We take pride in our ability to engage the learners and create a fun environment for the child to learn.
We strongly believe in the use of evidence-based interventions and teaching methods to build, maintain, and generalize skills in all areas of development. The principles and techniques of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) are incorporated in all service delivery with an emphasis on providing a fun, safe, and positive learning environment. Utilizing a variety of behavioural approaches such as Verbal Behaviour, discrete trial, and incidental teaching, children learn skills necessary to match those of their peers.
The Verbal Behaviour (VB) approach is a fairly new and popular approach that has emerged from the basic teachings of ABA within the last 10-15 years. The VB approach builds on all of the ABA research, but also enhances a child’s ability to learn functional language. It is used with children who are both verbal and nonverbal, and is best used with children who are not yet conversational.
The initial step of any VB program is to complete the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS). This curriculum-based assessment evaluates the child’s skills across 25 domains. Based on the results of the assessment, an individualized curriculum can be developed for the child.
The next step is to determine the child’s most preferred items and activities (reinforcers). Once the child’s reinforcers have been identified, the basis for a VB approach is to teach the child how to make requests. B.F. Skinner called this a “mand” when he defined it in his 1957 book Verbal Behaviour. Manding is the centerpiece of VB programming.
The VB approach is very child-centered and it is therefore crucial that all the child’s reinforcers surround the instructor. The child will learn to associate the adult as the giver of all good things – this is done through a process called “pairing”. Pairing the work area, the table, the instructor with the child’s reinforcers is the key to beginning a VB program. If pairing is done effectively, the child should be running towards the instructor and the work area!
Once the child can mand for ball, we can build on this by teaching them to label a picture of a ball, to identify a ball from a set of items, and to answer questions about a ball. This is how VB programming differs from standard Lovaas ABA programs – the focus is on teaching the child to communicate effectively.
"There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do"
- Dr. Temple Grandin
Applied Behaviour Analysis
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach used to teach and modify behaviour. By looking at what immediately follows a behaviour, it is possible to then teach new behaviour and change existing ones. That is to say, by reinforcing or rewarding a behaviour, the likelihood that the behaviour will repeat itself increases.
An effective ABA program is: intensive in nature, meaning the child participates for a minimum of 15 hours/week, and the instructor-child ratio is small (1:1 or small group); comprehensive and thus addresses a variety of developmental domains; focused on generalizing skills, where a child is able to transfer skills to other environments, with new people, etc.; based on the collection of data; supervised by trained individuals; and with the objective of indpendence in a typical setting, meaning the child can be as independent as possible in a school-type and extra-curricular setting (www.lafeat.org, 2016).
ABA has been used with children with autism since the 1960s, and in recent decades, has become widely used as a preferred and highly effective method to encourage individuals with ASD to live productive lives. Many peer-reviewed studies have concluded that children with autism experience "significant improvements in learning, reasoning, communication, and adaptability when they participate in ABA programs" (Autism Speaks Canada, 2016).