Pick of the Week: Save 30% on “A Work in Progress” Companion Booklets & DVDs!

Building on the popular guide and curriculum A Work In Progress, this companion series of booklets and DVDs synthesizes information on various teaching strategies with demonstrations of actual sessions with students on video. The Work in Progress Companion Series aims to blend a natural, child-friendly approach to teaching while remaining determinedly systematic. This series offers viewers the unique opportunity to see these approaches implemented in actual teaching environments.

This week, we’re offering the entire Set of 6 Work in Progress Companion Booklets & DVDs for only $99.00 (a $150 value)! Or get one (1) Companion Set for $24.95 only $17.50!  Just use our promo code AWIPSET at check-out to redeem these great savings. View our entire sale here.

AWIP_Companion_Booklets_and_DVDs

Parents and teachers will find this series to be a helpful companion and extension to A Work in Progress. All author proceeds from the Work in Progress Companion Series will go directly to the Autism Partnership Family Foundation which was developed to provide services to families with limited resources, fund research that will investigate new strategies and programs that truly make a difference in the lives of children and families, and disseminate information about evidence-based treatment and provide resources for training parents and professionals.

Volume 1: “Cool” versus “Not Cool” teaches students foundational as well as advanced social skills in the difference between behaviors that are socially appropriate (i.e. cool) and those that are inappropriate (i.e. not cool). In later stages, they go on to actually practice the appropriate form of the behavior and receive feedback on their efforts. Research confirms the clinical experience that “Cool” versus “Not Cool” is effective in teaching social skills and enabling students to monitor their own behavior.

Volume 2: Learning How to Learn teaches and demonstrates programs that researchers have found helpful in teaching students how to learn.

Volume 3: Teaching Interactions offers a conversation-style of teaching which adds the all important element of leading students to understand rationales for why they might want to change their behavior and learn new skills. This booklet and DVD teaches students how to develop understanding and insight that help form their internal motivation.

Volume 4: Token Economy provides step-by-step instructions on how to ensure there is a strong connection between the target behavior and the reward that follows. Token economies have a number of advantages and can be very flexible in adapting to the age of the student, the types of rewards used, and the skills and behavioral targets you are seeking to improve.

Volume 5: Developing Reinforcers shows parents and teachers how to be creative in developing new sources of reinforcement, which is especially useful for students who have limited interests.

Volume 6: Bullying & ASD – The Perfect Storm focuses on the tools needed to help children with autism combat bullying. Students with ASD are particularly at risk because of their behavior issues and their vulnerability. This volume provides practical suggestions that help prevent the devastation of bullying.

Buy one (1) volume for only $17.50* this week using promo code AWIPSET at check-out! View our entire sale here!

*Offer is valid for one-time use only through January 26, 2015. Promotion does not apply to past purchases. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code AWIPSET at check-out!

 

Pick of the Week: Bullying & ASD – The Perfect Storm – NEW from Autism Partnership

Work in Progress v6 Cover.inddBullying & ASD: The Perfect Storm – the brand new booklet and DVD from Autism Partnership – comes at a most important time. Recent school bullying and cyberbullying statistics show that:

  • 1 out of 4 kids are bullied
  • 77% of students are bullied either mentally, verbally or physically
  • Cyberbullying statistics are rapidly approaching similar numbers, with 43% experiencing cyberbullying
  • Of the 77% of students that said they had been bullied, 14% of those who were bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse

Bullying is a real and pressing issue in our schools and online, and children with autism spectrum disorder are especially at risk. In the most recent volume of the Work in Progress Companion Series, Doctors Leaf, McEachin and Taubman explore not only the reasons that children with ASD are targets for bullying, but more importantly, they offer realistic and attainable strategies for kids on the spectrum.  

Several traditional methods of dealing with bullies are explored in this booklet and DVD, including avoidance, informing an authority figure, and fighting back.  In addition, there are strategies for educating and preparing the victims so that students with ASD can better combat bullying.  The included DVD features over an hour and 40 minutes of footage including advice from experts, one-on-one interviews with students, and real classroom brainstorming sessions where students with autism spectrum disorder are shown:

  • The difference between teasing and bullying
  • How to avoid the behaviors invite bullying, including determining the important difference between “cool” and “uncool”
  • When and when not to listen to peers
  • How to react to a bully

This week only, save 15% on the important new booklet and DVD – Bullying & ASD: The Perfect Storm –  by entering the promo code BLOGBASD2 at checkout.

*Offer expires on April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.

Upcoming Autism Partnership Presentations at ABAI

If anyone is attending the upcoming ABAI Conference out in Seattle, here are some highlights of presentations being given by Autism Partnership that you won’t want to miss, including one that presents data on the cool versus not cool strategy.

Workshop 1

Title: Teaching Social Skills That Change Lives: Developing Meaningful Relationships for People Diagnosed with Autism

Authors: Mitch Taubman, Ron Leaf, John McEachin, Justin B. Leaf

Date: 5/25/2012 8:00AM to 3:00 PM

Description: Children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders (ASD) typically have qualitative impairments in social interaction. Such impairments can range from a child’s inability to develop appropriate peer relationships to a lack of enjoyment and interest in others, which can lead to a lower quality of life. Therefore, clinicians must teach social skills to children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD; however, it may be difficult for clinicians to find appropriate social curricula and effective ways to teach children with ASD social skills. The presenters will discuss the importance of teaching social skills; why social skills may be overlooked as part of a
comprehensive curriculum; ways to select a comprehensive curriculum; what this comprehensive curriculum consists of; two teaching procedures (i.e., teaching interactions and cool versus not cool) that have been found to be effective in teaching social skills; the research behind these procedures; and ways clinicians can implement the intervention in the home, school, and community. The procedures and curriculum that will be discussed will mainly focus on high functioning children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD but can be applied to children and adolescents of different cognitive functioning levels or diagnoses.

Workshop 2

Title: Teaching “Learning to Learn” Skills to Children Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors: Ron Leaf, Mitch Taubman, John McEachin, Justin B. Leaf

Date: 5/26/2012 8:00 to 12:00

Description: Teachers and parents are often eager to teach children language and social and academic skills. Clearly, these are important
objectives that are essential for children’s well-being. It is generally recognized that in order for children to be successful in learning these
skills, their disruptive behaviors must not interfere in the learning processes. Therefore, behaviors such as aggression, non-compliance, and self-stimulation must be targeted prior to teaching more formal skills. However, there is another critical prerequisite skill that is essential in order to maximize learning success. Acquiring “learning to learn” skills is absolutely pivotal in a child’s success. It is really teaching children the process of learning. It is the foundation, perhaps the pivotal skill necessary for them to acquire all other skills. Often when a child is struggling in learning beginning or even advanced skills, it is because the child is deficient in this area. Learning to learn skills include attending, waiting, and changing one’s behavior based upon feedback. This workshop will discuss the importance of learning to learn skills, how to set up an appropriate curriculum, and the research behind the importance of learning to learn skills.

 

Symposium 1: The Conditioning and Implementation of Reinforcement and Reinforcement Systems for Children with Autism

Date: 5/29/12 9:00-10:20

Paper 1 Title: Conditioning the Preference of Stimuli for Three High Functioning Children on the Autism Spectrum

Paper 1 Authors: MISTY OPPENHEIM-LEAF, Justin B. Leaf, Ronald B. Leaf, James A. Sherman, Jan B. Sheldon, John James McEachin, Mitchell T. Taubman

Abstract: Children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may play with limited objects or toys. This presents challenges for teachers trying to identify reinforcers to use in teaching new skills. The goal of the present study was to switch children’s preferences from highly preferred toys to toys that were originally less preferred using an observational conditioning procedure. In this procedure, an adult known to the child played with toys that were less preferred by the child in novel and presumably interesting ways while the child watched. After the observation period, each child switched his preference to the toy with which the adult had played. Maintenance of
preference of the changed preference was idiosyncratic to each child. The results of the current study suggest teachers may be able to influence the level of preference that children with ASD show for potential reinforcers and expand the range of items that students will sample.

 

Paper 2 Title: Conditioning the Preference of Stimuli for Five Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Replication Study

Paper 2 Authors: ALYNE KASSARDJIAN, Justin B. Leaf, Courtney Muehlebach, Mitchell T. Taubman, Ronald B. Leaf, John James McEachin

Abstract: Children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may play with limited objects or toys. This presents challenges for teachers
trying to identify reinforcers to use in teaching new skills. Previous research has demonstrated that an observational conditioning procedure has been effective in switching the preference for3 “high functioning” children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Although, this research showed that preference can be conditioned the procedures were only implemented to “high functioning” children and thus it is not known what the effects would be for children who are more severely impacted. The goal of the present study was to extend the previous research on conditioning preference by implementing and observational conditioning procedure to children who were more severely impacted and diagnosed with autism. The results of the current study suggest teachers may be able to influence the level of preference that children with ASD however it may be more difficult than children who are considered “high functioning.”

 

Paper 3 Title: Using Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviours to Reduce Elopement in a Child with Autism

Paper 3 Authors: RESHANI I. SATHARASINGHE, Toby Mountjoy, John James McEachin, Ronald B. Leaf, Mitchell T. Taubman, Eric Rudrud

Abstract: Differential reinforcement of other behaviours (DRO) was the intervention procedure used in this study to reduce the
occurrence of elopement in a child with autism who eloped almost daily. DRO intervals began at 1 minute and the largest interval being 30 minutes. DRO segments were also run intermittently instead of continuously. Edible reinforcement was used with social reinforcement in the form of praise being added at larger intervals. The results showed that the DRO intervention was highly successful at reducing the occurrence of eloping for intervals below 10 minutes but less successful at reducing the behaviour at larger intervals above
10 minutes. By the end of the intervention, zero occurrence of eloping had been achieved for 15 consecutive sessions at a DRO interval of 30 minutes.

 

Symposium 2: Examining Variations of Discrete Trial Teaching for Children Diagnosed With an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date: 5/29/12 10:30 to 11:50

Chair: Mitchell T. Taubman (Autism Partnership)

Paper 1 Title: Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism Using the Cool versus Not Cool Procedure

Paper 1 Authors:  KATHLEEN H. TSUJI, Justin B. Leaf, Brandy Griggs, Mitchell T. Taubman, John James McEachin, Ronald B. Leaf, Andrew Edwards, Misty Oppenheim-Leaf

Abstract: This study evaluated the effects of a variation on discrete trial teaching known as the cool versus not cool procedure for
teaching 3 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The cool versus not cool procedure is a social discrimination program used to increase children’s ability to display appropriate social behaviors. In this study, the cool versus not cool procedure consisted of the participants observing the researcher demonstrating a social behavior either appropriately or inappropriately, followed by the participants discriminating whether the researcher demonstration was “cool” (appropriate) or “not cool” (inappropriate). For some social skills the participants role-played the social behavior following the teacher demonstration. Results indicated that participants reached mastery criterion on 50% of targeted social skills with the teacher demonstration and on an additional 37.5% of targeted social skills
with teacher demonstrations plus role-plays. Only 1 participant on 1 social skill (12.5%) was unable to reach mastery criterion although performance increased from baseline. Implications of the findings, limitations, and future areas of research will also be discussed.

 

Paper 2 Title: Comparing Discrete Trial Teaching Implemented in a One-to-One Instructional Format to a Group Instructional Format

Paper 2 Authors: JUSTIN B. LEAF, Kathleen H. Tsuji, Amy Lentell, Misty Oppenheim-Leaf, Mitchell T. Taubman, John James McEachin, Ronald B. Leaf

Abstract: Discrete trial teaching is a systematic form of teachingthat is commonly implemented to children diagnosed with an autism
spectrum disorder. Discrete-trial teaching consists of three main components: (a) an instruction from the teacher, (b) a response by the learner, and (c) a consequence (e.g., positive reinforcement or corrective feedback) following the learner’s response. Researchers and clinicians have implemented discrete trial teaching in one-to-one instructional formats and group instructional formats to teach a wide variety of skills to children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The purpose of this study was to compare discrete trial teaching implemented in a one-to-one format to discrete trial teaching implemented in a group instructional format in terms effectiveness, efficiency, observational learning, and maintenance. Six children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder participated in the study and the researchers divided the 6 participants into2 smaller groups. The researchers taught each participant 6 targeted behaviors in the one-to-one teaching condition and 6 targeted behaviors in the group teaching condition. Results of the study showed that both instructional formats were equally effective and that there was mixed results in terms of efficiency and maintenance. Finally group instruction resulted in better observational learning. Implications will be discussed.

 

Symposium 3: An Evaluation of a Community ABA Based Program and Procedures Implemented Within
that Program

Date: 5/29/12 12:00-1:20

Chair: Sandra L. Harris (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)

Discussant: Shahla S. Ala’i-Rosales (University of North Texas)

 

Paper 1 Title: A program description of a community-based intensive behavioral intervention program for individuals with autism

Paper 1 Authors: RONALD B. LEAF, Mitchell T. Taubman, John James McEachin, Justin B. Leaf, Kathleen H. Tsuji

Abstract: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) impact all areas of a person’s life resulting in deficits in language, social behavior, and
intellectual abilities as well as the development of repetitive behaviors that can greatly restrict community involvement. Intensive behavioral intervention (IBI) has repeatedly been shown to be effective in improving functional skills and intellectual scores and minimizing problem behaviors in individuals diagnosed with ASD. In previous studies, some children who received behavioral
intervention became indistinguishable from their peers and were served in typical educational environments with no supplemental supports. However, the majority of the published studies on this intervention describe university-affiliated grant funded programs. This program description provides details about a private community-based agency that provides IBI for children and adolescents with ASD. Information about staff training, the therapies implemented, the population served, and instructional and programmatic content
is offered and a preliminary analysis is provided of the outcomes achieved for a small sub-sample of the clients served (i.e., 64 of 296). These findings suggest that increases in functional skills and intellectual scores were achieved for all clients and that many clients met similar criteria to those established in prior landmark studies.

 

Paper 2 Title: An Evaluation of a Rainbow Token System to Decrease Stereotypic Behaviors in Children with Autism

Paper 2 Authors: STEPHANIE BLOOMFIELD, Justin B. Leaf, Courtney Muehlebach, Mitchell T. Taubman, John James McEachin, Ronald B. Leaf

Abstract: Children and adolescents diagnosed with autism typically display stereotypic forms of behavior ranging from hand flapping to
inappropriate vocalizations.. Currently there are several procedures based on the principles of applied behavior analysis which have been found effective in reducing stereotypy. These procedures include differential reinforcement, blocking, and punishment. One procedure which has been clinically implemented to children with autism with no research is the implementation of a rainbow token system. A
rainbow token system includes delivering tokens in a systematic manner. As long as the learner does not display any stereotypy the teacher provides token in an arc fashion. If the learner does display stereotypy then the teacher does not deliver the tokens. We evaluated the rainbow token procedure for several children diagnosed with an autism spectrum. Results of the study and future implications will be discussed during the presentation.

 

Paper 3 Title: A comparison of different classes of reinforcement to increase receptive and expressive language

Paper 3 Authors: JOHN JAMES MCEACHIN, Justin B. Leaf, Stephanie Bloomfield, Mitchell T. Taubman, Ronald B. Leaf

Abstract: One of the basic principles of applied behavior analysis is that behavior change is largely due to that behavior being
positively reinforced. Positive reinforcement is defined as a stimulus given contingent on a certain behavior changes the likelihood of that particular behavior. Reinforcement has been used as part of discrete trial teaching to help children learn a variety of skills. Reinforcers have taken may forms which have included food, toys, social praise, tokens, and even having the learner engaging in self-stimulatory behaviors. Limited research has been conducted comparing the various classes of reinforcement on the rate of skill acquisition. In this study we compared four classes of reinforcement (i.e., food, praise, toys, and feedback) for teaching receptive and expressive skills to five children diagnosed with autism. Results of the study will be discussed. In addition to clinical implications, limitations, future areas of research, and how researchers can affect clinical practice.

 

Introducing A Work In Progress Companion Series – A New Series of Booklets & DVDs from Autism Partnership

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of A Work In Progress Companion Series by Autism Partnership. The Companion Series consists of five booklets and DVDs that synthesize solid information on various teaching strategies with demonstrations of actual sessions with students on DVD. The goal at Autism Partnership is to blend a natural, child-friendly approach to teaching while remaining determinedly systematic. This series offers viewers the unique opportunity to see these approaches implemented in actual teaching environments.

Parents and teachers will find this series to be a helpful companion and extension to A Work in Progress.  All author proceeds from A Work in Progress Companion Series will go directly to the Autism Partnership Family Foundation which was developed for three purposes: to provide services to families with limited resources; to fund research that will investigate new strategies and programs that truly make a difference in the lives of children and families; and to disseminate information about evidence-based treatment and provide resources for training parents and professionals.

 

“Cool” versus “Not Cool” Booklet & DVD: Volume 1

Volume 1 demonstrates the Cool versus Not Cool strategy. This is one of Autism Partnership’s most-used strategies for teaching students foundational as well as advanced social skills. Essentially, the strategy teaches students to understand the difference between behaviors that are socially appropriate (cool) and those that are inappropriate (not cool). In later stages they go on to actually practice the appropriate form of the behavior and receive feedback on their efforts. Research confirms the clinical experience that cool versus not cool is effective in teaching social skills and enabling students to monitor their own behavior.

 

Learning How to Learn Booklet & DVD: Volume 2

Volume 2 demonstrates the Learning How to Learn strategy. This is an underemphasized area in treatment and education. We often take for granted that students know how to learn or will acquire this skill on their own. But if students cannot pay attention, will not wait, or do not understand feedback, then learning is extremely difficult. In this volume, you will see programs described and demonstrated that have been found to be helpful in teaching students how to learn.

 

Teaching Interactions Booklet & DVD: Volume 3

Volume 3 demonstrates the Teaching Interactions strategy.  The Teaching Interaction is an approach found to be especially effective with students who have more advanced language ability. It offers a conversation style of teaching which adds the all important element of leading students to understand rationales for why they might want to change their behavior and learn new skills. With Teaching Interactions, students develop understanding and insight that help develop their internal motivation.

 

 

Token Economy Booklet & DVD: Volume 4
Volume 4 demonstrates how to effectively develop and use a Token Economy. Although token systems are commonly used in school as well at home, too often critical steps are neglected in their development. You will learn step-by-step how to ensure there is a strong connection between the target behavior and the reward that follows. Token Economies have a number of advantages and can be very flexible in adapting to the age of the student, the types of rewards used, and the skills and behavioral targets you are seeking to improve.

 
Developing Reinforcers Booklet & DVD: Volume 5

Finally, Volume 5 focuses on Developing Reinforcers. The foundation of good teaching is utilizing powerful reinforcement so as to motivate students to learn as well as behave appropriately.  This volume will show you how to be creative in developing new sources of reinforcement, which is especially useful for students who have limited interests.

 

 

 

To celebrate the publication of A Work In Progress Companion Series, we’re slashing the price of each booklet & DVD from $29.95 to $19.95 apiece. And to make it even better, the Companion Series is the Pick of the Week so you can save an additional 15% by entering the Promo Code BLOGWIPCC at checkout.

*Offer expires on May 8, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.

AUTISM PARTNERSHIP’S LATEST STUDY PROVES SUCCESS OF INTENSIVE THERAPY

AUTISM PARTNERSHIP’S LATEST STUDY REVEALS PROMISING TREATMENT RESULTS IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

Historically considered a lifelong disorder, a new study published in “Education and Treatment of Children,” reveals that intensive behavioral treatment can have life-changing results for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (www.autismpartnership.com)

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been regarded as an extremely serious disorder that severely impacts the lives of children and their families.  The prognosis has been bleak at best and the future was one of restricted opportunities. Although treatment based upon Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has provided strong evidence as to its effectiveness, many of these studies fell under harsh scrutiny and were considered controversial across the field. However, a new study conducted by Autism Partnership to be published in Education and Treatment of Children answers many of these critiques and criticisms.

The study, which tracked 64 students ranging from age 1.5 to 8 years, spanned four countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia. Each child underwent an average of 22.5 hours of ABA treatment weekly (provided in schools, homes and clinics) for roughly 3.5 years. The results demonstrated that 45 out of the 64 children’s IQ’s increased an average of 22.5 points.  Such a significant increase demonstrates not only the effectiveness of intervention but is predictive of future success in school.  Moreover, these children were able to successfully participate in general education classrooms.

                “It is so gratifying to be part of life changing treatment which will enhance the quality of children and families lives,” says Dr. Ronald Leaf, lead author of this study.  “But parents should understand that this treatment is not a miracle nor is it easy.  It is a long journey, with ups and downs and numerous challenges to overcome. It requires everyone who touches the child’s life to work together in partnership.”

                Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. Established in 1994 by world-renowned psychologists Ron Leaf and John McEachin, Autism Partnership offers a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.

 

Individualized Token Economy Systems – Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD by Autism Partnership

Individualized Token Economy Systems

 At Autism Partnership we have found the development and implementation of individualized token economy systems to be a powerful tool in accelerating progress for our students. Token economies have been shown to be an extremely effective contingency management system for a variety of populations. Initially, Ted Allyon used token economies to provide consequences to hospitalized mentally ill residents. The procedure proved to be extremely effective and quickly token systems were utilized with other populations exhibiting challenging behavior problems, including “delinquent” adolescents (Montrose Wolf) and mentally retarded adults (Nathrin Azrin).

Today, token economies are used to address a variety of behavioral concerns including those of children with Attention Deficit Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as typically developing children. Token economies have been so widely recognized as effective and efficient behavior management strategies to such a degree that they are routinely being employed in general education classrooms throughout the world. (Star Charts, Table Points, Marble Jar).

Tokens are symbols (e.g., points, coins, stickers, ticks or check marks, toy parts, etc), which are delivered immediately after a target response and are exchanged later for an item or activity of preference. Tokens therefore symbolize access to other preferred items or experiences, technically referred to as “generalized reinforcement”. Initially the tokens in and of themselves are not rewarding but once the student understands that tokens can be “exchanged” for preferred activities, their value is established. A daily life example of this process would be our use of money which allows us to purchase desired items or experiences. Creative systems often use motivating tokens such as pictures of favorite cartoon characters, athletes or musicians. Pictures of the target behavior can be used as the symbol as well. The tokens are clearly displayed, allowing the student to always see how many they have earned, and how many more they need to earn until reinforcement will be delivered.

This is part of a guest series by Autism Partnership founders Ron Leaf, John McEachin and Mitchell Taubmann. Established in 1994, Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. They offer a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.

Reinforcement Development – Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD by Autism Partnership

Reinforcement Development

 When discussing the importance of reinforcement often parents and teachers alike will comment that reinforcement doesn’t work because there is nothing that the child finds to be reinforcing.   Often this is not accurate: there are lots of potential reinforcers but they are receiving them for “free.”  That is they are not earned or technically they are not contingent.  They watch TV, play on the computer or go on an outing without them being earned.  If they were made to be contingent upon behavior they would indeed change behaviors.  Moreover, there are often many things that could be reinforcers but if the student doesn’t know how to play with, say, the toy, therefore it too is not a reinforcer. 

Identifying reinforcers often requires creativity.  By “definition” children with ASD enjoy self-stimulation.  Perhaps their self-stimulation can be used as a reinforcer.  For example, you may provide them the opportunity to line up objects, sift sand or perseverate on a topic as a reinforcer.  As another potential reinforcer you can bother them by making demands and intruding upon their space and then leaving them alone can serve as the reinforcer.

Naturally, if you were to use self-stimulation or escape as a reinforcer, you would want to use this as a means to develop other reinforcers.  For example, when engaging in self-stimulation you may associate it with music so that music eventually becomes a reinforcer.  Association can also be used with escape.  For example,  when they escape a demand,  direct them to play on the computer thereby making the computer a reinforcer.

Whether a student has established reinforcers or if truly there is nothing that is reinforcing, it is necessary to develop reinforcers.  But it takes creativity and being highly systematic!  The following are a few ideas on how to develop reinforcers:

 

  •  Sometimes reinforcement development can be as simple as exposing the child to potential reinforcers. 
  •  Giving free access to potential reinforcers can also create new reinforcers. 
  • An effective way to develop reinforcers is to associate potential reinforcers with established reinforcers.
  •  The “packaging” of the reinforcer can is another strategy to develop reinforcers.  Often you can “sell” the reinforcer by being enthusiastic and playful. 
  • Assessing what the student likes and then creating reinforcers based upon interests can create reinforcers. 

Giving students choices can be effective in the development of the reinforcement.  Simply giving a student a choice of which of two toys he would like to play with can have the effect of making the selected toy as a reinforcer. 

This is part of a guest series by Autism Partnership founders Ron Leaf, John McEachin and Mitchell Taubmann. Established in 1994, Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. They offer a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.

Teaching Interactions – Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD by Autism Partnership

Teaching Interactions

 Teaching Interactions (TI’s) are another instructional format that can be invaluable in teaching children skills.  This instructional technique was developed at the University of Kansas as part of the Teaching Family Model for delinquent youth.  TI’s have several benefits as it allows for structured training of more complex, often sophisticated skills in a highly natural, interpersonal, expanded conversational format.  TI’s are designed to teach complex skills (e.g., social skills, problem solving, etc.).  They utilize shaping and reinforcement to teach a skill and rely on a task analysis format.  The teaching style is typically conversational and flexible in nature, providing the student multiple opportunities to participate in the teaching process.  Although flexible, the technique approaches teaching skills systematically, and requires planning for generalization.  Following are the 6 steps of a TI and both guidelines and considerations when utilizing this teaching technique.

 

  • Initiation & Labeling
  • Rationale
  • Demonstration
  • Practice
  • Feedback
  • Consequences

This is part of a guest series by Autism Partnership founders Ron Leaf, John McEachin and Mitchell Taubmann. Established in 1994, Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. They offer a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.

Learning How to Learn – Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD by Autism Partnership

“Learning How to Learn”    

Teachers and parents are often eager to teacher children language, social and academic skills.  Clearly, these are important objectives that are essential for children’s well being.  It is generally recognized, that in order for children to be successful in learning these skills that their disruptive behaviors must not interfere in the learning processes.  Therefore behaviors such as aggression, non-compliance and self stimulation must be targeted prior to teaching more formal skills.  However, there is another critical perquisite skill that is essential in order to maximize learning success.  Acquiring “learning to learn” skills is absolutely pivotal in a child’s success.  It is really teaching children the process of learning.  It is the foundation, perhaps the pivotal skill necessary for them to acquire all other skills. Often when a child is struggling in learning beginning or even advanced skills it is often because the child is deficient in this area.  “Learning to learn skills” include some of the following skills:
 

    • Attending
    • Returning Reinforcers
    • Hands Still
    • Waiting
    • Responding to Instruction
    • Changing Behavior Based Upon Feedback
    • Learning From Prompts
    • Remaining Calm

    “Learning to learn” skills often are not directly targeted.  Typically by the time children participate in more formal instruction they have learned these behaviors.  However, the majority of children with ASD require direct teaching to understand these critical skills.  Therefore, systematic programs designed to teach these critical skills are essential.

This is part of a guest series by Autism Partnership founders Ron Leaf, John McEachin and Mitchell Taubmann. Established in 1994, Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. They offer a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.

“Cool” versus “Not Cool” – Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD by Autism Partnership

Cool” versus “Not Cool”

Children understanding appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors and correct versus incorrect responses are a fundamental aspect of intervention.  When children can recognize these distinctions it can help change their performance.  And when it can be taught in a fun way it can help motivate children them not only to acquire the information but to use it in their everyday life.

This discrimination can be used to teach a variety of concepts.  We have used it to successfully teach children to reduce self-stimulation and acting out behaviors.  Children have also learned pro social behaviors such as personal boundaries, recognizing when they are boring peers and empathy through this strategy.  Voice modulation and even articulation have improved through “cool/not cool”. 

There is nothing magic in the words “cool” or “not cool”!  Use words that are appropriate for age, level of understanding or that are common used among peers.  For example, you could use “good idea” vs. “not such a good idea” or “great” vs. “not so great”.  Instead of words teachers could use thumbs up vs. thumbs down or a smiley face vs. a sad face.

This is part of a guest series by Autism Partnership founders Ron Leaf, John McEachin and Mitchell Taubmann. Established in 1994, Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. They offer a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.