Parents play a crucial role in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA therapy is not just something that happens during sessions with a therapist; it is a continuous process that involves the child's everyday life. Parents are the child's primary caregivers and have the most opportunities to reinforce the skills and behaviors their child is learning in therapy. Here are a few of the parents’ roles.
Collaborating with the ABA therapist
Parents should work closely with their child's ABA therapist to ensure that they are providing consistent support and reinforcement. The therapist will provide a treatment plan that outlines the specific goals and strategies for the child's progress. Parents should collaborate with the therapist to develop a plan that is tailored to their child's individual needs and abilities. They should also communicate regularly with the therapist to discuss progress, identify any challenges, and make adjustments to the treatment plan as necessary.
Providing opportunities for practice
In ABA therapy, children learn new skills and behaviors through practice and repetition. Parents should provide their child with plenty of opportunities to practice the skills they are learning in therapy. This can be done through everyday activities such as playing, eating, and getting dressed. Parents can also create opportunities for their child to practice the skills in specific situations, such as social interactions, classroom settings, or community outings. Your BCBA can help you identify the best learning opportunities for your child.
Consistency is key in ABA therapy. Parents should be consistent in reinforcing the skills and behaviors their child is learning in therapy. This means providing positive reinforcement for the desired behaviors and ignoring or redirecting negative behaviors. Reinforcement can be in the form of verbal praise, high-fives, hugs, or other rewards that the child finds motivating. Your BCBA will help you prioritize goals and focus your attention on agreed upon goals.
Generalizing skills to the home environment
ABA therapy is not just about learning skills and behaviors in the therapy setting but also about generalizing them to the child's home environment. Parents should work with the therapist to develop strategies for transferring the skills and behaviors learned in therapy to the home environment. This can be done by creating a structured routine, setting clear expectations, and providing opportunities for the child to practice the skills in different settings.
Advocating for their child
Parents should be their child's strongest advocates in ABA therapy. They should communicate their child's progress and any concerns to the therapist and other professionals involved in their child's care. They should also be involved in the decision-making process for their child's treatment and advocate for their child's needs and preferences.