The Ss of Autism, part 1

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be blogging the ABC’s of ABA therapy. Today, here are the Ss, part 1.



SCERTS is an approach developed by a clinical scholar and consultant to families with young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder named Dr. Barry M. Prizant. He designed it to enhance socioemotional and communication abilities for littles ones with autism, and focuses on emotional regulation and transactional support. It’s said to provide a guide and framework to address core challenges experienced by young people with autism.

Self-Injurious Behaviors, or SIB

When a person participates in self-injurious behavior, they are causing harm to their own physical body. They may bang their head against the wall, punch themselves, or cut themselves.

Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder (also known as Semantic-Pragmatic Language Impairment)

When a person has semantic-pragmatic disorder, they might be challenged with understanding the meaning of words (semantics). They may also have a hard time with understanding the social use of language (pragmatics). They also may not understand abstract words or concepts, like figures of speech, or even grasping the main idea behind a conversation.

Kids with semantic-pragmatic disorder might also not know how to take turns in conversations or understand the non-verbal cues of people they’re talking to or with. They may not know how to change topics properly, or maintain a topic being discussed.


Sensorimotor pertains to brain activity outside of automatic functions or cognition; sensorimotor activities includes things like hearing, touch, sight, and voluntary movements.

Sensory hypersensitivity

When a person is very sensitive to stimulus (bright lights, loud sounds, certain textures, for example), they may be experiencing sensory hypersensitivity.

Sensory defensiveness

When a person is extremely sensitive to light touch, they’re considered to have sensory defensiveness. It’s thought that when the tactile system isn’t working properly or might not have reached maturity that abnormal signals are sent to the brain, which then feels overly stimulated and thus creates excessive activity. This activity can’t be turned off, which causes the individual to feel overwhelmed by even the lightest touch.

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