What to Expect
ABA services can be very confusing to parents, especially those who do not consider themselves scientists. Oftentimes, parents will comment, "it sometimes seems like the opposite of parenting." Both Brian and Dave can empathize. For their own children, ABA services were often confusing and even frustrating. Both owners, however, are available to speak to you from the parent perspective. It's important to FPI that we set forth realistic expectations and meet our commitments.
Dependent on your child's individual pace, the first 2 weeks of sessions generally will not focus on treatment or behavior plan goals. It is spent building rapport with your child; building the relationship between therapist and child is essential. It will look much like play or fun time, but this time is important for establishing stimulus control.
Once the clinician has determined that a satisfactory level of stimulus control has been established, formal programming begins. We feel it's important for parents to note that one aspect of ABA therapy employs ignoring techniques to lower the instances of attention-seeking behavior. If a clinician or therapist hypothesizes that a specific behavior's function is attention, the intervention will often be planned ignoring. To a parent, this often results in, "All you do is ignore my kid! What are you here for!?" We will analyze the data resulting from an intervention such as this to prove (or disprove) the effectiveness.
One area parents often have concerns with is staffing changes. There are many reasons for staff changes. Some common examples include, staff turnover, emergencies within the staff's family or the individuals family, staff availability, staff incompatibility with an individual, codependency with an individual, professional development of staff, and staff burn out. Staff burn out in this field is commonplace and we at FPI encourage our staff to let us know when burn out sets in. Often times, individuals in the field try to "push through" burn out, which can cause worse problems later on. Our clinicians are also constantly looking at staff performance and taking notice of potential staff burn out. Couple these factors with the ever growing and increasing need for ABA services in our area, staff turnover and assignment of "newer" or "less experienced " staff is inevitable. Often times parents and families get emotionally attached to a particular staff; we encourage parents not to do so. Having an understanding from the start that regardless of the reason why, your staff will eventually move on from your case is best for families to recognize right away.
Trust and a better understanding of Applied Behavioral Analysis will help parents and family members remain consistent and stay engaged. We know that the main measure of success for parents is progress and also realize that the biggest contributor to failure is inconsistency, so we work to achieve progress and consistency to benefit your child/loved one. As an ABA agency, it's important that we set good expectations up front so that parents are aware of what is to come.
All of our treatment and behavior plans incorporate parent training goals. Additionally, FPI holds in office training sessions and workshops for parents.