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The Importance of Parent Training

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

When talking to new parents, we have a phrase we like to use when explaining the commitment required to enroll their child in ABA. We always tell them

ABA is more than a therapy, it is a lifestyle change.

For a child to master new skills and change their behavior, consistency is non-negotiable. Behavior Plans (BIP) need to be implemented at home, school, and in the clinic. New skills need to be worked on across environments and across individuals to ensure mastery. If a child can not demonstrate a skill at the clinic and at home, it is not truly mastered. Skills need to be generalized across environments and people.

But how are parents and caregivers supposed to implement a BIP? How are they supposed to reinforce a desired behavior? How do they know when to fade their prompts? Most parents of children with Autism did not graduate with a degree in behavior analysis. Most parents of children with Autism had never heard the term "applied behavior analysis" before they began searching the internet when their child was diagnosed. This is why Parent Training is so important!

Parents and Caregivers need to learn the fundamentals of ABA in order to work on treatment goals outside of therapy sessions.

When choosing an ABA provider, always ask if they provide parent training! Not only is this typically required by funders, but it is also an essential piece of a child's progress.

There are different ways that parents and caregivers can learn how to implement ABA at home. One option is a group setting. This is a class offered for multiple Parents and Caregivers at the same time. Often, ABA clinics will use a curriculum to teach families the fundamentals of ABA. Some examples of curriculum include the following:

  • RUBI Parent Training

  • Roadmap to ABA Parent Training

Group settings will typically require parents to attend a regularly scheduled class, purchase a workbook, and complete homework and assignments outside of class. Group settings often serve as a support group as well. Parents and Caregivers have the opportunity to meet other parents, discuss the challenges their child is facing to a group that is understanding, and role play. Group settings are also great opportunities for other care takers in a child's life to learn about ABA.

If everyone in a child's life is on the same page in regards to dealing with behaviors and following through with expectations, the rate of progress will drastically improve.

Another option for parent training is individual sessions with a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst). This should also occur on a regular schedule. Individual sessions can take place in multiple environments. It is common for a BCBA to work with parents in their home, at school, or in the community. Individual sessions typically address treatment goals that are specific to the child. It is sometimes valuable to complete a group class first that covers the fundamentals of ABA before working on specific treatment plan goals. BCBAs will often ask parents to track behaviors or skills by collecting data (even when the BCBA is not present).

At the end of the day, parent training is about giving families more resources to help their child outside of scheduled therapy appointments. Teachers and therapists are there to help your child learn but they say goodbye to the child at the end of each appointment. Parents and Caregivers spend the most time with their children. The more techniques parents have, the more opportunities will become available to help their child succeed.


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