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Welcome to our online space for ABA Parent Training Information and Resources. Find quality, research-supported information from a BCBA on all things Applied Behavior Analysis Parent Training.

Parent-Implemented Intervention - Help Parents Help Their Kids with ABA Parent Training

Parent-Implemented Intervention - Help Parents Help Their Kids with ABA Parent Training

The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder identifies “parent-implemented intervention” as an evidence-based intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Parent-implemented intervention is an intervention approach that basically uses behavioral principles to teach parents skills that will help them to encourage skill development and maladaptive behavior reduction in their children.

Parents can help their child to experience more learning opportunities than can occur in any treatment setting. This is especially true when treatment options are limited or ABA is less intensive either due to unavailability of the service provider or due to a parent’s preference which could be due to either cost or issues regarding accessing treatment, such as transportation or scheduling concerns.

Parent training in ABA may help parents to address the symptoms of autism in their child, maladaptive behaviors being displayed, and/or development of appropriate and functional skills to improve quality of life for their child.

Hendricks (2009) reports that parent-implemented intervention has empirical support to help children with autism in the area of communication skills and maladaptive behaviors. Parent-implemented intervention has been found to help kids improve social skills, conversation skills, spontaneous language, using augmentative and alternative communication systems, joint attention skills, and play skills. Research has found that parent-implemented interventions can also help kids with autism become more compliant and improve functional living skills like improving feeding issues. Research supports the use of parent-implemented intervention to help kids with autism who display disruptive or aggressive behaviors, as well.

When working with parents, ABA providers should look at the interaction as a partnership or a collaboration. The client benefits when ABA providers include parents in the process of treatment.


When the goal of your ABA parent training service is to have the parent implement treatment strategies, also referred to as parent-implemented intervention, there are a few things to keep in mind.

To formally complete parent-implemented intervention, there are multiple steps involved.

The steps of parent-implemented intervention include:

  1. Determine the Needs of the Family

  2. Selecting Goals

  3. Developing the Intervention Plan

  4. Training Parents

  5. Implementing the Intervention

  6. Progress Monitoring


In applied behavior analysis services, it is important to individualize our intervention. This can be completed through assessment of the child’s skills, observations, and/or interviews. Although there are multiple products out there that offer pre-developed programs and intervention plans, even with these types of products, individualized service is recommended so each client can receive services that are most optimal for them.

To determine the needs of the family, ABA providers need to take into consideration the individual circumstances, cultural influences, and resources of each family they work with. ABA parent training does not just involve knowing the child and their skills and areas of need, but quality ABA parent training also includes getting to know the family as a whole and the parents as individuals, as well.

Key Term #5 [for CEU students]: culture

There are a variety of ways that you can gain more information about the family. Some ways that ABA providers can explore to help determine the needs of the family include:

  • Formal or informal interviews with parents including addressing:

    • Strengths of the child

    • Strengths of the family

    • Areas of concern that the parents have regarding their child

    • Behaviors of the child that interfere with the well-being of the family

    • The nature of parent-child interactions

    • Examples of activities that the family participates in (or would like to participate in)

    • Details of the physical layout of the home and other environmental arrangement descriptions (as this may help intervention planning particularly using the antecedent strategy of environmental arrangement)

    • Details about daily routines (or lack of routines)

    • Relationships within the household

    • Relationships with extended family members

    • Relationships with friends or peers

    • Potential ideas for supports from family and friends that could help with intervention planning

    • Community activities that the family participates in or would like to participate in

    • Other services that the parent and/or child is receiving (to help coordinate services and enhance the benefits of your intervention)

    • Inquire about possible community resources that could help the family (although you could look more into this on your own or with colleagues)

    • Inquire about cultural values, beliefs and expectations that may impact your interactions with the family

  • Observations of the child in the natural environment (specifically the home setting)

  • Observations of parent-child interactions


While ABA professionals are certainly helpful to improve the skills of children with autism spectrum disorder when working directly with the child, parents often have the ability to make an impact on their child’s skills and behaviors through parent training, as well.

Parents and ABA providers should collaborate on the development of goals. Although it is necessary that ABA professionals incorporate their training and knowledge into goal selection, partnering with parents on identification of goals is essential for optimal outcomes and for gaining parents’ commitment to the intervention plan (Hendricks, 2009).

To select goals for parent-implemented intervention, you should take into consideration the following factors:

  • Does the child already have an existing Individualized Education Plan? If so, consider incorporating the goals on the IEP into your plans for parent-implemented intervention (in ABA parent training).

  • Does the child have an existing treatment plan from another service provider? Is it appropriate to use goals from that treatment plan in your training plans for the parent? For example, is an early childhood specialist working on fine motor skills with the client?

  • Are there health or safety concerns that need to take priority?

  • Does the parent have areas that they would most like to work on first?

  • Will the potential goals have a positive impact on the child and the family?

  • Do the parents have the resources and ability to implement potential intervention strategies?

  • Are the potential goals appropriate for the parents to implement in the home and/or community setting? (Moes & Frea, 2000)


The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder reports that “parent-implemented intervention” is an evidence-based intervention for children with autism. Helping parents to learn to implement effective intervention strategies through ABA parent training can be an efficient way to help kids improve skills and reduce maladaptive behaviors. As an ABA provider, you can improve your parent training related skills by learning more about the family and incorporating the parents in goal development and intervention planning.


After reviewing some of the recommendations above for working with parents in ABA parent training, specifically in what is called “parent-implemented intervention,” you can implement the following ideas:

  • Look at your current process for gathering information about the family.

  • See if there are topics addressed above that you could incorporate into a parent interview that would help you to improve your ABA parent training services (such as asking about daily routines or support from extended family).

  • When selecting ABA parent training goals, consider the questions listed above? Have you asked the parent for their input on what goals they’d like to be addressed?

  • Plan a meeting to review the client’s goals with the parent to discuss whether your current goals are acceptable by both the ABA provider and the parent and whether new goals should be identified.


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Hendricks, D.R. (2009). Steps for implementation: Parent-implemented intervention. Chapel Hill, NC: The National Professional Development Center on ASD, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina.

Moes, D. R., & Frea, W. D. (2002). Contextualized behavioral support in early intervention for children with autism and their families. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 32(6), 519-533.

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