Family & Community Involvement

Family members, including siblings, and other community caregivers should be included in various capacities and at different points during both Focused and Comprehensive ABA treatment programs. In addition to providing important historical and contextual information, caregivers must receive training and consultation throughout treatment, discharge, and follow-up.

The dynamics of a family and how they are impacted by ASD must be reflected in how treatment is implemented. In addition, the client’s progress may be affected by the extent to which  caregivers support treatment goals outside treatment hours. Their ability to do this will be partially determined by how well matched the treatment protocols are to the family’s own values, needs, priorities, and resources.

The need for family involvement, training and support reflects the following:
Caregivers frequently have unique insight and perspective about the client’s functioning, 
        information about preferences, and behavioral history.
Caregivers may be responsible for provision of care, supervision, and dealing with challenging 
        behaviors during all waking hours outside of school or a day treatment program. A sizeable 
        percentage of individuals with ASD present atypical sleeping patterns. Therefore, some caregivers 
        may be responsible for ensuring the safety of their children and/or implementing procedures at 
        night and may, themselves, be at risk for problems associated with sleep deprivation.
Caring for an individual with ASD presents many challenges to caregivers and families. Studies 
        have documented the fact that parents of children and adults with ASD experience higher levels of 
         stress than those of parents with typically developing children or even parents of children with 
        other kinds of special needs.
The behavioral problems commonly encountered with persons diagnosed with ASD (for example, 
        stereotypy, aggression, tantrums) secondary to the social and language deficits associated with 
        ASD, often present particular challenges for caregivers as they attempt to manage their behavior 
        problems. Typical parenting strategies are often insufficient to enable caregivers to improve or 
        manage their child’s behavior, which can impede the child’s progress towards improved levels of 
        functioning and independence.
Note that while family training is supportive of the overall treatment plan, it is not a replacement 
        for professionally directed and implemented   treatment.

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