You’re probably here because your child is acting in ways you don’t completely understand and you’ve been looking all over the internet for answers. You’re wondering: Does my child have Autism? ADHD? A developmental disorder? Does it matter what it’s called? You just want answers. I’m sure you’ve come across countless websites trying to provide an explanation for behavior. And undoubtedly you have seen these letters over and over again: ABA. What is ABA therapy? Is it the best treatment? How do I find services in my area? Can I do it myself? By now you may be overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. Here I will discuss the reasons you may want to do ABA therapy yourself, or have a provider come into your home. I will also go over the ways you can educate yourself to ultimately become your child’s behavioral therapist.
Reasons to Become your Child’s Behavioral Therapist
Here’s the thing. You’re a parent. You’re already doing behavior intervention every single day. You’re already your child’s “therapist”. You just don’t call it that. Every day you teach your child new skills and how to behave. And chances are, some of your parenting tricks are ABA methods. ABA (applied behavior analysis) is a positive approach to teaching skills and changing behaviors. And ABA procedures have been scientifically proven to change behavior and have long lasting effects. There are many reasons you may want to become your own child’s therapist.
- ♦ There are no ABA agencies providing services in your area because you live remotely
- ♦ You are on a waiting list for services, and you are looking for help now
- ♦ You are on a waiting list to receive a diagnosis
- ♦ Cost/Insurance won’t cover ABA services:
- ◊ Average cost of ABA therapy is $36,000 per year
- ◊ If your child doesn’t meet the criteria for an official diagnosis or if the insurance is a self-funded plan, they may not be required to provide full coverage.
- ♦ Your schedule doesn’t allow time for traditional ABA
- ◊ Usually you have to commit to a minimum of a 2-hour session, several times per week. If you have many children, in different activities, you may not have a 2-hour block of time.
Reasons to Get Traditional ABA Services
In-home ABA therapy has scientific evidence to prove that it is effective and produces long-lasting behavior change. If you have access to traditional ABA services, this should definitely be a priority for your child. Research shows that the best outcomes happen when ABA therapy is done 25-40 hours per week. Chances are you don’t have that much extra time to devote to ABA on your own. Here are some of the benefits of direct ABA services
- ♦ Undivided attention from a therapist who is there to work directly with your child
- ♦ More time devoted to ABA therapy, meaning they have a better chance of success
- ♦ Your kids learn these skills with multiple therapists which helps them to generalize the skills, meaning they will use these skills around different people and in different places
- ♦ You will have some time to yourself!
- ◊ Your therapist should include you for part of the session, but the rest of the time is yours—read a book, take a nap. Or more likely, do laundry and dishes 😊 But still, some free time to get stuff done
- ♦ Retain your patience
- ◊ Having your child engage in challenging behaviors for the majority of the day will wear on any parent’s patience. But an ABA therapist will be able to relieve you for many hours, meaning you can decompress and keep your sanity that much longer! You will be ready to take over once your therapist leaves.
Keep in mind, you will still need to spend some time working with your child to continue the ABA programs that your ABA team has designed. Your behavior analyst and therapist should spend some time explaining and demonstrating the techniques for you. Research shows that parent involvement and consistency are necessary for positive and lasting change.
How to Become Your Own Child’s ABA Therapist
Due to the rising rate of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and the consistent success of ABA treatment, many colleges offer an ABA program. Generally, they are 1 to 2 year programs and they include classes geared toward receiving your certificate in applied behavior analysis.
The benefit of choosing this route is that you will receive a comprehensive education in applied behavior analysis which includes the origin and history of ABA, past research, types of assessments used in ABA, an overview of how to implement techniques, procedures for behavior change, and how to measure behavior and take data.
However, you have to apply to the college and get accepted, meaning you have to have the prerequisites for admittance. College courses are expensive. And, it takes at least a year to obtain all of the information.
This is a great way to go if you are planning on entering the field of applied behavior analysis. Many colleges also offer the necessary supervision to get your field hours, and can direct you to agencies to get hands on experience.
Many books have been published on ABA topics. This may be the least expensive way to learn about ABA, depending on what you want to learn and how many books you buy, obviously. There are books written for parents, teachers, and students.
If you just do a simple search for ABA books you will see many books geared toward parents with 25 to 101 ABA strategies that you can do at home, as well as textbooks, history, ethics, etc.
The benefit of educating yourself this way is cost and the ability to choose what you want to learn. But it can become time consuming, and you have to read through so much information to find exactly what you’re looking for. If you enjoy reading, find ABA fascinating, and actually have the time to devote to reading this is a great option for you.
Registered Behavior Technician Courses
These are relatively inexpensive 40-hour courses that you can take online at your own pace. The courses go over a variety of ABA topics and procedures that
are designed to help ABA therapists become registered as behavior technicians. To become registered, an ABA therapist (or behavioral therapist) must have a supervisor sign off on their competency and pass an exam. But these courses are available to anyone. This is a great option for parents who want to educate themselves in ABA. They may also help you gain an understanding of therapy your child may be receiving. If your child has received a diagnosis and is in a public school then they will have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), which is usually written by a behavior analyst (or behavior interventionist). Some of the terminology can be technical and confusing if you’ve never been exposed to it. The downside to RBT training is that they provide general information, and provide very few practical and real life examples of ABA in practice.
Let Us Help
We have different plan options to meet your needs. With each plan you will get an ABA Crash Course which is written in understandable terms for practical use. The course is in a Google slide format and takes 30-40 minutes to complete (at your own pace). You will talk to a behavior analyst who will learn about your needs and design a plan specifically for you and your child. Once the plan is complete the procedures will be demonstrated for you. You can schedule follow up sessions to get the coaching and support you need along the way. Most of the plans include a weekly course and a weekly follow up session.
We recognize that traditional ABA therapy is the best option out there, but we also understand that it is not always available. Because studies show the importance of beginning ABA treatment as young as possible, you don’t want to wait years without doing anything to help your child. Let us help you take control of your child’s future, and start making positive behavior changes.