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Common Questions

What are sessions like?
Unlike many therapies that are directed at the child, this treatment is parent-directed.  You, the parent, will work directly with the therapist.  We will determine the areas in which your child is having difficulty, and then address them with individually crafted procedures. We will practice the new skills together until you feel comfortable carrying out these procedures on your own. The degree to which your child will attend sessions will depend on the skills identified.

The objective of all sessions, regardless of your child's profile, is for you to feel competent in your capacity to effectively parent your child.

Are home visits available?
Yes, home visits are available and are often preferable.  By working in your natural environment, the therapist will have the opportunity to observe your concerns as they unfold in real time.  This is ideal in terms of environmental recommendations and modeling the changes that we will implement.

What kinds of issues are addressed with parents of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders)?
Every child, with or without ASD, is different and will require different supports and strategies. We will review those areas of concern to you, and develop an approach accordingly. That being said, there are traits that are common to children with ASD. Because children with ASD typically have communication deficits, we will work on ways to help you communicate effectively with your child, and implement systems for teaching your child to communicate independently. If your child exhibits tantrums or aggression, you will learn how to anticipate and decrease these behaviors, as well as how to manage them when they occur. Other common goals include:
  • functional play skills
  • improved capacity to socialize
  • increased capacity to wait, delay gratification, and accept "no"
  • increased acceptance of food variety
  • increased acceptance of bedtime and bath-time routines
  • successful community outings (to restaurants, haircuts, dentist, shopping, etc.)

What kinds of issues are addressed with parents of children with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)?
Parents of children with ODD often feel overwhelmed by their child's refusal to cooperate. Intuitive parenting seems to have failed, as have attempts at reward or punishment. Oppositional children are often physically or verbally aggressive, making it unpleasant to spend time with them. In addition to feeling out of control and publicly humiliated by their child's behavior, many parents report feeling guilty that they have come to dislike being with their child. Common goals include:

  • increased compliance with adult directions
  • increased cooperation with family activities
  • increased homework compliance
  • increase in pro-social communication/ decrease in "fresh talk"
  • decrease in physical and/or verbal aggression
  • improvement in parent/child relationship

What kinds of issues are addressed with parents of children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?
Children with ADHD may struggle with impulsivity, sitting still, and sustaining attention. A variety of other, co-morbid symptoms may also be present (e.g. anxiety, language processing difficulties, etc.)  As a result of his ADHD, your child may struggle in school and in social settings.  You may feel helpless to help your child, as well as feeling frustrated with your child's impulsive outbursts or failure to complete daily tasks. Common goals include:

  • improved capacity to complete daily tasks (e.g. getting dressed)
  • improved capacity to do homework without melting down
  • increased capacity to wait, delay gratification, and accept "no"
  • increased attention to adult directions
  • increased capacity to stay on-topic
  • development of a "pause" before acting
  • increased capacity to socialize in an age-appropriate manner

What kinds of issues are addressed with parents of typically developing children?
Parenting is a difficult job, and is confounded by the many competing agendas in our busy lives. When a parent feels that he has lost control in his own home, and that his relationship with his child has been degraded to the point of continuous yelling and threats, behavior therapy can open the door to meaningful change. Common goals include:

  • improved cooperation with daily tasks (going to bed on time, turning off the TV)
  • improved cooperation with homework
  • increased participation in family activities and conversation
  • increased attention to adult directions
  • improved demeanor when talking to parents/ decreased "fresh talk"
  • increased willingness to do things for other members of the family
  • improved parent/ child and sibling relationships

Why does my child have multiple (different) diagnoses, and how will that effect treatment?
Unlike physical disabilities and ailments that can be diagnosed by examining scans and blood work, developmental disabilities are more subjective and difficult to diagnose. The diagnosis your child receives may differ depending on the training or background of the practitioner who evaluates him, as well as the manner in which he presents at the time of the particular evaluation. It is not uncommon for the same child to see four practitioners and receive four different diagnoses. For example, the same child may be diagnosed with ODD, Anxiety Disorder, SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), and Bipolar Disorder. This makes decision-making extremely difficult for the parent, as the therapeutic roadmap may differ for different diagnoses.

Behavior therapy is not diagnosis driven. Treatment goals are informed by specific, observable, and measurable behavior, as opposed to by diagnosis. For example, if a parent has identified bedtime as problematic, then bedtime becomes a treatment goal. Procedures for increasing bedtime compliance and success are developed based on the child's developmental capacities, rather than on his diagnoses.

How long will treatment take?
The frequency (how often) and duration (how long) of treatment will depend on two factors. First, the degree of impairment and number of deficits identified will inform how much work there is to do. Second, the degree to which the parent is able to adopt and implement the new skills will either increase or decrease the need for ongoing treatment.

Is behavior therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and therapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
  • suspected child abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • if a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • if a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure his safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.

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