Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

Winter 2009

Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

story by Dr. Eric V. Larsson, Ph.D., L.P., B.C.B.A. Welcome

Dr. Eric V. Larsson, Ph.D., L.P., B.C.B.A.
Executive Director, Clinical Services
Lovaas Institute – Midwest

All people have tremendous potential for growth. Whether or not a child has been labeled as having a "disability," we know that they still have that impressive human capacity for growth. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science that shows how to promote that human growth. When parents have sought to maximize their child's potential, they have often found that ABA has helped them do so. It is now well documented that many children have made tremendous accomplishments through ABA.

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Kid-Friendly Recipes

  • Frozen Yogurt Pops
    Ingredients: 1 8-oz. container of your favorite flavor of yogurt
  • Dirt Pudding
    Ingredients: instant chocolate or vanilla pudding, chocolate wafer cookies or Oreo cookies & gummy worms

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Reinforcers for the School Setting

We all know the incredible value of effective reinforcers to promote learning and demonstration of appropriate skills in any environment. When it comes to the school environment, however, it can be difficult to identify reinforcers that are both "classroom-friendly" and motivating for the child. Many reinforcers that are highly motivating at home are too distracting for the other children in a group setting or require too elaborate of a set-up to quickly and easily implement at school. Below is a list of activities and ideas for reinforcers that can be used in a group setting.

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MotivAIDE!

Motivation and good time management skills are keys for success, but many of us still struggle with these traits, even as adults. Parents and teachers try to impart upon children from an early age the importance of working hard and being a good friend. Children with autism, who may demonstrate impairments in language, communication, and socialization, often have a difficult time self-monitoring their own motivation and time, simply due to the characteristics of their diagnosis. Parents, teachers, and professionals who work with children with autism are always on the look out for tools and techniques to help in these areas.

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New Features


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


Get the Maid! Try to pick up toys while bending from the waist. Let the child push you over whenever you try to bend over.

Chair Rides! "Fasten your seatbelt! Hold on to the chair!" Begin to lift chair off ground slowly. Then take off like a racecar!

Magic Tricks! Pull a candy out of the child's ear. Transfer a reinforcer magically from one hand to another closed fist (the child doesn't know you had it there already), or even into a sealed container (where it already was).

Chattering Teeth! Get chattering mechanical teeth and throw them on the table by surprise.

What's So Funny! Find a suction toy that will stick to your forehead.



Paul is a 7-year-old. He was telling his instructor Mary that he would be going to Legoland during his spring break and invited her to go with him. When she told him she couldn't go because she was going to hang out with another instructor, Anna, he said Anna could come too. Paul then told Mary the travel arrangements would include his mom, his little sister, Anna, Mary, Lucy, and Karen (all instructors) in one car and his dad, him, and Tracy (his most preferred instructor) in the other car.
- California

Tasha had recently learned to continue a conversation by staying on topic and making a statement similar to a statement that was just made. For example, if someone said, "I like Blues Clues," Tasha would add, "I like Dora the Explorer." With the start of football season, one of Tasha's instructors offhandedly remarked "I like the Colts and the Jets." Tasha chimed in, "I like the helicopters!"
- Indianapolis