Behavior therapy for Autism-from a registered therapist to your home

I luckily met another friend at Wealthy Affiliate who happily shares her experiences taking care of autistic and other special kids. She loves kids, that’s for sure.

Some people, including me, even considers her an angel for doing her job really well and with passion.

Meet Taylor, who offers behavior therapy for autism and other special kids, serving clients at the comfort of their homes.

You will surely love her just like how her clients and their families do.

Autistic kids benefit a lot when helped by a behavioral therapist

As a Registered Behavioral Therapist ( RBT ), please describe what you do.

“I have been an RBT for just over a year now. I work with children from as young as 3 to as old as 21, but the typical ages I see are between 3 and 15.

Most kids have an autism diagnosis, but some have Down syndrome or other types of intellectual disabilities. Almost all of these kids except the very young ones, attend special schools in the morning, or home-schooled, so I see them in the afternoon.

On a typical day, I start my session out by hanging out with my client to give them a bit of transition time. Then, I assist with things like daily living skills (e.g., getting dressed, brushing teeth, doing homework), skill acquisition (learning numbers, letters, colors, etc).


Each client has what we call a behavioral service plan that tells me the types of things I do with them.

Each child has goals that they are working towards, so I help them achieve those goals and take data on their progress.”

What motivated you to become an RBT?

“My inspiration to work with special needs kids came when I was a senior in college.

I was taking a class called Culture and Child Development and we did a unit on autism. I was immediately fascinated and drawn to the subject.”

What is your typical day like?

” On a typical day, I have anywhere from one to three sessions for 2 hours usually.

As a direct care provider working in homes, I have a small caseload. What I do during each session depends on the age and skill level of the child.

For my younger clients, I do a lot of playing to work on cooperation, turn-taking, and waiting. I also work on skill acquisition, compliance with demands, and behavior reduction.

What that all means is, I work on having the child do what is asked of them without acting out.

Often, what I ask of them is something they are not sure how to do, so I will teach them how to do what is asked while working on reducing the amount of refusal they put up.

For older, higher functioning children, I work on functional life skills because they have acquired their basic skills. So, I teach them how to do some basic chores and things that their parents need them to do.”

Do you have any struggles or big challenges on being an RBT?

When you work with the special needs population, you often see challenging behaviors like aggression or high intensity tantrums, and even meltdowns.

This requires me to be quick on my toes, in order to block any attempted aggression, while trying to redirect the child to something more functional.

For meltdowns, in which the child has no control, being a sensory over stimulation, it is important to pinpoint what is causing it and eliminate it. If you cannot figure it out, or it cannot be eliminated, it is important to bring the child to a quiet place with less stimulation to help them calm down.

I have never given up on a child but I have had to leave cases because of time conflicts and things like that, but we work really hard to deal with even the most extreme behaviors. They’re often the ones who need us the most, so we never turn away a child for having a behavior that’s too much. ”

 

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How do you handle a very difficult child?

” Each child is different, so you need to figure out what works with them.

Some kids have a really hard time complying with demands, so I will only give very small, very quick demands. For example, I will stop a child from playing to have them tell me what 2 letters are and then they can return to playing.

This builds up a tolerance for demands without overwhelming them.

I also use a lot of timers to signal transitions.

Transitions are incredibly difficult for children in general, but more so for special needs children. So, when I need them to come tell me what those 2 letters are, I set a timer and tell them how long they have until they need to do their work. I give them a warning for each minute left.

Using a visual schedule is often very helpful. It takes away the air of mystery about what comes next. By using timers and visuals, the child knows what is coming and when they can expect it. “

How do you involve the parents in caring for their kids?

” With in-home work, the parents are very much involved.

A huge part of what I do is called parent training. I am there to help the parent build skills just as much as I am there to help the child.

My job is to make life easier for everyone, so I teach the parents how to do what I do so that it can be continued even when I’m not there.

Consistency is key. If the behavioral interventions that I work on are used by the parents as well, the child is much more likely to pick them up quickly and maintain them over time.”

How do you feel at the end of a work day?

” That depends entirely on how my sessions for the day went.

Some days,  I feel on top of the world because one of my clients finally was able to do something we’ve been working on for days or weeks.

Other days I get in my car and cry because a session was so difficult.

There are those days that, no matter what you do, the child is having a tantrum, throwing things at you, trying to hit you, and refuses to do anything you say, even if it’s something fun.

Those are the hard days, but the days that I get to see the progress and see that what I’m doing is working and is helping far outweigh the bad days, so I’m always ready to do it again the next day.

What makes you happy or fulfilled on a certain day?

” What makes me happiest is seeing a child make progress.

I have one client that has a speech delay, so she doesn’t say too much. We play a game called Zingo, which is like bingo but with pictures. Each day, I have her do her best to tell me what each picture is.

One day, she got the piece with an owl on it. All by herself she happily exclaimed, “owl!” it was one of the best moments of my career.

Seeing a child learn and grow makes every hard day fade into the distance.”

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Any advice on those who plan to pursue a career as a Registered Behavioral Therapist? 

Take every bad day with a grain of salt and forgive.

One of the hardest parts of my job is to turn around after a tantrum where you were hit and kicked and suddenly the child starts playing again, but you have to. He doesn’t mean to act out, they simply don’t know another way to express their anger or frustration.

It’s my job to teach them those skills, so with every tantrum, I know there is still work to be done.

I would also say, don’t give up. Things can get difficult at times and you will have really bad days, but always hold onto the good days, the days when you’ve helped change a life for the better. There’s no better feeling than that.”

How do you de-stress after a difficult day?

I have a lot of different things that I like to do.

I often come home and play with my cat and dog and watch some TV. On the days when I have a bit more energy, I love to build Lego (playing is great for the mind! Feel free to check out my article about playing to relieve stress) or color.

On weekends, I try to get out of the house as much as possible and move around as much as I can.”

There’s a point in our career that we realize we have made a difference in someone’s life, in your case a special child’s life. Please share with our readers.

I mentioned before about my client saying “owl” on her own for the first time, but something a bit more special was when she was first able to get my attention by speaking. It is a bit difficult for her to say my full name, so we decided that she would just call me T.

For the first few months she didn’t really show an interest getting my attention by calling my name, but the other day, as soon as I got out of my car she said, as clear as day, “look! T is here!” I wanted to cry, I was so happy.

For the rest of the session, anytime she wanted my attention she said, “T look!” I had been working for weeks to get her to use people’s names to get their attention and on that day it finally stuck.

She was using my name and her sister’s name, and she was also getting her mom’s attention by saying “mom look.”

Seeing the behavioral and verbal progress was just incredible. “

What is the best lesson that you learned from a special child/ children.

I have learned to be more relaxed and to forgive more easily.

Things don’t always go our way and while my kids do struggle with that and sometimes throw tantrums, they often bounce back and keep going.

I have also seen how quickly they are to forgive me when I don’t allow them to do something that they want. I can’t always give them what they want, when they want it, which can make them very upset, but a few minutes later, it’s like nothing happened.

They do a very good job of letting go and moving on, which is something we all need to be better at.

There’s no sense in holding onto things we can’t change.

Let go, move on, and keep being happy. “

Did I miss anything? Do you have something more important to share ?

” People always praise me and tell me what an angel I am for working with these kids. I don’t see it that way. I don’t think I’m special for doing what I do.

I do what I do because I love the kids and I love seeing them progress.

Not everyone can do what I do, but the same goes for any job. I’m not built for an office job. I couldn’t do it. I admire those people.

What I do is necessary, but I don’t think I’m any sort of special for doing it.

The kids are the ones to be admired. They’re the ones doing the hard work. “

 

The behavior technician helps kids and parents to make life easier.

 

WOW! What a very inspiring story of a very dedicated behavioral therapist. I can truly feel how Taylor loves her job and her kids. Her patience and forgiving nature is something so remarkable. She is like a mom and a teacher in a package.

BTW, Taylor is also a blogger, who writes about how to help children as well as adults cope with stress and frustration. Check out her awesome articles at https://brainbreather.com. You will enjoy reading them and will learn a lot.

 

Is your special needs child being taken cared of by a behavioral therapist? How is he coping? If not, do you consider looking for someone to help your child develop better skills to make his life as well as yours, easier?

 

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Marita

I am a doctor by profession who had several years of clinical practice as a Pediatrician and General Practitioner. At present, I work as a Clinical Research Assistant in a large university. Pangga ta ikaw remembers fondly a loved one who passed away and making her demise more meaningful. Supporting children with special needs in our hometown in the Philippines through Special Education is our main focus and through this website, we also aim at making everyone realize that special kids need our love and support.

32 thoughts on “Behavior therapy for Autism-from a registered therapist to your home”

  1. What an inspiring person Taylor is. My niece is a teacher for special ed students. Her brother is handicapped in a wheelchair and can’t walk or talk and never will. She recently subbed for her new school and was given the autistic students. She said it was very difficult, since she had not dealt with autistic kids before. I would like to share this and Taylor’s website with her if that is ok.

    Thank you for a great article and many people with autistic relationships will surely benefit from this.

    1. Hi Curtis,

      Truly Taylor is an amazing person!

      Teachers like your niece, need to be commended as well for being so patient with our special needs kids like the autistic ones.

      Yes, please share our websites to your niece.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

    2. Hi Curtis,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I would love for you to share this article and my site along with Marita’s. My goal is to help as many people as I possibly can, so thank you for helping me achieve that goal.

  2. Taylor, you are such a beautiful person. Everyday, you bring joy and hope in the hearts of the parents who have the special needs kids. I know how hard it is to be the parent of a kid with autism, my niece is diagnosed with autism.

    Many will say that the kid with autism is suffering, but he is in his own world and surrounded by his parents love and care. Meanwhile the parents are the real heroes, having to deal everyday with so many challenges, having to deal everyday with the hard question ‘Why should this happen to my child?’.

    My kindest words goes for behavioral therapists  like Taylor that is doing such a good job with these kids and their families.

    1. Hi Leo,

      Parents of special needs kids indeed are doing great things for their kids offering them unconditional love and support.

      Of course with the help of behavioral therapists like Taylor, their struggles become manageable challenges and easier to hurdle.

      Thanks for reading!

      Marita

    2. Leo, thank you so much! You’re right, the parents are the real heroes. They don’t get to go home at the end of the night like I do.

      Unfortunately, some kids with autism do suffer, but for the most part, they are just doing things a bit different.

      I don’t like to view autism as a disability, so I refer to people with autism as “differently abled” because they can do so many things that we cannot. They see the world in a different way that can add so much to our society.

  3. Wow, I never even heard of n RBT, let alone know what one was. Now I do, and from the sounds of it, the children you work with are very blessed to have you working with them. It certainly takes a special kind of person to do that and, again, it sounds like you have found what you were meant to do. I am so pleased to know about how you go about the training with these little ones. It is great that they have someone like you who will be patient and learn what works best with each child instead of trying to use a cookie cutter solution for every child. I wish I could ask you a question, but you have really done a great job of answering them already. 

    1. I am so glad you found the information interesting and helpful! If you ever think of a question for me, feel free to pop over to my site, brainbreather.com and send me an email.

  4. Hello, i like this post for sure.It is good for people know how to take care about children with special needs.

    The problems is that many of us don’t have knowledge on so how to help them.After reading this post i realised that i didn’t have any idea on how autism can be treated by such therapy.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Julienne,

      If we are a parent of a kid with special needs such as autism, we would be overwhelmed on how to take care of them, that’s why if possible, we advise the parents to get help from therapists like Taylor.

      We learn from her that every child  has a behavioral plan or goal  for a certain day or period.

      This will let the child learn how to react to situations and gradually make life easier for him and his family.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  5. Hello Marita,

    First I want to congratulate you and thank you for helping so many children with special needs. 

    Obviously, you are also a very special person, since the help you give to the parents or relatives of the children is also key. They learn how to serve them by observing how you do it.

    Simply thanks!

    1. Thanks a lot for your nice comments.

      I believe this is my purpose in life, to help and to uplift people especially the children with special needs and their families.

      Taylor, in her job as Behavioral therapist,  also does amazing things to them as well.

      Glad you stopped by.

      Marita

  6. Hello Marita

    I really enjoyed my visit to your website.

    It has lots of good information and how do I know this?

    My youngest grandson has autism but its not too bad and by that he was able to attend a pre-school with other kids with different mental health problems and this prepared him for moving on to the ‘Big’ school.

    He has now been accepted in a mainstream school and will have an assistant for the first term to get him settled in.

    So far he is in settling in quite well and making friends.

    We will just have to wait and see how his progress goes and hopefully he will be ok.

    I look forward to reading your other articles.

    Enjoy your day.

    Warmest Regards.

    Robert Allan

    1. Hi Robert,

      I’m sure your grandson will settle in soon. I just hope his teacher in the regular school and the assistant are both patient in dealing with him, as well as his classmates. Sometimes bullying can be an issue.

      It’s really important that his parents always follow up his progress in school and encourage him to always participate in class and that they applaud his achievements regularly.

      I know autistic kids has lots of potential to make it and be productive someday.

      Thanks for reading and for your warm wishes.

      Marita

  7. I have always said it takes someone very special to have the patience to deal with people who are autistic. Marita and Taylor that would be you two. My sister in law is another such person. For over 30 years she has worked with young autistic adults. Unfortunately, the years have taken their toll on her and she has introduced some negative behaviors to cope. So please, keep de-stressing after difficult days with positive ways.

    I have another friend who actually published a children’s book. Her son is now a young teen and she has done an amazing job raising him and making him aware of other kids who also need assistance.

    Thank you for doing what you do. So many need you both!

    1. Hi Mary Ann,

      Dealing and caring with autistic persons like you said takes lots of patience and forgiving nature just like Taylor.

      Parents like your friend and teachers in the Special education programs for these kids are also a special bunch who deserve commendation.

      I agree with you, de-stressing is a must for these caregivers and parents because they cannot give what they need to give if they develop negative behavior or mental issues.

      Sorry for what happened to your sister-in law . I hope she bounces back in time to be positive again by seeking help.

      Your nice comments are well appreciated.

      God bless,

      Marita

    2. I am so glad you found the information interesting and helpful! If you ever think of a question for me, feel free to pop over to my site, brainbreather.com and send me an email.

    3. I’m sorry to hear about your sister. The job can absolutely take a toll, which is why I focus on stress relief so much in my life. In addition to teaching about autism and behavior, my blog also focuses on relaxation and stress relief. It’s such an important thing to do in today’s society with all of the high stress jobs and schooling.

      Thanks so much for giving the article a read!

  8. Hi Marita. I’m certain you are doing very very fine. I wish we have millions of persons like you in the world, children will do well and as they are the leaders of tomorrow, the world indeed will be a better place for each and every one of us.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. Hi Mr Beazzy,

      Indeed even children with special needs can be productive at a certain age and could be leaders in their own right if guided properly and given therapy soonest in their lives.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  9. Marita and Taylor thank you for providing this insight into the world of autistic children.  I didn’t know much about your profession and the care of this growing population of children.  That’s why I wanted to read your post. I can only imagine how fulfilling it must be if that is your chosen profession.

    I have a couple of questions.

    (1) Are there certain levels of autism and or Down syndrome (like mild to high)?  (2) What happens to your clients when they become 21 since that is your cutoff age.  Do they then go on to adult therapy or is that the end of therapy at 21.

    Thanks again for the information and much success.

    V.Pearl

    1. Hi Vanna,

      There are certain levels of autism and Down syndrome depending on their developmental delay  and mental incapacity and the therapy will depend on these.

      Taylor is the best person to answer your second question.

      Thanks for your nice comments.

      Marita

    2. Vanna, thank you for your excellent questions.

      There are indeed levels of autism and Downs Syndrome. Autism is now referred to as ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder because there is such a diverse range in presentation. You have famous people like Daryl Hannah who are very high on the spectrum and function very well in society. On the other end, you have people who are very low functioning that, even as adults, can barely function above the level of a 3 year old.

      When a child turns 21, they age out of children’s services, but adult services are right there to pick them up and keep helping them!

      Thanks again for the great questions and for giving the article a read.

  10. Hi, Taylor and Marita,

    What a super post. My Neighbour who is a Mom Of two young Children. One of her children suffers from autism. He has just started a special needs school.

    He has Autism where he doesn’t speak at all. Not even when he is in pain. I see my friend break her heart over this.

    My friend, she is a super strong Mom but she is a single Mom. One of her anguishes is her Daughter as she has two children it’s not a case of one on one all the time. I wished My friend had the home help you give Taylor.

    Her daughter has to go without some of those great nights like Halloween etc.. because it’s simply too loud for the little boy. MY friend does make up for this. Some children and Mom’s are just so brilliant.

    My friend does so well for a young single mom. I am so pleased to know you also have a website, Taylor. I shall pass by this and share this with my friend.

    Thank you, Marita, I wouldn’t have found this post if it wasn’t for this website. I also have a cool present to give to my friend.

    The book above that can be designed for every person’s specifications. I know my friend’s son learns through pictures.

    I think that would be an awesome gift for my friend and her son and I may get another one for her daughter as she also does so much too.

    What a fabulous idea. Awesome article.
    Thank you so much.

    Debs 🙂

    1. Hi Debs,

      There are lots of therapies that your friend’s son who has autism can attend to, one is this behavioral therapy that Taylor offers and another one is music therapy which is also very helpful- this article discusses that option
      https://panggataikaw.com/is-music-therapeutic-for-your-child-with-special-needs/

      Please send my congratulations to your friend who is raising her son so well. Tell her just continue to let him attend his special school and if she can find other therapies, if not offered in his school, it would be very helpful.

      That photobook is to be filled with their pictures Debs, so you need your friend to order them herself so she can put their pictures , and you can pay of course if you want to give the 2 kids as your present. Theyre lucky to have such generous friend in you.

      Thanks again for your nice comments and for reading.

      God bless,

      Marita

    2. Debs, I’m glad you found the article helpful. Your friend sounds like she is doing the absolute best she can, but it certainly is difficult.

      If your friend is interested in in-home therapy, please let her know that there are many companies across the nation that offer the service and that it is often covered by insurance with a simple co-pay for sessions.

      If you have any questions for me personally, please feel free to head over to my website, brainbreather.com, and send me an email.

  11. Hi there,

    Taylor seems like a lovely person and absolutely cut out for the profession. 

    For someone looking to start a career as a behavior therapist, this interview provides valuable insiders information. Working in real life is always different from what you studied, so it helps to know what goes on and how others approach the job.

    1. It’s so important to love your job, just like Taylor, so everyday you feel like just doing it to help, not only to earn money. 

      Definitely, practicing what you learn in school is much different than what you read in books. It’s so much more. Everyday is an experience and every special needs person is different. You approach them in a case to case basis.

      Happy to hear from you.

      Marita

  12. I always have an appreciation and much respect for people who work with individuals with autism. One of my friends growing up had twin brothers who were both autistic and I always saw how patient my friend had to be with them at times and I recently visited that friend after many years and the brothers remembered who I was and it was and it was just so sweet. 

    Taylor if you ever get to read this your an amazing person, the world needs more people like you. 

    1. Hi Huy,

      Taylor and all therapists are all amazing.  They give so much to our children with special needs.

      Your friend’s brothers who had autism grew up with loving support and maybe had therapies so they developed to what they are now.

      THanks for passing by.

      Marita

  13. Thanks, this was  nice read. It reminded me of the time I worked as a helper in an special needs peoples home in Switzerland.

    I found it very interesting and satisfying although in the beginning I did only night watches.

    At a later stage when the inhabitants learned to know me a bit better I was allowed to go for walks, I absolutely loved that. 

    I was in charge of mainly one person and he also loved to go outside for hours. It was incredible how strong the relationship grew in a relatively short time.

    Of course, I got hit once or twice and had some other unpleasant experiences but all in all I was willing to continue the job. Unfortunately they didn’t need me anymore after about two years.

    1. Hi Stefan,

      Glad to know that you had experienced giving support to people with special needs. I know it was hard work but fulfilling.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

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