to prepare myself mentally before each session. I also asked my supervisor if we could change our schedule so that I only saw him once per week instead of twice. This helped me reduce some of the stress from his behavior.”

Do you have any questions for us about the ABA therapist position?

Interviewers often ask this question to see if you have done your research on the company and position. They want to know that you are genuinely interested in the job, so it’s important to come prepared with a few questions about the role or the company itself.

Example: “I was excited to learn more about this position when I saw the listing online. I noticed that there is an emphasis on teamwork here, which is something I really value in my work environment. I also noticed that you offer competitive salaries for ABA therapists, which is great news for me as I am currently looking for a new opportunity. My last employer offered similar pay, but they were not able to provide any raises during my time there. I would love to hear more about your salary structure.”

When a client makes significant progress, how do you celebrate this achievement?

This question can help the interviewer understand your approach to therapy and how you motivate clients. Your answer should show that you are passionate about helping people improve their lives through ABA therapy.

Example: “I celebrate every small success with my client, but I especially love when they reach a major milestone. For example, if a child is learning to speak for the first time, I will give them a high-five or a hug. If an adult is able to complete a task independently for the first time, I might give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant.”

We want to improve our outreach efforts to local schools. How would you go about doing this?

This question is an opportunity to show your communication skills and how you can use them to help the company’s outreach efforts. You can answer this question by describing a plan for increasing awareness of the company’s services among local schools.

Example: “I would start by reaching out to school administrators to see if they have any concerns about their students’ behavior or development. I would then offer to provide free training sessions on ABA therapy techniques so that teachers and other staff members could learn more about it. This way, we can introduce ourselves to new clients while also helping educate others in the community.”

Describe your process for reviewing current research on autism and other developmental disorders.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your commitment to continuing education. They want to know that you are actively learning about the latest developments in your field and how they can apply to your work with clients. In your answer, describe a process for keeping up with research and what steps you take to implement new findings into your therapy sessions.

Example: “I subscribe to several journals and newsletters that provide updates on current research. I also attend conferences where experts present their findings. I find these events to be especially helpful because I can learn from other professionals’ experiences implementing new techniques with their clients. When I return to my practice, I try to incorporate any new information or techniques I learned at the conference into my daily routine.”

What makes you qualified to work with people with autism?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience and expertise in working with people with autism. You can answer this question by describing your educational background, certifications or any other relevant qualifications that make you a good candidate for the role.

Example: “I have been working as an ABA therapist for five years now, and I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in behavioral science. My bachelor’s degree is in psychology, so I already have a strong understanding of how to work with people on the spectrum. In addition to my education, I also hold several professional certifications in ABA therapy, which has helped me develop my skills as a therapist.”

Which treatment methods have you not had much success with?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your experience level and how you handle challenges. It also helps them understand what to avoid when training you on their team. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific treatment method that didn’t work for one client but was successful with another.

Example: “I’ve found that some children respond better to positive reinforcement than they do to negative reinforcement. However, I have had success using both methods depending on the situation. For example, if a child is having trouble transitioning from one activity to another, I find that taking away something fun or removing access to an item they enjoy can help them learn to transition more quickly.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of building and maintaining a strong professional relationship with clients?

This question can help the interviewer gain insight into your interpersonal skills and how you interact with clients. Your answer should demonstrate that you value building strong relationships with clients, which can be beneficial for their overall treatment experience.

Example: “I think it’s important to build a relationship with my clients so they feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and feelings with me. I try to make sure each of my sessions is personalized to meet the needs of each child and family I work with. I also find that establishing clear communication with parents is essential to ensuring everyone understands what to expect from our sessions.”

How often do you recommend meeting with clients?

Therapists often have to make decisions about how frequently they should meet with clients. This question helps the interviewer understand your decision-making process and whether you can work independently in their organization. Use examples from your experience to explain your thought process when making these important decisions.

Example: “I always recommend meeting with clients at least once a week, but I also take into account other factors like the client’s age and ability to self-regulate. For example, if a child is having trouble transitioning between activities or needs more time to complete tasks, then I may suggest meeting twice a week. If a client has an upcoming event that requires extra practice, such as starting a new school, then I may increase our sessions to three times per week.”

There is a new treatment method that hasn’t been scientifically proven to work. Would you recommend it to your clients?

This question is a great way to see how you would handle new treatment methods. It also shows the interviewer that you are willing to learn and adapt as needed. In your answer, explain why you would or wouldn’t recommend this method.

Example: “I believe it is important to always use evidence-based treatments when working with clients. If I were presented with a new treatment method that hadn’t been proven yet, I would discuss my concerns with my supervisor. Together, we would decide if it was worth trying on our clients. If so, we would monitor their progress closely to ensure they weren’t negatively affected by the treatment.”


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