ABC Group serves children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), ages 12 months through 18 years. Each child’s treatment program is designed based upon his/her individual needs as determined by assessment. The terminal aim of every child’s program is to “close the gap” between their current skill level and those of their typically developing peers. 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.
Each child’s needs may be assessed across the following eight (8) domain areas:
Assessment and Evaluation
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.
Assessment tools include:
- 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)
- ABLLS (language, play, social, behavior up to age 5 developmental level)
- Fluency assessments (assesses levels compared to established performance aims across a variety of domains)
- A myriad of inventories and checklists
How do we ensure we are teaching your child effectively and efficiently?
We use strong competing reinforcers. Initially correlate the teaching environment with highly valuable and high density reinforcement relative to the conditions that have typically been interrupted at the start of teaching sessions.
We present instructional demands in which the stimuli and response requirements vary from trial to trial. Do not mass trial across one skill or one operant.
We use errorless teaching methods that incorporate time delay prompting procedures. In other words, use methods that ensure high levels of correct responding.
We try to keep the ratio of about 80% known (e.g easy) to about 20% unknown (ie difficult) tasks.
We use a VR schedule of reinforcement, but initially start by presenting a lower # of demands before delivering reinforcement. Then, gradually increase the # of demands presented before delivering reinforcement until the desired VR schedule is reached.
When problem behavior occurs, treat with extinction. For behaviors typically maintained by positive reinforcement (such as with attention seeking behaviors), do not deliver the reinforcer, meaning do not give the behavior the attention that it is seeking from you.
We immediately deliver the reinforcement for appropriate behaviors.
We initially use the shortest inter-trial interval (ITI) possible. This should typically start off around 1-2 seconds.
We teach student to respond both accurately and quickly.
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.
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 and Consultation
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.
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.