A Parent’s Role in ABA Therapy

A parent’s role in ABA Therapy is a very important aspect in the success of the treatment. Applied behavioral analysis or ABA therapy is the leading form of treatment for children with autism. Its techniques are backed up by evidence and its effectiveness is recognized by the most prominent professional, state, and federal authorities.

At the core of ABA therapy’s success is the fact that each treatment plan addresses the specific developmental needs of the child in question. Parents and other caregivers often have an opportunity to contribute greatly.

What is the parent’s role in ABA Therapy?

Reinforcement is the practical foundation of ABA therapy. When therapists reinforce a child’s behavior, they increase the likelihood the child will continue to perform that specific behavior in the future.

One of the goals of every ABA treatment program is to consistently reinforce desirable behaviors. The challenge is that ABA therapists only work with children for a few hours a day at most.

The more often reinforcement happens, the more successful treatment is likely to be. The parents’ role in ABA therapy is often to extend this practice into domestic and social settings.

Can you do ABA therapy at home?

ABA therapy sessions can happen nearly anywhere with a patient and with someone able to provide treatment. Although there is special equipment, such as toys, games, and visual aids, these are not necessary for every type of exercise.

However, overall, this is not a do-it-yourself endeavor — it takes a team to make it work. Individualized ABA therapy programs are evidence-based and highly strategic. Board-certified behavioral analysts study and practice for years before they start making treatment plans. These plans also receive regular updates to address challenges and opportunities, which arise during therapy.

ABA therapy at home should happen under the guidance or at the recommendation of a team of qualified professionals. This increases the likelihood of success – the likelihood that the right behaviors are reinforced in the right way.

How can parents help in ABA therapy?

Parents of children with autism already tend to be highly involved in chores, personal tasks, and other basic day-to-day needs of their children. The parents’ role is often to incorporate ABA exercises into these types of activities:

  • Hygiene and care: Toilet training, bathing, oral health, getting dressed, eating.
  • Family time: Play, table manners, chores.
  • Social skills: Eating out, shopping, going to the park.

How involved should parents be?

Parents have an important role in most treatment plans. Parents do not necessarily have to perform ABA exercises all the time with their children, but evidence shows there should be some caregiver involvement — either by participating directly or by learning how to best support the therapists.

Reinforcement can work both ways. That is: Any type of behavior can be reinforced, whether it is desirable or undesirable. When parents and therapists reinforce the same behaviors, it typically has positive effects on treatment.

Because each child needs different care, there are no definite answers to the question of parental involvement in ABA therapy. Please call us at 866-342-8847 to set up a consultation. Together, we will develop an ABA therapy plan to help your family meet all of your child’s developmental goals.