Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses observation, repetition and positive reinforcement to teach autistic children social, language and motor skills. It is considered one of the most successful and established autism treatments. Creating a home autism program can provide a comfortable learning environment for your child, especially in the early years. Read on to learn how to start a home ABA autism program.
- Skill level:
Start as early as possible after diagnosis. While ABA cannot cure autism, studies show that nearly half of the children treated before the age of four showed significant improvements in language skills, social functioning and IQ.
Plan to hire a certified ABA provider. Though it is recommend that parents and caregivers take ABA workshops, all ABA programs, including those conducted at home, must be supervised by a certified ABA provider to be effective. Because training can take up to 40 hours per week, you may need to hire a supervisor and more than one therapist.
Search for ABA therapists through local colleges and universities. Supervisors should have at least four years of experience with an ABA program in addition to a degree in psychology or related field. Demand for ABA therapists is high, so allow for sufficient time to assemble a team.
Broaden your search for supervisors and therapists by using online resources, such as the sites ABA Connections and Occupational Therapist Jobs. See the Resources section below for a link.
Take an ABA workshop. Most take one week to complete and both parents should attend, however, ABA training is also provided online. As a parent or caregiver, you can prepare your child for full-time ABA training with drills and lessons while you are in the process of hiring your therapist and supervisor. Learn more about ABA workshops and training at the Lovaas Institute website. See the Resources section below for a link.
Create the proper learning environment for your home program. ABA training requires one-on-one training in a room where your child will have no distractions. Start gathering the necessary tools, toys and learning materials your child will need.
Determine the length of time you wish to use a home-based program. Many parents consider the goal to be that their child will eventually attend school with his or her peers.
Tips and warnings
- Because demand for therapists is so high, consider hiring a student who has not yet graduated from college, but who has completed ABA training to work under the direction of an ABA supervisor.
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