Summer is upon us again! And for parents that means one thing – school is out, and the kids are at home.
On one hand, that means the morning rush of getting the kids out of the house is done for the foreseeable future. You may even get to sleep in a bit, and enjoy your morning coffee in peace.
But parents of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) face an additional challenge.
With the kids at home, they may not be receiving the regular behavioral supports they would otherwise have at school. During the summer months, it is more important than ever to ensure gains in adaptive skills and behavior management continue.
Having your child receive services year round helps to ensure that he/she receives consistent programming. And consistency is the key to growth. For your child with ASD, this means seeking out a qualified Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) provider in your area that provides in-home services.
Yes, that’s right! The ABA provider will come to you to provide supports to your child where they are most comfortable – your home.
A qualified ABA provider will have a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) that meets directly with you to design a home-based program that ensures continued progress in the absence of a school routine. But the BCBA and front-line staff can’t be at your house all of the time. Thus, in order to provide a consistent learning environment for your child, the parents must be involved!
Here are a few tips for parents to help promote a consistent home environment over the summer:
Ensure your BCBA is staying up to date on your child’s programming. Your BCBA should meet with you regularly to show you updated graphically-depicted data. The data should be updated regularly and show progress towards treatment goals. If it doesn’t, then something needs to change. The data-based nature of ABA holds everyone accountable to success.
Ensure your BCBA is providing regular parent training. As a parent receiving in-home ABA services, you should receive regular training on how to facilitate your child’s development and manage any challenging behaviors.
Parents need to take data too! Taking data to ensure progress resides as much on the parents as the BCBA. The specific types of data will vary depending on the specifics of your child, but they typically involve some form of rate, frequency, duration, or intensity of adaptive and challenging behavior.
Have a schedule. Often times, simply normalizing the daily routine with a visual schedule can work wonders for skill acquisition and behavior management. Moreover, putting together a visual schedule with your child can be a fun activity in itself, and it gives your child ownership over the day.
Catch your child being good. Lastly, ABA is all about catching people being good. All too often we focus on the “bad” things that people do, and inadvertently give the child attention for it. But if you can flip that on its head, and give your child positive attention when they are doing well, it can make a world of difference.
By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC