Time is precious for a child undergoing ABA therapy. Days and weeks without seeing an interventionist can halt the learning process and even reverse previously mastered goals. Given the consistent uprise in COVID-19 cases in the United States, businesses and medical personnel have been streamlined to limit exposure and embrace social distancing. Limitations in treatment can seem scary, but here are some tips to keep your child making progress if school or ABA treatment is temporarily unavailable.
1. Remain calm
Being the primary caretaker for a child with autism can be overwhelming in itself, not to mention during a global pandemic. Take time to practice self-care so that time spent with the child is high quality.
2. Be Forgiving
These are unprecedented times and the world is already full of criticism. Do your best to forgive yourself if you make a mistake or do not live up to your own standards. Forgiving yourself prevents the possibility of built up emotion preventing quality time with the child.
3. Ask questions
Be sure to consult your child’s BCBA and BT about ways to continue treatment during time at home. Call or video chat to ask questions and practice technique. Getting feedback from a professional will take the unknowns out of the situation. You are ultimately spending the most time with the child and have a lot of power in the learning process. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
4. Get help
See if friends and family are willing to use a few ABA techniques if they are taking turns with the child. Look up videos from reputable sources outlining the techniques your BT has discussed with you. Focus on reinforcement timing and practice consistency in ABA techniques. Perfect practice makes perfect!
5. Be patient
ABA therapy is a medically necessary service. As businesses slowly reopen, ABA offices and clinics will be one of the first. While it may be overwhelming, the treatment will not cease forever. It is likely that new sanitation and social distancing guidelines will be introduced. Be understanding if your BT implements new rules to make clinic or home visits safer.
While there is no secret ingredient to coping during a pandemic, following these five tips can take some of the unknowns out of caring for a child with autism. While your child is always a priority, be sure to also adhere to CDC guidelines and minimize exposure through social distancing!