Practicing skills at home

If your child gets therapy like ABA, OT, or Speech, or gets special support at school, you can practice the same skills and strategies at home.

For example, ABA or developmental therapists will often teach useful strategies that can help your child manage their behavior. An example may be how to use a step-by-step "calming down" process when they start to get angry or upset. If you encourage the same strategies at home, your child can learn them more easily.

OT or speech and language therapists may work with your child to help them understand and use their body, interact with peers or express their needs.

Teachers often use checklists or visual schedules to help kids know what to expect and complete tasks. For example, the child can use a chart to check off each step in the morning routine. If you can use a similar system at home, that will help your child to feel more comfortable and to ease the transition to get out the door or ready for bed. (Read on for more about visual supports like this!)

Consistency is helpful! If a strategy is working in therapy or school, it can be helpful to reinforce it at home.

Here's what you can do: 

  • Talk to your child's therapists or special education teachers (if they have them). Find out what they do that has been helpful to your child.

  • Watch them interact with your child and ask them to demonstrate the skills, exercises and strategies they are working on.

  • Try to practice these at home.

  • Give feedback to the therapists and teachers. What do you notice at home that's the same or different?

  • Use the same kind of checklists, reward systems and visual supports, if possible.


Sources: Profectum, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)