Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to enroll your child in the Solstice Behavioral Health and Consulting ABA Therapy program. The journey is just beginning and we will count on parents and caregivers to help your child succeed.
5 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of ABA Therapy
Tip #1: Educate Yourself on ABA Therapy
If you want to assist your child in ABA therapy, the first step is to understand the subject yourself. The fundamental principles of ABA therapy are that behavior is:
1. Guided by principles
2. Observable (we can observe it), and
3. Measurable (it is tracked and we can count it).
Every action has a reason, and the proper analysis of behavior can have an effect on and influence it. Changing the circumstances preceding or following a behavior may alter the behavioral pattern. By changing our own behavior, we empower children to make different decisions.
How does this relate to daily life? We can document specific actions, as well as the events that preceded and followed them, we can then use this information to deduce the reason why that particular behavior occurs.
For instance, one child may cry because he doesn’t want to leave the park, while another child may cry because they’re experiencing too much sensory input. The screams may have the same origin, but the motivation is different.
Behavior is influenced by multiple factors, and the actions of an individual are influenced by these factors at any given time. This is one of the reasons why it’s beneficial to work with an ABA therapist: we are trained to recognize connections and deduce the functions of behaviors.
Tip #2: Tracking at Home
In conjunction with your child’s ABA therapist, decide which behaviors you’ll observe at home. For instance, perhaps your child has a problematic behavior such as self-injury by hitting themselves in the head with their fists. To identify ways to decrease this destructive behavior, you’ll want to document each occurrence, as well as the preceding and following events.
Remember that this is a significant responsibility and that you’ll want to seek the assistance of family members in this area.
Your ABA therapist can provide you with ABC sheets that describe the Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence of a particular session. These sheets will assist you and your child’s support team in understanding the reasons for the behavior.
Tip #3: Communication & Consistency
When your child engages with an autism professional, they will learn new abilities and practice modified behavior. As a result, the amount of time your child spends working with a healthcare professional each week is of great importance. However, your child’s time in ABA is more than offset by time spent at school or at home with you. This is why it’s crucial for the primary players on your child’s support team to collaborate and send a consistent message regarding behavior.
It’s your responsibility to communicate with your child’s ABA therapist and consistently follow your child’s behavioral support plan at home. Doing so promotes regular guidance and reinforcement, which is essential in the development of new behavioral patterns.
Tip #4: Review Progress with the Solstice BHC Team Regularly
If your child is receiving behavioral therapy that is ongoing or has an in-school component, the school professionals will collect behavioral data just as we do in our program. Ask to review this information on a regular basis, and share the data sheets that you’ve kept at home as well. Reviewing the raw data allows you and your child’s ABA therapist to assess the effectiveness of the behavioral support plan over time. It also assists in the direction of possible alterations.
Tip #5: Be Persistent and Be Patient.
ABA therapy is scientifically proven and has a high success rate, but it may take time to see long-term results in your child’s behavior. In fact, it’s common to observe an “extinction burst” (a temporary increase in the unwanted behavior) as a child attempts to maintain their existing behavioral patterns. It’s difficult to envision things getting worse before they improve especially if you’ve been dealing with your child’s problematic behavior for a long time prior to ABA, but we trust in the process and have seen the results. Persevere, be persistent, be kind, be supportive, be patient, and be sure to receive the assistance you need to stay the course.
Solstice Behavioral Health and Consulting has served New Haven County, CT for over 20 years and is dedicated to providing resources to every family. With the successful application of ABA Therapy and the support of family, your child will have the tools and techniques to improve their communication, build confidence, and develop living skills.