I have many parents contact me asking, “What can you do to help my kid?” I always answer with, “The real question is ‘What can YOU do as director of the team to help your kid?’” A crucial part of our practice as behavior analysts and educators is collaboration with parents, caregivers and educators.
Almost a year ago, I began working with a family of one young man who has a diagnosis of high functioning autism and AD/HD. His parents compared their life before they sought my help as constantly walking on eggshells. Their son’s behavior would escalate to the point where he would completely destroy the house by breaking dishes and electronics. It got so out of control one day he got hold of a knife and chased the nanny around the house. The police had to be called and that was when the family said they knew they had to seek serious help. Prior to our intervention, the family worked with a highly-reputable psychologist and psychiatrist who suggested they find someone to constantly watch their child. After the knife incident, they could not find anyone willing to do this.
This family quickly embraced the collaborative approach and they did an amazing job stabilizing their son’s behavior across settings, as well as making their family interactions more positive and rewarding than ever before.
In my experience, many families begin a program feeling stressed and overwhelmed. They may see the strategies as daunting and sometimes challenging to do every day. However, the good news is: IT GETS EASIER. Yes, it is true, over time it gets easier and then suddenly one day the parent/caregiver will not even have to pay attention to the little things that once appeared to be hard work. When we work together toward one mission, we can learn from one another and as we help our children (or adult children) achieve their goals. I still always say, the more you do for your family and your child, and the more you integrate across every person and environment, the better your outcomes will be, hands down.