19 Key Questions to Ask an ABA Therapist (with Answers)

By Brad Fenton | 24 March, 2024
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Finding the right questions to ask an ABA therapist is the first step in navigating the journey toward effective therapy for your autistic child. However, this is not just about vetting for qualifications but also about discovering a connection that can foster growth, understanding, and progress. 

Today, we’re going to help you by equipping you with the key questions you should ask ABA therapy providers as well as the best potential answers to those ABA questions

By the end of the article, you should have a better idea of how to recognize the ABA therapist who can fulfill your child’s individual needs and your family’s goals. So, let’s get started! 

Qualifications and Credentials

Here are some critical questions to ask ABA therapists to assess their professional background and ensure they meet the necessary standards for effective therapy.

Ensuring Proper Licensing and Certification

For starters, you want to know that the therapist you’re considering is qualified and capable of dedicating themselves to your child’s needs.

Questions to ask the ABA therapist:

  • How many Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and behavioral therapists do you have on staff?
    • The therapist should have enough colleagues to fill in for each other in case of illnesses and emergencies or during the holiday season. They should also have enough employees to handle the caseload — an ideal caseload would be 6–10 students per week.
  • Are your BCBAs licensed with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and through the state?
    • Qualifications and credentials set the foundation for a trustworthy ABA therapist. Ensure that the therapists you are considering have not only the certification but also the appropriate state licenses. This verification serves as the foundation for high-quality and ethical therapy services.

Background Checks and Training

Undergoing background checks and having continuous training shows dedication to the career as well as reliability and responsibility.

Questions to ask:

  • What background checks are conducted on BCBAs, behavioral therapists, and other staff members?
  • What is the nature and frequency of training for your therapists?
    • The RBTs (registered behavior technicians) working with your child should have a training course completed, as well as a number of hours of in-person training with supervision. In addition, you should learn that they are still supervised at work to some extent and have additional training provided.

Accessibility and Availability

Session timings, location options, ABA therapy for autism insurance coverage, and waitlist policies all need to align with your needs.

Understanding Insurance and Financial Considerations

Depending on how long the ABA therapy lasts, it can be a significant financial commitment. However, it’s also very often covered by the insurance—at least to a certain amount if not entirely. 

Questions to ask the providers:

  • What type of insurance do you accept?
    • The answers may vary, but a good ABA provider should be able to help you navigate through the complexities of state and private insurance.
  • Are there any out-of-pocket ABA costs I should be aware of?
    • The answer to this will depend on the answer to the question above. Either way, understanding the types of insurance accepted by the ABA provider will allow you to manage your finances on time and be prepared for any additional costs.

Addressing Waitlists

Due to both anecdotal and scientific evidence about the efficiency of ABA therapy for kids with autism, there is a high demand for ABA services. Consequently, that can often lead to waitlists, affecting when the therapy can begin. 

Therefore, you should ask the following:

  • Do you currently have a waitlist for starting ABA therapy?
    • There is no wrong answer to this, but if they do have a waitlist, there are additional questions you should ask.
  • If so, how long is the waitlist? What is the process for getting started once a spot becomes available?
    • The average waiting period varies greatly, so don’t be surprised by any answer. What you want to hear, though, is that they provide open and ongoing communication during the wait. This allows you to plan your schedule, manage your expectations, and arrange alternative support or resources in the meantime.

Therapeutic Approach and Effectiveness

It’s essential to know how ABA providers design and implement therapy programs, emphasizing the customization of therapy to meet individual needs.

Customizing Therapy to Individual Needs

The importance of this factor lies in its direct impact on the effectiveness of therapy, ensuring that strategies and interventions are precisely aligned with individual goals and challenges.

Questions to ask ABA providers:

  • How do you customize your therapy plans for individual clients?
    • What you’re expecting to hear is that the assessments are individualized and that re-evaluation is done regularly after a certain period via different tools such as Vineland, ACE, and many others. Furthermore, you should expect that you’ll be regularly interviewed about your child’s progress with ABA therapy.
  • Can you provide examples of how therapy goals are set and adjusted over time?
    • Hearing about the practical examples will give you a clearer picture of the whole process.

Evaluating Therapeutic Outcomes

Understanding a provider’s methods for measuring and communicating progress can help you assess whether the therapy meets its goals and benefits the individual.

Questions to ask:

  • What metrics or methods do you use to measure progress?
    • A good ABA therapy center should have regularized and frequent goal tracking.
  • How frequently do you review and adjust therapy goals?
    • The achieved goals should be monitored even after their accomplishment. The best therapists—like those you’ll find at Abacus Therapies—focus on the maintenance as much as they do on the achievements.

Family Involvement and Support

Family involvement is a key component of successful ABA therapy. You want to know how you can participate in the therapy process and what types of support are available to you.

Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication is essential for cohesive care and support. This implies that both parties can share insights, concerns, and progress updates regularly, fostering a collaborative environment that enhances the therapy’s impact.

Questions to ask:

  • How can family members be involved in the therapy process?
    • The best therapists should encourage you to attend the therapy sessions, provide feedback, ask questions, share your observations, and reinforce positive behavior even after the therapy ends.
  • What type of support and training do you offer to families?
    • Related to the answer above, you as parents should be provided with guidelines and strategies that would enable you to reinforce positive behavior at home. The best therapists offer parent training as often as desired and work on communication at all levels, which is what you will get if you opt for Abacus Therapies. 

Logistical Considerations

Logistics play a significant role in the accessibility and convenience of ABA therapy, and knowing the details allows you to adjust your schedules accordingly. 

Session Logistics

Understanding the details related to the time and place allows you to effectively integrate therapy into your daily life, ensuring that it complements rather than disrupts your family’s routine.

Questions to ask ABA therapist:

  • Where do you provide therapy sessions (e.g., home-based, school-based)?
    • The ideal answer depends on your personal needs, as there are pros and cons to both options.
  • How flexible are you with scheduling? What is your policy for canceling or rescheduling sessions?
    • Emergencies and unplanned circumstances happen, and you want to know that your ABA therapist will be able to accommodate your child by rescheduling as soon as possible for the sake of minimizing the disruption to the process.

Consistency of Care

Consistency in therapy and among therapists is important for building trust and ensuring steady progress. Having this consistency means that therapeutic strategies are applied uniformly, reducing confusion and helping the child internalize positive behaviors more effectively.

ABA questions to ask:

  • How many therapists will be working with my child, and how do you ensure consistency among them in terms of therapy approach?
    • The answer you should get is that it depends on each individual case. For example, a child undergoing ABA therapy for 20 hours per week will usually have two RBTs and one BCBA working with them.


Finding the right ABA therapist is more than ticking boxes for credentials or convenience. It’s about connecting with a therapist whose approach feels right for your family. As you ask these ABA questions, pay attention not just to the answers, but to the sense of understanding and commitment.

Trust your instincts, value the connection, and remember—the right ABA therapist, who can make all the difference, could be right here, at Abacus Therapies. We’re ready to share our own answers with you, so feel free to reach out via phone, text, or email!