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Top 5 ABA Tips for Parents: How to Support Students During Distance Learning

Currently in California, parents have the option to have their children resume school in-person or continue distance learning. If you are planning to continue distance learning for your learner, here are 5 tips on how to provide support:

  1. Establish a routine

While doing distance learning it is important to establish a routine for your learner. By having a visual schedule dedicated for distance learning, it can assist to build structure in your learner’s routine. If you would like to view more information on how to teach visual schedules in the home, our ABA Works company has a blog post here dedicated for it.

When you create the visual schedule, it is best to first inform and collaborate with your learner’s academic team. By working together, you can establish clear communication and be prepped for what is expected for your learner’s school routine. You can take this even further to discuss how your learner can achieve their academic goals.

  • Collaborate with the school and teachers

If you are planning to continue distance learning, it is best to be proactive and reach out to your learner’s academic team. There are many topics you can discuss with the academic team and the following below are some of the few points you can discuss:

  • Discuss with the team to determine which IEP goals can be achieved during distance learning.
    • Advocate for the amount of individualized support for your learner
    • Inquire if the assignments can be modified for your learner in order to meet the academic target.

While we do want our learners to meet the curriculum, it important to remain flexible during distance learning.

  • Allow frequent breaks

Most students cannot remain seated for a long period of time. That is completely normal because sitting still is a skill that develops over time. This also applies to the learner’s attention span and the average time for concentration depends on the learner’s age. For distance learning, this is where allowing frequent breaks for movement can be beneficial and fun. You can set these breaks on your learner’s visual schedule and also teach your learner how to request their breaks. It is best to collaborate with the teacher about providing frequent breaks in order for the teacher to assist the learner on how to access those breaks during online classes.

During those breaks, make sure your learner picks an activity where they can move their body. It can range from dancing to other movement games. The important thing when accessing those frequent breaks is to make them fun and move your body!

  • Reinforcement

If you also have an ABA clinical team, you can work together on establishing reinforcers dedicated for distance learning. For distance learning, while we are not there physically in-person to assist the learner it can be highly beneficial to utilize reinforcement strategies. For ABA Works, we can advise the following:

  1. When the session starts, we assess the learner’s preferences and use known reinforcers to establish contingencies for earning the rewards. We would also give the learner the opportunity to make their own choices and let them know getting the reinforcers is up to them.
    1. Contingent reinforcement is also a good strategy to use if you are not able to sit next to your learner throughout their online class. For this strategy, periodically check in and give that reinforcement such as verbal praise (e.g.: “Love how you’re listening to teacher!”) and nonverbal praise (e.g.: thumbs up or a high five). Try to catch those opportunities of your learner being focused and give that high praise!
  • Empathy

During the unusual circumstances of the pandemic, stress can run high for anyone, especially to our learners. During this time, it is important to be understanding and show empathy towards their situation. And remember, you are not alone during this time. Reach out for additional support from the school, ABA clinical team, and other services your learner has.

ABA Works is getting close getting contracted with school districts in the LA and Long Beach area, so we can assist our learners’ home and at school. This is really important, as many students are behind, and IEP goals can’t be met. If you want our excellent ABA services in your child’s school, please contact us.

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