Why is rapport so important during our ABA sessions and how can Motivational Interviewing help?
One of the important RESULTS of getting parent “BUY IN” to our ABA sessions, is that we are able to establish consistency… and we all know that with consistency there’s a faster decrease in maladaptive behaviors and better maintenance of replacement behaviors. (At this point you are probably thinking DUH!)
Plus, our ethical code tells us that we [Behavior analysts] promote behavior analysis by making information about it available to the public through presentations, discussions, and other media (6.02 Disseminating Behavior Analysis). Which means we have an ethical responsibility to disseminate ABA to others around us.
The truth is that when we fail to teach others that interact with the child, we may be losing a very important part of our work.
In my 10+ years of experience in the field I have noticed that a reason why we may struggle to get “BUY IN” from parents and other professionals that work with our clients is that we don’t focus on building a partnership with them. Instead, as a result of the way we communicate with them, our relationship becomes a hierarchy.
But before we even try to develop a partnership, we must build adequate rapport.
Establishing RAPPORT is essential in any conversation and relationship. Think about a stranger who makes a sarcastic statement verses a friend who you feel comfortable with that tells you the same sarcastic statement. Who do you think you will find more offensive?
HOW WE ESTABLISH RAPPORT SUCCEFULLY?
Establishing RAPPORT is easier with the kiddos we work with but may not be as simple with parents and other professionals we encounter. In trying to establish rapport we may come off as inauthentic and may actually become a punisher for these professionals. So how do you genuinely build rapport? Become CURIOUS! Like the SCIENTIST you are!
4 QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF THAT WILL HELP YOU BECOME CURIOUS:
- What are the parents, teachers/professional’s goals for this child? And how are they similar to yours?
- What are their concerns and expressed barriers for not adhering to the interventions? Can you think of a time in your life where you felt a similar concern with something you were advised to do?
- What are some strengths you identify in them that will help them intervene effectively (remember to pick those flowers). How can you express that to them in a way that is genuine? (we should probably drop our pom poms for this one)
- What are some similarities you have with the parent/teacher/professional you are working with?
When you are able to align yourself with them, the relationship will TILT, and you will be able to move along with more ease. Remember we want our communication to feel like we are dancing and not wrestling.