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…

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Autism ABA Help Mary Barbera

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…

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Mary Barbera Autism ABA

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…

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Mary Barbera Autism ABA Help

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…

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Mary Barbera Autism ABA Help

The Verbal Behavior Approach is now available in several languages

One of the most exciting things that has happened since publishing my book (The Verbal Behavior Approach) in 2007, is the interest in translating my book into different languages. With more than 30,000 copies sold, The Verbal Behavior Approach is now available in several languages including…

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9 Comments2 Minutes

Using ABA to Teach Functional Self-Help Skills to Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disorders

Using ABA to Teach Functional Self-Help Skills to Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disorders

Many people are confused about how to use ABA to teach functional, multi-step skills such as putting on shoes, washing hands, or setting a table. Several years ago I was consulting in a classroom and we were working with a 14 year-old girl with Down Syndrome who was minimally vocal. We were focused…

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Teaching-Nose-Blowing-to-a-Child-or-Adult-with-Autism

Teaching Nose-Blowing to a Child or Adult with Autism

Experiencing a cold, allergies, or symptoms of the flu is annoying for many people. A runny or stuffy nose is especially difficult for a child or adult with autism who cannot blow his or her nose. My son, Lucas, in his late teens, had still not mastered this nose blowing skill. During one of his…

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TAG teach and Autism (Teaching Shoe Tying)

A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me if I had ever heard of TAGteach. When I said that I hadn’t, she asked me if I knew anything about clicker training for animals. I was familiar with the concept of using audible markers with animals, thinking mostly of the whistle blowing at Sea World to…

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1 Comment5 Minutes

No More Diapers: Using a Behavioral Approach for Toilet Training Success

As a Registered Nurse and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, I have always been interested in and comfortable with the topic of toilet training children on the autism spectrum. Chapter 11 of my book (The Verbal Behavior Approach) is dedicated to potty training and over the past decade, I have…

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The Importance of Conducting a VB Assessment When Completing an FBA

I completed a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) recently on 9-year-old boy I’ll call Sam. His mother decided to home school Sam because she was worried that the public school her son attended might call the police if his behaviors continued to escalate. Sam was diagnosed with high-functioning…

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0 Comments5 Minutes