What is Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
There are two domains where people with ASD must show persistent deficits. They include 1) persistent social communication and social interaction, and 2) restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.
More specifically, people with ASD must demonstrate (either in the past or in the present) deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, and deficits in developing maintaining and understanding relationships. In addition, they must show at least two types of repetitive patterns of behavior including stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, insistence on sameness or inflexible adherence to routines, highly restricted, fixated interests or hyper or hyper reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment.
Under the new DSM-5, clinicians should also rate the severity of these deficits, based what level of support they require. (AutismSpeaks.org).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM-5) was released in May 2013. Changes to the ASD diagnosis were made in this new publication. Previously, children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum were given the diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS). Now, the ASD diagnosis covers all diagnoses under the ASD umbrella.
Overview of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at Little Wonders, Inc.
- ABA is defined as the science in which procedures are derived from principles of behavior analysis.
- One of the key principles in ABA is that of positive reinforcement procedures are used to increase skills in all aspects of development, including communication and socialization areas.
- While the primary methods of instruction in ABA are Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and Incidental/Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Little Wonders mainly uses NET, whereby utilizing a range of behavioral and naturalistic approaches.
- The major difference between DTT and NET is that DTT is teacher directed whereas NET is child initiated instruction.
- Although both methodologies use positive reinforcement and behavioral sequence in learning, NET provides the child with naturally occurring consequences of skills promoting functionality and generalization.
- Little Wonder’s ABA program is a coordinated home-based and center-based model that provides educational and therapeutic programs consistent with outcomes in each child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
- Naturalistic approaches currently used in the field of Early Intervention include Incidental teaching (IT), Activity based intervention (ABI), and Embedded Coaching.
- IT delivers instruction within functional conditions in everyday environments such as home and center-based settings.
- IT requires that the environment be arranged to attract and motivate children to desired activities.
- ABI utilizes systematic instruction in the course of ongoing play or other routine-based activities in the context of natural conditions of everyday settings, such as home and school.
- ABI requires that the skills are taught within functional events.
- We work with families, caregivers, and 1:1 teaching assistants to meet the family and child’s needs and to implement strategies applied in the classroom and also work in the home setting to generalize skills learned at school.
- Our program also utilizes structured conditions such as routine based instruction and activities, so that children can become familiar with and begin to predict daily routines within their lives.