Thursday, March 25, 2010

Parent Training

Last Thursday, after the radio interview, (radio interview story will be published on here Monday morning. You can listen, or watch, Monday morning at ) we went to the Touch Point office in Columbia. The weather was perfect on this Thursday as Winter was giving was to Spring, but instead of enjoying the perfect weather outside two families were going through what could be the most important two weeks of their lives.

Touch Point's 2 week parent training is, in my opinion, the most important thing any family can do. Being as intensive as it is allows the parent to fully understand their child's behavior. The child goes through the training as well in exchange sessions that begin to reshape behaviors. Why 2 weeks and not do this once a week with a therapist? If a parent doesn't understand what to do, and what to avoid, all progress could be lost because the parent may unknowingly reverse all the ground made by the therapist.

Let's go back to my "concrete" concept. Concrete starts as wet cement, and each time a child goes to therapy the therapist shapes the wet cement. If the child gets home and the parent has no idea what to avoid the parent will reshape the cement back into an undesirable state.

For true progress to be made the parents must understand all the concepts behind the "why" of behavior. The two families at the parent training class that day understood this as this Thursday was their penultimate day.

"I had no idea" and "Wow!" were two quotes the parents, and grand parent, said when asked about their experience. The knowledge learned in the parent training class is unmatched and the true value of it can't be monetized.

The families in this parent training course mentioned the resistance of the school districts and unwillingness to assist. This is sad, but I have heard that story almost everywhere I have gone. It's a shame because there are methods that work, there is hope, but hope can't be found if a parent isn't pointed in the right direction.

I'm sure I will blog about parent training many more times in my blogging career. It's worth it though and needs to be repeated because parent training is the best way to begin avoiding concrete issues that require jackhammers.

Here is a photo of my visit to the Columbia office with the families and staff.

Finally, if you don't want to take my word for how well parent training works, take a look at this video. This video was originally produced for the 2009 Festival of Trees gala event. I usually have a great last line in my writings, but all I need here is the link;

1 comment:

  1. I have the privilege to see the other side of things as a professional. There are some clinics that are really good- where there is a policy that parents must come and observe for the first few sessions. However, there are some settings where it may be pretty hard to implement such a policy.

    Also, one thing I think a lot of parents of individuals with autism as well as people with autism don't understand is that- information is best if they are given at bits and pieces at a time in a concise manner. Also, the information given should be related to the targeted problem area(s). Otherwise, a lot of people will be overwhelmed because of information overload... as sometimes it's hard to explain jargons that professionals use or theories that are behind the interventions.