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ABA Therapy

Why Parent Involvement Is Important To Autism Therapy For Children

ABA therapy has proven to help many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) live more fulfilling and independent lives. Yet, despite various success stories, there may still be apprehension from parents and loved ones before jumping into therapy. Making sure parents are involved, supported, and educated about ABA therapy is often just as important as the therapy itself.

What Is Parent Involvement in ABA

Parent involvement is the time parents spend participating in ABA therapy, either with a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) that provides 1:1 autism therapy or with a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

During this time, parents receive direct training on ABA techniques with their BCBA – by modeling therapy techniques, parents can help their children practice the same skills and goals learned during therapy sessions. Parent involvement may also consist of collecting data about the child, assisting an RBT during in-home therapy or while running a program, and completing worksheets or other documents provided by the BCBA.

What Is Parent Education in ABA? 

Parent education is an essential part of effective ABA therapy – after all, a child’s learning and development does not just end when the therapy session is over. Routine and consistency are hugely beneficial to achieving ABA goals and practicing new skills. When parents understand and can use ABA therapy techniques on their own, opportunities for reinforcement and growth are boundless.

In fact, one study by Aimee K. Rovane, Robert M. Hock, and Stacy-Ann January points out that “Clients receiving ABA services where parents believe in ABA services and are willing to participate do make significant progress with consistency over time.”

If you have questions about ABA and if it is right for your child, reach out to the BCBA. If you are a BCBA who is struggling to get parents on board with ABA services, you should take the time to speak with the family and discuss how ABA can be beneficial for their child specifically.

What Does Parent Involvement Look Like? 

Parent involvement can consist of a lot of different things but should always be specific to the child and parents/family’s needs. During direct therapy sessions with an RBT, parents should be present and aware of the techniques and strategies their therapist is using.

Parents should also be available to intervene and follow the behavior support plan if maladaptive behaviors occur, or if past behaviors start to resurface. Parents should also observe sessions with an RBT and write down any questions they’d like to discuss with the BCBA. The BCBA is a great resource for learning more about the nitty-gritty details of ABA!

For parent involvement with the BCBA, insurance companies typically refer to this service as either “Parent Training” or “Family Training.” This time is extremely valuable for both parents and BCBAs because it can be used to review progress and discuss questions or concerns. Because constant communication is important for quality service, the BCBA and parents should set a schedule for parent training.

Ready to start ABA therapy? Read our parent’s guide to ABA therapy.

Why Is Parent Involvement Important? 

Parent involvement is not only important for quality services and progress but is also a requirement of most insurance companies. Essentially, this is time that the parents and BCBA can spend together practicing the parents’ skills and progress. The purpose of this is to ensure that skills meant to manage behavior and help with learning are transferred from the BCBA to the parents.

What are the Benefits of Parent Involvement? 

One of the many benefits of parent involvement is simply learning the strategies of ABA and how helpful they can be. Research conducted by Abbie Solish and Adrienne Perry has shown a connection between parent involvement, self-efficacy, and knowledge when using ABA techniques.

More recent research discovered that parent involvement in ABA services starting around three years old led to an improvement in children’s behavioral outcomes. As such, parents who participate in ABA services are more likely to exhibit confidence and a higher level of knowledge about ABA techniques.

Do you have a child that has been diagnosed with ASD and looking for a caring approach to ABA therapy? Fill out or autism therapy assessment form to see if ABA therapy at Applied ABC is right for your family.

BCBA and Parent Resources

Sources Cited

Rovane, A. K., Hock, R. M., and January, S. A. A. Adherence to Behavioral Treatments and Parent Stress in Families of Children With ASD.

Solish, A., & Perry, A. (2008). Parents’ Involvement in Their Children’s Behavioral Intervention Programs: Parent and Therapist Perspectives.

Other articles

ABA Therapy Basics

Examples Of ABA Therapy

How ABA Therapy Works At Applied ABC

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