ABA Lessons: get a big ‘effin paper bag and breathe into it

ABA Therapy: Applied Behavioral Analysis (recommended treatment for children with autism)

Read my page on ABA therapy and how it applies to our unique situation.

I receive an email from Big C’s ABA Consultant with his upcoming ABA schedule.  It consists of 21 hours a week of in-home therapy.

Shit just got real, y’all.

As I try to decipher the schedule and input it into my Google calendar, I feel the anxiety begin to rise.  A frenzied monologue begins racing through my mind:

Okay, there are three therapists…Carly, Shelby, Jennifer….his consultant is also Jenny…oh that’s confusing.  Carly takes Mondays…Shelby takes Tuesdays…no, Thursdays…well, Thursday evenings, Tuesday mornings…Tuesdays are three hours long, Wednesdays are two…wait, two sessions back-to-back…guess that means no naps on Thursdays and Fridays…did they leave time for his social skills class on Tuesdays…yes, okay, good…crap, I forgot I have to cancel next Wednesday already for work…oh, he has that new gymnastics class for children with autism on Thursday too…that’s such a long day….Saturday mornings with Jenny, I mean Jennifer…six days a week….wow…

I am going to have strangers in my home for 21 hours a week.  

I start to hyperventilate.

How am I going to do this?  How will I keep the house picked up with a three year-old and a one-year old running around?  Can I still wear sweat pants around the house? Do I have to put on make-up every day?  Will I have time to shower? How will I learn the therapy while watching Little C?  When will I get time to play with Big C without somebody breathing down my neck?  Will this be too overwhelming for Big C?  Will he have time to be a kid?  When will I cook dinner? When will I grocery shop? Will I see any of my own friends this summer?  Will my husband and I ever have time for a date again? 

When will I have time to breathe?

But then I do.  I take a long, deep breath and say to myself, “Stop freaking out and calm the eff down.  What an amazing problem you have.  You are overwhelmed because your son is going to get an intensive amount of potentially life-changing therapy.  You are damn fortunate.  This is real.  It’s actually happening.  He is going to get all the help he can possibly get.  It is going to be okay.”

Is it going to be hard?


Is it going to be overwhelming?


Am I going to find myself in tears of exhaustion and frustration at inconvenient times?


Is the therapy going to help Big C?


And it is that ‘yes’ that I must constantly remember to keep me centered, keep me focused.

I can do this.  We can do this.  It is going to be okay.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve already learned about ABA therapy, it’s that it’s not for the faint-hearted.  It’s an “all-in” kind of therapy.

That, and just breathe, or else risk passing out, and I don’t have time for trips to the hospital.  Have you seen my schedule?


~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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Published by Miranda Keskes

I am a freelance writer, editor, and tutor with fifteen years of high school teaching experience. Helping young adults craft their unique writer's voice is one of my passions. As the mother of a child with autism, I also feel compelled to share our story, connect with fellow parents, and raise awareness for a diagnosis that is still quite misunderstood. Learn more at my business site, KeskesInk.com, and my personal blog, MommyCatharsis.com.

7 thoughts on “ABA Lessons: get a big ‘effin paper bag and breathe into it

  1. It is incredibly overwhelming. We never had 21 hours of in-home therapy. We had in-home as well as on site therapy, but I don’t think it ever totaled 21 hours in one week. But your positive perspective is what is going to get you through. You have just begun this journey, and I’m now looking to you for cues. That’s an awesome thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember my biggest concern with the in-home therapy was that CPS was going to be called on account of the dog hair (it looked like a pet exploded sans the blood) and the disaster of a playroom. The art of sweeping “it” under the rug was mastered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a near disaster this afternoon when I discovered two piles of cat puke in the room where the therapists are working with Big C. Another legitimate reason to nix the cats? 😉


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