Early Learners

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Two Tips to Teach Children With Autism in the Natural Environment

In today’s video, I'm going to teach you 2 tips to teach children with autism in the natural environment. Tip #1:  Use Toys with Parts Using toys with parts is important throughout programming so that you, as the adult whether you're a parent or a professional, can be seen as the “giver,” not the…


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Using Mr. Potato Head to Teach Body Parts to Your Child or Client with Autism

One of my favorite teaching tools is Mr. Potato Head. This is a great toy to use for a variety of programs. I particularly like to use Mr. Potato Head to teach body parts. It’s a helpful tool because all the parts come off and you can teach the child to label, to request, and to touch their body…


How a Shoebox Can Help Children with Autism Expand Language and Learning Skills!

  Want to get started with ABA or re-vamp an ABA program starting today? I created a Shoebox Program several years ago for parents and professionals and have used it with all of my clients who have minimal to no language. This is a program that you can start even if you can only commit to…


What if my Child or Client Can’t Imitate Signs?

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D When my son, Lucas, was diagnosed with autism the day before his third birthday, he was able to speak so we never explored the use of sign language for him. Four years later, In 2003, when I became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and began working with…


Why Teaching Please and Thank You Should Be Avoided Early On

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D We all want our kids to be polite, but in the case of a child with autism, we need to be mindful of not focusing on words like “please” and “thank you” before he or she can tell us what they want and need. The problem with teaching manners too early to a child…


What’s Wrong with Describing My Child or Client as “Nonverbal”?

By Mary Barbera PhD, RN, BCBA-D In 1998, when my son, Lucas starting showing signs of autism at 21 months of age, my husband, Charles (who is a physician) first mentioned the possibility of autism. I was horrified at the thought of the autism diagnosis and in denial about Lucas’ delays telling my…


Why Saying "First Work Then Break" Might Not Be a Good Idea

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D Quite a lot of us have negative connotations to the word “work,” and a child with autism is no different!  The word “work” often creates a feeling of doom so it’s no surprise that kids with autism often have an aversion to the word, as do many adults! Many teachers…


Why You Should Avoid Using Your Child or Client's Name!

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D I often hear parents say, “When we call Johnny’s name, he doesn’t respond but when he hears his favorite TV show, he comes running!” One of the hallmark symptoms of autism is the child’s failure to respond to his or her own name. Parents and professionals often…


Isn’t He Too Young For (So Much) Table Time?

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D I teach children mostly at the table, even very young children. Many Early Intervention providers such as Occupational and Speech Pathologists and even other Behavior Analysts recommend teaching young children on the floor and using more Natural Environment…


Bye-Bye Pacifier: 6 Steps to Help Your Child or Client with Autism Stop Using a Pacifier!

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D (Autism Mom, BCBA-D & Best-Selling Author) www.MaryBarbera.com Is your child or client with autism addicted to a pacifier? Many children, especially those with behavioral issues frequently use pacifiers well past infancy. Their parents struggle with what to do…