How to Tell if ABA Therapy is Working

Updated on June 9, 2021

Children with autism need every tool they can get their hands on.  Although the goal of therapy is to help make it easier for them to exist in this world: changing who they are isn’t the way to do it.  Instead, good ABA therapy works to give them a better chance at fitting in and tools to help them feel better in their skin.

If your kid’s seeing an ABA therapy clinic, it can be hard to track whether or not it’s working for them. But, these are the top ways to tell if it suits your child!

Your Child Is Having Less Destructive Meltdowns

Meltdowns will more than likely plague your child well into adulthood: what therapy can do is help them work with these meltdowns, recognize them, and move forward.  This could mean that they’re melting down less often or that their breakdowns are less destructive and devastating. However, when they’re extraordinarily upset, these moments are upsetting for everyone involved: and draining for your child.  Giving them tools to work with these feelings, they’ll learn how to exist with themselves and not harm themselves or those around them when they’re upset.  

They’re Communicating More Clearly

Communicating more clearly doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly talkative and more active in the conversation; it means more than they’re getting their needs across more clearly.  If they’re upset or starting to feel overwhelmed, they tell you: that’s a win.  This can mean that they’re learning how to recognize how they feel more easily and can spot their triggers in a way that stops them from ever becoming a problem.  Although the behavior isn’t always verbal, it’s good to see or hear when it happens.  Don’t be upset with your child if they tell you they’re starting to get overwhelmed; work with them and fix the situation.

They Sleep More Regularly

Unsurprisingly to parents of kids with autism, if there’s a large improvement in their sleep: it means things are on the right track.  Children with autism are chronic under or over-sleepers.  An improvement in sleep patterns suggests that they’re improving emotionally and mentally and often feel less stress in their lives.  Although this isn’t a sure-fire way to tell, especially if your child slept well before the therapy, this can be a helpful thing to notice if they exhibit the change.

They Seem to Feel Better or Communicate that They Do

Although communication can be hard for some children with autism if they seem to be communicating that they feel better, that can be huge.  This therapy can help them feel more secure and more whole.  Although it’s hard work and they have to learn and push themselves a lot, it’s for them.  If your child is feeling more secure, it’s because they can recognize their triggers more easily, or you are, and you’re able to navigate these together.  

If your child is feeling better, it’s a win.  Autism isn’t easy for anyone, especially not the children.  This therapy is for them and their happiness first and foremost, so be patient and learn with them.

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