One of the most meaningful conversations you will have with your clinical team is the importance of parent participation. It has been proven that parents who are actively involved in their child’s therapy often see more progress in their children espanolfarm.com.
At home, it’s important to reinforce skills your child is learning in therapy by incorporating them into his or her daily routines. As with any skill, practice is key. Your child is with his or her therapist for only a small part of each day, so if lessons aren’t practiced at home, or if the child’s home experience is greatly different from what happens in therapy, it will take much longer to learn and reach goals.
For suggestions on how to incorporate learning skills at home, ask your team’s Clinical Supervisor or Clinician.
1. Learn to create effective opportunities for your child
Your child will begin to learn new skills while working with their BT or Supervisor. We want to make sure your child can display their new skills with people other than their BT or Supervisor, especially with immediate family members. During parent training sessions, parents are educated about their child’s goals and how to help their child reach them throughout their daily life. It is important that parents are aware of and understand their child’s goals so they can create opportunities outside of sessions to maximize their child’s growth.
2. Address solutions for specific scenarios
Sometimes challenging behaviors occur outside of session. Hands-on coaching in real life scenarios your family finds challenging is instrumental in shaping your child’s progress. Parents gain access to coaching and advice for specific challenging moments that are important to the family. The BT and Supervisor can also offer advice and coaching for challenging behaviors that occur during personal care routines and social and community settings that can be difficult to recreate during direct 1:1 ABA sessions. This can include toilet training, interactions with extended family members, trips to a department or grocery store, public events and playdates.
3. Become familiar with your child’s Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
The ABA team will create a BIP or Behavior Intervention Plan based on the determined function of the behavior, or why the behavior occurs. The BIP includes recommended strategies to manage and decrease challenging behaviors your child was referred for. During parent training, parents are taught each strategy used by the BT in session. This includes strategies for decreasing the chances of challenging behaviors happening in the future and strategies if/when the behaviors do occur. Parents will observe the strategies being implemented, then coached as parents implement the strategies, and finally, receive feedback after the strategies have been implemented until parents are able to independently and successfully apply the strategies.
4. Proven greater outcomes with support
Intervention can include a focused or comprehensive program and involves skills that are relevant to the client in their natural environment. Parents are the core of your child’s support and environment. Parents need to be present and consistent in the intervention so that the skills and strategies targeted go beyond the intervention’s parameters. Parent training is designed to increase parent competence in behavioral strategies so they can continue learning and growing independently. As Gresham et al (1999) states, parent training results in greater outcomes for the child, compared to services without ABA parent training incorporated into the treatment. Parents are the most consistent part of their children’s environment and intervention, and without them, they would be missing a large piece of their child’s experience, growth, and in watching them reach their full potential.
Try these 5 simple home-based activities that you can start doing right now:
- When your child asks for something, have them make eye contact with you before giving it to them.
- Practice simple exercises with your child like clapping, jumping and touching their nose or toes.
- Look through picture books and ask your child to find and point to specific pictures.
- Reinforce a specific communication skill (vocal, signs, etc.) by keeping a favorite item nearby but out of reach so the child must ask for it. Or keep the item in a clear plastic bin that’s not easy to open so the child must request “help” or “open.”
- Sing songs that have motions and have the child imitate your movements. Start with the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or make up your own motions to any song you think your child would like.