ABC Group serves children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), ages 12 months through early adulthood. Each child’s treatment program is designed based upon his/her individual needs as determined by assessment. The terminal aim of every young child’s program is to “close the gap” between their current skill level and those of their typically developing peers or develop functional life skills. Behavioral excesses or deficits across multiple domain areas likely contribute to the impairments of functioning. To meet the aim of ‘closing the gap’, a comprehensive, behavioral and education program is necessary.
Beginner Learner Profile
- Very limited range of reinforcers, especially those that can be controlled by the instructor.
- Often engage in disruptive and / or escape behaviors that interfere with teaching, such as stereotypy (stim behaviors).
- Often use inappropriate behaviors as mands (e. g., crying or screaming, etc.).
- Little or No language.
- Very limited ability to interact appropriately with other people. Make very few attempts to interact with adults or children even if they want something. May ignore most adults and children all together.
- Lacking all or most “Basic Learning Skills”. The following are considered “Basic Learning Skills” because they are building block skills or skills that are needed in order for prompting to be effective and more importantly to learn from the natural environment.
- Attending – looking and paying attention to instructor, materials, reinforcers, “Turned into” others and the environment.
- Imitation – the ability to match others gross and fine motor actions, AND vocally (Echoics).
- Matching – the ability to match object to object, object to picture and words to objects and pictures (labeling / tacting).
- Receptive Language – the ability to understand what others say and respond non-verbally.
- Manding – the ability to ask for desired items and activities.
Intermediate Learner Profile
- At least 10 separate, instructor controlled items or activities that serve as reinforcers.
- Typically cooperative in teaching situations for increased amount of time with contrived reinforcers.
- Able to engage socially with others, particularly adults. Initiate social interactions by looking at others, return greeting from adults. Beginning to show interest in other children.
- Much improved “Basic Learning Skills”.
- They are able to attend for at least 3 – 7 minutes during non-preferred activities and often much longer for preferred activities.
- They are able to imitate most actions and words but may need a few trials.
- Typically quite good at matching objects and picture. Able to expressively label at least 100 common items and pictures of those items.
- Receptively understand at least 200 words, able to follow many simple instructions, especially within the context of routine activities and some out of context, able to learn new receptive labels in 1 – 5 trials.
- Manding – able to ask for most reinforcing items and activities. Able to learn new mands in 1 – 5 trials.
Advanced Learner Profile
- Many instructor controlled items or activities that serve as reinforcers.
- Typically cooperative in teaching situations for increased amount of time with contrived reinforcers and social reinforcers.
- Able to engage socially with others, adults and children. Initiates social interactions by looking at others, initiates greetings, able to play for 10 or more minutes with typical children, independently.
- Much much better, approaching typical “Basic Learning Skills”.
- They are able to attend for at least 15 – 20 minutes during non-preferred activities and often much longer for preferred activities.
- They are able to imitate most actions and words typically on the first try.
- Typically excellent matching objects and picture. Able to expressively label at least 250 common items and pictures of those items.
- Receptively understand at least 500 words, able to follow many simple instructions in and out of context, able to learn new receptive labels in 1 trial.
- Manding – able to ask for almost all reinforcing items and activities in varied sentences. Able to learn new mands in 1 trial.
Typical Learner Profile
- Able to learn in regular educational setting without additional support.
help, assist, comfort, support
Assessment & Evalution
ABC Group utilizes a plethora of assessment tools in order to obtain the best picture of your child’s baseline skills and to develop a learning path geared to your child’s learning needs. These assessment tools will be used throughout your ABA journey at ABC Group.
A blend of criterion-referenced and norm-referenced assessment tools may be used.
- PEAK Assessment (Relational Training)
- Woodcock Johnson IV (oral language, academic (reading, spelling, comprehension, phonics, math, writing, vocabulary) and cognitive functioning.
- Vineland (adaptive and social skills)
- VB MAPP (language, play, social, behavior, transitional up to age 4 developmental level)
- Fluency assessments (assesses levels compared to established performance aims across a variety of domains)
- A myriad of inventories and checklists
Each child’s needs may be assessed across the following eight (8) domain areas:
to know, to feel, to understand
Our Teaching Approach
At ABC Group, every behavioral education program is designed to give each child the skills they need in order to benefit from placement in the least restrictive educational environment. Using the principles of ABA and motivation, foundation skills are taught in a very systematic fashion, failure is reduced, and independence is rewarded.
Initially, prompting strategies are used and distractions are reduced in order to maximize success.
At first, the teaching is usually begun in the clinic, as the clinic setting provides for frequent supervision by BCBA supervisors, and then gradually expanded and generalized to other environments including home, community or classroom settings.
Our infant and toddler early intervention preschool programs usually consist of play-based programming that focuses on teaching manding/requesting (with eye contact or approximations of sounds/words and shaping those sounds words while at the same time), joint attention, functional and pretend play, and other developmentally appropriate skills.
As the child becomes more fluent at learning from the natural environment, the intensity of treatment (i.e., the number of direct service hours) is gradually and systematically reduced until ABA services are no longer necessary.
Our high quality, intensive (25-40 hours a week) ABA treatment for a duration of 2-4 years, it is possible for young children to lose their diagnosis of autism.
Most early intervention programs (ages 3-6) consist of intensive, one-to-one instructional hours as recommended by research. It is not uncommon for ABA programs to consist of 25-45 hours per week of one-to-one ABA instruction. As the child becomes more fluent at learning from the natural environment, the intensity of treatment (i.e., the number of direct service hours) is gradually and systematically reduced until ABA services are no longer necessary.
Some children may continue to require ABA treatment beyond the early intervention years, or early school age years, and in some cases, throughout their entire adult lives. In these cases, the number of recommended service hours varies individually and is based on a variety of factors including: areas of deficit, rate of skill acquisition, amount of support required to function within the least restrictive home, school, and community environments, and additional/supplemental services received.
Children with ASD often have a long history of failure within the learning situation, every effort is made to make it successful, rewarding, and fun! Tangible rewards or reinforcements (e.g., favored treats, time engaged in electronics or toys) as well as naturally occurring rewards (e.g., social praise/physical proximity) are used. These rewards are presented to the child for their independent participation. Because children with ASD often do not find naturally occurring rewards to be motivating, tangible rewards and naturally occurring rewards are paired so that, over time, the natural rewards become motivating. Each one-to-one instructional session lasts from 3 to 4 hours. Each of these sessions consists of time spent in the structured learning situation, at play activities which target the learning goals in naturally occurring situations. The length of each instructional session and ratio of time spent at each activity is determined by the child’s age, the recommendations for treatment hours, their skill or developmental level, and the complexity of skills being taught.
For learners where school may not be a beneficial setting for the child at the time initially due to their deficits, once the child acquires skills necessary to benefit from education, placement in a school is considered. A well-planned, systematic transition into a school setting is always paramount.
Education for all
Training & Consultation (Telehealth and In-Person)
ABC Group offers flexible consultation and training plans and depending on the needs of your family, school or group. We provide training on topics related to handling challenging behaviors, effective classroom management strategies, establishing routines and house rules at home, introduction of autism, introduction to ABA treatment, providing ABA in a classroom setting. Please contact us so we can best address your training and consultation needs.
*These services can be provided via telehealth or in-person such as during observation of your child’s ABA sessions. Please contact us so we can best address your training and consultation needs.
Home School Options
We also provide several programs geared to homeschooled children. We can supplement any homeschool program and are able to collaborate frequently to accomplish this within a learning partnership. Our ACCEL Program and social skills group programs are perfect examples where we blend our teaching technologies with a homeschool learner who has individual learning needs. Please contact us for more information.