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