How Parents Can Practice ABA Therapy at Home

As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, you know that finding the right “recipe” of therapeutic methods can be life-changing. When you find strategies that work well with your child, it can also be helpful to remain consistent with therapy by regularly practicing applied behavior analysis (ABA) strategies. Your child will work on building cognition, communication, and social skills throughout the school day with their support team, and it can be helpful to continue reinforcing these strategies at home.

While it’s unlikely that parents of children with autism will have formal training in applied behavior analysis, there are easy ways to informally implement ABA strategies at home.

Structure: For children on the autism spectrum, structure can provide comfort at home and at school. This might include eating breakfast and dinner at the same times every day, setting aside the same block of time each night to do homework, or picking up your child from school at the same time each day.

Full family involvement: Keeping all family members involved in ABA therapy can help to provide consistency and reinforcement. For example, if the child is working on keeping eye contact during conversation, it will be helpful for all family members to practice this at home.

Positive reinforcement: One of the most important pieces of building positive behaviors is reinforcement. If a child is working on asking for permission before using the iPad, for example, the parents can say “Great job!” or “Thank you!” each time their child asks before grabbing for the iPad.

Quiet relaxation space: After spending a long day at school with many different stimuli and transitions, children can be very overwhelmed when they get home. It can also be normal for children to become overstimulated or begin to melt down at home. By creating a quiet space for your child who is on the spectrum, you can provide a safe place for them to relax. This might include a corner with pillows and sensory toys (e.g. fidgets or water beads) where they can go to relax and self-regulate.

Reduce screen time: In today’s society, children are using technology extremely early, and iPads and phones are a normal part of daily life. Studies have shown that being in front of a screen for too many hours during the day can reduce a child’s ability to read human emotions and interact with others. Because this is true for even children who are not on the autism spectrum, it is especially important for children on the autism spectrum (or with a sensory processing disorder) to spend a limited time in front of a screen to avoid overstimulation.

Are you interested in ABA services for your child in the Chicago area? Contact us to learn more about the range of services we provide for children who are on the autism spectrum at Chicago ABA Therapy, including applied behavior analysis therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.

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"Chicago ABA Therapy is a boon for special needs kids and parents. They take a play-based, personalized approach and meet the kids where they are. They also go above and beyond - our ABA therapist took time to make sure we as parents understood every aspect of our child's experience, understood how to read his progress reports and generally made us feel a part of his therapy. My child loved all his therapists. Highly recommend the team!"

"We were so happy with our experience with Chicago ABA. We began working with them when our son was almost 4, a few months after his autism diagnosis. It was such an amazing team to work with - everyone was professional, responsive, flexible, and worked so hard for our son to meet his goals, which he did beautifully. We worked together for almost 2 years before he left for kindergarten, and in that time period he met almost all of his goals. We went through several bumps in the road with behavioral difficulties, and the Chicago ABA team did an amazing job helping us problem solve, try new strategies and think of ways to translate those strategies at home. We couldn't recommend them more highly - anyone who works with Chicago ABA will be lucky to have the experience!"