3 Tips for Preparing Your Young Child for Their First ABA Session

If your child is going to be attending their first applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy session, there are a few things that you can do that will help prepare your child for their session. Here are a few things you can do to help your child feel comfortable during their session. 

1. Allow Your Child to Brink a Security Toy 

It is okay to let your child bring an object that will reassure them. They are going to be going through an entirely new experience, and it is okay for them to bring a security blanket or toy that comforts them to the session. Ideally, the security toy or object will be sued to help them transition into the session or will be given to them as a reward during the session to help your child feel more comfortable.  

2. Make Sure Your Child Eats Beforehand 

During your child's ABA session, they are not going to be sitting on a couch talking to a therapist. Applied behavior analysis is an active type of therapy. Your child is going to be looking and playing with things, running around, and engaging in play all under the watchful eye of their therapist. This is an active session, so make sure your child has eaten before they go. You don't want to skip breakfast and then eat it after the session as you could end up with a really hungry child. As an alternative, you could also bring snacks and a drink for your child to enjoy during or after the session. 

3. Get Your Child Ready with a Social Story 

Before you bring your child into therapy, help your child understand what is going to happen. Use what is called a social story to explain to your child what is going on. Talk to your child about who they will meet, what they will do, and what is expected of them. Just like you would talk to your child about what preschool is like before you send them to their first day of school, talk to your child about what their therapy session is going to be like.

If you are not sure yourself, talk to ABA services about what they will be doing and how they correlate with the therapists' expectations so you can explain everything to your child. Talking to your child about their therapy like it is just another activity they get to engage in is a great way to make sure your child is comfortable with the entire process.