Staff members at the CDC recognize that there are many approaches to teaching children with disabilities. Decades of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of applied behavior analysis to improve individuals’ lives. Staff members at the CDC use the principles of applied behavior analysis when teaching academic, communication, life skills and as part of strategies to decrease problem behavior that may inhibit students from learning. The promotion of generalization and maintenance during instructionensures that students’ progress is long-lasting and supports progress in school, home, and the community.
IEP Development and Instructional Curriculum
IEP Development and Curriculum are based on the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia© (ACE), developed by the New England Center for Children. Individualized Educational and Behavioral Programs are developed for each student based on the results of the ACE’s Core Skills Assessment, a Functional Behavior Assessment, as well as caregiver and school input. All skill acquisition data is collected and input into the web-based ACE software either manually or using the ACE Data Entry app on an Apple iPod touch, allowing for real time data collection, up to the minute graphing and progress reporting.. Within the curriculum, the use of discrete trial training, incidental teaching, verbal behavior training, shaping, chaining, and other reinforcement-based methods are employed as well as instructional strategies to promote generalization to other natural environments.
Support for Educators
Our goal at the CDC is to provide students with a high quality education while focusing on the reduction of problem behavior and, focusing on transitioning students to the least restrictive educational setting. Students and educators are provided with the following services to facilitate a successful transitionto the less restrictive educational setting:
- Transition planning services with the new educational setting
- Train the new educational setting on the students’Behavior Support Plan.
- Short term or ongoing classroom consultation with the new educational setting
- Instructional support provided to the student by CDC Staff Members in the new educational setting (partial or full day)
- The opportunity for the staff members from the new educational setting to work with the student at the CDC prior to beginning the transition
- Additional hands on training, and workshops for the educational staff to enhance the capacity of the new educational environment to meet the needs of the transitioning student
Support for Parents and Caregivers
Parents are provided with training, delivered by the CDC Program Manager, on the general principles of ABA, focused on creating effective learning environment for their children at home. Parents have phone, e-mail, and face to face access to the CDC Program Manager to support their child’s success at home. Meetings will be conducted with the parents at least monthly to review their child’s progress. During the meeting, necessary changes to goals or instructional strategies are discussed.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of studying behavior in the natural environment. This style of therapy is different from others because detailed data is collected and analyzed to show that behavior is changing. ABA approaches behavior change by observing what is happening in an individual’s environment that may be contributing to the behavior. This includes using positive reinforcement or rewards to increase desired behaviors and not rewarding behavior that may be undesirable. Because of this, it is very important that every procedure and treatment used is consistent throughout the child’s day. This means ABA becomes a way of living and not just a few hours a week of intervention.
Behavior Analysis Services address problem behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, property destruction, inappropriate sexual behavior, and other behaviors with may interfere with the student’s ability to learn, interact with peers, participate in the community, and in the routines of life.
Behavior analysis services begins with the completion of a functional assessment (i.e., indirect, direct, and functional analysis). Following the completion of the functional assessment, intervention strategies, including language, social skills and coping skills are identified as potential replacement behavior for the occurrence of problem behavior. Ongoing behavior analysis services include training and monitoring the implementation of the student’s Behavior Support Plan. Continuous data collection measures are used to track the occurrence of problem behaviors and functionally equivalent replacement behaviors. These measure give real time information concerning the student’s progress. Behavior Analysts are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support the effective implementation of the Behavior Support Plan.