God loves to throw us curve balls, but He never abandons us…granted, He is probably laughing his holy pants off watching the beautiful chaos.
It has been one year since I moved from a small, downtown office within a cozy group of psychologists to opening the ABA Interventions center.
The ABA Interventions center is more than therapy sessions back to back, caffeinated therapists pretending standing in line at the office Keurig 3 times a day is normal (the machine takes 3 minutes so if we are 3 minutes late to the lobby this is why), it’s more than parent training while laughing and crying simultaneously when a kid says his first sentence or finally sits for an entire story, it’s more than teaching kids to communicate on an AAC device or PECS and finding out that the staff are in love with researching and learning every ounce of knowledge possible about functional communication training…ABA Interventions is a professional team of therapists that work as a beautiful unit.
This team IS ABA Interventions. I joke that I receive emails and questions about clients from the therapists 7 days a week and at all hours of the day and night, but it’s so true. These therapists share a passion that is unlike any passion I’ve seen in a workplace. Our one year anniversary of the center being open is a celebration of our staff and team we have created to help our clients.
With that being said….
Thank you Miss Mary (BCBA) for teaching the therapists how to create a natural environment for learning and setting such an outstanding example on how to make kids excited to learn. Thank you for your patience and flexibility when being faced with challenges in the field. Thank you for leading clinical meetings and facilitating discussions among the team.
Thank you Miss Katie (RBT) for being our preschool group leader, always coming to work with a smile and getting even the sleepiest therapist clapping and singing along in circle time. Thank you for teaching our clients that being messy is fun and being a shining example of how kids can learn through the natural environment.
Thank you Miss Crystal (RBT) for being the therapist that advocates for our older clients and refuses to let age stand in the way of an individual learning. Thank you for your commitment to drive all over town to make sure our older clients receive the services they need in an appropriate setting. Thank you for your commitment to parent training and always wanting to make sure that your clients generalize their skills.
Thank you Miss Melissa (RBT) for your constant desire to learn and to implement evidence based practices. Thank you for your incredible ability to balance school, a job, and a family as you work on your requirements to become a behavior analyst. Thank you for always pushing the others to become experts in their field!
Thank you Miss Cresanna (RBT) for being incredibly persistent and never accepting that a child can not learn something. Thank you for your desire to always research, learn, and implement plans to perfection. Thank you for being our go to therapist when it comes to assistive technology and DTT!
Thank you Miss Jenna (Office Manager) for your tireless hours of billing, scheduling, and answering phones and emails. Thank you for keeping us organized, in line, and busy. We have a horribly long wait list and you are always striving to get as many kids access to services as possible.
Thank you Dr. Charles Galyon (private practice psychologist) for all the time you take to join us for our weekly clinical meetings, trainings, and coordinating services! We have benefited so much with you being in our office and we most definitely think of you as part of the ABA Interventions team! We frequently hear schools and families report that “Dr.Galyon really took the time to get to know the child and he was amazing!” Well, we know you are amazing! Thank you!
We are so excited to begin another year and to always work on our goal to make sure that all individuals have access to services that they need.
written by Elizabeth Ginder, MSSW, BCBA; owner and clinical director of ABA Interventions, LLC
DTT, is discrete trial training, gets its name from its discrete beginning and ending. It is a highly structured therapy that occurs in rapid succession. Tasks are presented until they reach a pre-determined mastery criterion. DTT is started with a cue to respond or instruction, and the child’s response is followed by reinforcement or correction. Each time the task is presented, the same components are used in the same structured manner, as instructed by the BCBA. Because of its standardized format, DTT is easy for multiple therapists to use consistently between sessions and settings.
DTT is most commonly used for skills that require repetition or are not intrinsically motivating. It is also commonly used for new skills. This method, by its very nature, reduces environmental variables that may interfere with or take control over a child’s learning experience.
NET, or natural environment training is what we, as parents, do with our children on a daily basis. NET occurs, as said in the name, in the natural environment. Here, a therapist will follow a child’s lead, taking advantage of a child’s natural interests and motivation to create learning opportunities. This method has many advantages! It can be used anywhere and opportunities can be created for many skills; communication, pretend play, joint attention, turn taking.
There are a few drawbacks to NET because there is not always a specific protocol or step-by-step instructions like in DTT. It can be difficult to keep up with a child’s interests and keep goals functional and the interests of a child can often change frequently. In addition, there are less obvious roles of a stimulus, reinforcer and consequence and there can be areas targeted for implementation can be limited.
Article written by Melissa Roberts, RBT
Extinction is a method used in ABA therapy to discontinue reinforcement previously given to challenging behaviors. The way we react to problem behaviors can sometimes increase rather than decrease the behaviors. Often times, this is done unintentionally. By modifying our response to the challenging behavior, we can decrease its occurrence.
Extinction is never the ONLY part of a behavior plan. Plans for problem behaviors are created by the child's BCBA, and involve determining the function of the problem behavior, changing our response to that behavior when it occurs by not attending to it, and teaching the child an alternative, functional, and appropriate manner to achieve the desired outcome.
During extinction, we often see an extinction burst, or an increase in the occurrence of the problem behavior. Sometimes a child will even resort to more intense behaviors or try alternative inappropriate behaviors when the original problem behavior no longer results in what the child wants.
Hang on!! This too shall pass … because you will not attend to it! By doing so, the child will learn that they should follow your instruction and choose the alternative, appropriate, and functional behavior that you are reinforcing.
If you adhere to this behavior plan, as instructed by your therapist, you will begin to see the behavior decline and over time, stop altogether.
Please beware!!! What's the worst you can do? The worst thing you can do is to start an extinction plan but occasionally give in. By occasionally giving in, you are only teaching your child that their behavior must reach a certain intensity or duration before you will response. In a manner of speaking, this will only intensify and prolong the initial behavior you were hoping to decrease.
So, stay strong and stick to your extinction plan!! You can do it! And we will help you.
Blog article written by Melissa Roberts, RBT
4 easy steps to help you contrive simple situations which will require communication!
Step 1. HOLD BACK! Make sure most preferred things are not readily available all the time.Put preferred items in clear boxes or bags within sight, but out of reach; tall shelves work great as well
Step 2. ENTICE! Play with your child’s toys and prompt them to use words (or PECS or other communication modalities) to reqest to also play
Step 3. FOLLOW THROUGH and hold your child up to what they can do! Follow through with communication and make sure they are asking appropriately then provide access to what they are requesting.
Step 4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Try to practice this everyday in order to enrich your child’s environment with communication opportunities.
Below are some pictures of opportunities we've created in our preschool room! Bolts for the toy drill set are sealed in containers, coins for the popular coin bank are out of reach, but visible in a zip lock bag, and the ALL TIME favorite sensory table is roped off. These created opportunities to: ask for help, identify a problem (what's wrong? "I can't reach/it won't open), gain an adult's attention, and request for an item!
What are some things you can do in your home to create amazing communication opportunities?
Blog article written by Crystal Wilson, RBT and Elizabeth Ginder, MSSW, BCBA.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day. There are many ways to raise awareness and acceptance: through conversations, actions, reaching out to other superhero parents (our name for parents of our amazing clients), or simply sharing this picture to remind people that our kids are amazing individuals that love to learn, especially if we teach the way they can learn.