Is it challenging to take your child to the grocery store?
Does your child have difficulty expressing themselves?
Are transitions to different activities or places difficult for your child?
Does your child play with the same toys in a rigid, systematic way?
Does your child prefer to spend time by themselves, instead of playing with peers or siblings?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then ABA services could definitely benefit you (and your family)!
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services address both behavioral challenges and skill acquisition deficits. ABA is the science of analyzing the functional relationship (contingencies) between the learner's behavior and their environment, to improve socially significant behaviors using data analysis and ongoing assessment.
Programming is systematic in nature (based on assessment and observation, accompanied with ongoing data (and analysis)), therefore targeting replacement skills that are more appropriate than problem behavior as well as teaching skills that are functional to that learner. Programming is individualized to focus on your child's priorities, while also incorporating parent training! The first goal is to establish an effective form of communication (verbal, sign language, PECS, or AAC device) by first requesting, then labeling, conversation, etc., therefore the learner can gain access to things that they need and want. Language is an ever-evolving component of human beings, therefore there is almost always a language program/focus. Other skills that are may be taught include play skills, social skills, and daily living skills, just to name a few.
ABA programming assesses skills and creates small steps to teach until mastery, then continues to apply those skills ensuring that new skills are also generalized to be used in the presence of different people and environments. These skills may include grooming, chores, and leisure skills.
One example is a dressing chain that will teach the child the entire sequence of steps, which could be more than 15 steps long, teaching steps one by one until entire sequence is independent. The teaching procedure includes prompting and fading to independence as the learner demonstrates the step mastered.
ABA is also applicable to learning new hobbies, juvenile detention center rehabilitation, assistance to stop your bad habits (i.e. smoking, biting finger nails, weight loss), class management in schools (i.e. PBIS), and countless other places! Stay tuned for more blog posts!
For most families the idea of learning some of the practices that we put into place within an ABA therapy session can be overwhelming, and understandably so. However, Natural Environment Teaching (i.e., NET) is a far less intensive means of providing instruction within the context of fun. What we are seeking to achieve in the NET is to bring the skills that we have intensively taught at the table, which is a highly structured environment, into a more natural setting. Basically, how can these skills be applied in the natural setting?
Dr. Mary Lynch Barbera, author of The Verbal Behavior Approach, explains the NET and the role of family participation perfectly, “Equally important, though, is every parent and caregiver understands the principals of ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] and VB [Verbal Behavior], so that even a trip to the grocery store can be a learning experience.” This is a book that I often recommend for people that have recently been introduced into the world of ABA. The author does a wonderful job of explaining the complexities of ABA and VB in simplistic terms, and provides a variety of everyday examples that are easy to digest and understand.
Barbera goes on to describe some important components to NET. One of the ways in which we can most effectively teach language is to teach in as many settings throughout the day, and across multiple people and situations. During these instances, we are typically looking to have the learner use the different repertoires that they have acquired. For example, setting up opportunities for the learner to request for a variety of items and activities – requests or mands (e.g., “cookie” or “turn the page”) having the learner respond to directions – receptive language or listener responding (e.g., the parent asks, “get the duck” and the child grabs the duck to put into a puzzle board), repeating back different words or sounds – vocal imitation or echoic (e.g., parent says “moo” while playing with a cow figurine, and the child repeats this sound back), having the learner label or tact the different things that they see, hear, smell, taste, or touch (e.g., while reading a book the parent asks, “What’s that animal?” and the child responds, “chicken”), and finally intraverbals, which is the ability to answer a question. Some of the first intraverbal skills that children begin to learn are fill-ins from songs or on-going activities (e.g., “Old MacDonald had a…” and the child says, “farm.” It can also be, “We go up and…” and the child says, “down”).
Remember to keep the activity fun, so that you aren’t requiring too much. It’s important to work with their motivation, try to find toys, games, and other activities that they love. Below I have provided a link to Barbera’s website where you can learn more about her and her book.
Are you the parent of a child between the ages of 3-7 that is diagnosed with Autism? Are you looking for the best preschool setting for your child? Are you a little overwhelmed by all of the information that there is to take in? We are here to help so keep on reading!
Apple Academy is a non-public preschool program with its roots imbedded in Applied Behavior Analysis with an intermixing of a nationally accredited curriculum used by the majority of public preschools in the area. By utilizing both ABA therapy and Creative Curriculum students will be able to access various skills through the curriculum and the foundations of ABA will develop functional communication skills and behavior reduction strategies so that your child has the best experience possible.
Apple Academy is lead by two Early Childhood Educators with extensive backgrounds in Early Childhood Education and ABA therapy. Each child enrolled in our program has their own team of staff that work specifically with you and your child to develop individualized goals that will be taught in a direct 1:1 setting alongside their peers. ABA therapy within our preschool looks similar to a home session but with the added benefits of built in socialization, peer literacy circles, planned math, science, sensory and art activities.
Our preschool runs with a staff to child ratio that simply cannot be beat by local preschools. By having low staff to child ratios your child is sure to receive the most intensive and beneficial experience that you can find. There really isn’t much more you can ask for!
Feel free to call our offices and schedule a tour. We are more than happy to show you around so you can see us in action for yourself.
Looking Forward to Meeting You!