My daughter started receiving these services a little over a year ago. The behaviorist who worked with her was amazing. She taught my daughter many skills to address her controlling her emotions, along with many other areas. The agency providing these services believes that my daughter has gained everything she can from ABA and is moving on to a parent training model. This involves the behaviorist's supervisor working with me for about an hour or two a week to train me on how I can collect data on my daughter's behavior and teach me the tools to address her issues. We are no longer working with the behaviorist, and yesterday was her last day with us.
It's hard for us to make this transition. My daughter really adored her behaviorist, and it's scary for us to try to figure things out on our own, for the most part. I think the behaviorist was sad to stop seeing us also. I know she feels that our daughter doesn't need the services anymore, but the two of them had bonded so well, I know she'll miss our daughter.
To "celebrate" our daughter ending behavior therapy, we decided to make the last day to have a graduation party vibe! We had fun, for the most part. There was one bittersweet moment where my daughter took her stuffed polar bear over to the behaviorist. She was pretending that the bear was crying. When the behaviorist asked why he was crying, my daughter answered that the polar bear thinks this is the last time he'll see the behaviorist. I almost started crying when she said this. The behaviorist then asked what else the polar bear thought, and my daughter answered, "How should I know? I'm not him!" That turned the tears to laughter pretty quickly.
The last few minutes were really hard on all of us. Luckily, my daughter's school was having it back-to-school night. Both my husband and I wanted to attend, so we had hired a babysitter who was due to come right when the behaviorist was leaving. This ended up working great, because right as my daughter was going to cry, the babysitter came, and my daughter ran to her and started bonding. She stopped paying much attention to the behaviorist. We even had to prompt her to say bye to the behaviorist!
I totally understood why my daughter switched gears like this--she really didn't want to deal with the sadness of that moment. But I think we were all relieved for the diversion!
It's hard when you meet such wonderful, special people who bring love and laughter to your child's life, just to see them leave a year or so later. We've been very blessed in having great in-school behaviorists in addition to our after-school one. It's never easy to see them go!