The latest trend is to buy and iPad, Ipod or other computer gadget and expect learning to magically occur. In most cases more is needed. I a few cases the child may learn on their own but in most cases parents should consider the following in order to have success. One point is that often a child with autism is not visually motivated to use the equipment. In this case the parent can motivate the child with extrinsic reinforcers for use of the equipment. For example, if the child plays one educational game or looks around on the web for 30 minutes then the child receives a preferred food snack such as chips or an activity. Another point is that the computer must have reinforcers within the aps that reward the child automatically. For example there are programs such as "head sprout" that include reinforcers within the educational game at the end of a correct response by the child. Parents should be careful to set-up reinforcers within the device programs and extrinsic reinforcers in order to achieve optimal chances of success when purchasing an electronic gadget so that the money is put to good use and learning occurs in the child!!
Many Procedures have bee identified in Studies as effective. However, it is crucial for both parents and researchers to consider the exact methods they use to implement the procedures and compare them to what was done in the research in order to make sure they are implemented in the same manner and are effective. In fact it is very common for a proven procedure to be ineffective or actually make the behavior worse if they are implemented inappropriately. Almost all Procedures such as reinforcement, token programs and overcorrection must be implemented in the specific manner that will allow them to perform functionally and increase or decrease the behavior. For example, a therapist that give reinforcement without smiling and just say "good job" may be meaningless to the client and the function of the behavior if not done in the correct manner or even could increase inappropriate responding. The therapist/parent/teacher should be careful in some areas in particular for example the non-verbal behavior must match the words. If you say "good job" then a beautiful smile, clapping or jumping up are examples of non-verbal behaviors that will stenghten the procedures.
When is it time to send your child to the next grade level or wait and continue ABA or some of both!
Parents often spend endless days and nights wondering what the next step is to send the child to school or wait and do further ABA. In many cases the question is also whether to hold off on sending him to the next grade level and do both ABA and the previous grade again. There are many factors to consider in this decision.
One factor is the reaction of others in society to their decision. Many times parents fear of the negative reactions of their friends, relative, peers or school administration effects their decision to hold the child back one year. Most people would agree that the most important factor should be that the child progress normally and live a normal life. The temporary reactions of others will not be remembered in most cases once the child is making wonderful grades and living a normal childhood with no behavior problems.
A second factor is the actual work that the child does based on the decision that is made. In some cases people will say that he will not be challenged as much if he stays in the same grade. When in fact usually reviewing the same material with basic academics can build a strong foundation for future academics.
A third factor to consider is the social relationships of the child. If the child is very young usually the social factors that are disrupted by keeping the child back are only temporary and are forgotten in the next year or so. The friends he would have had in kindergarten are just replaced by different friends when he takes the class again.
Finally, maturity, height and biological issues sometimes discourage parents from holding a child back. When in fact a child that is taller or smarter than the others will usually receive more accolades and awards and positive feedback then the child that is the shortest and not as knowledgeable in the classroom. The positive feedback can lead to an improved self-concept and higher expectation for success that usually lead to a what is referred to as "positive momentum" and further success for the child.
In general, each of these factors should be weighted and if there is more doubt then it is the current authors opinion that keeping the child in the current classroom with ABA assistance will lead to a more productive life. The past problems will be forgotten once the child is receiving positive feedback and success. The child will more probability that he will be mainstreamed and graduate in the regular classroom, go to college possibly and live a much more fulfilled life in the future.
Parent often are frustrated trying to figure out what to do when there child is running away frequently. There are several ideas to consider and to prevent the running away listed below that might be good for your child.
The first most important thing to consider is safety issues. Parents or Caregivers should consider making every precaution to prevent any injury. If the child is headed in a direction such as towards the doorway to a busy street, towards sharp objects parents should try to block the child from running in that direction by standing in front of them if possible or in front of the door. Secondly, parents should consider the fact that chasing the child or grabbing the child is very often a reinforcer or pleasant event for the child. Therefore, any physical contact should be minimized and avoided if possible except when there is a safety risk. Finally, parents should remember that a child is typically running away because there are more reinforcers outside the area or home he is located in. In order to prevent running away parents can identify all possible reinforcers that can be placed in the home for their child and put as many of them as financially possible in the home. For example, the child might like electronic games, stuffed animals, board games, music, edibles, attention from parents, musical instruments or exercise equipment. The more fun he has in the home the less likely he is to seek other locations outside the home to acquire what he wants! Parents might make a wish list of items possible and try to add more each month! Soon the home becomes the best place in the world for the child to want to be living in!!