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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

When ABA Parent Training Services Aren’t Going So Well – 3 Tips to Get Back on Track

What do you do when your ABA parent training services don’t seem to be going well? If you experience a standstill in treatment or maybe even regression in the client’s progress, there are few things that you may want to consider. Having an idea of where to start when you are trying to troubleshoot any struggles you may be having in ABA parent training can help you to provide higher quality services and can also prevent wasted time and energy. Knowing where to go next can help you to get your client’s progress back on track. Below you will find 3 tips for how you can get your ABA parent training services back on track.

(1) Review the Designed Plan and How it is Implemented

One of the first things you may want to visit when ABA parent training doesn’t seem to be moving in the right direction is whether the original plan (or modifications to a plan) is being followed as designed.

When services are not going in the right direction this may look like a lack of progress being made on goals or an increase in problematic behaviors. During ABA parent training, it can be helpful to provide the parent with clear recommendations and collaborate with the parent to design a mutually acceptable plan for skill acquisition or maladaptive behavior reduction. When it seems that ABA parent training doesn’t seem to be having the outcome that you (or the parent) would like, taking a gentle and compassionate look at how the treatment plan has been being implemented could give you some ideas on what to address to help the client achieve greater progress.

For further reading on Tips for Quality ABA Parent Training, you can read this article.

(2) Look at the Antecedents and Consequences for the Target Behavior

Like evaluating the plan and how it has been implemented, looking at the antecedents and consequences of the target behavior specifically can provide great insight as to where to go next with recommendations for your ABA parent training services. To help a child learn new skills and decrease maladaptive behaviors, antecedents (what happens before the behavior) and consequences (what happens after the behavior) are two extremely important areas to look at. With deeper analysis, the ABA professional can help guide the parent to more effective strategies regarding antecedents and consequences. Maybe even a lesson on how these two concepts impact behavior could help the parent learn more about their child and therefore improve the child’s skills and get things back on track.

Although there are many things you could look at for quality of antecedents, some things to consider include whether antecedents are appropriate for the child. For instance, is a direction that is being given clear? Is a motivating operation present (is the child motivated for the potential reinforcer)? Is the environment set up in a way that promotes success?

When looking at consequences, you may want to consider whether positive reinforcement is being used effectively. Is reinforcement being given contingent on the behavior? Is the child satiated on the reinforcing stimulus? Is reinforcement being given immediately after the behavior (or is another method being used to delay access to reinforcement, such as a particular reinforcement schedule or a token board/point system)?

(3) Pairing with the Child

One important thing to look at is whether the parent works on pairing themselves with reinforcement for the child’s sake. Does the parent work on rapport building with the child? Although we hear this idea often in the ABA field for the purposes of getting children to be more compliant with behavior technicians, this is also important to consider in a parent-child relationship. Kids are more likely to be compliant and participate in learning activities if they have a healthy and strong rapport with their parent.

Considering these three factors when your ABA parent training services seem to be stuck can help you to take a step in the right direction. Consider the treatment plan, how the treatment plan has been implemented, the antecedents and consequences of the behavior, and the parent’s efforts to pair with the child.



Kazdin, A. E. (2005). Parent Management Training. New York, New York. Oxford University Press.

When ABA Parent Training Services Aren’t Going So Well – 3 Tips to Get Back on Track

Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services.You can view more articles and resources from Heather at and email her at [email protected] can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2019). When ABA Parent Training Services Aren’t Going So Well – 3 Tips to Get Back on Track. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 17, 2020, from