5 ABA Therapy activities parents can practice at home to reinforce what their child has learned
- Children receiving ABA Therapy can benefit from at-home reinforcement
- 5 ABA Therapy techniques parents can do at home with their children
If you have a child with Autism, you may have heard about ABA Therapy. Perhaps your child is already attending sessions. There are many ways in which ABA Therapy can help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn or improve communication, social, daily living and other skills. ABA can also help address problem behaviors.
It is a good idea to practice skills your child is learning in therapy at home. Practicing ABA techniques at home can reinforce what your child has learned in the clinical setting and teach you how to be an essential part of his or her progress. It can also speed up his or her progress!
Below are several exercises you can do at home to ensure your child continues to grow and develop new skills.
1. Sitting in a chair
This skill might seem basic, but it can be a difficult task for children with ASD who experience hyperactivity or lack of focus. Helping your child learn how to sit still for dinner or during a fun activity can lead to improved concentration.
What to do:
- You sit in a chair.
- Ask your child to sit with you. Next to them may be best so you can easily redirect them to the chair if needed!
- Praise your child when he or she accomplishes the task and let him or her get up for a break
- Build up the amount of time your child can sit by praising him or her every few seconds that he or she remains seated and spacing breaks further and further apart. Build in activities such as having a snack or completing a fun activity together to further increase sitting time!
2. “Look at me”
Making eye contact can be difficult for children with ASD. This exercise will build up this skill, which is essential for communication with others.
What to do:
- Use a fun, visually stimulating item to direct your child’s attention to your face and mouth. For example, hold a bottle of bubbles near your face.
- Ask your child to look at you!
- When your child makes eye contact, praise him or her and blow some bubbles right away! The sooner you praise and blow bubbles after eye contact is made, the more likely you will be to reinforce that eye contact!
3. Match colors
Color matching is a skill that is taught in some ABA sessions. You can help your child master the skill with this at-home “game.”
What to do:
- Use objects from around the house that your child is familiar with (i.e. a ball, crayons, a toy car, or clothing).
- Pick up one object and ask your child to identify other objects of the same color. If necessary, help your child by modeling how to match a few items first. If your child is vocal, use words like “Blue goes with blue!”
- When your child makes a match be sure to provide lots of reinforcement. This could be praise, high fives, or anything else your child enjoys!
- Start with colors that are the same shade until your child gets good at matching, and then try introducing different shades.
4. What’s the emotion?
It can be difficult for children with ASD to identify the emotions of others or understand their own emotions. This activity may help with that.
What to do:
- Print out a bunch of emojis that display a range of emotions (smiling, frowning, crying, anger, etc.)
- Place them face down on a table in front of your child.
- Have your child pick up each one and name the emotion. Praise your child when he or she gets it right!
- Encourage your child to label his or her own and other people’s emotions as they are occurring. Use phrases like, “Daddy is smiling! How do you think he’s feeling?”
5. Just for fun
Engage in activities and exercises that will help your child learn play and social skills. Activities can include things like tag, taking turns blowing bubbles, swinging (and asking to be pushed!), sliding, and climbing through a tube. Make sure activities require social interactions such as turn-taking, requesting, and talking with others!
ABA Therapy at Lumiere Children’s Therapy
While you can enforce lessons and skills at home, we recommend finding an ABA Therapist who has the training and experience to help children on the autism spectrum. ABA Therapy at Lumiere Children’s Therapy employs a multifaceted approach to help children learn necessary skills and create positive behavior changes.
Aside from ABA Therapy, Lumiere Children’s Therapy provides other comprehensive services so children with a wide range of physical, emotional, and developmental conditions can achieve traditional milestones.
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Developmental therapy
- Physical therapy
- Social work
- Early intervention
Lumiere Children’s Therapy is a full-service, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice located in Chicago that serves the developmental needs of children from birth to 18 years of age. Learn more about how our team of clinicians works to improve the lives of children and their families.