Brecksville ABA therapy

Why Brecksville ABA Therapy Should Incorporate Parent Coaching

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA ) therapy is a widely recognized and effective treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder. However, the true measure of success with ABA is how far it extends beyond our sessions. We want to see our patients thriving across environments. That’s why our Brecksville ABA therapy approach always includes some element of active parental involvement.

Parent coaching in ABA is a critical component that we prioritize because it empowers parents with the skills and strategies they need to support their child’s development.

When parents “get it,” they can use the same strategies that are working for their child in therapy sessions and incorporate them at home, in the community, etc. In turn, kids will more quickly generalize the skills we’re imparting.

Why Parent Coaching is Key

Some of the main reasons we make parent coaching a key part of our Brecksville ABA therapy services:

  • Consistency across environments. Behaviors need to be addressed/reinforced in the same way across environments for the skills to “stick.” Kids with autism often have difficulty generalizing the skills they learn in one setting to another. By coaching parents on the therapeutic strategies we’re using in our sessions, they can consistently apply them at home and in the community – leading to a more cohesive approach associated with maximum carryover.
  • Parent empowering. Navigating parenting is tough. Doing so when you have a child with autism can be 10 times tougher. No one is born knowing this stuff. In fact, some of the most effective strategies we use routinely in Brecksville ABA therapy can go against your initial instinct as a parent (example: planned ignoring/extinction). We want parents to feel knowledgeable and confident about how to respond when their child engages in challenging or dangerous behaviors.
  • Building a supportive home environment. We know you love and support your child. You don’t need our help with that! What we teach in parent coaching in ABA therapy is how parents and caregivers can modify their home environment and routines in ways that encourage positive behaviors and minimize the risk of challenging behaviors. Some examples may include changes in routine, altering the physical setup of your home, incorporating visible supports, etc. Having ABA therapists who can work in various settings (in home, in clinic, at school, etc.) can help us tailor our approach to incorporate strategies that are going to prove most effective for your home and routines.

Brecksville ABA Therapy Parent Strategies

Some of the strategies we teach parents as part of our parent coaching:

  • Positive reinforcement. This is a foundational principle of ABA. Essentially, we work to identify what will be effective reinforcers for your child to encourage expected behavior. This can include praise, enjoyable activities, or preferred toys. Parents learn how to systematically apply those reinforcers to encourage kids do things like follow instructions, complete tasks, and engage in functional social interactions.
  • Behavior management techniques. Kids with autism frequently engage in challenging behaviors, such as tantrums, self-injury, elopement and aggression. As therapists, parents, teachers, and caregivers, managing those behaviors is sometimes a significant aspect of caring for them. We teach parents how to identify triggers, use antecedent interventions to prevent behaviors, and implement consequence strategies that are likely to reduce the likelihood of those behaviors occurring.
  • Communication strategies. Lots of kids on the spectrum struggle with communication. This can lead to frustration on all sides. When we coach parents on effective communication strategies, we can teach parents who to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems (ex: picture exchange, speech generating devices, etc.). We can also teach basic signs and gesturing, as well as strategies that will encourage verbal communication (modeling, communication temptations, intentional “forgetfulness,” etc.).
  • Social skills development. We can teach parents how we incorporate role-playing scenarios, turn-taking, and opportunities for activities that encourage joint attention. When these strategies are incorporated into daily routines, they can help the child learn faster how to navigate social situations more effectively.
  • Functional living skills. Grooming, eating, toileting – we can give parents step-by-step guidance on how to break down these complex tasks into manageable steps – with visuals, prompts, and fading techniques – to reinforce independent skill acquisition.
  • Data collection and monitoring. The practice of ABA therapy relies heavily on “analysis.” We need to understand the “why” of a child’s behavior before we can formulate strategies for how to best approach it. We teach parents how to gather data that will help us – and them – better understand their child’s behaviors so that we can be most effective at addressing them.

If you have questions about our Brecksville ABA therapy services, we’re happy to offer our insight!

For more information about Brecksville ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy at Therapy and Wellness Connection, Contact Us Online or call our office (330) 748-4807. Serving Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Cleveland, Akron and surrounding communities.

Additional Resources:

Helping Parents Understand ABA Therapy, Dec. 2018, Behavior Analysis in Practice

More Blog Entries:

Peer Play in Cleveland ABA Therapy, May 2024, Therapy & Wellness Connection Brecksville ABA Therapy Blog