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ABA Training for Parents: How It Works & What You Do

By Brad Fenton | 17 May, 2024
Abacus Therapies - ABA Training for Parents

As a parent of a child with autism, you have to wear many hats. Being a parent and carer, you also juggle being an educator, an assistant, and even an advocate. The good news is that many parents don’t have to wear those hats alone, and they can learn new ways to support their children on their journey to well-being with the help of ABA centers’ training.

In this article, we’ll see how ABA parent training helps parents become integral parts of their children’s Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, contributing significantly to its success.

What Is Applied Behavioral Analysis?

Applied Behavioral Analysis rests on a simple premise — human behaviors are learned, which also means that they can be changed. ABA therapy uses that premise for identifying behaviors, exploring their causes and consequences, and finding ways of modifying them to promote desirable behaviors and reduce the challenging ones.

Although ABA has been used in organizations and businesses, it’s best known for its effectiveness in the treatment of individuals with autism. ABA therapy has shown the potential to improve several areas of development, including intellectual abilities and communication skills.

Besides being evidence-based, ABA therapy is also very flexible and adaptable. A Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) has many different techniques at their disposal, such as positive reinforcement and modeling, allowing them many different approaches to addressing a problem.

They can also personalize a treatment plan and interventions according to individual needs. All of this makes ABA therapy a clear choice for many families worldwide.

What Is ABA Parent Training?

How many hours of ABA therapy a child will get in a week depends on several factors, including age and specific needs. But even if the treatment plan requires a more intensive schedule of 20 hours per week or more, there’s still work to be done when the BCBA or the BCaBA (Board-Certified assistant Behavioral Analyst) isn’t there.

That’s where the parents come in. Depending on their availability, parents can undergo training to help them play a more integral role in their children’s progress. That’s what ABA parent training is — teaching parents about the ABA and the skills they need to effectively contribute to their child’s treatment in day-to-day life.

BCBAs or BCaBAs administer ABA parent training, but registered behavioral technicians, RBTs, can also demonstrate skills and techniques. The training can be performed one-on-one or in a group setting. During the pandemic, telehealth ABA parent training curriculums were also developed.

While the parents will have to learn about ABA, ABA parent education and training focuses more on the practical than the educational. The goal is to enable the parent to use treatment principles and ABA techniques to reinforce and continue the work done during the therapy sessions.

There are many benefits to the parents’ increased involvement. They range from increasing communication in children to helping parents manage problematic behaviors more effectively and ensuring acquired skills are implementable in various settings. 

While parents’ involvement in their children’s programs is crucial for children’s development, especially when the kids are young, there are studies that show that taking a more prominent role in their children’s treatment has a positive impact on the parents, too.

4 Key Elements of ABA Training for Parents

Parents don’t need to become BCBAs to help their children with their ABA treatment. However, during ABA therapy training for parents, they have to learn some of the critical principles of ABA to do their part. Some of the key elements of ABA training for parents include learning:

  • ABA terms — Learning about reinforcement, the ABC model, or what fading is, helps the parent not only understand what they’re getting into and why but also learn to communicate with the BCBA more effectively.
  • Types of ABA interventions — From trading in earned stickers for rewards to teaching children to graph their data, ABA uses many strategies to promote desired behaviors and discourage those that are not.
  • Data collection — Parents who’ve watched their kids’ ABA sessions know the copious amount of data-taking. Parents in ABA parent training will also learn to collect data on behaviors such as frequency, duration, and rate. They can organize that data in charts and graphs and assess progress with the therapist.
  • SMART goals ABA parent training is goal-oriented, and parents are given specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals to work on with their children. These goals can help children acquire living skills and habits, such as brushing their teeth, or help them grow interest in the world around them by providing opportunities for tactile stimulus.

How to Get Started with ABA Parent Training

The way to get started with ABA parent training is to talk with a professional. The therapist or the assistant already working with the child should provide information on whether or not they’re offering ABA training for parents as a service. If not, they might be able to recommend someone, but parents can also turn to professional and parent organizations to find out about their options. Healthcare and childcare institutions might also help.

The good news is that ABA training for parents is available in many locations — and insurance providers might cover it, as they are at the forefront of getting parents into ABA training.

The number of hours a parent can expect to spend in training depends on several factors. The insurance might cover an hour every week, for example. It’s also possible to have more intensive training for the first month or two and then take it down to a monthly session. 

Of course, the BCBA should ensure that the parent training goals match the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to devote time to training.  

Conclusion

ABA training for parents can be a good way for you as a parent to be more prominent in your children’s autism treatment plan. You are in the position to help your child as few therapists can. With proper training, you can expand your role in your child’s treatment and support system, even becoming an empowered advocate. Overall, ABA parent training can be a big step forward on the path of meaningful improvements.

FAQs

What is parent training in ABA therapy?

Parent training in ABA therapy is a program that educates parents and caregivers on how to implement ABA techniques to support their children’s development.  

Why is parent training important in ABA?

Parent training is important in Applied Behavioral Analysis because it helps secure consistency over various environments, allows parents to help their children generalize skills in different contexts, and teaches the parents to create an environment supportive of the therapy at home.

Can an RBT provide parent training?

Registered Behavioral Technicians (RBTs) can play a role in parent training in ABA under the supervision of a Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA).