Parent training is an important component of any successful treatment program for a child with autism, and can be instrumental in your child’s success. Although your child may receive quality ABA treatment services daily or weekly, it is essential that you receive support on implementing your child’s programming since most of his or her time is spent outside of therapy. Parent training has many benefits and can be done in many different ways.
Benefits of parent training
Improving your child’s communication: Children with autism can sometimes have difficulty expressing themselves and may often engage in problematic behaviors to get their wants and needs met. Through parent training you can learn how to effectively teach your child to communicate without engaging in problem behavior(s) and will be likely to see a decrease in problem behavior(s) at home and in the community. Being involved in teaching communication skills will also help your child to acquire those skills at faster rates, as they will get a lot of practice with the skills at home with you, as well as in their therapy sessions.
Decreasing problem behavior(s): Through parent training you can also learn how to carry out evidenced based problem behavior reduction interventions that are incorporated into your child’s therapy programming. You can receive support on how to handle your child’s problem behavior(s), and ways that you can prevent problem behavior(s) from occurring. By participating in parent training and carrying out the behavior reduction interventions, treatment for problem behavior(s) will be more consistent and therefore you will see a greater reduction in at home.
Promoting independence: Children with autism sometimes become dependent on help from others and/or do not have the skills necessary to do things independently. A major focus of your child’s programming will be to promote independence. You can learn how to teach your child daily living and self-help skills during parent training, and can then work on those skills at home with your child, which can improve you and your child’s quality of life. Because your child will be practicing those skills during their therapy sessions as well as at home, your child will be likely to develop those skills more quickly.
Consistency: Consistency is key to having a successful treatment program. It is essential that parents, caregivers, teachers, therapist, and every person involved in your child’s programming are consistent in the ways that skills and replacement behaviors are taught, as children with autism learn in ways that are different from typical developing children. Collaboration between you and your child’s therapy team can be accomplished through parent training and can be done to promote consistency. You can learn and collaborate on ways to teach your child different skills through parent training, and you can also observe ways in which skills are being taught by your child’s therapy team.
How can you become involved in your child’s success?
Join your child’s therapy sessions: Observing and participating in your child’s therapy sessions are always encouraged. Doing so can allow you to directly observe skills as they are being taught, and allows for you to receive coaching and feedback from an Analyst as you are learning to teach those skills. That way you’ll feel more confortable with teaching skills while in your home.
Schedule meetings with your child’s therapy team: Schedule to meet with your child’s therapy team frequently to discuss any concerns or newly arising events so that everyone is always up to date on what is happening with your child. This time can also be used for you to give input on your child’s programming, as no one knows your child better than you. Input from you can be very helpful in program development.
Work on skills at home: Working on skills at home can contribute to your child’s success as it allows for your child to get more practice with those skills in the environment in which he or she will be expected to perform them. The more practice with those skills, the more successful your child will be at developing and using those skills in the future.