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Team Collaboration: The Use of Behavior Principles for Serving Students With ASD



Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and behavior analysts are key members of school-based teams that serve children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Behavior analysts approach assessment and intervention through the lens of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA-based interventions have been found effective for targeting skills across multiple domains for children with ASD. However, some SLPs may be unfamiliar with the breadth of ABA-based interventions. The intent of this tutorial is to briefly introduce key ABA principles, provide examples of ABA-based interventions used within schools, and identify strategies for successful collaboration between behavior analysts and SLPs.


This tutorial draws from empirical studies of ABA-based interventions for children with ASD within school settings, as well as discussions in the extant literature about the use of behavior principles by SLPs and strategies for interdisciplinary collaboration.


Given the prevalence of ASD at 1 in 68 children (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014) and the high cost of serving these children within schools (an average cost of 286% over regular education; Chambers, Shkolnik, & Perez, 2003), the need for effective, comprehensive service provision and efficiency within interdisciplinary teams is paramount. Communication, mutual understanding, and recognition of common ground between SLPs and behavior analysts can lead to successful collaboration.

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