with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA


ABA Parent Training Curriculum Tips and Research

ABA parent training curriculum is something that a lot of ABA professionals (BCBAs, etc.) must develop individually. This is acceptable standard of practice and is like other fields in which a service is being provided to an individual for the goal of improving some sort of skill or deficit in the individual’s repertoire.

ABA parent training curriculum can have various characteristics. This curriculum can also be implemented in various contexts or modalities. ABA parent training curriculum may be implemented in a client's home, in the community, in an office setting or even via telepractice services. One study completed ABA parent training curriculum remotely to help families who lived in rural areas (Heitzman-Powell, et. al., 2013). In this study, they improved parents’ knowledge of ABA and parents’ ability to implement ABA strategies with children significantly. They also saved thousands of service provider miles saving the company and the employees money and time.

Click here to find more Tips for Quality Applied Behavior Analysis Parent Training.


Tips for Creating Quality ABA Parent Training Goals

How do you select ABA parent training goals? Selecting ABA parent training goals has some similarities to how you would select goals for your clients for their direct ABA service.

ABA parent training goals as well as goals for direct ABA service should both be developed with the identification of socially significant behaviors in mind.

Additionally, both ABA parent training goals and goals for direct ABA service should be attainable. Goals should be strategically selected based upon your knowledge of the client and the family and what current level of functioning your client has, what resources the family has access to, and what the client is likely to achieve. Of course, we can’t make any promises of what a child will be able to learn with ABA services including with ABA parent training, but we can use our clinical expertise to make an educated hypothesis about what skills the client may learn next.


Behavioral contracts between parent and child

A behavioral contract is an intervention strategy that is sometimes used in the field of ABA. This strategy is helpful for some individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Behavioral contracts are a way to allow the child to have some say in what happens in his day to day life as well as what he or she may experience as a positive outcome for complying with specific set expectations. Additionally, the visual nature of a behavioral contract as well as the clarity and concreteness of the information included in the contract tend to be beneficial for many children with autism.

A behavioral contract may be helpful for the parent, as well. Understandably, sometimes parents can become overwhelmed or stressed when their child does not meet expectations or displays challenging behaviors. The stress response naturally tends to elicit emotional and impulsive responding since the body’s stress system typically results in activity in the most primitive area of the brain, the brain stem. The brainstem is involved in basic physiological responses such as breathing and heart rate (Fernández-Gil, 2010).


Distance Learning in ABA Parent Training

ABA parent training is an essential component of helping children with autism spectrum disorder. Parent training based on ABA can be helpful for parents of children with various abilities. Distance training can be a format in which to teach parents skills that can help their child learn new things, reduce challenging behaviors, and achieve goals.

Wayner and Ingersoll (2013) evaluated a distance learning program to help parents of children with autism teach their child a new skill. The program was found to be effective for teaching parents how to improve their child's imitation skills, a skill that is commonly found to be impaired in children with ASD. The children of the parents who completed the training program also improved their imitation skills which was the ultimate goal of the training program.


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.


Factors of the Service Provider that Impact ABA Parent Training

Self-awareness is important for service providers. Although we often consider the behaviors and traits of our clients and their caregivers, we sometimes forget to consider our own behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. Human behavior is complex. Our observable behaviors and private events interact and influence the behaviors and private events of others and vice versa. In addition to the influences of human behavior on other people, the environment and stimuli in our surroundings plays a role in our behaviors including how we provide clinical services.

When providing ABA parent training, we should remember the complexity of how our own observable behaviors and private events may influence the services that we provide as well as how we view our clients. For example, your own personal beliefs and views on parenting, cleanliness, discipline, and so much more can impact how you view your clients and ultimately how you treat your clients (the children you work with or their parents).


Personal Factors of the Parent that Impact ABA Parent Training

We, as ABA professionals, need to remember that parents are human beings, too. We know that everyone is different. People have different perspectives, different values, different priorities, different stressors and barriers in life, different backgrounds, and different experiences. The ABA professional should be compassionate and considerate of things factors when working with parents of clients with autism spectrum disorder.

ABA parent training may be influenced by many factors. One of the many factors that can impact the sessions and the outcomes in ABA parent training services can be looked at as factors related to the parent as an individual or the personal factors of the parent.


Punishment in ABA Parent Training

The field of ABA sometimes uses terminology that doesn’t necessarily fit with common language used by parents and professionals that aren’t so familiar with ABA. The concept of “punishment” is one example of when this sometimes becomes problematic. If an ABA professional is discussing punishment from an ABA perspective but has not clearly defined what they mean by punishment, the listener (parent, other professional, or whomever is the conversational partner) may get confused, get defensive, or just not buy into the message that the ABA professional is offering. Because language is complex and people make meaning out of language based upon their own knowledge and learning history, it is important to clarify what we mean when we, as ABA professionals, use various terms.


Considering the Application of ABA Concepts to ABA Parent Training

Applied behavior analysis parent training incorporates the principles of ABA into teaching parents effective ways of improving their child’s skills and decreasing their child’s maladaptive behaviors. There are many different concepts in the field of ABA that could apply to ABA parent training. However, this article will present you with some of the basic concepts of ABA that you may consider applying in your parent training curriculum.

ABA is based upon the science of learning and behavior. In learning, there are three different types of learning. These include: respondent or classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning or modeling.

See this article on the 3 types of learning for more information.