“Do not fear people with Autism, embrace them, do not spite people with Autism unite them, Do not deny people with Autism accept them for then their abilities will shine”. - Quote by Paul Isaacs.
Parenting is difficult and challenging. It involves guiding your child, providing instruction and correction when appropriate with the hope of giving your child the opportunity to successful future. Due to certain deficits that an autistic child may have, parent find it difficult to go about the “regular” way of parenting. The parenting techniques may not be the same but can still be delivered with the same amount of love and care regardless of the strengths or weakness of your child. In addition, it’s encouraged that parents spend additional time and energy investing in their child, for example attending your child’s therapy session so you can also learn techniques of how to support your child.
Many children diagnosed with autism, receive Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) therapy as their main form of therapy. For your child’s success and ability to generalize the skills learned, it’s best that you as a parent have an active part. Participate in parent training, observe the session, engage your child in play, follow through with implementing proactive strategies, and more. By you as a parent taking active role, it prevents the issue of your child having a relationship with their therapist and not you as the parent. It also prevents the issue of the child not following through with instructions you provide and only attending/listening to the therapist.
Research over the years has shown that involvement of parents from the very beginning enhances and plays an important role in the success of the entire therapy process. You as a parent are the expert on your child. The professional helps provide you with strategies and techniques of how to teach skills and shape behavior, but you as the parent have the opportunity to be your child’s number one support. This is particularly important because you live with your child on a daily basis and know the most about your child. The tools you receive from ABA allow you to interact and engage with your child and not shy away from teaching novel skills. A study in 1998 of in-home therapy programs found those children who receive guidance from parents in conjunction with ABA therapy demonstrated a quicker acquisition rate of novel skills. In addition, the involvement of parents ensures that the treatment imparted is integrated into the specific home environment of each child which is unique.
Some challenges for parental involvement in parent training:
Busy work schedules
Stress and Anxiety from feeling a lack of ability to parent
Lack of support from family members and friends
Having other children to also parent
Understanding of the therapeutic approach
Need a break
If parental involvement is limited or non-existence, it can have far-reaching ramifications as far as the treatment goes. The therapy is compromised with the impact could have had been reduced vastly. The lack of coordination between the parents and the therapists impacts the learning. The kids are unable to generalize the skills learned in therapy in different environments where they may get a chance to practice and enhance their good behaviors and actions.
BCBAs can work with parents according to their schedules to help them development their understanding of the tools and how to implement them in the absence of the presence of the therapist. Talk to your BCBA today about the challenges you are encountering preventing the opportunity to participate parent training. Call Caliber Autism Care today, we will work with you!