Every year, I'm happy to see the flurry of stories in the media during Autism Awareness Month, as it's crucial that families get the information they need. I'm always hopeful that behavioral intervention will be portrayed in the stories as the dynamic and fluid treatment method that it is. Using a behavioral approach doesn't mean that we only are concerned with inappropriate behavior, nor does it mean that we can only teach children while sitting face to face in little chairs. One of the greatest things about using a behavioral framework to treat children with autism is that there is no limit to the type of skills that can be taught.
In this month's newsletter, we focus on applying behavioral principles in ways and places that will challenge some people's notion of behavioral treatment. Teaching incidentally and turning daily activities such as bath time into learning opportunities are great examples of how dynamic behavioral treatment can be. Remember, as long as we teach systematically and always are cognizant of the child's motivation level, we can teach just about anything. The sky is the limit!
Bath time with any child is one of those rare circumstances when life is unambiguous black or white. It's either a time to look forward to or a time to dread. If you are in the latter group, skip this article. You have my sympathy...I'm in the same boat as you! If you are in the former group, read on.
The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis, and ABA therapy in general, is often associated with one method of teaching: discrete trial teaching. While discrete trial teaching often plays a critical role in helping children with autism learn, it is only part of a comprehensive program.
Springtime means IEP time in a lot of school districts. As a behavioral consultant, I've had my fair share of IEP meetings that have gone smoothly and those that have been contentious. Often there are controversies surrounding the services a child should receive.
After reading examples in our newsletter about generalizing skills in the natural environment or the use of incidental teaching, some might start to wonder, "Isn't this a lot like other kinds of therapy: like Floor Time or speech therapy or just good teaching in general?"
Four-year old Samantha sister of two-year old client, Charlie, said to her mom, " Charlie played with me today so he doesn't need therapy anymore."
When probing functions with Matthew, the instructor asked, "What is a nose for?" and he responded, "to pick."
When Branham and his instructor walked outside in the rain, he said. "Look, your car is crying."
While Isaac and his instructor were driving home from school, the instructor jokingly responded to him by saying "Get outta here" to which he replied, "I can't get out of here – the car is moving!"
The names of all children in this newsletter have been changed in respect for family confidentiality.
You asked. We'll answer. Thanks to the many suggestions submitted by readers of past newsletters, we are in the process of determining some of the content for our upcoming newsletters. We hope you'll keep sending us feedback so that we can continue to provide a resource you find of practical value. Below are some of the upcoming articles, based on that feedback. I look forward to continuing our discussion next month.
Magician's Chain! Make a magician's chain of kerchiefs and stuff them all in your sleeve. Let the child pull them out. When will they end? Possibly tie a reinforcer onto the end of the chain.
Wind-up Hand! Wind up your hand like it's a toy - use cranking sound effects - then let it go and flap your hand wildly over the table and child's tickle spots in a flip-flop motion.
Life can seem like a never-ending series of challenges when your child is diagnosed with autism. For the Bronwyn family, the challenges also lead to an epiphany.