The world has experienced significant disruption due to the global pandemic, and many routines have been forced to change. However, it is especially vital to maintain the tenets of ABA therapy for children with autism during a time in which other routines are displaced.
We have compiled a number of resources detailing why ABA therapy is more important than ever for your child and family, as well as how to go about it best during a real-world disruption. Understanding these items will help you be an ally and teacher in conjunction with the programming that is made specifically by a clinician or therapist.
Regardless of if we are sheltering-in-place, the home environment is critical for any child in ABA therapy. One of the biggest goals for this approach-based behavioral program is to make changes across the most common environments in your child’s life. These are some behaviors in the home, school, a clinic, and social dynamics that ABA therapy will contribute to:
Children with autism benefit from structure and routine, and the home is one of the best places to establish and recreate structure learned in ABA therapy. This will make it so that their most common behavioral space is the foundation for their prompt-and-response training, which is a huge benefit during a stay at home.
While in a stay at home order, consistent socialization is jeopardized for everyone. It is even more impacted for children with autism, as a lot of their social hierarchy is created through school, therapy clinics, or pre-arranged meet-ups. When these are not physically available, the application of ABA techniques and/or online ABA therapy will be able to mitigate this lack of in-person human interaction.
Because the number of common environments has been reduced during shelter-in-place, it may become easier for your child to keep a less stressful lifestyle. When there is travel, new spaces, new faces, and faster-paced change, a child with autism can fall back onto undesirable habits as a crutch. At home, it will be easier for your child to keep the pace slow and implement methods that are taught in a consistent environment with ABA.
Finally, as a point of emphasis for almost all ABA treatment, consistency is key: make sure that your child is comfortable in any adjusted routines, and make sure to talk through these changes. The comfort provided by this dialogue will go a long way for both of you.
Most people have seen their recreational and social opportunities become more limited by having to stay at home. This might lead to a bit of repetition in activities or feeling as though playtime and recreation are limited. While we would argue this isn’t true for anyone, it’s especially important to make this aspect a reality for a child with autism.
Creating a routine and scheduled playtime with activities is a great way to keep consistent both in an overall schedule, as well as activities that can work on the skills that ABA is teaching them.
Besides, who says no to more playtime? We are always proponents of scheduling more fun in anyone’s life!
ABA therapy uses data, conditioning, and prompt-and-response methods as some of the key elements to promote change in your child. While you are not responsible for all these implementations, stay-at-home orders supply some great opportunities to practice learned techniques. Consider how you can capitalize on the following dynamics:
As you can see, while certain routines may have had to adapt during stay-at-home orders, they create opportunities for growth within ABA therapy.
Consistency will always be king within ABA therapy and the application of its teaching. As we work towards the desired behavior at home, it can be reassuring to see the growth that you might have had to hear about secondhand.
We always encourage a positive outlook towards the learning skills developed in ABA therapy and hope you will consider stay-at-home orders to be an opportunity for everyone to grow.