As much of the world has gone remote in 2020, education has been one of the most difficult environments to adapt. This is especially true for children with autism, as routines have been changed and learning resources have become less personal. It can be tough to watch a child struggle to get back in flow during online schooling. We’ve compiled our most successful ABA tips for parents to help support their children during virtual learning, and hope they help you and your family.
Remote learning can be stressful for anyone; it is inherently less humanistic and intuitive than a classroom setting. There are often technical difficulties with software or hardware, and distractions from other sources that wouldn’t normally be around during education. ABA at home combines these stressors with the already existent ones a child with autism may face, and as an ABA parent, we understand the desire to help.
Here are three quick tips to create ABA strategies for you and your child to succeed long-term:
Because schedules are different, class times are limited, and resources have changed form, there is a whole new dictionary for what teachers expect. Familiarize yourself with:
–IEP: While this isn’t specific to online learning, IEP stands for “individualized education program”, and is very important for ABA therapy and its connection to education. This type of programming is covered by special education law, and we encourage you to have a conversation about it with your child’s administration.
–Blended learning: The integration of traditional physical school supplies with online materials and education platforms. For example, using a protractor in math, or using objects for science lessons while being guided online.
–Synchronous learning: Work done real-time at a scheduled date on an online platform. This isn’t the same thing as simply attending class, especially for ABA education. It often will represent task-oriented testing, such as prompt-response cues.
–Asynchronous Learning: Work that is assigned to be reviewed online, but can be completed on or off-platform at any time before the due date.
–Flipped Classroom: A recorded lecture or lesson that students can watch at any time to augment their homework or study for tests.
–Storyboard: These have become real-time functional curriculums for online classrooms. You can see when educators change them and follow the progress of a classroom via a visual schedule.
There are dozens of new terms, and it is almost like a mini-homework assignment to keep up with them. However, ABA at home can get a great boost from the support you can provide by knowing them and relating to your student.
Though the setting is different, there is still a need for a diverse involved support community. This means parents communicating with each other, teachers, and administrators will ultimately lead to success for children. There is still a need for extra organization via committees such as virtual PTA, math and specialized education clubs, and fundraising groups.
One other thing to consider is that the ecosystem of education has always benefited from parent interaction. During remote learning, you can reduce the stress on teachers, other parents, your child, and yourself by working in systems that encourage healthy communication.
Despite the platform change and disruption to prior education schedules, there are many ABA techniques and teaching strategies from in-person learning you can still use. We recommend implementing Pivotal Response Training (PRT) strategies, as well as Discrete Trial Training (DTT) strategies.
PRT is a treatment that targets communication.
Overall, if you were familiar with the educational techniques that therapists and teachers were using for your child prior to remote learning, most still have value at home. Increasing your involvement and support is a great way to make sure your child is not overwhelmed and can adapt to a change in routine.
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, we understand the importance of familial support in an educational setting for children with autism. Our team has spent decades being advocates for parents looking to make a difference at home and in school.
If you are interested in learning more about how to help your child succeed in a virtual learning environment, please reach out today — we’d love to help.