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Parent Perspectives - Real answers from real parents about their experiences with ABA.

Updated: Mar 9

Questions and answers to help you better understand the process and experience of starting or continuing services.

Parent insight from a mother of a 3 year old boy diagnosed with ASD:


 

How did you find out about ABA?
We found out through the hospital. The psychologist that evaluated my son recommended the ABA services. My dad noticed some signs early on, but he didn't want to say anything because he wasn't sure.

What were your concerns about getting started with ABA?
How my son was going to feel during ABA and how it would affect my lifestyle. There are so many horror stories out there about ABA and how bad it can be, so I was scared. I was really scared to make the leap before we got started.

What has been your overall experience with ABA?
Amazing, I can't say enough good things about it! It has improved my son's quality of life, given him so many more tools to advocate for himself. It has improved my ability to learn about little things we might miss as a busy parent who is trying to do everything right all the times.
What are the biggest improvements that you’ve seen in your child?
His increased speech and the ability of him to copy and imitate words and actions. He is able to communicate more, and he's speaking more everyday.
What is the hardest part about your child getting ABA services?
The initial starting process with insurance. After that, it was the scary decision of how much ABA is necessary is how much would be too much for him.
What advice would you give to parents who are not sure if ABA is the right answer for their child?
You need to have an open mind and your family needs to be willing to take the recommendations to heart. I made a pros and cons list before increasing his schedule because I never want to overwhelm him. So you need to make sure your ABA company is the right fit. If you are not comfortable, or they are trying to convince you to take too many hours, its not the right fit. I will advocate for ABA all day long because I firmly believe that ABA isn't bad, but it can be done badly. If you are unhappy with your experience, its not the right company. You need to feel supported and part of the team, and your team needs to care about your child. It really can benefit the entire family system, even extended family members and parenting to other children. It helps me view the world differently, which is required when your child has special needs. I can't say enough good things about the benefits I've seen from ABA.


Parent insight from a father of a 7 year old boy diagnosed with ASD:



 
How long has your child had a diagnosis that qualified them for ABA services?
He was diagnosed at two years old and is seven now.

What were the first signs you noticed in your child that made you initially concerned about a potential ASD diagnosis?
I have an older child so I did have a bit of a comparison. For the first year of his life, he was meeting milestones… But after a year he didn’t have a single word. We thought maybe he had a speech delay. We got a speech pathologist, but after a couple of weeks of really giving all their methods a serious go and not seeing any progress, I asked them if there was another conversation we needed to have and that’s when they told me that he should be screen for autism.

How did you find out about ABA?
Immediately (after the diagnosis), I went to Youtube to see examples of what different therapies there were, not just ABA. Overwhelmingly there was a consistent vibe towards ABA. It seemed like most parents were saying that’s where they were seeing progress with.

What were your concerns about getting started with ABA?
Some people felt like the ABA route was too strict and that it was the opposite of floor time play (based therapies). I wondered if I was going to be uncomfortable. But, fortunately I have never experienced anything in ABA that makes me think in any way that it’s harsh or cold or strict at all.

What has been your overall experience with ABA?
Everyone has been great. We’re just super happy we landed here.

What do you think parents should ask their ABA providers before starting?
How did they get into this field? What led them to want to do this kind of work?

What are the biggest improvements that you’ve seen in your child?
Two big ones are getting his needs met with appropriate communication. He’s also more aware of the daily order of events, like how to go to the bathroom. Now, he can remind himself that this is the order that most people do this in. For example, he might not understand what germs are but it's great that now he washes his hands anyway.

What is the hardest part about your child getting ABA services?
Just trusting the process. We were recently working on (what to do) when he’s really escalated. As a parent, even when I think I’m being non-reactive, it's still really hard. Especially when he’s hitting himself or doing something that might bother a neighbor or another person. I've been shown how to not react in those situations… Sometimes it's just hard to wait out those moments until he calms down.

What advice would you give to parents who are not sure if ABA is the right answer for their child?
I would really encourage them to just give it a shot. There might be people who are afraid to commit to services only to find it's not the right fit for them. But just give it a trial period, give it a month or two, and just see if anything gets better because I feel pretty confident they will see that it will.

Parent insight from a mother of a 3 year old boy diagnosed with ASD:



 

How long has your child had a diagnosis that qualified them for ABA services?
He was diagnosed only a couple of months ago.

What were the first signs you noticed in your child that made you initially concerned about a potential ASD diagnosis?
Severe social anxiety around 18 months old. Anxiousness, discomfort, and immediate retreat to the parent. And also, he was not speaking until he was two years old.

How did you find out about ABA?
Through the San Diego Regional Center. A friend of ours’ kid has ASD and recommended the regional center. My son had developmental therapy until he aged out at three years old, and then they reached out to us about ABA.

What were your concerns about getting started with ABA?
None. We figured it could only help and if not, we could always cancel services.

What has been your overall experience with ABA?
Great. I love that you guys are flexible, that I can bounce ideas off of you. I was impressed when I spoke with Chelsea over the phone. She had a very good understanding of my son, which tells me your assessments are spot on and the communication is good.

What are the biggest improvements that you’ve seen in your child?
Speech. That was our top number 1, 2, and 3 was speech, speech, speech. Because everything else would fall in line as long as he could speak. The other were transitions and social. He's improved on all three fronts.

What is the hardest part about your child getting ABA services?
Everything takes a long time to happen, but it didn’t take unreasonably long to happen.



Parent insight from a mother of a 5 year old boy diagnosed with ASD:



 

How long has your child had a diagnosis that qualified them for ABA services?
Two and a half years

How did you find out about ABA?
We had known about it. It just felt like the next step. Finding the right ABA was a very big deal for me.

What were your concerns about getting started with ABA?
We really wanted a company that respected him for the person who he is. Not changing who he is to the core but just providing tools so that he can succeed better in society.

Did you have a negative experience with ABA before starting with Dedicated Healthcare?
With our first company we had ten sessions, the person showed up to two. They replaced her with another person who was really good, but then she quit and then we were without care.

What do you think parents should ask their ABA providers before starting?
Asking if they are going to show up. Wanting to know that people are consistent and making sure even though it's based on my son, there are ways to include the sisters into it. Teaching him how to interact with his sisters but also teaching his sisters how to interact with him. Just wanting to make sure we found a way to not have the sisters resent their brother and all the time he gets to spend with these people and therapists. Also, just making sure it’s someone who gets along with the family. We knew they were going to spend a lot of hours here and we wanted to make sure they meshed well with the family.

What are the biggest improvements that you’ve seen in your child?
He’s learned to verbalize his emotions really well as well as identify others’ emotions. We’ve also seen his ability to know when he needs to take a break and he’ll remove himself or ask for a coping skill.

What is the hardest part about your child getting ABA services?
The time. He started school five days a week, then we had to have ABA in the evenings. It was difficult on us and him. We had to change our whole life and school and things so that we could give him the best success with ABA.

What advice would you give to parents who are not sure if ABA is the right answer for their child?
Go with your gut and trust your instinct. After finding the right ABA company and services, we have just had benefits. Advocate for yourself even when you have a difficult time. You don’t just have to listen to all of the answers. As a parent, you are an active participant and can ask questions and get clarification.

What were the first signs you noticed in your child that made you initially concerned about a potential ASD diagnosis?
I feel like we always felt there was something. He was a San Diego Regional Center client before even four months old and was referred (for the ASD evaluation). As a baby, he was more challenging and more difficult to soothe than other kids we had cared for. He was very delayed in his speech but then when he started speaking, he was speaking in sentences.
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