Collaboration between Behavior Analysts and Occupational Therapists in Autism Service Provision: Bridging the Gap

Behav Anal Pract. 2021 Jul 22;14(4):1209-1222. doi: 10.1007/s40617-021-00619-y. eCollection 2021 Dec.


Interdisciplinary collaboration is challenging, but necessary, to meet the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Among the dyadic interactions in interdisciplinary teams, the relationships between occupational therapy practitioners and board certified behavior analysts are uniquely challenging. The disciplines define evidence-based practice differently and approach intervention from different angles. Furthermore, there are fundamental differences in worldview between the disciplines. Both disciplines offer necessary treatment, and successful collaboration between these disciplines is essential for maximizing outcomes. Hence, finding ways to help bridge the gap between these professions, in particular, is essential. Common barriers to developing collaborative alliances include misperceptions of the other discipline, differences in terminology, and unprofessional behavior. This article reviews the history and foundational concepts of both disciplines, and the common approaches associated with each. In addition, models of collaboration are discussed, with suggestions for enhancing interdisciplinary communication and treatment. Successful collaborative treatment is predicated on an understanding of the value and expertise offered by different disciplines, and requires mutual respect and professional dialogue.

PMID:34868823 | PMC:PMC8586098 | DOI:10.1007/s40617-021-00619-y

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