I hope everyone has found a fresh and encouraging start to the new year! As the new decade begins, I find myself thinking back ten years to when I met my first student diagnosed with autism. This meeting marked the beginning of my journey to learning treatment methods within the field of applied behavior analysis. As I reflect on the faces of those with whom I have worked, I remember them with grateful appreciation.
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.
Behavioral treatment involves complex decisions regarding both what to teach and how to teach. When a child demonstrates difficulty learning a skill, a good treatment team often considers other ways to teach the same skill or other skills to teach first. The team should also consider whether their treatment is being properly implemented.
A hallmark of applied behavior analysis programs is the ability to conduct a task analysis, breaking down complex skills into a set of simpler behaviors. Emphasis is first placed on teaching these simpler behaviors. Teaching includes a variety of prompts to keep a child successful. Then, by gradually combining the simpler behaviors together, a child learns the complex skill.
Is your son or daughter ready to learn to play early preschool games? Typical prerequisite skills include: an ability to take turns by waiting for one's turn and/or by passing objects back and forth, an ability to complete short play tasks such as completing a puzzle or ring stacker, and an ability to engage in parallel play for three to five minutes...
As I was leaving at the end of one of my sessions, Joey came up to give me a hug and say, "bye." He immediately pulled back, perhaps remembering that I was a guy, and gave me a fist pound instead. What a socially appropriate behavior!
We are working on increasing John's language as well as encouraging his answering questions and conversing during play. One day while talking with his mom, John saw a bus pass his house. He came to the other side of the room and said, "school bus." As we reinforced this spontaneous language, he picked up his backpack and walked toward the door. I said, "Bye John. Have a good day," and he said, "Thanks." He then proceeded to shut himself between the storm door and wooden door. As I got up to see what he was doing, he opened the door back up and said, "I'm home." I stopped in my tracks while Mom said, "Did you have a nice day?" With a broad smile, he said, "YES!" which brought more praise and reinforcement from us. In the end, I'm not quite sure who received the greater reward: John or his mother and I!
- New Jersey
The names of all children in this newsletter have been changed in respect for family confidentiality.
Aladdin's Magic Carpet! Put the child on a towel or blanket and pull them across the floor.
Jump! Sing, "Jump" by Van Halen and jump when the song tells you to.
I'm Shocked! Fall completely over with surprise and shock that the child answered the question correctly.
Car Ride! Line your chairs up next to each other and go for a car ride. Put seat belts on. Check left and right for traffic, beep the horn, etc.
Monster Palm! Draw a monster on your palm. Use the other hand to hold the wrist of monster palm so it can't get you. However, we all know a monster palm is stronger. Elicit the child's help to get rid of monster palm.