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Interview Ideas for Special Needs Families

Interview Ideas for families who are looking to hire respite, aide support, or begin an ABA therapy team. Encouragement for caregivers. Background checks. Play time. Go with your gut when looking at a candidate.

Cheat Sheet to Hosting An Interview

Interview is nerve racking for both the candidate and for the one responsible to hire.  An interview needs to be very well thought.  So many topics are not allowable these days.  I thought it would be helpful for me to share some of the interview questions that I always include.

Question 1: “Do you have any experience with students or children with autism?”  If Yes:

  • How long?
  • What Setting?  What is the experience exactly?
  • What did you like or dislike about the experience?

If No: Do you have any experience with children at all?  If yes, ask the above three followup questions.

Number 2:  (see what I did right there?  I had to have a little potty humor, come on)… What is your educational background?

#3:  Have you been trained in ABA?  If Yes:

  • Who trained you?
  • What type of training was it?  (coursework, practical, both?).

Question 4:  How do you perceive the parents’ role on the team (very important)?

Number 5:  What is your fee or your ideal pay?  If using government funds, it may be best to state the compensation up front.

#6:  What is your basic philosophy of teaching?

Interview Question 7: What areas of ABA are you interested in/been trained in? (discrete trial, verbal behavior, precision teaching/fluency, direct instruction, NET, etc.).  So far only psychology majors have known these.

Question 8: What do you believe to be your main responsibilities and goals as a therapist?

Number 9:  Can I have a list of your references?  (If you aren’t using an agency who does background checks, do your own).

Almost Finished, #10:  Do you want to play with my child for a short time?  (This is also fundamentally important and I will explain).

  • Watch how they interact with your child.  Do they jump in or stand back and watch (my kids call the observant ones, lurkers – ha!)…
  • How do they respond when your child acts inappropriately.  Always pay attention to hunches, whether you feel good or uneasy about the candidate.  Remember, these people will be prominent in setting the tone for your ABA Team, as well as influencing your child’s education.
  • They must LOVE children on some level.
  • The most important ability and quality for a potential therapist is his/her ability to become positively reinforcing to your child.  If your child associates positive feelings with a therapist, they will do their best to please.
  • When explaining your ABA program to possible team members, let them know you desire a highly energetic, positive atmosphere.  Tell them, it may require them to play hard when rewarding your child for mastered skills, or finishing a discrete trial.

This post might sound foreign.  I give you my word, I will expound more.  ABA Therapy changed my sons lives.  I am eternally grateful.  I pray any family that sees the need for this one on one, intense intervention is able to access it somehow, hoping this eases any concern over hosting an interview.  Many of us, never foresaw us needing to interview others when we wanted to have children.  If I can do it, I know anyone can (most likely way better than me).  I am pulling for you!  Go get ’em, Tiger.  Always remember, you are so very, very loved.

Blessings to you and yours today and always,


If you enjoyed this, camp out longer and check out: Aides: Why We Hire Them.



I live in Columbus, Ohio USA, grown up here all my life. I love yoga, walking, riding bike, reading, bargain shopping, serving at church. Usually though, I'm napping in a doctor's office waiting area with one or two of the Fantastic Four Children. My passion is helping other families with extra health, behavioral, and learning issues like mine. Let's enjoy life... TOGETHER. It's more fun that way =)!

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