As parents navigate an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis they are often flooded with information from thousands of sources. How to determine what advice is best can be taxing and well-meaning comments from friends, family, and strangers can leave a wave of doubt about how you are providing for your child. Caregiver education, often referred to as “parent training” sessions provide an individualized plan of goals for caregivers, a personalized toolbox of “what to do when” and “how do I help my child.” The best part of parent training sessions is the BCBA is not there to tell you what to do, but to listen and collaborate on goals that are meaningful to your family’s needs while understanding how to approach your child’s way of learning.
A great first step to parent training sessions is to learn some basics of Applied Behavior Analysis. Your BCBA can help identify what concepts are most helpful for your child’s needs.
Some examples include:
- What is positive reinforcement?
- How do I help my child learn a skill with different prompts?
- How do I break a skill down to make it easier to teach, a task analysis?
- How do I stop my child from hitting others?
Parent training sessions consist of a direct service session, between the parent/caregiver and BCBA, outside of the technician/client session. Goals/priorities for the parent training session should be identified, the BCBA may model the goal, allow the caregiver opportunities to practice the goal while the BCBA observes, and provides feedback. Feedback is critically important, to ensure the goal is being conducted in a way to maximize client progress. Additionally, feedback sets the foundation for a positive working relationship to occur between the BCBA and the parent. Take some time after to review and de-brief on how the implementation went. Your BCBA may request data collection. This data collected throughout the week will help your BCBA know how you are both doing on your goals. This can eliminate that wave of doubt as you are able to see the progress in yourself, your child, and in the data collected. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your BCBA for parent training.