Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

September 07

Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

Collaborating with Parents

As explained on our website, the Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis provides two general types of treatment: clinic-based services and consultation services. In either service, a thoroughly trained senior staff member is assigned to a family as their consultant/supervisor. While a consultant provides expertise in behavior therapy, parents also play a crucial role in the development of a behavioral treatment program.

Parents are the ones who know their child best. We need to access that knowledge and be familiar with a family's daily routines in order to provide the best behavioral treatment program. Programming is not meant to become a checklist of skills to complete. Such a mindset is why critics will protest that behavioral treatment isn't functional. These critics would be right, if it weren't for the many parents and consultants who, from the beginning, make treatment relevant to their particular family and child's life.

Below is a list of critical questions we find parents should continually reflect upon throughout treatment. Some questions may be more relevant to treatment development depending on the age of a child and his particular strengths and weaknesses. Going through this exercise with a consultant can help create a program that is truly based on "applied" behavior analysis, because the resulting treatment focuses on teaching skills the family finds relevant to their everyday life.

What would I like my child to learn to do during his leisure time?

Some factors to consider:

  • What activities are age-appropriate?
  • What are my child's interests?
  • How long will the activities last?
  • Will some of these activities help keep my child physically active?

What are the major communication deficits I would like my child to overcome to improve his quality of life/be happy?

Example areas of need include:

  • Requesting specific objects or activities
  • Requesting that an activity not occur or stop occurring
  • Requesting attention

What choices would I like my child to be given throughout the day? How is he learning to regulate his own life?

Example occasions for choices include:

  • Choosing a snack at snack time
  • Choosing clothes while dressing
  • Choosing a video while watching TV
  • Choosing a leisure activity while using a schedule board or calendar

What would I like my child to do to be more independent throughout the course of a day at home?

Possible examples of independence include:

  • Completing toilet training
  • Learning to turn on the television/change channels
  • Dressing independently
  • Taking a bath independently
  • Making a snack independently

What would I like my child to do to help out around the house?

Possible activities include:

  • Setting the table
  • Wiping off table
  • Emptying the dishwasher
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Putting clothes away
  • Making the bed

What would I like my child to do to live a healthy life?

Some factors to consider:

  • How healthy is my child's diet?
  • How well does my child sleep?
  • What kind of exercise does my child get?

What behavior issues would I like my child to overcome?

Some factors to consider:

  • How do these behaviors make life challenging for my child or our family?
  • Why does my child engage in these behaviors?
  • What are some more appropriate behaviors that could replace these behaviors?

What would I like my child to learn so that he can go on community outings with our family?

Some factors to consider:

  • What outing(s) are most important to our family?
  • What makes each outing difficult for my child?

What would I like my child to learn so that he can be more a part of our family's daily and weekly routines?

Some factors to consider:

  • What routines does our family currently have?
  • How might we modify a routine to help include our child?

Do you have other ideas of skills to incorporate during birthdays? Share them with us here

The names of all children in this newsletter have been changed in respect for family confidentiality.

From the Editor

Here again are some of the letters to the editor we have received recently. We will continue to take your requests into consideration when planning future articles. If you have insight into any of the requests, based on your own experience, feel free to forward your comments to us as well. I look forward to continuing our discussion next month.

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On the Lighter Side...
...5 outrageous reinforcers sure to add fun in therapy

Foot Flying! The child sits on your foot and you fly him high. Then say, "it's Barney's turn" and make Barney fly on your foot, then the child again.

Silly Telephone Calls! Make a ringing noise and pick up the telephone and say, "It's for you, (child)!" Add silly praise dialog. Alternatively, say that you've got to call Mickey Mouse and when talking to him praise the child's performance.

More

The First Hour of Trent's Intervention Program

In March 2007, four days after his second birthday, Trent, who had been diagnosed at a very early age with Pervasive Developmental Disability, Not Otherwise Specified, PDD(NOS), began receiving Family-directed services supervised by Jennifer, a consultant at the Lovaas Institute.

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