Research has shown that co-treatment sessions can improve treatment outcomes, particularly in individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other complex developmental disorders. But what is involved with co-treatment sessions?


Read on to learn more about co-treatment sessions, including:

WHAT is a co-treat session?

Co-treatment refers to services provided by practitioners from different rehabilitation disciplines for a shared client in a single treatment session. General co-treat guidelines include:


  • Two collaborating professionals per session
  • Discipline-specific goals to be addressed and documented
  • Coordination and engagement from both disciplines during functional activities.


It is a relationship-focused service delivery characterized by reflective, integrative, and cohesive services. Co-treatments typically take on a whole client approach, looking at client strengths and needs across domains. It encourages consistent interaction and knowledge sharing between professionals while optimizing family and client participation.

WHO is involved with co-treats?

Clients with co-occurring disabilities or complex developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, may benefit from co-treatment sessions. These clients often present with a range of coexisting conditions, including sensory, cognitive, physical, communication, social skill, and behavior deficits. Consequently, they are likely to receive a variety of rehabilitative services. These services frequently include occupational, speech, physical, and behavior therapy. Professionals who work side by side in multidisciplinary settings can take collaboration a step further and provide co-treat options for Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech Therapy (ST), Physical Therapy (PT), and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.

WHEN are co-treats appropriate?

Here are several examples of when co-treats might be utilized to improve treatment outcomes across multiple disciplines:


  • An OT targets sensory integration, modulation, and praxis to encourage engagement and regulation to target ABA or ST goals.
  • A PT focuses on physical activity tasks to safely promote improved performance with cognitive tasks or receptive language activities targeted by the ST or BCBA and RBT.
  • An OT and PT collaborate to target functional strength, transfers, and moving from sitting to standing while addressing visual scanning skills and functional participation in daily living activities.
  • A BCBA/RBT works with an ST to improve mean language utterance length during a structured activity.

Co-treats can be an intuitive choice for treatment, considering the complexities inherent in clients with severe disabilities. Rationale and considerations for when co-treatment sessions are appropriate include knowledge sharing, improved family and client participation, defined but collaborative clinician roles, and complementary discipline-specific treatment goals. While traditional one-on-one therapy may be appropriate to target particular goals, a co-treat session allows clinicians to use their professional skills to address skills across domains in one treatment session. Co-treats are appropriate when the team respectfully reflects on what works and what does not work during the shared session. Some clients find it difficult to sustain attention and an optimal arousal level needed to participate in back-to-back therapy sessions due to fatigue or reduced tolerance for structured activities. Co-treats can be an effective way to utilize the time a client spends with therapists and result in greater progress toward treatment goals by combining practices.

WHY are co-treats valuable?

Clients with complex needs require collaboration across all therapies, regular communication, and shared rationale for discipline-specific goals. Co-treatments allow or the highest level of involvement among disciplines. During co-treatment sessions, clinicians are given the opportunity to problem-solve in the moment, modify strategies and approaches, gain a better understanding of the client’s goals across disciplines, and provide the most integrated care. Providing collaborative care creates a setting to address functional goals and promote gains and carry-over across disciplines simultaneously. It allows for a shared scope of knowledge, skills, and attitudes of multiple team members while combining resources and providing client-centered, timely, efficient, and effective care.

Are co-treatment sessions currently offered at your organization?

Are you considering adding services such as early intervention and occupational therapy (OT) in addition to your ABA offerings? Learn how you can expand your organization with one platform for all specialties.