Tips for Going to the Movies with a Special Needs Child
Let’s face it. Summer is not always filled with all sunny, beautiful days and when you live in Chicago, there’s bound to be a few rainy days. You’ll want to go to the movies but…how exactly do you go about that with a special needs child? Don’t worry. There’s lots you can do to make this a fun experience for your family!
Get Your ABA Team Involved!
We all wish we could take our therapists everywhere with us. I mean, they are amazing, but that’s just not realistic. However, you can ask for their help in the background for family outings. When it comes to movie outings, some of the things they can help with are social stories, visuals, and waiting programs.
Role Play Social Interactions
During an outing, social interactions are bound to happen. This can be a barrier to the special need child so it pays to practice! For some children, they may require a simple script, but for others, you can incorporate various pretend play options.
This is one of the bigger obstacles to going to the movies with a special needs child. Movies are a HUGE sensory experience but this can be managed with a few thoughtful tips.
Have a Good Time and Celebrate Success!!!!
Going to the movies can be a real challenge with a special needs child, but it doesn’t have to be a forbidden experience. With some planning and special accommodations, a trip to the movies can be a real breeze. Oh! And don’t forget to celebrate a successful outing with your child after the movie! Perhaps you can stop and get an ice cream on your ride home!
Guide by Ms. Michelle, RBT
With so many different ABA providers out there, it’s important to know what to look for. You want a provider that provides a highly effective treatment model that is correctly utilized and produces the wonderful results that ABA often boasts. There’s plenty of research on the internet that may suggest that your child needs 40 hours a week, or that clinic-based therapy is the best, or RBT’s are a must…the research is endless.
So what should you be on the look out for?
All treatments in behavior analysis are individualized and research is the single subject design that sets ABA apart from most other therapies. When you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve done just that, so treatment plans should be personalized to fit each child’s needs. Interventions MUST ALWAYS be research based. If you’re not sure, ASK!
DRIVEN BY ASSESSMENT
When you start with ABA Therapy, you’ll meet with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) that will conduct assessments that are most appropriate to your child’s needs. You may hear about the VB-MAPP, ABLLS, AFLS, PEAK, etc. These assessment tools will help your team determine what your child’s deficits and strengths are. The primary goal is to create programs that will work on decreasing your child’s deficits and reduce any gaps between strengths and weaknesses. The assessments completed with your child will help your BCBA make educated decisions about your child’s treatment goals. If you’re not sure about the assessments chosen, don’t forget to ask questions!
SHOW ME THE DATA
Every session your child has in ABA should include data. The data is collected on a wide-variety of things such as your child’s behavior, language skills, life skills, and responses to targeted program goals. Data is often reviewed daily to seek out trends that help predict that your child’s team is on the right treatment path. Your child’s therapist will be in close contact with their BCBA to seek guidance on their data trends. Changes will be made based on data collection and to ensure your child s making progress.
The most important thing to know about ABA is that skills must be generalized in order to be proven successful. Just because your child can brush their teeth during therapy sessions doesn’t mean they have the skill, but when they can brush their teeth in the natural home environment independently, that makes all the difference. It is important that all programs have access to generalization. This might require the involvement of parents, caretakers, siblings and other family members. Your child’s team will help guide you to generalize skills to make their treatment plan as successful as possible. You can also ask for Parent Training to enhance generalization of skills for the most optimal results for your child.
It’s ok to ask what type of training and background your ABA therapists have. Some may be backed by the RBT credential, some may have a variety of other credentials to back up the quality of services they provide and many others have years of hands-on experience. Ongoing practice in ABA therapy is the key to making sure an ABA therapist is well-trained for the position.
If you really want to be sure you are hiring a qualified ABA team, ask questions…lots of them. And if you’re still unsure, ask more questions. Go with your gut, but never forget about the research!
Guide by Ms. Michelle , RBT, Senior Behavior Therapist
6 Tips for Creating a Therapy-Ready Home
So your ready to start in-home ABA therapy, what next? Starting in-home therapy can feel like an overwhelming process and you may not know exactly what needs to be done to prepare. Take a deep breath! Here is an easy guide for parents/caregivers to use to get their home ready for therapy....
Create a space in your home specifically designated for therapy. This can be in your child’s bedroom, a spare room or even an office space. You will want a small work table, cubbies/storage space for therapy materials, and plenty of floor space. Having a safe and fun place for therapy can help your child and their team feel comfortable during their therapy sessions!
Purchase rewards/reinforcers for your child to utilize during their ABA therapy sessions. Reinforcement is a vital part of ABA therapy. It gives your child rewards for their successes and helps your child and therapist pair in a positive way. When your child has access to positive reinforcement, they will have higher rates of reaching their goals!
Get involved! Parental involvement is crucial to your child’s therapeutic outcomes. Talk to your child’s ABA team about ways you can join in on therapy. If you feel you could benefit from individual Parent Training with your child’s team, don’t be afraid to inquire! When you get involved, your child has a better change at generalizing skills outside of therapy, leading to even more success!
Talk to your family about their role in your child’s therapy. Perhaps you have other children that may interfere. You’ll want to make a plan to ensure they do not interrupt when it’s not appropriate. It’s also important to talk to other adults in home about their role in therapy. Your family should all be on the same page with your child’s ABA team. Using different methods of reinforcement, levels of demand placements, and interactions with your child could lead to reduced effectiveness of treatment, confusion and difficulty in learning for your child.
Ensure collaborations! Your child may receive a variety of outside therapies. You’ll want to make a plan to get everyone linked together. Look into signing release of information documents so all your child’s teams can communicate together. Share evaluations and progress notes with all therapists involved. You could even consider scheduling meetings in your home for all therapists to come together for collaborations that can increase your child’s progress and ensure goals do no unnecessarily overlap.
Relax! Having therapists in your home sounds like an overwhelming invasion of your personal space, but it’s not what it seems. Therapists are very mindful and respectful when they enter into your territory. They have been trained to work in the home environment and understand what it takes to make this a positive experience for everyone in your home!
At ABCS, we have an experienced team of ABA professionals that are eager to review the start-up process with you and review any additional ways you can help to ensure your child’s therapy needs are met every step of the way. If you have any questions about starting ABA therapy, please feel free to give us a call at (312) 420-2093
Guide by Ms. Michelle , RBT ABCS Senior Behavior Therapist
If you are familiar with Autism, chances are you have heard the term “ABA”. Many people coin the terms as two peas in a pod, but truth be told, it’s not JUST for individuals with Autism. ABA is all about making meaningful, socially significant changes, learning new skills and teaching those individuals how to utilize those new skills outside of the treatment setting.
ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. It’s also known as an effective, data-driven treatment model that is strongly backed by science. In layman’s terms, it’s the study of human behavior. If you wanted to get technical, the best available definition was written in 1968 by Baer, Wolf, & Risely: “Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significantly behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for improvement in behavior.” Unlike what people often times believe, it doesn’t just decrease unwanted behaviors. We can also seek out ABA to teach new behaviors, hone in on attention deficits, enhance self-help skills, increase language and communication, tap into social skills and even work on academics. ABA is an endless world of possibilities.
Keep in mind… ABA is about ALL behavior despite what you may have heard! (Not just the bad behaviors!)
Basically, your ABA therapist will focus in on antecedents and consequences, those are just fancy terms for what happens before and after a behavior. These play a huge role in the occurrence of any behavior, positive or negative. Sometimes, things just need a quick fine tune using a commonly-referred to principle of ABA…POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT! See a great behavior you want to keep in your kiddo’s repertoire? It needs to be rewarded at a higher rate (and by reward, it could truly be as simple as a “Nice Job!” or a fist-bump.) Chances are that behavior will increase and even generalize.
It’s not easy and sometimes, you need an extra hand to reinforce all those *ROCK STAR* behaviors you want to see from your child every day….
If you think your family could reap the benefits of ABA, click contact us to get started.
Guide by Ms. Michelle RBT,
Senior Behavior Therapist
Reference: Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M., & Risley, T.R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 1, 91-97.