Starting and managing an ABA programme is a big undertaking. It pays to get organised right from the start. We have included some advice below to help you manage your programme and your team.
How to prepare for your initial workshop
If you haven’t already done so, please see our information on how to get started. This will give you information on the steps needed prior to booking your initial workshop such as tutor recruitment and obtaining funding.
The initial workshop is typically a two-day block followed by a one-day follow-up a week later. It takes place in your home and will cover the principles of ABA as well as hands-on practical training for you and your tutors.
When arranging a date with your case manager, be sure that the whole team and preferably both parents can be present. Please also consider child care arrangements for your child for the theory session.
Clear a workspace in your home, some people will use a spare room, others a conservatory or a corner in the lounge. This space will be somewhere to work and store the stimuli. An area for files, stationary, boxes for stimuli: tall boxes with drawers is often very useful. A small table and two chairs big enough for your child will be required for some activities. You will also need items to hand that your child enjoys, this could be a DVD, trampoline, toys, games, food, drink. We have a recommended shopping list of items that we’ve found useful for pre-school children starting ABA programmes. If your child is 5+, please check with your case manager before buying.
Managing your team
Your child will not make good progress without good tutors. It’s important to maintain a good team and minimise the risk of disruption from tutors leaving. We recommend that you consider the following ways to look after and motivate your tutors.
- Give frequent positive feedback, even a simple thank you can go a long way.
- If you can afford to, offer extra training such as Peach courses.
- Have weekly team meetings, so successes and concerns can be discussed.
- Competitions are an excellent way to motivate a team, for instance a prize for the most imaginative role play or story.
- Have a stimuli-making evening and invite your team around for pizza.
- Be flexible, tutors usually work with other families and may need time off to attend workshops there. This usually works both ways, so your tutor will then be released from the other family to attend your workshops.
- Relationships between tutors and parents can be complicated. We have found that friendly and professional is the best approach. Becoming too friendly with your tutors can lead to difficulties for both of you. Tutors and parents both need to consider boundaries. For example parents shouldn’t expect tutors to be available for long phone calls in the evening and tutors should consider that parents may be glad to have their privacy back at the end of the day.
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