with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Behavior Analysts in Rural Communities

Serving rural communities in any human services field can have it's challenges. Of course, some of the top difficulties include longer travel times for staff (compared to urban areas), mileage and travel expenses, sometimes lower financial resources for many clients (compared to more affluent families who may life in cities), fewer resources for clients to access, fewer providers, and sometimes difficulty getting a high enough caseload to justify the staff positions or, on the other hand, having too high of caseloads which make it difficult to manage with quality services.

In 2013, Mason, Perales, and Gallegos published an article titled, "Community-Based Development of Behavior Analysts." The abstract of the article is as follows:


Reducing Problem Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement

Problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement is likely to need intervention that is different than that of problem behavior maintained by social reinforcement.

Saini, Greer, et. al. (2016) note that noncontingent reinforcement and response blocking are two interventions that have been shown to reduce problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement.
"NCR involves the use of a time-based schedule to deliver stimuli that compete with the automatic reinforcer produced by problem behavior (e.g., Hagopian & Toole, 2009), whereas blocking consists of physical intervention to prevent problem behavior. Blocking can prevent access to the automatic reinforcer that maintains the response (i.e., extinction; Smith, Russo, & Le,1999) or can function as punishment (Lerman & Iwata, 1999)" (Saini, Greer, et. al., 2016).


14 Possible IEP Accommodations for Children with Autism & ADHD

Many behavior analysts who serve children with autism spectrum disorder may have contact with the child's school. They may also be involved in the development of the child's IEP. If not directly involved, oftentimes parents bring up their concerns regarding the child's IEP with the behavior analyst. Therefore, it is helpful to have some possible intervention and accommodation strategies readily available to recommend if this is your area of practice.

Booth (1998) provides a generous list of potential IEP accommodations that may be used for children with various special needs such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Not all accommodations will work for all kids, so choose the strategy or strategies that would be most suited for the particular child you are working with.


Video Modeling for Youth with Autism or ADHD

Video modeling is an evidence-based practice for children with autism spectrum disorder. (See the module on video modeling from the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders here.)

Video modeling is using video to model (or show) viewers particular skills, such as communication or social skills. The skills are presented in role-play situations and the specific skills may be discussed, such as learning how to pick up on social cues.


Life Skills for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children with autism spectrum disorder may struggle with developing life skills. Here are some strategies and tips on how to help youth with autism develop these important skills.

Start early

Whether your child is delayed in the area of developing life skills or whether he or she is on target, it is important to start now. Starting earlier helps the child to have more opportunity to gain the skills needed for adulthood.

Make routines

Using routines for daily activities can help children learn life skills. For instance, create a regular morning routine. You can use a checklist or visual schedule which are useful tools when teaching a series of tasks or behaviors.

Child Development

Multiple Tips for the Toddler Years

When working with (or parenting) a toddler, keep in mind the typical areas of development such as those identified by MedlinePlus:

Gross motor - walking, running, climbing
Fine motor - feeding themselves, drawing
Sensory - seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling
Language - saying single words, then sentences
Social - playing with others, taking turns, doing fantasy play

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide an amazing document of typical child development in the early years. Click here for a PDF document from the CDC. It outlines basic developmental milestones.
Here are some tips on promoting speech and language from the American Speech and Language Hearing Association. Just a few of the examples provided include:

Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as "ma," "da," and "ba."
Reinforce attempts by maintaining eye contact, responding with speech, and imitating vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis. For example, raise the pitch of your voice to indicate a question.
Imitate your baby's laughter and facial expressions.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis in Office Settings

There is a large population of employees in the United States (and elsewhere) who spend large amounts of time sitting at their desk for their employment. This can certainly lead to various health issues, obesity, low energy, variable mood, and so on.

Applied behavior analysis has begun to address this issue of prolonged sitting in the workplace.


More Tips for Providing ABA to Adolescents

The last post in this blog identified some tips for providing ABA (applied behavior analysis) to adolescents and older children. This post will provide more tips on this topic, as well.

When working with younger children, it can be somewhat easier to take data particularly when doing discrete trial teaching when the child is sitting at a desk near the behavior technician. However, when working with adolescents taking data may be a little more challenging especially during more non-structured and interactive tasks.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Tips for Providing ABA to Adolescents and Older Children

Applied behavior analysis for individuals with autism spectrum disorder is most known for being used for the younger child such as from the ages of two to six or seven years old. However, increasingly, older children and adolescents are also receiving applied behavior analysis services.

Following you will find some research-based information for providing applied behavior analysis services to older children and adolescents.