Have FUN! Remember the first few sessions of ABA therapy?
Remember that your child’s functional communication and language use can improve with appropriate use of pairing. Language is powerful, functional, and should be reinforcing for your child. When a child seems to be refusing, throwing, or avoiding their communication device, it is very likely that it has only been used for aversive task demands or it was only paired with a four letter word…work. Your ABA therapist most likely started with mand training (learning to request things that he/she WANTS) to teach the child that their communication system can be used to access their favorite things in the world. Once the child requests a favorite thing, model Core, Verbs, and other fringe words on the communication system. They are more likely to be engaged, attentive, and motivated when working in an enriched environment with preferred items.
Have a “spoiled rotten” play session. Place highly preferred activities/items/snacks in a clear bin and work on requesting and talking about the items with your child as you play. Example: edible sensory play! Make whip cream faces for the sweet tooth child. Language opportunities to prompt or model: I want whip cream, more whip cream, spray, push, it’s a circle (face), we need eyes, I want m&m eyes, red m&m, I want candy corn nose, this is fun/silly, table is dirty, napkin(please), model colors, shapes, numbers!
Blog article written by Elizabeth Ginder, MSSW, BCBA