Emotional Development and ABA

The holidays are here. Along with the fun and excitement comes a lot of additional stress. Emotions can run high, not only for parents but for children as well. Family visits, gift giving and receiving, large dinners, group events, extra household chores, the works. All these events can be a lot for developing minds, especially for children who have delays in their emotional development, which is common among children on the spectrum.
Families will often prioritize their children’s educational skills, such as reading or writing development, and problem-solving. Unfortunately, their emotional development will take a back seat. Many children with intellectual or developmental delays struggle with understanding, maintaining, and expressing their emotions, and overwhelming events like holiday gatherings can increase stress levels.

What is emotional development and why is it so important?

Emotional development is complex and has many layers. It begins when people are babies and continues well into their adult years. Ages 3 to 5 are a vital time for emotional development, as the skills learned during this period, including how to understand (process), regulate, and express emotions, can help children develop into emotionally competent and healthy people.
When we understand and express emotions more easily from a young age, we will have better empathetic and social skills as we get older. This can help us to build positive relationships. Building relationships is the stepping stone for friendships, partnerships, and even employment connections. If we can’t understand and express emotions, it can affect our lives in more ways than one. When children and adults have lower-quality relationships it can contribute to mental health struggles and even contribute towards depression.
As a parent, the speed at which your children learn to read, write, and count should not be your only concern. Their emotional well-being needs to be made a priority as well. Prioritizing children’s emotional development ensures they have the opportunity to live a fulfilled life where they can regulate their emotions and build positive relationships in the years to come.

How can ABA help with emotional regulation skills?

ABA is not only for teaching communication and daily living skills. It can work to address social-emotional deficits as part of your individualized treatment package. Behavior analysts can add skills that identify emotions and help learners express their own emotions. They can even help older learners recognize and respond to others’ emotions in social situations, enabling them to create appropriate social awareness skills that young adults require. Some BCBAs may even have certifications in socio-emotional aimed curriculums such as ACT or AIM.
The board-certified behavior analysts at Empower ABA value their clients and their family’s mental well-being and create well-rounded, individualized treatment plans that address all of the deficits of their students, emotional development delays included.
Reach out today if you want to find out more about enrolling your child in ABA therapy with Empower ABA! Email info@empoweraba.com if you want to begin the intake process for any children between the ages of 2 to 20 years, with a formal diagnosis.
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