ABA autism-focused training for parents

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) autism-focused therapy is an incredible resource for those caring for an autistic child. 

If you enrolled your child in an ABA program like those offered at Sandcastle Centers, continued education at home shows dramatic improvements. 

In addition, studies show time and again that early intervention is the most effective way to promote long-term development and success.

This treatment makes a huge difference, and so parents are encouraged to learn how to practice common techniques at home.

What is ABA autism therapy?

ABA is one of the most highly recognized treatments for children with ASD. 

It is most effective for children five and younger. However, it also positively affects older children, as well. 

It focuses on observation and positive reinforcement to address disruptive behaviors and developing critical skills like:

  • Social
  • Motor
  • Verbal
  • Reason

How long does ABA therapy last?

ABA autism-focused therapies are extensive, with most programs requiring 20-40 hours of personal sessions each week.

In the same vein, parents should learn various techniques so they can build on weekly lessons. 

Although training is quite time-consuming, the payoff is quick adoption of skills acquired in the program and reduced harmful or unfavorable behaviors.

How ABA Home Therapy Works

ABA autism programs are a standard for ASD treatment because of precise, measurable goals set by therapists, which lead to success.

Likewise, parents can certify themselves through live courses or online tools like ATN/AIR-P Parent’s Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis.

However, since the essentials of ABA are intuitive, you can utilize core ideas in numerous environments without formal training. 

When practicing ABA techniques at home:

  1. Define a skill you want your child to learn, such as washing her hands.

  2. Simplify the skill into smaller steps. In this case, turning on the sink, wetting her hands, and pumping the soap in her palms.

    Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay


  3. Demonstrate the first step. You may have to guide her by hand several times. But when your child shows that she understands how to do the step on her own, ask her to show you.

  4. If she does it properly, give her praise and a small reward. But if she doesn’t follow directions, ask her again. Repeat the training to confirm that your child equates the words to the task if necessary.

  5. Once your child succeeds in the first step, move to the second action. If your child needs help linking different steps (chaining), give her a chart with each step, or other visual aid.

ABA Autism Therapy Teaching Tools for Parents

ABA’s intuitive nature is practical for improving many essential developmental skills.

At one point, ABA autism techniques were punitive. But over time, it has evolved and become a flexible, positive program with more room for creativity, engagement, and rewards.

Techniques aren’t just for the classroom or home. You can teach new skills on the playground, in the store, or anywhere else. 

Parents can implement ABA therapy at home with these practices:

Discrete Trial Training

Discrete trial training focuses on learning the desired behavior using precise directions or prompts, followed by immediate reinforcement of correct responses.

Depending on the child’s learning stage, their specific reinforcement schedule may be different and can also change over time. 

Pivotal Response Training

Pivotal Response Training is a natural, play-based therapy based on the science of behavior analysis.

The adult follows the child’s direction and focuses on taking advantage of learning opportunities as they occur during natural play.

The focus is on broad areas instead of specific targeted behaviors or skills. 

Incidental Teaching

This method is comparable to Pivotal Response Training as it takes advantage of learning opportunities in the child’s natural environment. 

Incidental Teaching can occur naturally as opportunities to teach are taken advantage of, or this type of learning environment can be set up intentionally.

For example, if you are teaching colors, you can withhold or maintain control over the legos and only hand them over as the child names the color they would like. 

Fluency Building

Fluency Building is effective for teaching composite behaviors by reinforcing each component of a certain action until it becomes a subconscious behavior.

Fluency is also highly effective for maintaining learning. When skills are learned to fluency, the likelihood of retaining that skill dramatically increases. 

To learn something to fluency, the learner must know it well enough to reproduce the skill at the appropriate speed. They must be accurate. And they must have the proper rhythm.

For example, when learning multiplication tables, the child should be able to say the correct answer immediately upon being shown the flashcard with the problem on it.

They should be able to keep an appropriate rhythm (without umms and hmms as the cards flash for them). Repetitive, accurate practice produces fluency.

The role of the therapist


Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

For therapists, focus on the parent-child relationship benefits both individuals and their overall relationship.

Accordingly, parent-only and parent-child ABA training sessions should promote chances for teaching parents practical approaches and real-world applications.

Parent involvement is an integral part of ABA therapy and contributes to the success of the treatment for the child.

It is often very empowering for parents as they begin to understand the why behind their child’s behavior and how to address variances of behavior effectively. 

Moreover, focusing on the relationship between parent and child:

  • Encourages a stronger parent-child relationship
  • Promotes greater cooperation from the child
  • Support parents as they follow through on directives they give their child.


Practicing ABA for autism at home benefits parents, their child with ASD, and the care team. Collaboration between parents and therapists is imperative for supporting the child’s success.

When parents have the means and methods to implement ABA, they are empowered, and stress levels decrease when intervening in their child’s maladaptive behaviors.

Additionally, parent training helps children learn faster and promotes better progress in their natural home environment.

ABA Therapy from Sandcastle Centers

You may have as many questions about insurance as you do about ABA therapy itself. Parents and caretakers of children with autism will be happy to know that most private insurers are required to cover ABA services. 

Medicaid must cover the cost of treatments deemed medically necessary for those under 21. Additionally, Military families with Tricare are also eligible for coverage.

So call or message us today to talk about ABA therapy for your child. Our qualified therapists can help your child grow and live a happy, independent life.

At this uncertain times, your safety is our primary concern. Another therapy option is ABA Telehealth for Families. ABA telehealth therapy services channels lowers how many people your family connects the entire day since teleheath is not an in-person treatment session. We hope you are excited to find out the benefits of this ABA program.

You may also want to visit our additional locations. Please check out our ABA Center in Orlando and our autism therapy center in Pensacola.

For more information and resources, check out our Blog!

  • “ABA Training at Home – Special Learning Article.” Special Learning Inc, www.special-learning.com/article/ABA_Training_at_Home.
  • Alli, Renee A. “Autism Therapies: ABA, RDI, and Sensory Therapies.” WebMD, WebMD, 11 Nov. 2018, www.webmd.com/brain/autism/autism-therapies-aba-rdi-and-sensory-therapies#1.
  • Gilmore, Heather. “ABA Parent Training (Tips for Quality Applied Behavior Analysis Parent Training).” ABA Parent Training: Curriculum, CEUs, Support, & More, ABA Parent Training: Curriculum, CEUs, Support, & More, 8 Mar. 2019, www.abaparenttraining.com/home/2019/3/7/aba-parent-training-tips-for-quality-applied-behavior-analysis-parent-training.
  • Rudy, Lisa Jo. “Become Your Child’s ABA Therapist With ‘Rethink First’ Training.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 30 Jan. 2018, www.verywellhealth.com/rethink-autism-aba-website-overview-260021.
  • Rudy, Lisa Jo. “6 Easy, Lower-Cost Ways to Become Your Child’s Autism Therapist.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 9 Dec. 2019, www.verywellhealth.com/low-cost-autism-therapies-parents-can-provide-at-home-4172365.
  • Sarah. “Importance of Parent Training During a Child’s ABA Therapy.” Autism Therapy Chicago: ABA Therapy for Children with Autism, Steinberg Behavior Solutions, 22 Oct. 2018, www.sbsaba.com/parent-training-aba-therapy/.