7 Tips To Help Prepare You and Your Family for In-Home Services
By: Amanda Altieri, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Starting in-home services can be stressful. When going to appointments at a clinic or office, the expectation of what the staff needs from you is clear. However, with in-home services, the structure can be quite different. “What do I need?”, “Am I supposed to help?”, “What do they need from me?”, etc. All these questions race through your mind right before you start in-home services. Here are 7 tips to help prepare you and your family for in-home services:
Ensure you know exactly who is coming into the home and what services they are going to provide. Being aware of the provider and their service allows you to build a professional relationship that ensures that your family and the provider have open lines of communication.
Open lines of communication will guarantee a smooth transition into services and open dialogue about programming.
Keep lines of communication between you and the provider. Let them know the best modes of communication (i.e. phone, email, etc.)
Find out what information they need to know at the start of each session.
Provide an update on how their day has been, any routine changes, medication changes, updates on services, etc
Follow up with them at the end of a session to get an update on how the session went.
Exchange phone numbers with providers and their supervisors in case of cancellations, running late, scheduling issues, etc.
Prepare Your Child
Let your child know that someone new is going to be coming into their life and home, and why.
Prepping them for this change in schedule will help reduce anxiety, reduce problem behaviors and reduce non-compliance.
Let them know we are there to get to know them, play with them, and teach them cool new things.
Maybe create a schedule/visual schedule for the child to see who is coming or when they are coming
Timing Is Everything
Pick a time for sessions, that works for your family. This will assist in limiting the number of canceled or late start sessions.
If something is coming up in a few days or weeks and you know it will affect session, let the provider know as soon as you know.
Consistency in services helps with continued growth in skills and compliance.
Location Is Key
Pick a location in the house that is conducive to learning.
You want to pick a location where they have the space for work time, but when there is a break they can easily transition to play.
You’ll want to pick a location that has the fewest distractors.
Pick a place that has the least amount of traffic passing through.
Prepare The Environment
Be sure to remove distractors (i.e. limit toys being everywhere, have the TV off, etc.)
Reduce clutter in the work area by making sure it is clear.
Be sure to have a table that is clear for them to conduct table times if needed.
Limit access to highly preferred items/activities for at least 30 minutes before in-home sessions are to start.
Update the provider on any new items/activities your child has recently shown interest in or likes.
Give the provider highly preferred item/activities at the start of the session.
Look To The Provider For Guidance
If you are unsure how to set up, prep things, etc. ask the provider.
If you are unsure if you should step in when your child is having a behavior, look to the provider, they will let you know if/when to step in.
If you are working on a program with them and are unsure how to prompt, follow through, reinforcement, etc. ask the provider.
The main objective of in-home services is to ensure your child is maintaining skills with everyone in their life. In-home services are used to ensure that when a child is with their family, everyone has the confidence and tools to help set your child up for success in every corner of their life.