APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS (ABA)
Each child’s program consists of observable and measurable goals, which are taught through systematic trial sequences. Program changes are determined by ongoing data collection and analysis. The initial focus of therapy is on developing basic skills of attendance, compliance, and imitation. Once the child is responding to the therapist’s requests and attending to the activities, additional program goals in the areas of functional communication, social skills, play and leisure skills, higher level of compliance, and daily living skills are introduced. The program is individualized for each child based on functional behavioral assessments and family needs. A combination of structured teaching and play based strategies such as Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and Pivotal Response Training (PRT) are used to achieve higher levels of motivation and success.
16-HOUR PARENT EDUCATION
Parents who participate in the “16″ hour parent education program will be receiving behavioral services for their children in the near future. It is therefore crucial for them to have a basic understanding of concepts that might be introduced during the course of an assessment and a behavior intervention program. During the “16″ hour program parents will have an opportunity to gain an understanding of the underlying philosophy of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The basic premise behind antecedent, behavior, and consequence (ABC) analysis, the importance of functional assessment, and introduced to the possible intervention strategies that might be applied during the course of a behavior intervention program offered to their children.
Maintenance and Generalization
An important aspect of the intervention is to assist the family with strategies to decrease inappropriate behaviors, and to put emphasis on skill acquisition. It is important to embed the proposed strategies across a variety of routines, such as free time/leisure activities in the home as well as during more structured activities.
Upon reaching a desired level of progress for each behavior objective, opportunities should also be given for performance of the newly acquired skills across a variety of settings and individuals outside the home, such as social functions and community outings to generalize the learned behaviors.
Once alternate behaviors are established through the use of continuous reinforcement, the reinforcement schedules are thinned to an appropriate intermittent schedule depending on the type of reinforces being used and the level of progress achieved. Focus is placed on the use of natural reinforces, in which the reinforcement is related to the behavior being taught, such as access to item/activity upon performance of the appropriate behavior or request.
ADAPTIVE SKILL PROGRAM (AST)
Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a behavioral treatment intervention based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and is derived from the work of Koegel, Schreibman, Dunlap, Horner, and other researchers. It is a composite of the research on task interspersal, direct reinforcement, and role of choice. Key pivotal behaviors have been identified for children with autism: motivation and responsivity to multiple cues (Koegel & Koegel). PRT has demonstrated positive changes in these “pivotal behaviors” exhibiting widespread effects on many other behaviors associated with language and social interaction. Pivotal Response Training (PRT) provides a guideline for teaching skills and has been most successful for language, play, and social interaction skills in children with autism.
IN-HOME PARENT EDUCATION
Parent involvement and education is an integral part of the behavior intervention program to ensure consistency in delivery of ABA strategies and to help their child succeed. Parent participation provides an empowering experience and a higher level of motivation for the family to make the necessary changes. Family involvement allows for a more accurate assessment of their needs and establishment of attainable goals and objectives. The in home parent education program is designed to teach parents antecedent based, teaching, and consequence based strategies that are derived from the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Parents will be involved in program goal setting and use of strategies through daily routines for skill acquisition and behavior reductions, as well as maintenance and generalization. The ultimate goal is to leave the family with basic ABA tools and strategies they need to teach their child new and functional behaviors while reducing the undesired ones.