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The Importance of Assent and Assent Withdrawal in ABA

Welcome! I am happy to have you here to find additional resources on assent-based support for children and families! It is absolutely imperative that the entire field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) make the shift to assent-based services and support.

Why, might you ask? Because as "helping" professionals in the human services, educational and behavioral health field, we are actively choosing to engage in professional activities with the sole purpose of supporting families. We work with humans, usually vulnerable humans, and humans deserve respect, dignity, safety and the ability to say no and be heard!

I am a fan of defining things and making sure the subject of discussion is clear.

So, let's quickly define assent, so we know we're all on the same page.

Assent is defined as the expression of approval or agreement.

Most importantly, assent can be withdrawn at any time!

This is known as assent withdrawal.

Providing support services with assent as the foundation, builds mutual trust and respect, increases safety by teaching and respecting self-advocacy, maintains dignity and creates an environment where true therapeutic alliance can develop.

When we base all actions and decision making through the lens of assent and assent withdrawal, only then can we truly functionally collaborate with families and learners in a way that is meaningful, safe and empowering.

Did you catch the FB live in my private group for parents and caregivers on Wednesday on this topic? If not, check it out- Empowered Parents | Facebook

See below for some additional resources on this very important topic!

🔀 Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) posted this helpful resource: Integrating Assent-Based Thinking Into ABA

🔀 Are you a BCBA or other professional, perhaps you are a very curious and driven caregiver? Check out Mindful Behavior LLC and their awesome assortment of neurodivergent-affirming CEU's and other options for support while you implement this HUGELY important piece of supporting children and their families!

🔀 Great article on Understanding Assent and Assent Withdrawal in ABA over at Master ABA

🔀 What does the BACB have to say about all this? BACB Ethics Code for Behavior Analyst

Specific codes pertaining to compassionate, respectful and assent-based treatment;

1.02, 2.09, 2.11, 2.15 and 3.01

Two must see videos:

**Tiffany Joseph @ nigh.functioning.autism does A LOT of advocacy work about this topic and watching any/all of their content would be well worth your time!

**I personally feel that we shouldn’t be making decisions about people’s lives without their input, so I think listening to the Autistic community is HUGELY important.

**Awesome example of how awkward and quite frankly, ridiculous, the compliance-based approach is.

I hope you have found this information helpful and insightful!

If you haven't already, please join my private FB group here, Empowered Parents, so you have an opportunity to be included in the conversation! I specialize in coaching special needs parents through parent-child interactions and well-being as a BCBA and special education teacher with a background in psychology. I run the group, do FB lives and interact in the group to answer questions and offer support!

If you enjoy my content, feel free to show your support and appreciation HERE

Be well,


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