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Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Hi guys!

So recently I got a 2nd job and it's doing ABA therapy with autistic children. The children are so cute and I find that it's really rewarding work but when I have to play with a child for 2 hours (in order to pair myself with them) and they are not interested in anything no matter what I do, I get really stressed out. Does anyone have any tips?

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Hey @missep congrats for getting a second job! It sounds like it's really rewarding and you're enjoying working with cute children Smiley Happy I can understand your frustration though. What goes through your mind when you get stressed out in that situation? Sometimes understanding the reason behind a stressful thought can help us manage a situation better. 


Also, do you have a supervisor at work or some other person who has experience that can guide you or give you suggestions on engaging with children? Would you be comfortable talking to someone at work about this?

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Hey @missep congratulations on the new job! ABA work is very rewarding, you're very kind to give up your time to help those families Smiley Happy 


Do you think @Mona-RO's suggestions about possibly talking to a supervisor or getting some ideas from other ABA workers might be helpful? 


I have actually been an ABA therapist for the past 4 years and would be really happy to answer any questions you have or give you some ideas from my sessions if you think it would be helpful Smiley Happy I remember being supervised by my trainer when I first started and I felt quite "awkward", it definitely took me some time to find my groove with it. 

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Hey @missep, I am also an ABA therapist so would be happy to answer any questions! How old are the children? I think it's pretty natural for it to take a little while to build rapport with any child, so it might just take some time for you to figure out what they like and for them to see you as the attractive source of fun that I am sure you are! I worked with a 3 year old non verbal boy for 3 years, and the things he liked would constantly change as he got bored very easily, so it was just a matter of trying all sorts of things! I would also bring my own toys to therapy, being novel they would often attract attention! Also the boy I worked with loved anything with lights or that made sounds! I agree that talking to your supervisor/other therapists isa great place to start! If they've been working with the child for longer they may know some things they're really in to! Also checkout some ABA therapy Facebook groups! People are often posting great ideas there! Smiley Happy



Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Hi @Mona-RO

Thank you for your support Smiley Happy


When I get stressed I tend to want to run away from the situation (I know that's not very productive) but today I actually had a good day so it gave me hope Smiley Surprised !


I also got very lucky because my supervisor is very helpful and knowledgeable, I guess I just have to remind myself that I'm new and that I'm learning! 

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Thank you @rose13 and @Autumn23!

I'm so glad there are fellow ABA therapists here who I can get advice from Smiley Happy ! (Even though I'm a newbie) 


The boy I work with is 4, not super verbal. He gets bored of toys really easily (no matter how hard I tried to make it exciting) I guess that kind of 'tired' me out mentally. When I had to do programs with him he had problematic behaviour quite a few times and I could barely get anything done. 


I'm glad to say that todays session actually went really well! So this gives me hope for the future Smiley Happy


I guess the part I struggle with is making him interested in toys, I struggle sometimes to think about what I can do with the toys or what toys I could get his attention with. 


I'm lucky that the company I work for is great Smiley Happy

I tried to have a look on Facebook for ABA groups but I kind of struggled, are there any specific keywords I should be using?



Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Hey @missep!! That's so great to hear that you had a good session! Did you try anything different or do you think you're just getting to know each other better as time goes on? Smiley Happy


I'm part of a Facebook group called Autism Therapists' Network! Pinterest also have lots of reinforcement ideas that you might find helpful! My supervisor used to always say you have to try and make yourself seem like the most attractive source of fun in the room! Which can be really hard and super exhausting, especially when you're competing with [insert child's favourite toy/game/activity]!! haha but once he sees you this way and you develop a stronger relationship then it becomes much easier! So glad to hear that you've got a supportive team, it makes all the difference!!! 

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

Thank you for your support @Autumn23!

Honestly all of a sudden he started listening beautifully and loved playing with me! I think I just didn't pair enough previously. I've actually started to enjoy it now because his compliance has been amazing and we've had a lot of fun playing!

Thank you for the name of the Facebook group! I've requested to join now Smiley Happy

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

That's so great @missep!!! It sounds to me like you are an amazing therapist!! Smiley Happy

Re: Overwhelmed from new job at ABA

You're so supportive @Autumn23! Thank you! I actually have my final evaluation for training next week, a bit nervous (I just want to do well) but I've started to feel like I've started getting used to the programs now Smiley Happy