Research has made it very clear that high quality, early ABA interventions can provide huge benefits for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. With the rise of autism, intensive ABA services can be in high demand which means families may find themselves waiting for several months if not a year before beginning services. Here are some simple things you can do at home while you wait.
- Establish a Schedule/Routine with your Child. Children like to know the plan, especially children who may have a hard time with flexibility. Letting a child know what is expected of them can provide an additional level of reassurance and prevent resistance. It also can be helpful to ensure a balance between getting enough healthy food, exercise and sleep which are important for all children but especially kids on the spectrum. Visuals are often very helpful when making a schedule – try using a picture schedule with kids who aren’t reading yet.
- Invest in your Relationship with your Child. Chances are, you are probably experiencing higher levels of stress which makes it even more important to maintain a positive connection with your child. Make a commitment to carve out at least 15 minutes a day for undivided attention for just you and your child. No distractions. No multitasking. No demands. Simply be together. Follow their interest. Join their world. Make them smile and laugh. Connect.
- Become an Investigator. Understanding your child’s behavior and unique needs requires a lot of knowledge and your role as their parent is invaluable. Begin to observe when your child struggles, what situations are difficult and what are some of their triggers (antecedents– things that occur before a challenging behavior). Learning these patterns is an important step to figuring out how to support them. Writing down your observations can help you (and your future Behavior Analyst) identify patterns in behavior.
- Learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism. Learning about this science and how it will be applied to help your child with autism will give you a head start. Research shows that when parents are actively involved with their child’s treatment, kids make more progress. ABA services will teach your child a wide variety of skills: communication skills, social and emotional skills, self-help skills and more. Here are some links to learn more about Autism and ABA: