Welcome to the world of navigating ABA through telehealth! While this method of therapy is new for us all, we can adapt our ABA strategies that we use in our in-home sessions, and implement them remotely. Consistency is key when we are working with our children; Telehealth will allow us to continue building on the skills we have started during our in-home sessions.
Telehealth sessions may involve more preparation than our in-home sessions. While we are used to our bag of materials and toys, we will have to plan for engaging play in different ways. While each session may be ran slightly different, here are some ideas on how to prepare for your sessions!
Brainstorm some NET ideas for each session! You can use materials from your client’s environment (toys such as play doh, blocks, or cars), as well as online activities, such as games or stories.
10 minutes before session: You can take some time to pull up tabs on any DTT resources you may need for session, such as power points for certain skill acquisition programs, or leveled books to read. You can also take this time to pull up certain tabs for any visual schedules or token boards that will be used in session.
Using online games? These can be great to engage your client, as well as to gain instructional control over the activity. Consider your client’s skill level, and try to find games that are related to your client’s programs!
Increase mands: Try a dress up or coloring game
Tact numbers/letters: Try out the various number/letter games in our resource tab!
Tact prepositions: Hide and seek games are great for tacting prepositions
We know when our client is engaged in session, they are more likely to learn. However, it can sometimes be tricky to gain our client’s attention, or have instructional control when we are through a computer screen.
Before starting session, give your client a choice to pick out/bring 1-2 toys they want to play with
When creating a session schedule, give your client opportunities to have choices on their schedule- i.e. “Would you like to read a story or build with blocks next?”
Use token boards for less preferred activities: Gain behavior momentum during DTT by using a token board- have client earn a preferred item/activity afterwards
Try doing 10-15 minute intervals for each activity, then transition
Give your client frequent movement and stretching breaks!
Use your own toys from in home sessions to engage during any free play
Try running mastered programs to build on maintenance, as well as gaining instructional control
Provide opportunities for rewards throughout session- fun video or game, break, snack, etc.
Parent involvement in sessions can look different for each of our clients. Some depending factors may include: BCBA and parent preference, availability, child’s skill level/acquisition programs, or the implementation of the child’s behavior plan. Telehealth sessions can be a great way to include and build upon parent training. Here are some ideas on working with parents:
You can start sessions by asking how the child and parent are doing, going over expectations, and reviewing any behaviors or concerns the parent may have.
Have the parent start off with one skill acquisition program for the first few sessions- allow the parent and child to get comfortable with giving and responding to the demand. After this, gradually start to increase the number of programs you model and have the parent run.
Help the parent create schedules, or offer ideas on NET activities to complete
During NET activities, model the programs, and remind parents of appropriate opportunities to implement
Provide praise to child and parent
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shelby Millison is a Registered Behavior Technician at The Language and Behavior Center, and holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology. She has been working with children since 2014 in multiple settings including schools, homes, and group centers. Shelby believes that it is important for children to have stability and consistency in their routine, and that telehealth sessions will provide stability as well as growth, in an uncertain time.