The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented changes in how Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services are provided to students/clients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and scant literature is available from which to determine the best course of action for providing safe services during a pandemic. The research question for this study is: What is the essence of experiences of parents, teachers, and Board-Certified Behavior Analysts of students with ASD who are now receiving ABA services remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures? Generic qualitative design was used to analyze the responses of nine participants who are either Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). Findings indicate that service providers are concerned about the effectiveness of telehealth services, do not believe that safety is always a priority for in person services, and that students/clients are struggling to find success amid the near-constant changes in service delivery brought about by the pandemic. Findings indicate that BCBAs and RBTs working with students with ASD are concerned about the negative outcomes for students in relation to changes in service delivery, are not comfortable with the level of risk to their own health and safety in order to provide services, and that telehealth options for ABA services have pros and cons that are difficult to weigh when determining how best to provide services during a pandemic.


applied behavior analysis, autism, evidence-based practice, BCBA, remote, generic qualitative

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Chana Josilowski-Max earned her bachelor’s in behavioral sciences and master’s in General and Special Education from Mercy College, and a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Educational Psychology from Capella University. She is an instructional leader, professor of psychology, faculty-led researcher, and course designer at Capella University. Her passion and drive for evidence-based practices encourages her ongoing pursuit of research to expand knowledge in the field of psychology. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: shiffviav@gmail.com.

Nicole Lambright earned a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in special education from Mount Vernon Nazarene University, and is very close to earning her doctoral degree in Psychology, with a specialization in Educational Psychology and a concentration in Psychology Teaching and Instruction, from Capella University. Ms. Lambright’s dissertation focused on teacher factors that lead them to intervene with underachieving gifted students. Ms. Lambright has experience working with adolescents with various disabilities and gifted identification categories (including twice exceptional students), teaching in higher education, serving as a member of a research team, and is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Please direct correspondence to overcomingobstaclesaba@gmail.com.

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