I hate to be the one to tell you, but this is not the fun part. Recruiting people is a pain, training them is time consuming and expensive and then they will leave you when you least expect it. Get used to it!
Keep it fun
It may be a stressful experience, but there are ways to minimize the damage. Firstly, try to create a positive environment for your team. I realize you are experiencing great stress, but it won’t help matters to pass this onto them.
There are many ways of creating a positive and fun work experience:
- Try to keep the therapy zone clean and organized.
- Have a supply of tea or pop for the team to grab whenever they wish. Make them feel at home.
- The team meetings should be an event that everyone looks forward to. If it is in the morning, then supply coffee, tea and breakfast nibbles. Dinner time should include some type of finger food. Keep it cheap and simple; you don’t want your team distracted from the matters at hand.
- Be inventive! Try to think of ways to acknowledge your team’s efforts without breaking the bank.
I am not suggesting that you let your team walk all over you. You need to be in control. Be ready to fire anyone who is not fitting in or who is not up to the task. Your child can’t afford to waste time and you can’t afford to waste money.
Do I have to spend my meagre funds, just to keep them happy?
I can hear the howls of protest already. You have to pay exorbitant amounts of money for ABA therapy and now I’m suggesting you pay even more. Look at it this way; is it cheaper to keep people happy or to have them leave and pay to train new people?
Don’t forget to factor in the 2 to 3 months of training by your Consultant or Lead Therapist. Do the math and I think you will see my point.
Can I be my child’s own therapist?
It’s possible but I don’t recommend it. Switching roles from parent to therapist can be stressful and difficult for the parent and confusing to the child.
Some people take on the role of Lead Therapist (especially for team administration) to save money. Once again this represents a serious commitment and should not be taken lightly.
Can I hire family members or friends as therapists?
I don’t recommend it. At first glance it may seem to be a good idea but in time you will see the downsides. As a parent you must be able to maintain team discipline and fire therapists who are not up to the task. This is a very difficult thing to do when there are personal issues in the way.
The same issues hold for people who volunteer for the task. ABA Therapy involves a level of commitment that few volunteers can sustain. To spend months using your money to train a volunteer only to have them change their schedule or dedication to the task is a very poor economy.
Do I really have to hire an entire team?
Not necessarily. There is another model whereby an agency provides all aspects of the team. They provide the consultant, therapist and administration. It sounds attractive to parents who are overwhelmed, but there are significant drawbacks. There may be some quality agencies out there, however I haven’t encountered any. I have talked with many families who started with an agency and ended up bitterly disappointed.
Things to consider include:
- The quality of therapy.
- Administration costs. These fees often take up a larger percentage of the monthly bill.
- Loss of control. Parents no longer have the ability to hire and fire as they see fit.
If you do go down this road, you must investigate the consultant’s resume very carefully. They should have experience with a lovaas ABA program and provide good references. Believe nothing you are told, until you follow up very carefully.