ABA does help with your child’s learning of novel skills, but you as a parent can also assist your child with learning. When the ABA therapist has gone home for the day or is not available for “regular” therapy, you as a parent can step in. You can help your child generalize the skills already learned meaning engaging in the skill with a new person, new environment or with new items, if applicable. You can also help teach your child a new skill through naturalistic teaching methods. ABA therapy is most successful when parents continue the teaching opportunities beyond the presence of the ABA Therapist within the home. Below are some strategies and activities that parents can engage their child in.
Learning Opportunity Activities:
Feature or Function - Instead of using visuals cards, bring your child into a room and point out different items and label their features and functions in a game type of format. Have your child participate by repeating your response or imitating your actions depending on their method of communication. For example, if you are in the living room you can sit on the couch while simultaneously labeling the action and then inviting your child to do the same.
Sorting by Colors – This is a hands-on activity that can be done really using anything in the home that has similar colors. Laundry is a great one for this because your child will learn both how to sort whites, darks and colors and learning the skill of sorting.
Labeling Emotions – For this you may need to incorporate some visuals. If you’re able to you can purchase actual emotion cards, but you can just draw the different emotions on different blank pieces of paper and write the name of the emotion at the bottom. You can then play a game of making different faces for the different emotions and pointing to the picture and word for your child to reference and identify.
Guess the Emotion game – This is a fun game to discuss a range of emotions. Inspired by Taboo, it helps children develop emotional awareness as well as identify various feelings vis-à-vis themselves or others.
Social Stories – Social stories introduce new skills, activities, and ideas to your child in a way that makes the novel experience easier for them to understand as well as know how to engage. It can be a step by step guide that gives them the support they need to know how to react or respond to a situation. It’s a fun way to support your child in a nervous new situation.
Playdoh - Playdoh is a fun fine motor activity for children as well as for learning colors both expressively and receptively. Your child can poke it, use the tools to manipulate the playdoh and practice naming the different colors.
Action Songs – Sing different kid action songs with your child. This will target their gross motor abilities but will also model words for them. Examples of great songs are Wheels on the Bus, Row Row your boat, The Itsy-Bitsy spider, and The Ants go Marching.
There are so many more different activities that you can do at home with your child that are fun for learning but take these ideas and try them out. Your child learns best with a naturalistic approach and so there is much learning that will take place with you.
Your BCBA can help you determine more fun ways to incorporate learning opportunities into your child’s daily life. To learn more, contact Caliber Autism Care today for a consultation with one of our BCBAs.