5 Ways Paraprofessionals Can Drive Better Client Care

How paraprofessionals can up their skills and drive better individual care
Catalight Marketing and Communications
August 02, 2023
As a skilled paraprofessional, you play a key role in implementing the treatment plan for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Helping them improve their overall wellbeing and achieve their goals is a rewarding part of your day-to-day job, but it’s not always easy to do.

Here are five ways you can better support clients along their path to care:

  1. Get certified – Now that some states and an increasing number of insurance companies require paraprofessionals to be certified, you may want to become a Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT), Applied Behavioral Analysis Technician (ABAT), or Board Certified Autism Technician (BCAT). Being credentialed gives you the opportunity to provide direct services to a larger variety of clients and make an even bigger impact on the lives of others.
    To get certified, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or high school equivalent. Plus, you need to have a minimum of 40 hours of training, which can be done online or in person, and pass a post-training exam. To maintain your certification, you’ll need to continue your work in applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and have a minimum of 5% of your total hours supervised by a qualified clinician each month.
  1. Participate in ongoing training – While much of what you learn comes from real-world experience, you can further your knowledge by participating in ongoing training activities. Learning more about ABA can help you improve your clients’ experiences and outcomes – and sharpen your skills.
    Depending on your location and availability, you can participate in online training programs, live workshops, or in-service trainings provided by experts in behavioral health. You can also observe your mentor, a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst® (BCBA), or another credentialed paraprofessional.
  1. Adhere to treatment plans – One of the most important things you can do as a paraprofessional is to follow your client’s treatment plan. Making sure you’ve prepared suitable activities and materials for each client based on their interests, behaviors, and goals will improve the reliability of the treatment. It’s also helpful to have the right tools available to collect real-time data so that you can measure and track your client’s progress.
  1. Involve caregivers in each session – Since caregivers are critical to the success of your client’s treatment, invite them to participate in the therapy sessions. Caregivers can reinforce the skills and strategies learned during the sessions when they’re at home with the child.[1] Actively involving caregivers in the process also gives them the confidence needed to handle the daily challenges of ASD. Plus, it can lead to better outcomes for the child and improve the quality of life for the whole family.
  1. Ask for feedback – To ensure you deliver high-quality and effective ABA treatment, ask your supervisor for timely, specific feedback. This will help you understand if there are any gaps in your skills, so you can take action right away and improve those areas.

With the Catalight Paraprofessional Competency Checklist, our mid-level and high-level clinicians evaluate the performance of paraprofessionals on a monthly basis. This helps to make sure our paraprofessionals are acquiring the right skills, delivering the appropriate treatment, reducing behaviors, and conducting themselves professionally. At the same time, our paraprofessionals use the checklist to better understand how to best support our clients and their families – and how they’re being evaluated.

Not only will having the right skills and resources help you deliver life-changing care, but you’ll also be able to further your career in this exciting and rapidly changing industry.

Download a copy of the Catalight Paraprofessional Competency Checklist.



1 The Importance of Caregiver Involvement

Behavior therapists, share your opinion on Paraprofessional turnover.

The Catalight Research Institute is completing a study about paraprofessional turnover in the ABA field. All behavior technicians who have provided service in California in the past 5 years are welcome and encouraged to complete this survey. Approved by Catalight’s IRB.

About Catalight

Catalight breaks down barriers and biases to create a more equitable world so people with developmental disabilities can choose their path. Catalight provides access to innovative, individualized care services, clinical research and advocacy — all powered by intelligent Xolv Technology Solutions. Through the work of affiliate partners, Easterseals Hawaii and Easterseals Northern California, Catalight and its family of companies support people with developmental disabilities and their families to support them across their care journey.

The Catalight family of companies is one of the largest behavioral health networks in the nation with more than 8,000 practitioners serving 14,000 clients and families every day. Backed by more than a decade of experience and a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, we are reimagining the way people with developmental disabilities and their families experience healthcare. Catalight’s goal is to ensure that individuals and families receive timely access to evidence-based treatment, including naturalistic developmental and language-based services, applied behavior analysis, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

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