The ABC Way
Many children with autism or other developmental disabilities do not learn just by observing others. Most require intensive ABA therapy in order to learn and develop functional language. The great news is learning is possible for every kid! Our job is to figure out how to make this possible for your child!
So why should you chose ABA treatment for your child? It is a treatment that is both cost effective and life changing for individuals and their families. In addition, research has shown that with intensive ABA treatment about 50% of kids are able to transition into a general education kindergarten without special education supports. Now that is exciting to think about isn’t it?
Research has demonstrated that intensity means most of waking hours- usually 25-40 hours per week depending on a child’s nap schedule. Within those hours, the child is constantly engaged and responding to their environment every few seconds. It may seem like alot to put on your young child, but we make sure your child is having fun, and learning too.
So what is ABA? ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. Behavior analytic treatment uses reinforcement in structured and natural environments to help individuals learn new skills. Skills are broken down into small, measurable units, and taught systematically until the entire behavior is an automatic response.
Here at ABC Group, use Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal behavior as a framework to teach language. This construct allows us to teach language most comprehensively according to the function or reason the word is used.
Some of the first skills your child will learn will be mands and responding to instructions. We will be meeting with you relatively frequently to relay progress related exciting news, as well as to determine your thoughts on next priorities of teaching according to our assessments.
Every child can learn and the techniques that our program utilizes help maximize the ability to learn. Having a motivated learner is the basis for well done ABA. And motivation is the foundation of learning! Think of motivation as the foundation for building a house. If you don’t have a solid foundation (aka motivation) your house will fall apart!
The first step to intensive ABA is Pairing with positive reinforcement. Here we focus on early play and social development. We teach the child that it is fun to interact with caregivers, teachers, and peers.
We begin the therapy process by spending a good amount of time pairing ourselves with reinforcement. Basically, during the pairing process, we give your child the things he or she wants and likes. This helps us ensure the child sees us a fun person who delivers good things. It makes it alot easier later to put demands for learning on a child once he knows we are the giver of all good things, and then we can arrange the contingency for him to receive those items in the future as we are teaching him the much needed skills he needs. Translation:…… we don’t set your child up to fail but only to succeed. If what we ask your child to do is too hard, then we change our target goals. For example if we want your child to say “bubbles” to get “bubbles” and we give a vocal model your child attempts to an gives an utterance of “buh” or even an erroneous “ahhh”, he still gets some bubbles delivered…but not a lot….. and we still praise him. But if he says “buh bul” when we ask him to imitate our words, he gets lots of bubbles and even louder cheers, praise and affection from us. Your child is never meant to feel they have failed at anything!
We will do most of this type of teaching in the natural environment. This is where we capitalize on your child’s motivation to produce naturally occurring opportunities to teach relevant and useful skills. Natural environments are also important for programming in generalization. That is, making sure your child can label a car he sees in a photograph as well label the Corvette and Toyota Camry parked in your driveway!
Common teaching targets for children with this profile include willing participation in play and learning activities, reduction in problem behavior, manding or requesting for items, actions, attention, and task delay. Other targets include responding to directions, learning to echo speech sounds and words. All of the targets we teach are determined by the outcome of the assessments we do with your child. We assess your child’s skills not only on a 6 month basis, but also daily, in the collection of data we record and graph to ensure that our teaching is effective.
At ABC Group we utilize a combination of both intensive teaching and natural environment teaching. This combination is dependent on the learner and the specific skills being taught. Intensive teaching is the updated and modern version of what we know as Discrete Trial. It maximizes opportunities for responding, averaging 16-25 responses per minute, so that skills are learned fluently and the opportunities for reinforcement occur more frequently. It is also important to analyze the variables that influence reinforcer effectiveness to promote not only effective teaching but efficient teaching and learning.
We can’t control behavior we can only control consequences.
Parent involvement is important for consistency and to help translate behavior from one environment to another. Also ensuring consistent rules and routines as well as environments makes navigating the world alot easier for a kid with autism.
So, we will also do a lot of parent training with you along this journey to help you with getting your child to do difficult things such as use the potty, eat vegetables, stay in your backyard, go grocery shopping, and even eat with utensils. It is important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in one day, so one step at a time is how we will encourage you to achieve the parent training goals that you set for yourself and your child.
Your child’s therapy will likely start out in our clinic. This is important because a child’s program may require frequent revision by the supervisor in the very beginning. In addition more supervision by the BCBA for the behavior technician may be required to get going.
Later when your child is ready to learn skills in other naturally occurring settings such as preschool, or home, we will guide your treatment team in weaving in those alternate locations of therapy, while maintaining the clinic as a base for treatment.