ABA Therapy has long been a trusted guide for assisting children with autism, and we at Alliance ABA believe that it should be accessible to everyone. When using ABA therapy the goal is to break down any objective into manageable parts that the child can attain. This means that the child has lessons about each small aspect of the skill, and these lessons are structured and repeated.
Skills can be described as the ability to do something well. Communication is often categorized as a skill. Someone may have excellent communication skills and be able to understand other people well. Children with autism often have a difficult time communicating. Children with Autism may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding others; they may also have difficulty understanding or expressing non-verbal clues such as eye contact, body posture, facial expressions, hand gestures etc.
Through ABA enlarging and enhancing the communication skill is achievable.
Identifying People, Items, and Actions:
One of the first steps towards communication is being able to identify everything in a child’s world. A neurotypical child cannot ask for a cup, if they do not know what the object is called. This is the same with a child who has autism. Neurotypical children may pick up on the words for things easier than children with ASD, which is where ABA is able to help.
Every child is different, and because of this, every child will have a unique reward system that motivates them to communicate. With the help of Alliance ABA our ABA therapists are able to work out a system that works for you and your child.
One way that ABA works to help identify people, items, and actions, is through visual labeling. Start with labeling things around the home such as people and items that the child frequently plays with or uses. One mother created a whole bunch of labels for her child with ASD and shared her experience online. You can see her journey here.
One of the very first things neurotypical children often develop is the use of communication to request things. If language skills are lacking, a child may hold out their hand and open and close it to request you to hand them something. As neurotypicals develop and begin to use language, children will use this as a way to make a request. A child may say “mommy, milk” and hold out their hand. This is a request for you to hand them their milk.
Children with Autism often have a difficult time communicating needs or wants to others. The first step in enhancing communication with ABA therapy is learning make requests (verbal or nonverbal).
Read about how to practice maintaining eye contact skills here.
The most important aspect of ABA is rewarding the behaviors that we want to see. Learning to make requests with ABA therapy relies heavily on the child’s desire for that which they cannot reach. With the help of an ABA therapist you can determine what a good reward system looks like for your child. The parent or the therapist, must begin by prompting the child to ask for the object. Once they ask for the object it will be given to them (the reward). Slowly the caretaker will fade out the prompting and the child will ask for the object themselves.
After a child has learned to ask for physical objects that are within view, the next step is to learn how to be able to express needs to their caretaker. Potty training is often a difficult thing to teach a child to be able to recognize and tell someone. One aspect of ABA therapy is breaking down things into small identifiable parts and being able to complete each task. Through ABA therapy a child can learn the steps that it takes to communicate that they have to go to the bathroom and will be rewarded when they complete the final step.
An ABA therapist can help you to determine what stage your child is in and what the next steps are to communicating their needs and being successful. They may develop a task analysis page that will break down the different steps for your child and check off each step as it is completed. A sample task sheet can be found here. One of these steps may be to express to a caretaker that they have to be taken to the restroom, and this can lead to communicating their needs.
This task breakdown can be applied to nearly any activity in the child’s life and lead to effective communication.
Learn about how to help kids with ASD to build understaning social cues here.
Children with ASD often have a difficult time following directions. Many times the reasoning behind this is because the lack of specificity in the direction or the use of nonverbal cues that may confuse the child.
Sometimes the child identifies a direction with a different factor instead of the verbal command from a teacher. For example a child may know it is time to go to lunch when the other children line up in the back of the classroom, not because the teacher has said “it is time to go to lunch”. ABA therapy is able to help with these challenging behaviors by breaking down the initial instruction and helping to identify where the problem is coming from. An ABA therapist is then able to help parents and caretakers learn what to do to be sure the child is understanding where the instruction is coming from.
Responding to Questions
When it comes to questions it is often difficult for a child with ASD to determine what the question is, if it is aimed toward them, and how to properly respond.
Using ABA therapy a child can be asked a question and when they respond they are given a reward. Depending on the starting point of the child, a caretaker may need to focus on making the correct question type. Some children may need to start by answering simple Yes or No questions and then slowly begin to start answering more complex questions such as ‘why’. An ABA therapist is able to help determine a good starting point for your child and guide you on a path to working toward more complex questions.
As you can see, ABA has a lot of offer in the areas of daily living skills. When you use Alliance ABA Therapy services, your child will not only receive complete lessons on these skills, but your family members will also receive training in order to work on these skills daily. Contact Alliance ABA therapy today.