Applied Behavioral Analyses therapy (ABA) helps to change behaviors that hinder your child’s development – when they have a diagnosis of Autism and other similar issues. But this therapy alone will not push your child to the heights of their learning abilities. It’s important that all areas of the child’s life are in sync – which is why it’s great to have an ABA therapist willing to be in contact and work with schools.
All Therapists Should be in Sync with ABA
Some schools provide OT, speech and other services that help improve your child’s quality of life, but they have the luxury of syncing these lessons together. If your ABA therapist is on the outside of this team, they can’t work as a whole. This is why, as a parent and ABA therapist, it’s important to be on top of the lessons the child is learning in all areas of their lives.
But what if your child is struggling in school and not progressing with peers? Or the school is not providing any therapy at all?
Some Autistic Children Do Not Cope in School
A child who absolutely cannot function in a social, verbal learning environment due to sensory issues will often exhibit strong sensory pre-occupation; they may seem inattentive, or exhibit bad or repetitive behavior. This is typical for a lower functioning Autistic child. It can be so distracting for your child and sometimes even painful, it’s almost impossible for them to learn in a school environment.
If this sounds like your child, ABA and homeschooling/shorter days should be thought about. Postponing regular schooling to correct sensory/learning problems doesn’t make you a bad parent. If a child cannot concentrate in a group setting, they won’t be gaining anything out of it anyway.
However, some schools simply aren’t trying hard enough. Hiring your ABA therapist to go in and investigate the school environment should be step one. They can identify the issues in the classroom and report back what isn’t working for your child and work with your child’s teacher who likely hasn’t been trained correctly. Using this method you can fight for better resources – and sometimes, unfortunately, it will be a fight.
Is ABA More Important than School?
ABA can help a child learn to learn, help a child overcome sensory issues and engage in the world outside of themselves. If your child can’t participate in a school setting, perhaps thinking about intense ABA therapy before school would be the best way to go. As a parent it’s best not to feel guilty about this; a child learning how to live in the world is more important than the skill of counting which can be taught at any age. With that said…
A child is not required to enter school until they are 6 years of age on or before September 1st of the year they will enter school. But if pushing back school entirely makes you uncomfortable, you can also consider shorter school days in order to add extra ABA therapy or even home school entirely.
ABA therapy should be a compliment to your child’s schooling and should always come first if a child is struggling greatly. As a parent, it’s important to communicate with schools and our children’s therapist to know what course of action needs to be taken.