In-Home ABA Therapy: Beginner’s Guide for Parents

February 2, 2022

In-home ABA therapy provides a safe, natural environment for individuals with autism to improve social, communication, and learning skills with the comfort and convenience of their home. ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is considered the gold-standard therapy for treating individuals, often children, with autism using reinforcement techniques to improve learning and communication skills.

Consistent ABA therapy reduces the need for more costly therapies for a child in the future. There are a lot of benefits of ABA therapy that can help your child grow and develop skills such as:

  • Better communication
  • Increased comfort in socializing
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Reduction in behavioral challenges  

ABA therapy should be personalized based on a child's needs and preferences using a detailed assessment of a child's skills, behaviors, and interests. Goals should be personalized based on a child's age and ability. Some basic goals include improving skills around: communication, social interaction, self-care, academics, and play. All these goals can be reached using different techniques including positive reinforcement and task analysis.

What are the benefits of home-based ABA therapy for my child?

1. Convenience 

One of the greatest advantages of having in-home ABA therapy is that it is very convenient for the child and parents. It saves a lot of time and energy for parents when they do not need to go to care centers

2. Familiarity

The child feels more comfortable if the ABA therapy is provided at home. Children with autism find it scary and uncomfortable to be treated at care centers. Home-based ABA therapy allows for the therapist to monitor and provide treatment for the child within a safe space.

3. Natural reinforcers

A home provides many natural reinforcers that can be used to motivate children. Positive reinforcement using reinforcers can encourage behavior in the future. Activities, games, and toys in a home are natural positive reinforcers that therapists can use to reinforce healthy behaviors and increase motivation.

4. Better family relationships

Most children feel more comfortable when they are with their parents. With in-home ABA therapy, all family members can actively participate in the child's therapy sessions. Both family members and therapists can more easily understand the child's needs and preferences. Using in-home ABA therapy, therapists and parents can keep track of a child's progress and help improve the child's interaction with siblings and parents. 

5. Generalization

Learning simple skills in a home setting helps children apply these skills to future environments. For example, if a home has a flushing toilet with a handle, a child who uses that toilet often will remember to pull the handle to flush the toilet on other toilets.

6. Addressing specific behaviors at home

Certain behaviors that happen most often in a home setting can be addressed more easily. Some examples might be: getting dressed, using the toilet, eating at mealtime, brushing teeth, or having a bedtime routine. As children get older, another common behavior is using electronics for a prolonged period and not engaging with family or schoolwork. With a therapist at home, the therapist will be able to encourage positive behaviors and habits

7. Eliminate transitions

Many children find transitions difficult to work with and may resist attending sessions. Home-based ABA therapy eliminates the need for getting ready to leave a home, getting on transportation, or entering a new facility, thus, making a child more comfortable.

Is in-home ABA therapy effective for toddlers?

Studies have shown that early intervention is important to improving a toddler’s development of communication and social skills. In a five-year study across 48 diverse 18-30-month-old children with autism, the IQ of children given ABA therapy had improved by 14 points higher than the control group. Therapists for this age group will work on age and skill-appropriate behaviors to help toddlers learn important skills such as toilet training, eating meals with family, and getting dressed for the day.

How can I help in my child's home-based ABA therapy?

When ABA therapy is based at home, caregivers and parents play an important role. The children spend a lot more time with their parents than the therapists.  Parents should be actively involved in all activities. For instance, parents need to observe and understand the child's reinforcement and behavior changes. Here are some tips for success: 

  • Choose a dedicated therapy space for the child for better results.
  • Inform the therapists about the interests of the child so they can be used as motivation and reinforcement.
  • Make sure you have a consistent schedule and daily routine so your child knows what to do when the therapist is there.
  • Ensure there is always a responsible adult such as a babysitter or grandparent at home during the therapy sessions. 
  • Do not hesitate to ask the therapists for advice.

You should always encourage your child to practice new things inside and outside the therapy sessions. This can help reinforce what the child has learned in the therapy sessions. In this way, ABA therapy helps children with autism to socialize and interact comfortably. 

What to look for in an in-home ABA therapist?

ABA therapy can help your child with autism improve social and communication skills. In-home ABA therapy offers many advantages to the child’s development including convenience and a safe environment for the child. In order to get better results, here are some questions you may want to ask providers:

  • How many BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) do you have?
  • Note a BCBA is a graduate-level position where an individual is certified in applied behavior analysis.
  • Are your BCBCAs licensed with the BACB and through the state?
  • How much direct supervision do therapists receive from the BCBAs weekly?
  • How many behavioral therapists do you have?
  • How many therapists will be working with my child?
  • What sort of training do your therapists receive? How often does this training occur?
  • Is the therapist trained in parenting and caregiving?
  • What foundational skills are the therapists trained in to help the child succeed?
  • How do your therapists manage safety concerns?
  • What does a typical ABA session look like?
  • How do you determine goals for my child?
  • How does the therapist incorporate family members into the process?
  • How much input is allowed from a parent?
  • How is progress evaluated?
  • How often do you re-evaluate goals?
  • How do you measure success for the goals?
  • Do you have a waitlist?
  • How many hours per week can you provide?
  • What type of insurance do you accept?

Conclusion

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is considered one of the most impactful therapies to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) develop communication and social skills with the benefit that it can be provided at home for the child's comfort. The whole therapy program is designed based on the child's needs, preferences, interests, problems, and other factors. In-home therapy helps the child develop social, communication, and self-care skills quickly  in a comfortable environment.

ABA teaches many essential skills for children with autism. The Songbird team puts children and families first by providing innovative in-home ABA therapy programs for better results. Songbird's best-in-class therapists design care plans based on your child's strengths, interests, and goals to help your child succeed and grow.

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