As a parent, you have many responsibilities and roles to fill. As a parent of a child with autism, those roles and responsibilities can seem never-ending. While it’s often forgotten, one significant role we remind parents of is being their child’s cheerleader. It’s easy to lose sight of this at times; you’re dashing between work, therapy appointments, and family commitments every day. It only takes a moment to let your child know you’re cheering for him. Even the smallest gestures can be slipped into your regular activities more easily than you may think.
Your Role as a Cheerleader
You are your child’s biggest cheerleader. The encouragement, praise, and affirmations you give are just as powerful as your love. Cheer your child on in any situation or environment. Offering this form of positive reinforcement is vital and encouraged during sessions. Providing your support as his cheerleader during ABA therapy helps create a positive experience when new behaviors or skills are being introduced. You can help turn some of the more difficult or frustrating moments into an opportunity to motivate. Your support is essential, both during and outside of his sessions.
Cheering from the Sidelines
You’re on your way to your child’s next ABA therapy session. Have a little chat about the previous session. Remind him of what new activities and behaviors were introduced or practiced at home. Slip in mentions of what he picked up on quickly or how proud you are of his efforts with a difficult task. Your simple words of praise and encouragement offer powerful positive reinforcement that lets him know you are always in his corner. It can also be the small gesture that sets the tone for the day’s session. Even the slightest nods or smiles from the session sidelines can make a world of difference.
Cheering + Positive Reinforcement
Your time in ABA therapy has taught you the importance of repetition and practicing newly learned behaviors in his natural environments. While using the positive reinforcement techniques you have learned are essential, separate his reward from your praise and encouragement. Here’s how it works – if screen time was identified as his greatest motivator, he’ll be rewarded with his iPad once a new behavior has been accomplished. But don’t stop there. If it’s not already a natural part of your routine, offer your cheers, hugs, and praises with his reward. Consider how wonderful it makes you feel to receive encouragement or praise in any situation. Now imagine if you had your own personal cheerleader on a daily basis. What a fantastic way to affirm he’s doing a great job!
Perhaps you don’t even realize the little things you already do to cheer him on. Just know how much your role as your child’s cheerleader means to him. You can help make a tremendous difference in helping him thrive with only a few simple acts. At Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, our team becomes part of your cheer team; for you, your child, and your family. We are here to guide and support you through this journey. For more information on our programs and services, contact us today.