Charting a Path to Collaboration: Experiences of Occupational Therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis Professionals

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Both applied behavior analysis (ABA) professionals and occupational therapy (OT) professionals have vital roles on interprofessional teams serving autistic individuals and other developmental challenges. Existing literature highlights that biases and misconceptions regarding each other’s practice methods may discourage collaboration among ABA and OT professionals. This research aims to explore the perceptions of ABA and OT professionals on interdisciplinary teams, while identifying supports and barriers to collaboration between the professions. A virtual focus group and survey were conducted with a total of 12 participants, comprising six ABA professionals and six OT professionals. Data analysis via grounded theory approach resulted in four themes: (1) funding as a logistical barrier, (2) preconceived biases, (3) differences in philosophical principles (4) collaboration as a potentially beneficial yet effortful endeavor. Results of this study provide insight into collaborative processes between ABA and OT professionals, and suggest that intentionally committing to a collaborative relationship can be helpful in future practice.

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Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention



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