The Importance of Parent Involvement in a Child’s ABA Program
Parental involvement in the development of a child’s abilities and the success of their ABA program cannot be overemphasized. ABA programs rely a lot on consistency, environment, and reinforcement, which cannot be done without the parents’ active role at home. A child whose parents are not heavily involved in their program will see results, however, it will take longer and the child may experience more hurdles along the way. It certainly simplifies outcomes, improves effectiveness, and reduces the time for a child to pick up a new skill.
- Understanding the child Each child is unique, and it also applies to children with autism. They cannot be treated alike, and it is important to ask plenty of open-ended questions to gather as much information as possible about the child.
- Clear goals, minimal confusion There are some obvious benefits of consistent messaging and one voice. If a parent is aware and aligned with the methods and reinforcement being done by the therapists and BCBAs, it will reduce mixed messaging. A single voice or one unified message and approach reduce confusion for the child and make it easier to what is expected and to acquire new skills.
- Consistent Reinforcement Parents need to use both positive and negative reinforcements to be truly effective. Parents also need to carry forward the same response or introduce (or remove) the same stimulus to reinforce certain behavior. For instance, if in the ABA program, the therapist uses positive reinforcement to praise positive behavior for requesting access using words by giving the child what they are asking, at home the parent should mimic and only give the child a toy or game when they verbalize it. It is important that the parent be in constant touch with the therapist to ensure they are up-to-date on the current skill level and any challenges their child is facing.
- Long-term success A child may have ABA therapy throughout the week, but not sustaining the same methods on the weekend can cause the week’s efforts to go to waste. Behavior plans and teaching methodologies utilized during session need to continue outside the program. For this, a parent needs to be well-versed with different approaches and know which methods are being used in their current ABA programs to support the challenge at hand. This learning can last a parent and child a lifetime and help them lead full, successful lives where they better assimilate.