Pairing is an important process that is used by therapists at the Sunshine Center in order to build rapport. Read on to learn some pairing pointers, including why we use it and how you can implement it at home.
During the first session (or few sessions) with your child, our Sunshine Center therapists will begin the pairing process. This means that the therapist will be building a rapport with your child, which is an important component of gaining instructional control.
Your child will guide the pairing session(s) by showing the therapists their likes and dislikes, playing together, and having fun. The therapist will provide minimal demands during pairing sessions to keep the session fun and exciting and not seen as “work.” Pairing sessions can last anywhere from one day to multiple weeks depending on your child’s comfort level with the individual and environment. (Sometimes it just takes a little more patience!)
Pairing helps to establish your child’s therapist as a reinforcer. That is, we want your child to find us fun and exciting to be around. The more a child sees us as a reinforcer, the more they are willing to do for and with us!
You can pair with your child (or other children) by playing with their favorite toys with them, being silly, singing songs and giving them lots of the things they like. This is an important step in working with your child, so that they don’t see you as someone who always places demands! Pairing will assist in your child being more willing to comply with your directions, while still knowing that you will provide them with access to the things they need and want.
Although pairing will certainly take place during the first few sessions, you can also expect for your child’s therapist to re-pair with them after vacations or holidays, when transitioning from one setting to another, or when a new therapist joins the team.
Anna Richardella joined the Sunshine Center team as the Edison Center Supervisor in February of 2020. While babysitting for a child with autism, she developed a passion for working with children with special needs and began providing childcare and adapted community services to families. Anna earned her bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and a minor in French language from West Chester University. After falling in love with Applied Behavior Analysis while volunteering in college, she earned her master’s of Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from Capella University. She has provided services in a variety of settings including schools, centers, home and community and has worked as an instructional aide, ABA therapist and, most recently, BCBA for children with autism and developmental delays and disorders.