My autistic daughter recently started her ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. Her therapy schedule is 1.5 hours/day at preschool and 1/5 hours/day at home, 5 days/week, for 15 hours of ABA. She also has 1 hour of speech therapy at home, so a total of 16 hours, 8.5 of which occur at home in the evenings. A typical evening looks like this:
4:45 Husband gets kiddo from preschool
5:00 kiddo gets home, we feed her
5:30 ABA implementer arrives. ABA from 5:30-7:00. Husband and I usually use this time to prepare and eat our own dinners, then participate in the therapy afterwards.
7:00-8:00 play with kiddo, possibly a bath in here.
8:00-8:30 getting ready for bed, bedtime for kiddo.
8:30 Husband and I collapse on the sofa.
It’s busy, to say the least, and leaves basically no time to keep our home clean. During the week we just try to keep the mess semi-contained, and then fix it over the weekend (this doesn’t always happen). The weirdest part though is having the implementers and therapists constantly in our home while we are preparing and eating dinner. We have the same implementer who comes every evening, and she’s great. But she’s also an undergraduate at the same university where I am a professor, so that’s a bit awkward. I did not imagine when I started as a professor that within a few months, I would have an undergraduate I didn’t know intimately involved in my family life. I have never liked having new people in my home, and the whole thing makes my home feel less personal and more public. Our implementer has always been completely professional and sweet with our daughter, and the therapy is obviously working. We are seeing tremendous progress. So I have no doubt that this is the best thing for the kiddo, but it’s taking some getting used to for me. Since our daughter just turned two, this will likely be our schedule for at least the next year until she turns three and becomes eligible for the local special education school for children on the autism spectrum, which will also provide her therapy.