Importance of Parent Involvement
Getting involved in your child’s IEP process, ABA therapy, and other outside therapies is important in the long-term success of these programs. Increased parent involvement in school and in-home therapy can help you understand the goals and outcomes of therapies and teach you new ways to help continue your child’s progress outside of the sessions. Getting involved with your child’s school can also lead to a greater sense of community within your local district and open more inclusive opportunities for your child.
Involvement in ABA Services
Most in-home ABA services have parent training included as a part of the treatment package. Accessing parent training regularly is a great way to increase your involvement with your child’s in-home ABA therapy. Some focuses of parent training may include decreasing challenging behavior at home, understanding your child’s diagnosis, developing routines for your child, increasing communication, daily living skills, social skills, or play skills. Your child’s BCBA may also be able to work with your schedule to find a time for parent training meetings outside of child’s typical therapy session. Telehealth can sometimes be utilized if that is easier and preferred for the family.
Parent training sessions are an ideal time to discuss your child’s goals and progress. After completing an initial assessment, your BCBA should review the proposed treatment plan and explain the initial targets and steps to work towards those goals. This is a wonderful time to discuss realistic expectations and what progress will look like. You can ask the BCBA and/or ABA company if they have a way for you to access your child’s goal and progress data on your own time. Some companies have an electronic system that will allow you to view your child’s goals, daily entries, and program graphs.
Involvement at School
Another way you can learn more about your child’s educational programming is to increase involvement with your child’s school. You can request additional team meetings to discuss progress or ask to meet with your child’s teacher regularly. Some families find it helpful to request an observation of their child in the classroom. Understanding what your child is learning in school and how school is delivering services can be helpful to parents when looking at what supports they can carry over at home.
Another way to get involved with your child’s school is to volunteer to help in the classroom or on various committees such as the PTA. Many school districts (in Massachusetts, for example) also have Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (SEPACs) which are made up of parents of children who have special education services, and they serve as advisors for the school administration on special education student needs.
Regardless of how you choose to get involved, know that it is your right to be able to access these services and information! You are your child’s best advocate and educating yourself on the therapies you are considering or receiving is a fantastic way to get started! Click here to learn more about Key Autism Services.
Kara J. Guy, M.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Director of Early Intervention Services
Key Autism Services