TBRI® and Autism Spectrum Disorder


by: Emmelie Pickett

We are often asked, “Will TBRI work with my child who has Autism?”

Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) aims to help children from “hard places” of abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. While not every child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has such a history, research shows that children with ASD are at least two times more likely to experience trauma. Therefore, children from hard places who also have ASD require trauma-informed interventions to meet their unique needs and to help them reach their highest potential.

One common intervention for children with ASD is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy. Fortunately, many ABA Therapy strategies provide an excellent foundation for TBRI and seem compatible for children with both ASD and histories of trauma. In fact, noted Autism activist, Dr. Temple Grandin, recently had this to say about the TBRI Strategies presented in our book, The Connected Child:

“The Connected Child provides the parents of adopted at-risk children easy to follow practical advice on how to handle behavior problems in a calm, gentle, effective manner.  Giving a child choices will help reduce many behavior problems.”

  Dr. Temple Grandin

Our latest TBRI Practice Brief addresses ways that TBRI and ABA Therapy strategies can be used together. Before diving in, please keep in mind that every child is different, and you ultimately know your child best. It’s also important to keep in mind that no child with ASD is the same, and the following information does not generalize to the entire population with ASD.

Click here to read the entire practice brief.

For other TBRI Practice Briefs and articles, please visit the Articles page of our website.

Special thanks to Linley Freeman, alumna of our Master of Developmental Trauma Program, who wrote this TBRI Practice Brief.





5 Responses to “TBRI® and Autism Spectrum Disorder”

  1. Laura Brennan

    Do you know of any TBRI practitioners in the Denver areawho also practice ABA? I’d love to find this combination for my foster/ adopt child who is on the spectrum.

  2. Roberto L Flores

    Working in a group home with 8 adolescent youth and one staff what is your most accomplished way to implement

  3. Emmelie Pickett

    Hi, Roberto. How wonderful that you work with adolescents in a group home. We hope you’ll find our website helpful. If you’re looking for ways to implement TBRI with Teenagers, we definitely recommend checking out our TBRI for Teens video. Hope that helps!

  4. donald86

    Great Article! Thank you for sharing this is a very informative post, and looking forward to the latest one.

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