Curriculum

Curriculum

Our programs have been field tested with hundreds of students with autism and numerous developmental/behavioral/emotional disorders. Our teaching programs are ground in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and address essential skill areas such as cognitive, self-care and domestics, speech and language, vocational, physical education, recreation and leisure skills.

Each skill area includes a systematic assessment and flow chart to support appropriate goal selection. Teaching programs are clearly written, with step-by-step instructions, and include target behaviors, prerequisite skills, criterion-referenced assessment, measurement, materials, procedures, and prompting techniques.

Although not all strategies used in the home setting can be applied to the school environment, the same thought process used in home behavioral treatment programs may be used to find effective solutions in the classroom.
from: ‘Behavior Plans in School Settings’ (Lovaas Institute)

Below are six key steps to determining an effective behavior intervention.

  • Describe the behavior in measurable terms. Behaviors are often more difficult to define than one might think. What does one mean by “tantrum?” If the child whines, is this considered a tantrum? Or is it only if he falls to the floor? Is it a tantrum if he whines quietly or only if it is loud enough to be heard from across the room? If the behavior is not carefully defined, your child’s team will inconsistently implement the behavioral strategy, as well as vary their data collection. Establishing exactly what behavior the team is addressing is a crucial first step in any behavior intervention plan.
  • Establish a hypothesis for the function of the behavior. Why does the child behave as he does? What does he want or need? Typical functions of a behavior include: escape a demand, access a desired item, gain attention, or fulfill a sensory need.
  • Prevent the behavior from occurring. For example, by allowing choices; using visual aids or providing verbal reminders; using behavioral momentum (establish success with a series of simple instructions before presenting an instruction to transition); increasing predictability (make sure the transitions occur at the same time in a consistent fashion or use a visual schedule to show the child what changes are coming).
  • Reinforce other appropriate behaviors. There is a function for every behavior. You may not be able to change the reason for the occurrence of a behavior, but you can teach the child a better way to handle the situation. Two ways to do this include:
    teaching an alternate behavior that serves the same function or teaching the child to better tolerate the situation.
  • Use behavior reduction procedures. Proactive strategies alone may not be enough to reduce behaviors. When implementing reactive strategies, one should always use the least intrusive and most natural technique that is effective. There are a variety of reactive strategies that may be attempted, such as: extinction – the removal of identified reinforcement for the inappropriate behavior); response cost – the removal of a pleasant/desired stimulus (e.g., loss of privilege).
  • Keep data to show if the plan is working. When a behavior varies from day to day, one can easily be misled to think that a behavior intervention is working on “good days” and not working on “bad days.” Consistent data collection allows one to focus on the overall effect of the intervention.