Top Reads for RBTs
Your career makes a difference in so many people’s lives: working with autistic children to improve their skills is an incredible way to share your gifts with the world and help many families. Our team has put together a reading list for RBTs (BCBAs will like it too) that is full of fundamental works on ABA theory and practice, as well as newer resources to keep you current.
1. SCIENCE AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR BY B.F. SKINNER
This book is where it all started. Skinner is considered the founder of behaviorism, and this work outlines the fundamentals of the field and details the science of how certain behaviors can be modified. It will also help you understand how to reinforce healthy patterns with your clients. It’s important to note that, although this book is a gem in the field, ABA therapy has evolved to suit the times we are in, so it’s best to take the fundamentals into account while keeping in mind that there will be exceptions to the rules in some cases: It’s important to adapt your practice to the 21st century so that everyone feels as comfortable as possible while also integrating values from the traditions of ABA that are pertinent to your practice today. That being said, this is a great historic read from the behaviorism canon.
2. APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS, 3RD EDITION BY JOHN O. COOPER, TIMOTHY E. HERON, AND WILLIAM L. HEWARD
This textbook-style guide provides a thorough overview of contemporary behavior therapy. It’s an excellent read for aspiring ABA therapists or practicing registered behavior technicians who want to refresh their memory. It’s also an excellent resource for parents who are curious about the field.
3. NO MORE MELTDOWNS BY JED BAKER, Ph.D.
This is an invaluable resource, which offers parents of children with autism a myriad of positive strategies to help them raise their children to be the best people they can be. ABA therapists need to give this book a read because it will help you understand the complications of parenting a child on the spectrum. It can also be a valuable resource for struggling parents. I would like to learn about new strategies for raising their kids in a compassionate, kind, patient manner while also maintaining firm boundaries.
4. UNIQUELY HUMAN, A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING AUTISM BY BARRY M. PRINZANT, Ph.D.
There are many assumptions society makes about autism, many of them negative. For instance, many neurodivergent individuals perceive the world differently, and those perceptions can influence their talent. For instance, Albert Einstein was on the spectrum. He is one of history’s most famous physicists and made a lasting mark on the world in the process. Susan Boyle is a profoundly gifted singer who has touched many hearts with her voice, and she identifies as being on the autism spectrum. An autistic individual doesn’t have to be famous for their unique way of experiencing the world to add value to our culture. There is no one “normal” way of moving through the world, and this work challenges our assumptions about autism.
Dr. Prinzat’s book is enlightening, informative, and entertaining: It won the Autism Society of America’s Temple Grandin Award, and it offers a multitude of strategies for reframing our culture’s knowledge about autism.
Dr. Prinzant sheds some light on this reality and tells the truth that so many long to hear: Being different isn’t always bad, and it often has its own gifts that come along with its challenges. Reading this book will help you be even more empathetic towards your clients, and it can be the perfect resource for people who are having a great deal of trouble coming to terms with their reality. Autism isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed; it’s a different way of living and thinking that can be beautiful and difficult, but one that ultimately needs to be accepted for what it is. Reading this book will help caregivers, families, and individuals with autism accept themselves and others on a deep level, and this will likely change their lives for the better.
5. APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS: PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES FOR MODIFYING BEHAVIOR BY EDWARD P. SERAFINO
This book is written for ABA therapists: When you do something for long enough, it can be easy to adopt certain habits or maintain certain viewpoints, but the ones who are most successful in the field are often those who continue to learn, improve, and modify their own behaviors. Reading this book will help you present yourself in the best light and relate to your clientele in the healthiest way possible. The people you help will almost always appreciate that you take the time to be the best version of yourself.
6. HANDBOOK OF APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS, EDITED BY WAYNE W. FISHER, CATHLEEN C. PIAZZA, AND HENRY S. ROANE
Chances are that you went into this field because healing is your passion; you love learning about the latest methods of ABA therapy. If that’s the case, you’ll love this book!
It’s written by leading experts in the field who detail the latest therapy techniques, and it outlines the best practices in the workplace. If you want to stay up to date on everything related to ABA therapy, this is the book for you. It will guide you through practical and ethical issues that may arise on a day-to-day basis while also detailing practical strategies for effectively helping your clients become the best versions of themselves.
7. APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS: 50 CASE STUDIES IN HOME, SCHOOL, AND COMMUNITY SETTINGS BY KIMBERLY MAICH, DERREN LEVINE, AND CARMEN HALL
This book is an invaluable resource to ABA professionals because it illustrates real-world strategies to effectively communicate with people on the autism spectrum—like your clients. It also explores research and methodology within ABA therapy. It will likely improve your knowledge of the field as well as your interpersonal skills with your clientele.
8. ETHICS FOR BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS 3RD EDITION BY JON BAILEY AND MARY BURCH
This bestselling guide was written with ABA therapists in mind and is an excellent read. It will help you navigate the many complications of ethics in your field, which are paramount to success in any line of work, but particularly one where you hold so much power over the people you counsel. Reading this book will help you become acutely aware of right and wrong so that you can serve your clients in the most respectful, compassionate, and effective manner possible.
9. WORDS OF PRAISE IN ABA THERAPY
This “read” is really a blog with a great everyday tool for clinicians to download. Words of praise are an essential part of a therapist’s positive reinforcement tools.
10. THE VERBAL BEGINNINGS BLOG
Verbal Beginnings is an excellent resource. It’s full of informative blogs covering ABA therapy topics for children from the ages of two to eighteen.
One that stood out to our team? “Raising the Bar with the Pledge of Care.” This article explores the need for human connection with clients and caregivers, in addition to the data collection and analysis that drives our unique field. Tell us your favorites once you have a chance to check out this interesting blog.
As an RBT, you have an extremely challenging and powerful job within the ABA world. If you’ve already read these books, it might be helpful to keep a small collection of them on and lend them to parents who may be confused, overwhelmed, or simply curious to learn more about autism.
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Practice management software helps your practice minimize downtimes, maximize efficiencies, and automate redundant and time-consuming components of running an ABA clinic.
Software also provided a better client experience with features like payment processing, a parent portal, mobile apps that allow your therapists to collect signatures on the spot. and more.
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