A Guide for Parents: Persevere and Celebrate the Small Wins ABA Therapy Brings
Raising a child with a disability can require a full plate of therapy schedules, unexpected costs,
and high stress. Adding ABA therapy to your family’s schedule might seem daunting, but with
the right provider, ABA therapy should result in a better quality of life for the whole family. It is
important to find a qualified and supportive ABA provider that will make realistic and feasible
recommendations for your family. We know it can be nerve-wracking to start ABA therapy, and
even more difficult to wait on progress. To bolster understanding and peace of mind, we want to
reassure you of the following:
It will get better.
It’s hard to have hope and patience on the hard days, especially when it feels like no one
understands what “hard” really is in your house. Just like we do not learn new behaviors
overnight, we don’t change them overnight either. Behavior change isn’t linear, and there are
always tough days despite the progress. We encourage you to lean on your provider; ask them to
share progress data with you and point out the small wins each day brings.
Take a moment
When things are hectic and you’re juggling work, family obligations and your child it’s easy to
get overwhelmed and react in ways would prefer not to. The best thing you can do for yourself
and your child is to pause and think “what is most important at this very moment,” and “what are
they trying to communicate?” It helps to use that moment to remind yourself that your child is
not behaving a certain way on purpose. Everything they do is part of their growth, and your
ability to grow with them will depend on your ability to respond in ways that are sustainable for
both your child’s health and progress and your own mental health.
It’s okay to be imperfect
No one is perfect, and behavior change takes time and practice for everyone. Parent training will
help you use proactive strategies to make the days a little easier, and provide you with methods
to help defuse stressful moments. If you return to old habits here and there, know that that is
normal and okay. ABA is meant to support your family, not to make judgments or demand
Take time for yourself
Whether it is at the end of a long day or after weeks of caring for your child, you must find time
to “get away.” It doesn’t have to be a vacation or time when you physically leave your family; it
could be as simple as going to a room alone and listening to your favorite music for ten minutes.
It could be getting a haircut or massage, reading a book by the fire, or simply going shopping for
yourself. Make a list of things that make you happy that take less than 5 minutes, like making a
great cup of tea, watching a clip of a favorite comedian, or sitting outside. These times for
yourself can function as a much-needed reset and do wonders for your level of patience. It’s
important to put your own oxygen mask on before you take care of everyone else!
Remember it’s a journey
Working with a qualified ABA therapist will provide you with relief and peace of mind by giving
you action plans and the confidence you need to support your child in a way that aids their
progress and keeps stress levels low for everyone. Taking care of yourself when you can,
clinging to the positives, and pausing during stressful moments can make a world of difference.