When a child with autism is enrolled in applied behavioral analysis treatment, it is an entirely systemic approach to their behavior. This means that the methods of teaching must be reinforced in all parts of a child’s life by any willing participants — parents, friends, and educators alongside therapists. This is because Applied Behavioral Analysis is a scientific technique that focuses on socially significant behaviors. What this really means is that while your child will be getting prescribed treatment from a therapist and specialists, this ABA approach needs to be applied in real-life settings, such as family time for the holidays.
Luckily, this creates a perfect win-win for you and your child: you can help them strengthen their ABA treatment in real-time while diminishing their stress from the busy holiday hubbub. See if you can apply any of these holiday stress-reducers this season.
Children with autism thrive on consistency and routine. ABA creates structure around this by using prompt-response strategies revolving around everyday actions, such as eating or sleeping. These actions are typically positively reinforced, and serve as cues for growth in a child with autism.
When there is a break in routine or there are outside stressors to distract a child, certain social skills in training may break down. Large family functions can easily be triggers for challenging behaviors if there is not consistent support from parents and other family members. However, when approached correctly, they can serve as great catalysts for achieving the desired behavior prescribed by ABA therapists. Thus, this holiday season, we recommend the following:
Most importantly, it is crucial to communicate these plans to educators, therapists, your family, and your child. ABA techniques and the behavioral interventions that are applied focus on socially significant behaviors. This means in order to be most effective, there need to be as many positive social settings as possible for your child. A congruent plan will help with this.
If you go over certain scenarios or problem behaviors with your child and communicate an understanding of what is acceptable, it accomplishes multiple things. To begin with, it might prevent them from happening during the stressful holiday period, which would be ideal. However, if it does not fully mitigate them, it creates a strong foundation and teaching baseline that can be applied long-term for behavioral growth.
None of these techniques guarantee a stress-free holiday, but they should work to reduce or eliminate the most disruptive elements. When you work as a team with family, therapists, and your child to create consistency, it makes everyone’s life easier.
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, your family is our number one priority. Our approach to ABA therapy is that every child, parent, and situation is unique. Ultimately, our team is all about long-term growth and a better quality of life for you and your child.
If you are interested in beginning programming, we’d love to help reduce stress in holiday planning for years to come. Our experienced team has achieved quantifiable results for over three decades, and are always happy to start a conversation about programming. If you’re ready to take the next step in ABA therapy for your child, please reach out today.