5 Ways to Make Your Applied Behavior Analysis Practice Welcoming
- Mellow Decor
- Natural Fabrics
- Sensory Room
- Activities for Parents and Guardians
- Activities for Siblings
You have successfully completed coursework and training, and you are ready to open your own Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) practice. This is an exciting step, and also one where many begin to feel lost as to how to make it welcoming to the diverse blend of clients and their families who will be visiting your space. Here are five things you can do to make your ABA practice welcoming for all.
Related resource: Top 25 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs
1. Mellow Decor
Keep in mind that many of the clients you will be serving will be sensory sensitive. They become easily overwhelmed by stimulating sights and sounds, which can trigger and exacerbate the very behaviors you are working with them to manage. While some exposure therapy will be necessary, your main office space should be calming, or else they may never be able to make progress. Be mindful of choosing neutral paint and fabric tones, minimize the number of knick-knacks wall decor, and maintain soft and dim lighting. Refrain from playing music or other sounds unless it is a strategic part of a session.
2. Natural Fabrics
Part of sensory sensitivity for many of your clients will involve an intolerance for any fabrics which may cause discomfort on the skin. Choose upholstery and even flooring made from natural fabrics and materials. Imagine trying to focus on a session if you cannot even stand the feel of the couch cushion on your arm or the carpet on your legs as you try to play with the toys the therapist set out for you on the floor. Purposeful Home has created a guide to creating the ideal home atmosphere for people with sensory sensitivities. It all applies to your office, as well, and doubles as a resource to send home with your clients and their families.
3. Sensory Room
There will be times when you need to speak privately with the parents of younger clients, or when clients need a time out to themselves. Having a small sensory room for them will show that you truly have their best interests in mind and have thought of their every need. Sensory rooms are spaces filled with objects specially designed to help people work off energy in a productive way and satisfy sensory stimulation needs. Autism Parenting Magazine offers tips for creating an easy sensory room.
4. Activities for Parents and Guardians
There will be many a half-hour when parents and guardians will have downtime while you work one on one with clients. They do not always have the time or energy to prepare something to keep themselves occupied. Take this burden off of them, and maybe even offer them something better than they had planned. Keep a wide variety of books and magazines handy, and maybe even some puzzles and solitary games. Offer a good mix of fun items and educational resources. Encourage them to utilize them rather than getting immediately on their smartphones as a way to model productive behaviors for their children.
5. Activities for Siblings
Kids with autism and other disorders you treat with ABA often already feel a little bit neglected due to the time, energy, and attention parents need to devote to the affected child. Make sure they feel welcome and special at your office, whether they are there for a family session or simply because the parents or guardians didn’t have childcare available. Keep books, toys, and games handy for all ages, greet them warmly and learn about them so that you can ask questions unique to them, and make a point to include them in the family treatments and sessions.
Setting up your ABA practice can be a daunting task. You want to create a space that serves your practice and also where everyone feels at home. Following the five tips above will help you design an office fit for every client and show them that you truly care, not just about them, but about every member of their family.