OT and Speech and ABA, Oh My!

A Quick Guide to Your Child’s Therapists

And how to make sure they are getting the services that they need

Between the meetings, the paperwork, and the appointments, the special education system can be very overwhelming. In addition, there are strangers coming into your home (or you are going to a clinic to see the strangers) to help you and your child. But who are these people? What do they each do? What are their credentials? Here at CTSC, we are dedicated to providing a comprehensive group of therapies in order to help your child grow and learn.


Developmental Interventionist

A Developmental Interventionist, also known as an ECSE (Early Childhood Special Educator), may be your child's classroom teacher or act as an in-home teacher if the therapy is located there. This person monitors and develops goals around your child's overall development to make sure they are meeting their developmental milestones. This includes cognitive skills, language and communication, social-emotional skills and behavior, gross and fine motor skills, and self-help skills. This person is required to have an Early Childhood teaching certificate with a Special Education authorization.

Speech-Language Pathologist

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a licensed therapist that helps your child with either speech (also known as articulation, or the way your child says sounds) or language (putting together words and making sentences). These skills can affect all aspects of daily life from communicating basic needs to developing social skills and friendships to progress in school. Speech-language pathologists help children who have challenges expressing themselves both verbally and non-verbally and understanding and/or processing language. This person is required to have a license thorough the state of Colorado and achieve a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Occupational Therapist

An Occupational Therapist (OT) focuses on helping children with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability to be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. An OT helps children improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills. This may include facilitating performance of coordinated motor skills and/or use of the hands as well as promoting skills for listening and following directions, self-regulation, social play, dressing, grooming, and feeding. This person is required to have a license through the state of Colorado and achieve certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Photo Credit:  My Child Without Limits

Behavior Analyst

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) uses principles and procedures to increase skill deficits (things we don't do enough of) and decrease skill excesses (things we do too much of). A BCBA will focus on why the behavior occurs and replace it with functionally appropriate replacement behaviors in order to empower each child to reach their maximum potential. They will also dedicate time to developing your child’s language, gross/fine motor skills, daily living skills, play skills, and social/ emotional development. This person is required to obtain certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

Registered Behavior Technician

A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) works under the supervision of the BCBA implementing the individualized treatment plan that the BCBA writes for each child. They will focus on all of the same skills that a BCBA would. They are certified to provide and implement therapy but not write goals and programs for you child directly. This person is required to obtain certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).


Physical Therapist

A Physical Therapist (PT) is a licensed therapist with a doctorate degree and works on gross motor skills. With young children, a PT will often help the child be able to get around their house/the playground/the store safely.


A Psychologist is the only person who can officially diagnose a child with a disability, and are usually employed at the school district or children's hospital.