Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

Spring 2009

Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

A Team Approach

by Rose Hoffer
Assistant Director, Lovaas Institute – East Coast

One lesson that I have learned through my experience in the field of applied behavior analysis is the value of teamwork. Through effective and efficient teamwork, the possibilities of success are endless. I have met countless children, parents, grandparents and professionals who have made significant contributions to a child's success. Through written communication, a quick phone call, or a face-to-face conversation, efforts are coordinated and collaboration leads to progress and learning.

I have also had the pleasure of experiencing team building on a daily basis, where all team members help to keep each other motivated, especially by celebrating the small stuff. Parents and school teachers share creative prompting strategies to use in the natural environment. The children we serve, also active team players, show us (the professionals) exactly which techniques are effective. More importantly, these children teach us that every little step counts; every effort put forth can lead to success. The manner in which they respond to our efforts provides continual feedback about the reinforcers they are interested in on a given day or if they can successfully respond to the words or pictures that we have selected for teaching.

I read somewhere that "Teamwork is working together – even when apart." This newsletter is yet another medium where we can each contribute to a collaborative climate and help all children experience success.

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


Whistle Praise! Try to praise with a whistle in your mouth, which forces you to simulate talking with a whistle (or blow-out noisemaker, sound vibrator, guitar amplifier or microphone).

Tell Me What to Do! Model an instruction to do something silly, and then comply with the child's instruction when they say it. For example, give the instruction, "say, 'walk like a duck.'" When the child says so, start crouching on the floor and waddle around while quacking like a duck. Try other silly actions, like falling down or imitating "Barney."

Emotional Clown! Act out silly, exaggerated emotions like sad — with a real sappy "boo hoo hoo" and drip water on your face for tears (all very fake) or happy - with a silly happy song and dance.

Lost in the Hood! Wear a hooded sweatshirt with a drawstring and make your head disappear as you tighten the string. Ask the child to help to get you out.

I’m Pouring! Hold a spring water bottle above the child’s head - tilt ever so slightly in an anticipatory way - drop droplet. Fair play, however, is allowing them to get you. But they are usually less reserved about the amount they drop!




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