If your child is enrolled in ABA therapy at a clinic, it is highly recommended that you go through parent training in ABA practices. In fact, at Ally Pediatric Therapy, it is mandatory.
This is because you are going to be your child’s strongest and most active ally, and the ability for you to properly implement ABA methodology in any environment will be a key support mechanism for sustainable behavior change. As such, we want to make sure you know what you are participating in an ABA parent training course so that you will not be overwhelmed or frustrated.
Tips for Parent Training in ABA
One critical stance on ABA training for parents of children with autism is that you are working towards an educational framework rather than a set curriculum. This is because no child, parent, or family will have one-size-fits-all solutions to their needs, and the ability to be flexible and competent in ABA practices is critical. Thus, instead of referring to a curriculum (which is more narrow in focus), our specialists look to create frameworks for life-long growth and maintenance of learned skills.
Within this framework, you should learn about the following autism parent training topics:
- Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences: Commonly referred to as the ABC’s of ABA, these three tenets explain how data is typically compiled when observing behaviors. Given that ABA is fundamentally about applying analytics to therapy, these will be present in almost every unique decision your therapist implements. Antecedents describe the events or actions that occur immediately before a behavior – basically a stimulus. By analyzing these and seeing what behaviors they lead to, it can help guide interventions. Behaviors are what your child does, but broken down in specific details with how they are carried out in certain environments or when spurred by antecedents. Consequences are the response following the antecedent and behavior. This can apply to your child or the other people that they are interacting with.
- Functions of Behavior: In ABA therapy, clinicians and parents should be looking at why children commit to certain behaviors. These are referred to as functions of behavior, and they include:
- Attention: Engagement in certain behaviors to garner a reaction from people.
- Escape: An action that is designed to avoid doing a certain task such as chores or school.
- Tangible gain: This is when a child wants something material and acts primarily to obtain it. It can also refer to a behavior to grant access to a situation.
- Automatic Reinforcement: This is more self-contained within your child usually; it might include something like rocking back and forth, or drumming on inanimate objects.
There are going to be other motivators for your child’s behavior, and analysis within the framework provided by your ABA clinician will help you track and reinforce them in whatever way is best for your child.
- Behavior Development: It is important to integrate treatment frameworks that are custom-tailored to your child and family. This means that when we look at the ABC’s and functions of your child’s behavior, there also are specific end-goals or changes to apply to them. As a parent, when you are training for behavior development, it is important to take all the environments that your child will be learning into account. Your role as a parent-ally is to be able to enact change across non-clinical settings such as socializing, school, and common life situations.
- Skill Development: One of the other core components of ABA implementation is the development of your child’s broader behavioral skills. These are things like communication and daily living skills. These are different from the specific target behaviors that we look to develop via ABA therapy, in that they serve as mechanisms your child can learn to apply on their own. In parent training, you will learn about the ABA principles that work on these skills such as Pivotal Response Treatment. Ultimately, the mechanisms that help your child develop their skills will be shaped by your knowledge of them, so learning from the best clinicians goes a long way.
- Generalization: This is the application of one skill to another. We aim to help our children learn from specific programming and communication for certain acute behaviors, but then a good ABA framework will distill more from each lesson. This will lead to your child being able to be in control of their behaviors across multiple environments even in the face of unfamiliar stimulus.
While learning about ABA practices in a clinical framework, it is critical to be consistent in your practice. Similarly, communicating often with your family therapist about how your ABA parent training can be adapted to fit the current lessons your child is learning is highly recommended.
When it comes down to it, you want to be the best-equipped to help your child develop through ABA practices. Being well-versed and educated in ABA programming is the easiest way to collaborate for a better family life.
Parent ABA Education at Ally Pediatric Therapy
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, we understand how powerful it is to have parents play a prominent role in their child’s programming. Their development will progress much better as you collaborate with our therapists to learn ABA practices, and we have decades of triumphs to show that this methodology works.
If you would like to learn more about ABA techniques and teaching methods for parents, please reach out to us today. We’d love to show you what the power of teamwork can do.