SLP and ABA Collaboration

Speech therapists can play a major role in helping individuals with Autism learn to communicate and engage with other people. They can help the individual with autism build communication and social skills in different settings like home, school, and work. SLPs may work with the person alone or in small groups.

Although the fields of SLP and ABA each address a wide range of different concerns, we share an interest in supporting individuals with communication impairments, including reducing problem behaviors that stem from inadequate communication skills. Teamwork can also better teach our students to develop and use functional communication skills across a variety of instructors and environments. As SLP and behavioral analysts overlap in the teaching of communication skills, each profession contributes unique expertise. Behavior analysts have strengths in measuring communication skills, especially related to functionally-defined verbal operants, whereas speech-language pathologists have a deep understanding of speech and language development. 

It takes a village to support our clients and all members of the village are important.

Some ways SLPs initiate and maintain a collaborative process with behavior analysts:

  1. Give input on functional communication by helping develop phrases or words the student can use to communicate how they feel when working with the RBT—or anyone on the team.
  2. Develop shareable communication goals.If we can teach team members to implement communication-based goals, students will get more opportunities to practice these skills throughout their day. These opportunities outside the speech room can help students become more independent and effective communicators.
  3. Share approaches you think will be better for the student. This will help determine the best way to target goals for our students.
  4. Discuss progress with each other. It is important to discuss progress on goals so the team is up to date on goals and new goals can be discussed.