Now accepting new patients for daytime hours between 8am-4pm! Limited openings.

What is parent training?

by Kaitlyn Sawyer

Sept 2021

What is parent training?

…or more appropriately as we like to call it at Reach Coastal “Parent and/or Caregiver Support.” This is the time that a BCBA spends with a family and/or caregivers to help support them with a variety of different topics related to their loved one’s individualized needs. Specific techniques can be developed by the BCBA in coordination with the parents and/or caregivers to approach the learner’s needs. Different topics that may be covered are how to implement programming in the home and how to record or read data. The BCBA assists others to understand the basic principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and how to apply it to make improvements in daily life. Methods that may be used during support are discussion, written information, as well as modeling, behavioral rehearsal, visuals and feedback. Written information may be a reference guide with step-by-step instructions on how to run a program, or information on different terms a BCBA may use. During modeling, behavioral rehearsal and feedback, the BCBA will model the intervention and then ask others to try it. The BCBA will provide feedback to help family members perfect their new skills.

Parent/caregiver support assists families with many important and varying skills such as how to implement bedtime routines that will increase positive sleep behaviors, how to conduct procedures such as a functional analysis, how to implement positive behavioral supports to decrease aggressive behaviors, toilet training, and mealtime strategies. It is essential for so many families and is effectively used in conjunction with those of any age who have been diagnosed with a variety of diagnoses. This important coordination time is a great time for family and/or caregivers to ask any questions that they have about terminology that a BCBA may regularly use, or to address any concerns they have about carrying out a plan. This positive, ongoing and collaborative relationship between the learner’s family and the BCBA is so beneficial in meeting the needs of the learner as well as the family as a whole.


Bearss K, Johnson C, Smith T, et al. Effect of Parent Training vs Parent Education on Behavioral Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2015;313(15):1524–1533. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3150

Crone, R.M., & Mehta, S.S. (2016). Parent Training on Generalized Use of Behavior Analytic Strategies for Decreasing the Problem Behavior of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Data-Based Case Study. Education and Treatment of Children 39(1), 64-94.

Delemere, E., Dounavi, K. Parent-Implemented Bedtime Fading and Positive Routines for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 1002–1019 (2018).

Stokes, J.V., & Luiselli, J. (2008). In-Home Parent Training of Functional Analysis Skills. The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 4, 259-263. Helton, M.R., Alber-Morgan, S.R. Helping Parents Understand Applied Behavior Analysis:

Creating a Parent Guide in 10 Steps. Behav Analysis Practice 11, 496–503 (2018).

More about ABA Therapy for Children with Autism

If you’re a parent and your child is receiving ABA therapy, you may be wondering why your child is playing so much during in-home therapy how exactly is it benefiting him or her. In-home ABA therapy is one of the greatest resources you can give your child that will provide them with the essential tools they need to develop behaviorally, cognitively, socially, and emotionally.  Both the American Psychological Association, and the United States Surgeon General (1999) recognizes ABA therapy as the leading practice for treating children with autism. These one-on-one intensive services can teach a plethora of skills, to help your child navigate through the world more effectively. ABA therapy does not look like traditional teaching — a casual observer might think that it’s just playtime, but in reality, there are multiple lessons going on in each session. While no two treatment plans are alike, it is very common to see a mix of two types of training in ABA therapy: DTT and NET


DTT, or Discrete Trial Training is a more formal way of instruction to teach the child the skills needed for mastery. If a child is working on a vocal skill, the therapist may work on a teaching procedure at a tabletop that requires direct instruction and multiple opportunities for feedback and reinforcement. 


NET, or natural environment training, is an approach that involves training in the child’s natural environment. 

While both trainings have distinct and specific strategies, they both include play – a critical component in every child’s treatment plan. The incorporation of play is grounded on evidence-based, technological principles which serve many important functions for the child’s progress. The American Academy of Pediatrics states “Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (i.e., the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.” 

Located in Cape Cod, MA, Reach Coastal utilizes the most current and proven ABA methodologies to provide direct support for and instruction to individuals with autism to reach a higher level of independence.

Did you know?

ABA is often covered by insurance. We accept Harvard Pilgrim, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Mass Health, United Healthcare, along with several other insurances.

What's next?

To get started, all you need is a referral and a diagnosis for your loved one. After that, all you need to do is contact us. Our caring team will walk you through next steps and guide you through the process to success.

Insurances We Accept

  • MassHealth- WellSense
  • Mass Health- Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP)
  • WellSense- Commercial
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)
  • OPTUM Behavioral Health
  • Aetna
  • United Healthcare
  • Always 
  • Cigna
  • Harvard Pilgrim

Services offered through health insurance and private pay contracts.

Is ABA covered by my health insurance?

Arica (Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Austism) is a law passed in 2010 requiring private health insurers in Massachusetts to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

More info can be found HERE.

Let's Chat

We'd love to talk with you about the ways we can help you and your loved one on the path to success.

We will be in touch soon!

Data Privacy

This site tracks visits anonymously. Close this dialog to confirm that you are fine with that, or find out more in our privacy statement.