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Parents want the best for their children. You might be familiar with the word "assent" if you're considering Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). But what does it really mean? What is the significance of this? Our article will explain what assent is, why it matters, and how you can make sure your child's ABA provider follows it.

What is Assent in ABA Therapy?

The term consent in ABA therapy refers to the fact that the client (in this case, your child) understands what is going on and agrees to work with the therapist to reach the desired goal. In contrast to consent, assent is given by the client himself or herself, whereas consent comes from a legal guardian or parent. 

Why is Assent Important?

Assent is key in ABA therapy because it helps ensure that the therapy is effective and respectful of the client's needs and preferences. ABA therapy is most effective when the client is an active participant in the process, and assent is a crucial way to gauge their willingness to participate. Additionally, assent is a way to ensure that therapy is ethical and respectful of the client's autonomy. By honoring a client's assent, the therapist is acknowledging their right to make decisions about their own body and life.

How Does Behavioral Innovations Focus on Assent?

Behavioral Innovations not only teaches what assent means but also how to apply it in daily practice across all centers. We prioritize clients' assent and invest in training our Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) on this critical concept. This dedication to providing the highest quality care and being client-focused sets us apart from other providers.

Questions Parents Can Ask Providers About Assent

To ensure that your child's therapy incorporates assent, here are some questions you can ask providers:

  • How do you make sure that my child is being heard?
  • How do you ensure that all your staff is trained on assent?
  • Do you value assent as a whole?

Incorporating Assent into Daily Practice

As a parent, you can also play a vital role in honoring your child's assent and making sure they are safe during therapy. If a behavior or event has the potential to cause harm, act with compassion and use strategies such as providing choices around the activity that must occur.

Incorporating assent into daily practice involves establishing specific guidelines for each client's assent and withdrawal. This information is integrated into the client's plan and communicated to all staff members through continuous training. Assent involves treating clients with respect and compassion, and ensuring they are not subjected to any traumatic experiences during therapy. It is about empowering the client to participate actively in their therapy and ensuring their comfort and well-being throughout the process.

In conclusion, assent is a vital aspect of ABA therapy that focuses on respecting the autonomy of the client and ensuring their participation and comfort during therapy. It involves setting clear boundaries, providing ongoing training to staff, and incorporating the client's plan. As parents and caregivers, it is crucial to inquire about the concept of assent when choosing an ABA therapy provider and how they prioritize it in their practice. By valuing assent, ABA providers can deliver services that are client-centered and have a positive impact on their lives. At BI, we are committed to promoting the highest quality of care and prioritizing the assent of our clients.

Written by Romina K. Ilunga, M.A., BCBA


Importance of assent in ABA therapy. Behavioral Innovations - ABA Therapy   for   Kids with Autism. (2023, March 16). ;