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:

Open Communication

  • 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 the 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.