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It's so Great to COLLABORATE: Parent Training

Written by:

Ineca Elliott, RBT, Lead RBT

Nola George, RBT, Lead RBT

Kanesha Johnson, RBT, Lead RBT

Lisa Pavlik, MA, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Manager

What is parent training?

Parent training is an essential piece in the ABA treatment plan process. Caregivers can collaborate with ABA staff members and improve the quality of services provided to the child during these meetings. Parent training provides information and hands-on training to increase a child’s independence, while caregivers learn about valuable developmental and behavior strategies.

(Karpel & Guant, 2020)

The importance of parent training

Parent involvement in the treatment process contributes to the likelihood of positive outcomes for the child (Crockett & Fleming, 2007). Here are some of those positive benefits:

  • Generalization (provides consistency)

  • Prevent regression and support maintenance of child’s skills

  • Support treatment outcomes

  • Improve parent and child’s relationship

  • Increase understanding and teaches the tools and concepts of ABA to parents/caregivers

What Do Caregivers Commonly Want During Parent Training?

  • To have their BCBA collaborate with school about my child's behaviors

  • To have their BCBA collaborate with other service providers

  • To learn how to increase their child's independence

  • To learn strategies to decrease problem behaviors

  • Find ways to reduce child and caregiver stress

  • Reduce child's need for medications

  • To increase bond with their child and other family members

  • To modify treatment plan goals and ABA session structure with BCBA

  • For their child to be happier (Gilmore, 2019)

What Skills Can Be Addressed in Parent Training?

  • Self-help skills

  • Social skills

  • Language and communication skills

  • Attention and active listening skills

  • Interaction with family members

  • Readiness for school

  • Emotional regulation

  • Safety skills

  • Eating habits

  • Sleep habits

Generalization of Skills

Parent training can occur in multiple settings such as at home, at the playground, at the mall and even in the school setting. When training occurs in the classroom, this widens the bridge for teachers and support staff to be involved. Just how caregivers are an expert in knowing their child, “teachers and support personnel are experts on learning and instruction”(Sheridan et al. 2007). Not only will communication of teachers to parents enhance quality communication, teachers will be equipped with strategies used to prevent and de-escalate the occurrence of problem behavior as well as encouraging social skills and communication of your child.

Strategies Designed to Fit Caregivers Individual Needs

There are many strategies that are designed to fit each individual caregiver’s needs in a way that is meaningful for them. Some of these may include:

  • Behavior Skills Training (BST)

    • An evidence-based approach used to teach a person how to implement behavior change procedures (Parsons et al. 2013). BST provides simple building blocks by providing instructions on how to implement strategies, hands-on modeling of the interventions being used, rehearsal or practice of the interventions learned, and direct clinical feedback of implementation (Drifke et al. 2017).

  • Parent Child Interaction Theory

    • This is a team approach that may help further increase parent-child relationship and reduce disruptive behaviors.

    • The therapist is telling the parent what to do with the child through an in-the-ear device, so that the therapist’s presence does not interfere. The therapist will not be physically present in the same room. The focus may either be child-directed (e.g., following a child's lead during play) or parent-directed (e.g., following a parent’s lead during play and language development) in this approach (Parlade et al. 2019).

Important things to note

  1. Telehealth may be the best option for busy or out-of-area caregivers. It can provide effective methods to provide virtually hands-on support.

  2. Caregivers know their child better than anyone else. Parent training is a means of support for family caregivers to collaborate and have their voices heard in the treatment planning process.

  3. BCBAs can provide clinical guidance on implementation of treatment plan goals (e.g., learning how to help their child communicate their wants and needs).

  4. If you have any questions about the information above, then please contact your ABA staff provider for more information.

  5. Are you comfortable with your current support from your ABA staff providers? Please communicate any progress and concerns with your BCBAs.

  6. Overall, your ABA staff members (RBTs, BCaBAs, and BCBAs) are caregivers' biggest cheerleaders! If you are currently receiving services at Within Me Therapy, then please know this: “We want to hear the big and little wins! Each of these wins unlock your child’s greatest potential and are a clear example of your wonderful parent skills!”


Crockett , J. L., & Fleming , R. K.(2007). Parent training: Acquisition and generalization. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 28, 23-36.

Edutopia . (2011). How Teachers Collaborate Online and in School. Youtube /How Teachers Collaborate Online and in School. Retrieved from

Gilmore, H. (2019). One-Year Aba Parent Training Curriculum.

Gilmore. (2021, September 24). Parent training in ABA: Why parent involvement is critical. Behavioral Innovations - ABA Therapy for Kids with Autism. Heather Gilmore. Retrieved March 13, 2022, from

Karpel, S., & Guant, S. (2020, August 17). How to ABA: Parent Training

Melissa A. Drifke, Jeffrey H. Tiger, Brittany C. Wierzba, Using behavioral skills training to teach parents to implement three-step prompting: A component analysis and generalization, assessment, Learning and Motivation,Volume 57,2017,Pages 1-14, Retrieved January 10th, 2022 from

Parladé, M. V., Weinstein, A., Garcia, D., Rowley, A. M., Ginn, N. C., & Jent, J. F. (2020). Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder and a matched case-control sample. Autism, 24(1), 160–176. Retrieved January 10th, 2022 from

Parsons, M. B., Rollyson, J. H., & Reid, D. H. (2013). Teaching Practitioners to Conduct Behavioral Skills Training: A Pyramidal Approach for Training Multiple Human Service Staff. Behavior analysis in practice, 6(2), 4–16. Retrieved January 9th, 2022 from

Sheridan, S. M., & Kratochwill, T. R. (2007). Conjoint Behavioral Consultation in Practice: Promoting Positive Family-School Relationship . In Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (pp. 57–58). essay, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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