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Teaching Behavior: Autism Partnership Videos show ABA methods for children with autism

Submitted by on 03/08/2009 – 1:03 am4 Comments

Too frequently, Behavior Plans for Children with Autism are “reactive” responses to target behaviors. These plans are generally punishment oriented (removal of priveledges, withholding rewards). Effective plans are focused on teaching replacement behaviors systematically and explicitly. A behavior intervention plan should include four component parts:

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Three-quarters of the behavior plan focuses on proactive strategies for avoiding problem behaviors: teaching & reinforcing replacement behaviors (#3 & #4) or preventing situations that result in the behaviors (#1). By re-focusing behavior plans on proactive strategies, the need for reactive responses is decrease and ideally eliminated. Most educators would agree that avoiding negative consequences (punishments) is a worthy goal, but they lack the strategies for teaching replacement behaviors to children with limited verbal skills. A series of videos developed by Autism Partnership demonstrate the process of teaching children with autism how to recognize and self-manage behaviors. In the first video, a 12-year-old girl with autism is taught to wait quietly rather then tantrum when she does not immediately receive a desired tangible (snack):

The therapist, Rick Schroeder and Marissa were recently featured in a CNN report on ABA services for children with autism. In the second video, a boy with higher verbal skills, but poor language pragmatics is taught to recognize the difference between “silly talk” and “cool talk.” In this video, the skill of “cool talk” is explained, rehearsed, and generalized. The teacher uses the student’s desire to talk about his “special interests” as natural reinforcer to encourage the replacement behavior:

As a Behavior Analyst, I am thankful to Rick Schroeder, Marissa, Kevin (and their families) as well as Autism Partnership for taking the time to document and share their process with the public. With greater understanding of the positive approaches to supporting children with autism, educators and children will have a lot more fun in school! If you would like to view other examples addressing elopement (running away), SIBS (self injurious behavior) and several other behaviors, please visit Autism Partnership’s YouTube web page.

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