Additional Resources

 Ideas and Resources for Parents at Home

Basic ABA Strategies

  • Pick a routine and stick to it on a daily basis
    • Consistency is key!
    • However, feel free to switch up the different types of activities that you work on each day, and the various materials/items you use within each task
  • Follow lesser preferred activities with highly preferred activities (e.g., academics followed by play time)
    • Use “first, then” statements (e.g., “first story time, then iPad).
    • A visual schedule is also helpful, whether it’s pictures or a written list
  • When providing instructions, use the “say, show, do” strategy
    • First tell your child what to do.
    • If he/she does not do it after a few seconds, show your child what to do by modeling the correct response.
    • If again he/she does not do it, physically guide your child to make the correct response.
  • Say what you do and do what you say
    • The more you narrate the actions or activities in the environment, the more language your child is exposed to. This will help facilitate acquisition of language skills!
    • Follow up your declarations with action. Be careful not to say things that you are not ready to act upon! Your child needs to trust that your words have meaning, so when you tell them “first puzzles and then snack”, they will comply with puzzles because they know a snack is waiting.
Establish a Routine
One easy way to help your child maintain desirable behavior at home is to establish and commit to a routine. This will help your child learn his or her expectations and provide ample opportunities to practice transitioning between activities. Below is a sample routine to follow, followed by ideas to incorporate language and independence in each activity.

1.    Dressing

2.    Bathroom

3.    Breakfast

4.    Morning Meeting

5.    Academics

6.    Lunch

7.    Play

8.    Group Play

9.    Outside Time

**Repeat or remove any pieces that don’t fit your child or family!

Activity-Specific Ideas
Dressing and Bathroom ❏     Provide choices

❏     What to wear, what to do first, etc.

❏     You may offer a “forced choice” by presenting two articles of clothing or presenting the toothbrush and hairbrush, rather than giving an open-ended choice of clothes from the entire closet or any bathroom-related task.

❏     Practice independence

❏     Allow your child to practice his or her independence by dressing themselves, completing hygiene routines, or putting dirty clothes in hampers. Even small actions like turning on or off the light will promote the development of self-help skills

❏     Offer hand-over-hand guidance when needed to facilitate the correct skills without doing it for your child.

Mealtimes ❏     Include your child in preparation

❏     Your child can help set the table, get specific items from the pantry/refrigerator, pour drinks, dish out food, cut his/her food, put halves of the sandwich together, etc.

❏     Maintain control over preferred items

❏     This will prompt your child to ask  for specific items and/or help

❏     Other family members can also hold onto preferred items (juice, crackers) so your child can practice asking for things from a variety of people

❏     Engage in mealtime conversation as a family

❏     Talk about what you are eating, the textures, colors, shapes, smells, tastes, etc.

Morning Meeting ❏     Daily Theme: Pick a daily theme (e.g., animals, such as cats on Monday, monkeys on Tuesday; letters such as A on Monday, B on Tuesday)

❏     Stories: read books associated with the theme

❏     Calendar: talk about the date, day of the week, year

❏     Season: talk about the current season and all 4 seasons

❏     Weather: look out the window or walk outside to talk about the weather for the day

Academics ❏     Writing/tracing

❏     Reading

❏     Science projects

❏     Language arts

❏     Counting

❏     Break down concepts or assignments into small “building blocks” and provide a lot of reinforcers for participation (e.g., smiley face chart, stickers, high-fives). Offer choices between two or three academic activities to follow your child’s preference.

Play ❏     Arts and crafts

❏     Preferred activities/toys

❏     Songs and dance

❏     Games

❏     Outside time

❏     Independent activities

Group Play ❏     Incorporate siblings and friends

❏     Family game

Outside Time ❏     Walks

❏     Free time

General Communication Practice
  • Maintain control over preferred items: if your child cannot easily get a toy or a snack, he or she will be more likely to ask you for help
  • Provide choices: embed choices throughout all activities or daily routines. This will provide more opportunities for your child to assert his or her preference and you can practice expanding language by having your child make a specific request. For example, if you give your child a choice between two shirts during dressing, rather than “this one” your child can say “the red shirt with the fire truck”.
  • Model appropriate communication: label items, actions, colors, shapes, details, etc. The more exposure your child has to the words associated with various items in your environment, the more they will learn!
  • Offer alternatives: If your child asks for something that isn’t readily available, offer alternative options when saying “no.” For example, “No cookies right now but you could have popcorn or yogurt. Do you want one of those?” This will provide an opportunity for your child to tolerate “no” while also practicing language by asking for whichever alternative (e.g., “Yes, I want the cheesy popcorn”).
  • Practice social skills: Your child can practice social skills by greeting each family member in the mornings and evenings (e.g., good morning, good night). While outside or when visitors arrive, your child can practice greetings, social questions, or even motor actions like waving.

Click on the image below for further directions on each activity:

Thank you to Proslutions for many great activities and ideas.