Intensive ABA Services
By Jennifer LaMarca
Lovaas Institute – Indianapolis
Many holiday traditions have become a rite of passage for young children. But many of the most festive of holiday activities can be unfamiliar and overwhelming for a child with autism. As the holiday season approaches, you may want to help prepare your child to have a positive experience with some of the more common holiday activities. By creating teaching situations that maximize a child's success and allow repeated practice, many children not only learn how to participate in the activity, but are also more likely to demonstrate interest in the activity, because of the natural reinforcers the activities include. Below are suggested steps that may be used to teach a few of holiday activities and the natural reinforcement present in each activity.
(For those children who do not like candy or who should not eat it, the steps below can end with your child exchanging the candy for a preferred food or activity).
It may be helpful to have two adults, such as a parent & an instructor, or one adult can play both roles.
Expanding and Generalizing
Prompts are faded and the situation is expanded to resemble what will really occur on Halloween. The order in which these steps occur may vary by child, but often include:
Reinforcement: completion of a task and a beautiful tree
Expanding & Generalizing
Prompts are faded and the situation is expanded to resemble what will really occur at Christmas.
Expanding & Generalizing
The situation initially includes easy-to-open presents and toys/reinforcers in which the child already demonstrates an interest. Parents and instructors gradually make the situation resemble what will really occur at a celebration event (e.g., Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday parties).
Do you have other ideas of skills to incorporate in the athletic arena? Share them with us here
The names of all children in this newsletter have been changed in respect for family confidentiality.
Motor Cycle Racer! Put the child on your lap, facing away from you, for a motorcycle ride. Use your fists as handlebars and rev up. Go around curves by leaning the child left or right with all important motorcycle sounds. Then crash!
Media Player! Work with the computer on, and Microsoft Media Player turned on. Set it to a song or punch line that the child likes to hear, and click start to play it while the child watches the light show.
Happy New Year! Blow and shake New Years Eve noise makers.
Tower Disaster! Set up a tower ten feet away and let the child run at it.
I've Got a Secret! Tell the child, "I have a secret," and when they listen up close, blow quiet raspberries to the ear.