Teaching Children with Autism to Indicate When They Are in Pain

My video blog last week was on ruling out medical issues before treating problem behaviors in children with autism. So please watch last week’s blog first if you haven’t done so already. This week I’m going to answer the question I get often that goes something like: “How do you teach children with…

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The Importance of Ruling Out Medical Issues Before Treating Problem Behaviors

As both a Registered Nurse and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), I find myself frequently reminding people that some behaviors are caused by medical issues and cannot effectively be treated behaviorally. Here is a little review of the four main functions of problem behavior. Two functions…

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Teaching Games to Children with Autism

Teaching Games to Children with Autism

On a plane ride home from an ABA conference, I read a book entitled: What You Need to Know About Motivation and Teaching Games by Steven Ward, MA, BCBA. I literally started recommending the book right away to Andy Bondy and Lori Frost who happened to be sitting next to me on the plane! In the six…

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Using the Verbal Behavior Approach to Teach Adolescents and Adults with Autism, Down Syndrome and other Developmental Disabilities

I consulted in the past with a client I will call Dan. Unlike most of my other clients who are children with autism, Dan was in his twenties. He attended an adult day training program each day and volunteered with a job coach at various locations such as the hospital laundry. Over the past several…

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Teaching a Vocational Task to an Adult with Autism

When Lucas celebrated his 18th birthday, he was officially an adult. He participated in some pre-vocational and vocational tasks for the few years prior to his 18th birthday through his IEP at school. The next summer as part of an Extended School Program (ESY), Lucas started volunteering at a local…

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Teaching Children with Autism to Greet Others

Teaching Children with Autism to Greet Others

In the past, I evaluated a 4-year-old boy named Bobby. When I said “Hi Bobby,” he replied “Hi Bobby.” My son Lucas had similar issues when he was younger so I learned strategies to help him overcome this problem well before I became a Behavior Analyst. As a BCBA, I now run into greeting problems…

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Teaching Children and Adults with Autism to Answer

Teaching Children and Adults with Autism to Answer “Yes” and “No”

The ability to respond “yes” or “no” to questions is a very complex skill involving different operants. It has been my experience that a child needs to master yes/no mands (Answering yes or no to “Do you want a cookie?”) before you should attempt to introduce yes/no tacts (Is this a bed?) or yes/no…

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ABA and the Verbal Behavior Approach for Children with “High Functioning” Autism

ABA and the Verbal Behavior Approach for Children with “High Functioning” Autism

I am often asked if ABA/VB is appropriate for children or adults with High Functioning Autism (HFA). Since my book is geared more towards helping adults learn how to teach early learners, many parents and professionals think that ABA and specifically the Verbal Behavior Approach is not appropriate…

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Programming for Happiness in Clients with Autism

A Quick Assessment for an Intermediate Learner with Autism

The term “Intermediate Learner” is very subjective and in the ABA/VB field, this usually indicates that the manding, tacting and intraverbal areas on the ABLLS or VB-MAPP are not well developed. While the intermediate learner can mand for basic items and some actions, he or she is usually weak at…

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Teaching Non-Vocal and Minimally Vocal Children with Autism

For children who do not yet speak, I usually recommend teaching 3-5 signs at a time and to teach these signs as mands first. Many of these signed mands will need hundreds of practice trials before a child will be able to request an item using a sign without assistance. Careful prompting and prompt…

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