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4 Ways Your Child Benefits from Parent Training in ABA Therapy

It has been proven that parents who are actively involved in their child’s ABA therapy often see more progress in their children than those who are not. Our clinical team is rigorously trained to build success not just for your child, but for the entire family unit. One of the most meaningful conversations parents will have with their clinical team is the importance of parent participation. ALP’s family-centered treatment model integrates caregivers at all stages, including goal selection, program implementation, and progress assessment.

Intervention at ALP is designed to support both the child and parents in developing their skills and building the child’s access and autonomy at home and in the community. This process includes the parents to ensure that the entire team is aligned and informed on the procedures. This provides valuable knowledge to the parents on the intervention being conducted, ways to support their child, and a window into their child’s perspective.

Four significant ways that your child benefits from parent training and participation include the following:

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.

For example, if a client is working on following one-step instructions such as “clean up,” parents will be taught how to practice that specific goal in their daily lives. This promotes generalization of the learned skill and allows the BT and Supervisor to move on to new skills.

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.

Matson, M. L., Mahan, S., & Matson, J. L. (2009). Parent training: A review of methods for children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(4), 868–875

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