Parent Training Archives | Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education - ABA Therapy

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Child’s Virtual Learning

Brought to you by Cultivate’s own BTs, RBTs, and BCBAs 

By Madeleine Mengler, M.Ed., RBT 

We’ve all needed to make adjustments to our work, school, and socializing over the last six months. One aspect that can be especially challenging is successfully adapting to virtual learning, and we want to help! These tips and tricks were compiled from recommendations from Cultivate employees who have supported or are currently supporting their own children in the virtual learning process.  

 

1. Set rules and expectations ahead of time.

Community Services Image

Adjusting to a new learning environment means we sometimes need to adapt and create new rules and expectations. Make sure the expectations from the teacher and yourself for the amount they participate, the way they participate, etc. are all made clear to your child before learning begins. Remind them of these rules frequently (Visuals can help! See below). In some cases, it can be even more effective to create rules and expectations together with your child, so they are even more motivated to follow them.

Check out the link below for a Pinterst board with homeschool rules signs to inspire you!

2. Preparation is key.

Postive reinforcement image

Isn’t it always easier to start out the day when everything is set and ready for you and there are fewer decisions to make? Make sure all materials are accessible, devices are charged, and printables are ready to go the night before, or implement that prep into the morning routine. Familiarize yourself with the lessons ahead of time and get specific materials for those activities ready so you will get fewer requests from help from your child throughout the day.

Click on the link below to read more.

3. Structure, structure, structure.

Parent Training Daily Schedules thumbnail

In past years, you likely had some sort of a morning routine to get your children ready to go and out the door. Just because school is taking place at home doesn’t make a consistent morning routine any less important! A consistent wake up time, breakfast time, hygiene routine, and general preparation for the day will help your child transition better to school time and help everyone get their day started on the right foot. 

Learn more ways to incorporate visual schedules into your day.

 

 

4. Set up your environment for success.

Having a dedicated workspace is so important for working or learning from home, so work time feels like work time and free play is not associated with working. That workspace should be organized, away from areas of high activity and noise in the home and should contain only items intended for use during work time or short breaks during school hours. If you have multiple children, separate cubbies or bins for each child help keep the space manageable. For children who can tolerate headphones, ensuring those headphones have a microphone is recommended. However, be advised that those microphones will pick up other background noise in your home! Make good use of the mute button. 

Get inspired with organization ideas with the links below!

 

 

5. Give yourself some grace.

You need breaks too! Setting your child up to be able to independently participate in virtual learning as much as possible will help with your workflow around the home, but some of the strategies you try first may not work. Rules may need adjusting, activity order may need to be changed, and some reward systems may not be motivating enough. We are all learning to adapt to the current circumstances, and we must all set reasonable expectations for our children and ourselves, stay flexible, and keep problem solving. We can do it!

Please join us for our weekly Caregiver Support Group. Click on the link below to register.

There is no cure-all guidebook for how to navigate our current circumstances; any recommendation may require modification for your family needs and available resources at home. Any semblance of structure and consistency you can implement can help you meet your goals, move through the day, and eventually transition back to in-person schooling. 

Our team is here to walk with you through the autism treatment journey. Connect with us to learn more.

  • Bearss, K., Johnson, C. R., Handen, B. L., Butter, E. M., Lecavalier, L., Smith, T., & Scahill, L. (2018). Parent training for disruptive behavior: the Rubi Autism Network. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press. 

  • Dettmer, S., Simpson, R. L., Myles, B. S., & Ganz, J. B. (2000). The use of visual supports to facilitate transitions of students with autism. Focus on autism and other developmental disabilities, 15(3), 163-169.  

  • Kearney, A. J. (2015). Understanding applied behavior analysis: An introduction to ABA for parents, teachers, and other professionals. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

  • Lequia, J., Machalicek, W., & Rispoli, M. J. (2012). Effects of activity schedules on challenging behavior exhibited in children with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 1(6), 480-492. 

5 Tips to Support Your Child’s Virtual Learning

Brought to you by Cultivate’s own BTs, RBTs, and BCBAs 

By Madeleine Mengler, M.Ed., RBT

You’ve prepared a learning space, printed and organized materials, and set expectations for the daily routine.  Now what? 

Motivating your child, creating achievable goals for yourself, and generally setting everyone up for success for consistent, effective virtual learning can be a challenge. We hope the following tips will help parents manage and functionally support schooling from home. 

1. Implement a Positive Reinforcement system.

Postive reinforcement image

After setting those expectations and explaining them, create a system so your child can earn things they like by following the rules! One example would be earning a sticker each day for following the rules and completing the schedule, and after getting a certain amount of stickers, your child earns extra tablet time, their choice of dinner, or an outing to a park. The system could involve stickers, points, money, tally marks, or another tangible item, and could be earned after each activity, hourly, daily, or weekly.

The links below provide additional information on creating effective reward systems for virtual learning.

2. Use appropriate visual aids.

Postive reinforcement image

Depending on your child, a checklist, a visual schedule, visual representations of the positive reinforcement system, and visual reminders of daily routines can be a big help in getting through the day. Visuals of the rules for school hours will also make the workspace feel more like a familiar learning environment, in addition to reminding them of those expectations. Visuals can also help when transitioning from break time to learning time: for example, showing the child there are 5 minutes left on the clock or using a “2-minute warning” visual. Check out our parent training on daily and visual schedules for more information!

The resources below provide printable visual schedule aids.

3. Make careful activity choices.

In general, placing your child’s favorite activities after lower preferred activities has been proven to increase the likelihood that that child will transition to and complete that lower preferred activity. It can also be helpful to make some preferred activities available only during school time breaks and others available only after school time is over so your child doesn’t get tired of them. Some children may actually need fidget spinners, play doh, stress balls, or other sensory toys to help them focus on the lessons, while others may need to wait to use those items on breaks. You know your child best!

Check out the links below to get inspired!

 

 

4. Breaks are essential.

Everyone needs breaks, and breaks look different for everyone. Some kids will need a wiggle break at every opportunity to dance, play the floor is lava, or just go for a quick walk around the yard. For others, a break could involve a game, sensory toy, or a little lie down on the couch. Make sure to consistently include breaks in the schedule, especially after more difficult lessons and tasks. There may be times when your child finishes their assignment but has not been dismissed from virtual learning yet, in which case it may help to have toys or activities available to keep them occupied until they move to the next lesson or are dismissed for a full break. 

The resources below provide ideas to encourage movement throughout the day.

 

 

5. Promote independence whenever possible.

Include your child in the prep process: for some, they may be able to do most or all of the cleaning, organizing, and preparation for the next day themselves. Step-by-step instructions for how to log on or troubleshoot technological issues, an organized space, labels on storage areas for materials, and visual schedules can all help keep kids on task and problem solving independently. If appropriate, instead of staying near your child for the duration of their learning time, set a schedule for yourself to check in on your child, but give them the opportunity to be independent. Hopefully, the more independent they can become in virtual learning, the less often they have to go find an adult to help them!

Learn more about daily visual schedules parent training presentation.

  • Bearss, K., Johnson, C. R., Handen, B. L., Butter, E. M., Lecavalier, L., Smith, T., & Scahill, L. (2018). Parent training for disruptive behavior: the Rubi Autism Network. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press. 

  • Dettmer, S., Simpson, R. L., Myles, B. S., & Ganz, J. B. (2000). The use of visual supports to facilitate transitions of students with autism. Focus on autism and other developmental disabilities, 15(3), 163-169.  

  • Kearney, A. J. (2015). Understanding applied behavior analysis: An introduction to ABA for parents, teachers, and other professionals. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

  • Lequia, J., Machalicek, W., & Rispoli, M. J. (2012). Effects of activity schedules on challenging behavior exhibited in children with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 1(6), 480-492. 

Parent Training: Crisis Management

As a parent with a child on the autism spectrum, the thought of Crisis Management may seem like a task too big to handle. Cultivate is here to help. A team of Registered Behavior Technicians in our Apprenticeship program put together this informative presentation in our Parent Training series. Allyson De Leon, Madeleine Mengler and Susana Ramirez share their insights on Crisis Management for ABA therapy.

A crisis occurs when immediately available resources are not enough to de-escalate an unsafe behavioral situation. When a situation like this begins, changes to the environment and additional external support may be necessary. What is considered to be a crisis?

  1. Do the demands exceed the capabilities of the family?
  2. How are you managing/coping with these demands?
  3. Is there a lack of support?

Parent Training: Crisis Management Goals

This presentation will cover the following topics:

  1. Define a crisis situation
  2. Provide strategies for environmental changes to help prevent crisis situations from occurring in the future
  3. Provide strategies to de-escalate and recover from a crisis situation
  4. Present tips to build a crisis plan
  5. Provide potential resources.

Click the link below to access the full presentation.

Resources

Autism Speaks Crisis Tool

Texas Autism Society Crisis Intervention

Parent Training: Daily Schedules

The third presentation in our Parent Training Series focuses on the benefits and applications of Daily Visual Schedules.

The goals for this training are to:

(1) provide you with 3 general strategies for easing transitions between activities with daily schedules,

(2) explain the Premack Principle and its applications, and

(3) introduce visual schedules and their potential applications.

To view the presentation, please click on the link below:

Parent Training: Feeding Problems

Are you a parent with a child on the autism spectrum struggle with feeding problems? Our new Parent Training resource provides in-depth information addressing these concerns.

Feeding Problems Addressed in this Presentation

  1. Food Selectivity
  2. Difficulty sitting at the table
  3. Eating too quickly
  4. Overeating

Goals for this Parent Training

  • Explain common feeding issues (such as food selectivity, difficulty sitting at the table, eating too quickly, and overeating)
  • recommend environmental changes to help promote appropriate feeding behavior, and
  • identify strategies to address specific problems with food selectivity.

Click on the links below to access this presentation:

References

  • Bearss, K., Johnson, C., Handen, B., Butter, E., Lecavalier, L., Smith, T., & Scahill, L. (2018-07). Token Economy Systems. In Parent Training for Disruptive Behavior: The RUBI Autism Network, Clinician Manual. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 6 Apr. 2020, from
  • https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/medpsych/9780190627812.001.0001/med-9780190627812-appendix-7.
  • Ledford, J. R., & Gast, D. L. (2006). Feeding Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review. FOCUS ON AUTISM AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, 21(3), 153-166.
  • Levin, D. S., Volkert, V. M., & Piazza, C. C. (2014). A Multi-Component Treatment to Reduce Packing in Children With Feeding and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Behavior Modification, 38(6), 940-963.
  • Laud, R. B., & Boscoe, J. H. (2009). Treatment Outcomes for Severe Feeding Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Behavior Modification, 33(5), 520-536.