How do I get started?
1. Hire a consultant. The consultant can assist you in making decisions appropriate for your home program and give you information on resources.
2. Decide how many hours per week you are going conduct therapy and a potential schedule for your tutors. You will need to know the number of hours and a potential schedule when begin the hiring process.
3. Hire a team of tutors/therapists. You will need to recruit at least 3 tutors to make up the team that will implement the 25- 40 hours of treatment per week. It is advised to recruit more people than you actually need. They should all attend the initial workshop and then decide if they are interested and if they have the time required to fulfill the requirements. Parents are encouraged to do some of the therapy themselves, but it is not recommended that any one person do over 15 hours per week. Each person should work 6-15 hours per week, at least two sessions per week. This enables each person to become familiar with your child while not spending so much time that the child becomes dependent upon one person.
College students are the most likely candidates. Often those students studying psychology speech pathology, or education (general or special) are interested in this type of experience. Many families recruit students by placing ads in local or college newspapers. You can also post flyers at churches, libraries, in various departments and university centers of nearby colleges. You could also contact a professor who would make an announcement in his/her class about your child’s needs and the future home-based early intervention program. It is also a good idea to network with other families who work with your consultant to see if they may know someone who needs extra hours.
An applicant does not need to have previous experience or special credentials to become a good tutor. Age needs to be considered sometimes when hiring tutors (over age 16 is advised, but truly depends on maturity).
In addition, each person must be dependable. No matter how much a person likes working with your child, if they are not dependable, your child will lose valuable time.
4. Buy materials. Ask your consultant for a list of items you’ll need.
I always suggest: The Language Builder Card Set from Different Roads to Learning: http://www.difflearn.com.
A sturdy but light weight child-size table and two chairs available to use for therapy.
Please provide a variety of foods, drinks, and toys that your child likes. These will be used to motivate and reinforce your child during therapy. For the workshop, it is especially powerful to have a few new toys that your child has never seen. This helps get your child’s attention and sets up a positive learning environment. In addition, if a few favorite treats/foods can be avoided the week prior to the workshop, they are more reinforcing when reintroduced at the workshop.
If at all possible, the therapy room should not be your child’s bedroom.
5. Schedule an initial training workshop with your consultant and home team. Plan to have your team of tutors present for the entire workshop.
For my initial workshops: The first day will consist of learning about ABA, behavior, your child’s protocols, and data collection. The second day will consist of a demonstration of each protocol with your child, and the opportunity for the team to try each one, too. The third day will consist of the team implementing each protocol with support and feedback from the consultant.