Parenting is always challenging, but parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents specific challenges of its own.
Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects your child’s ability to communicate, play, learn, and participate in family life, causing challenges such as:
People with ASD have neurological differences that can make it difficult to understand expectations and effectively communicate their feelings. As a result, when a person with ASD becomes overwhelmed and anxious, they can’t process cognitive thoughts and frequently express their frustration through meltdowns or oppositional behaviors.
Managing the challenges that come with raising a child with ASD can be daunting and many parents need help in order to understand their child’s challenges and learn how best to support their needs—that’s what parent training comes in. Seeing parent training is nothing to be ashamed about. It just shows that you’re invested in and committed to doing what’s best to support your child’s needs.
The Intercare Therapy team bases their autism treatment on applied behavioral analysis (ABA), a form of autism treatment that studies have shown helps children with ASD learn new skills and decrease undesirable and harmful behaviors. The Intercare team teaches the same technique to parents who seek out parent training.
ABA is a highly-structured form of therapy in which therapists use a series of small steps to help children make progress toward their goals. In parent training, you’ll learn techniques that you can immediately apply throughout the day to support your child when they encounter challenges or work to learn new skills.
At Intercare Therapy, parent training takes place in one-on-one sessions with a provider and focuses on teaching parents the specifics of how ABA works and how to use it to support their own children. Parents also have the opportunity to participate in ABA sessions with their child to see firsthand how their therapist implements ABA.
During your parent training, you work with your provider to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses and prioritize goals, which may address any problem, from extinguishing meltdowns to overcoming limited food preferences or teaching basic self-care skills.
In parent training, you will learn how to use positive reinforcement to build your child’s strengths and support new skills. This is a cornerstone of ABA therapy, which is based on positive rewards for desired behaviors, not reactions to negative problems.
One of the things that makes ABA autism therapy so effective is its focus on positive reinforcement. In ABA, the administering therapist sets a behavior goal for the patient and rewards them every time they successfully complete the goal behavior to encourage repeated use of the skill in question. Over time, this repetition leads to true behavioral change.
For parents, training can help reduce stress and give them a better understanding of how their child’s treatment works. Parent training has also been found to have significant benefits for children with ASD as well. In one clinical trial, parent training was shown to bring meaningful benefits for preschool-aged children with autism in particular. The study’s authors found that parent training "fosters parents' interactional abilities and play skills to promote their children's functional development.”
Parent training also helps parents craft a plan to meet their family’s unique needs, as well as set priorities for how to spend their time, money, and energy. With parent training, you’ll also learn practical strategies that can help you and your partner coparent more effectively to support your child with ASD and balance their needs with the needs of the rest of the family.
If you feel overwhelmed or need to learn skills that support your child, call Intercare Therapy or fill out the contact form online to learn about parent training.