What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

If you are a school administrator or the parent of a child with autism, you have likely heard of ABA therapy. This is broadly proven to be the most effective means of teaching behavior and learning skills to children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, yet few people truly understand the concept. In the next few paragraphs, we will take a look at Applied Behavior Analysis, explaining the overall concept as well as how it works to help teach autistic children to learn and interact in a manner similar to their peers.

Before delving into exactly how ABA works, it is important to take a look at the overall concept. ABA therapy is designed to break down the behavior of a child or student and to literally analyze it. Large concepts are broken down into steps and children are taught to perform each step individually. Initially, prompts are given to provoke the right response or behavior, but over time the behavior is performed with decreasing prompts until it becomes automatic. This is an excellent tool for teaching both large and small concepts and can prove very beneficial in helping students integrate into a classroom setting.

To take a closer look, it is best to use an example. We will use tooth brushing as an example. While many children can be shown to remove the cap from the tube, squeeze the paste onto a brush, run water onto it, and brush their teeth, the mind of an autistic child works differently. Because of this, each of these steps would be a separate lesson, with each behavior being taught individually until the child is able to put them together into a chain of action. The process is similar for teaching most concepts, but It is also very effective.

As a school administrator or school board member, integrating ABA therapy into your training methods is highly valuable. Studies show that most autistic children are capable of learning along their peers in a classroom setting with proper skills and behavior training. While large conferences and training clinics can be costly, there are training courses that utilize DVDs and other affordable materials to offer system wide training. This gives school systems an affordable means of providing their teachers with the educational skills and methods required for teaching children with autism spectrum disorder and can help these educators provide students with a significantly higher quality of education.

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ABA Training Materials Can Allow Schools and Parents to Work From the Same Page

When teaching a child with autism spectrum disorder to develop new skills or to learn new patterns of behavior, one of the most detrimental things to the learning process is a different method of teaching between school and home. Autistic children thrive on routine, and the very heart of proper teaching lies in repetition. ABA therapy has long been known to be the most effective method of teaching autistic children, and DVD training courses can be an excellent way to keep parents and teachers on the same page.

There is no doubt that school systems these days are largely underfunded. Many teachers find themselves paying for classroom materials out of their own pockets just to ensure that students are given the best opportunity to learn. This makes it especially difficult for a school system to pay for teachers from each school to receive ABA training. The good news, however, is that it is also possible for a school board to purchase a DVD training course that offers the same skills and methods while alleviating a large percentage of the financial burden. A single course can educate a large number of teachers.

By purchasing ABA training materials for both parents and school systems, it becomes much easier to ensure that a child is given consistent training and teaching. These shared courses, offered in conjuction with regular parent-teacher meetings can help ensure consistency and can offer kids a great opportunity to learn and to make their way towards being able to fully interact in a classroom comprised of their peers. Autistic children are very capable of learning and are often quite intelligent, and ABA therapy offers a means of unlocking a child's maximum potential so that they are able to learn quickly and effectively.

There are few things that can help an autistic student more than teaching that is consistent between home and school. With top quality ABA training materials, educators and parents alike will find that it is easy to stay on the same page while using proven methods of teaching. We all hope that our children and students will receive a comprehensive education, and when an affordable training class may be all that stands in the way, it is surely a small price to pay to help offer these children a better start on education and life in general.

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ABA Training in Schools Offers Hope For Autistic Children

For many parents, having a child who is diagnosed with autism can be terrifying. Many school officials will say that their schools are ill equipped to handle teaching these children, yet many parents can not afford one on one training and teaching for their kids. ABA training courses are available for school systems, however. This offers school board members an affordable way to provide their educators with the skills and materials needed to properly teach autistic children while living up to the promise made to parents that all children will receive the highest quality education possible.

With ABA therapy, educators can work to teach autistic children the very basics of learning and behavior. There is a very common misconception that autistic children are unable to learn, but this could not be farther from the truth. In truth, many autistic children are capable of learning at the same rate as their peers, but the most basic concepts of learning must first be taught. These children must effectively learn how to learn.

The mind of an autistic child works a bit differently than the minds of most children. While many people can look at a large concept and simply infer the meaning, the mind of an autistic student requires that the concept be broken down into smaller parts. The reasons behind these are not fully understood, but decades of research show that the concept teaching methods used in ABA are exceptionally effective in helping children understand both simple and complex concepts.

With proper ABA training, autistic children are shown to experience a significant increase in both IQ and learning ability. By breaking down concepts ranging from how to brush your teeth to why it rains into tiny, understandable steps, these children are able to learn how to put the bigger picture together. Many students who have been taught using Applied Behavior Analysis training find that they are able to perform well even in a classroom of their peers. Many even outperform children who have not been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

By teaching ABA therapy in schools, children with autism spectrum disorder are given better hope for being able to perform on the same level as their peers. The training is significantly effective and offers many benefits to these students. School systems owe it to parents and students alike to offer the best education opportunities possible, and school ABA courses help them to better live up to this obligation.

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Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Breaks Life Into Smaller Steps

When you are the parent or teacher of a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, teaching them certain behaviors and tasks can become overwhelming. Even although most individuals understand that autistic children learn differently, without training it can be difficult to know how to change negative behaviors or to teach certain skill sets. ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy can be a very important and effective tool. By breaking concepts and behaviors into smaller and more understandable steps, the therapy opens the doorway to learning so that these students are given a fair opportunity.

With ABA therapy, children are given the ability to take concepts and behaviors in smaller, easier bites. Behaviors are broken down into their most basic steps, and each step is repeated until it has been learned and can be mimicked without prompting. Over time, the steps are put together so that the child is able to perform a routine task without stress or confusion. It is important for educators to understand that autistic children are highly capable, but that they simply learn differently than most students. ABA therapy essentially helps them learn how to learn.

Another means in which ABA therapy is quite effective is in teaching students to break negative patterns of behavior. With autistic children, the attention gained from scolding or reprimanding is not seen as a negative response, but as a reward of attention, so breaking negative policies takes a different strategy. With ABA training, negative behavior is ignored indefinitely, while a positive response to the same trigger is rewarded with attention, a sticker, or some other small but enjoyable response. This helps to condition the child into behaving and reacting appropriately to various situations and stimuli.

If you are a parent, educator, or school administrator, encouraging your school district to integrate Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is an excellent idea. The approach can prove to be beneficial for all students, and it can really work wonders for autistic children. These kids deserve the chance to learn while among their peers if possible, and the skills and behaviors offered by ABA help to increase these chances. ABA therapy can also give students the skills that they need to function well into adulthood. With affordable DVD courses available, it is possible for any school system to provide educators with high quality ABA training that can give every student the chance to learn at the best of their ability.

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ABA Therapy Teaches Lifelong Skills in the Classroom

When you are an educator faced with teaching students with autism spectrum disorder, it is easy to become frustrated. Most school systems do not provide the required training and skills necessary to properly teach behaviors and concepts to these students, and standard methods of reprimand and punishment do nothing to curb negative behaviors. Because of this, many autistic children are improperly labeled as “bad” or even removed from the standard classroom environment. Employing ABA therapy within your school system offers teachers a better way to teach autistic students while equipping them with skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Applied Behavior Analysis is the term given to a method of teaching that involutes repetition, rigorous data collection and analysis, and prompting to teach children with autism and other developmental disorders how to understand basic behaviors and concepts. In essence, the mind of a child with autism processes ideas, concepts, and behaviors differently and therefore requires a different method of teaching. With ABA therapy, students are taught through prompting and repetition the proper way to have in a certain situation as well as how to complete both simple and complex tasks.

While ABA is certainly beneficial for helping children learn to integrate into a standard classroom setting, it can not be overlooked that the treatment is also essential for teaching life skills. By teaching children the appropriate response to certain external situations or stimuli, you form a pattern of positive behavior that the individual will be able to follow for life. Learning how to interact with others is a necessary life skill, and for autistic children it is certainly one that is best taught through Applied Behavior Analysis. Providing educators with the skills necessary to offer ABA therapy can open a number of doors for children with autism spectrum disorder.

While personal training and symposiums that teach ABA fundamentals are often too costy for school systems, it is important to realize that they are not the only option. ABA courses can be found that operate through a series of instructional DVDs as well as accompanying materials that are used for teaching educators and for teaching students. These programs enable school systems to educate limitless teachers for only a single price, making them cost effective. Teaching kids skills that will provide real world application for the rest of their lives is essential, and ABA therapy proves time and again to be the very best educational tool for students with autism.

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ABA Therapy in Schools Can Teach Numerous Skills

The number of students within the average school system who have some form of autism spectrum disorder can be surprising. For many educators, understanding how to best teach these children can be difficult. Standard methods of teaching and discipline have no effect on behavior or learning, creating a scenario that can disrupt the entire classroom. ABA therapy, or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, can provide schools with a practical and evidence based solution that benefits educators as well as the students that they are teaching.

What helps set ABA therapy apart from other forms of autism treatment is that it can benefit students both inside and outside the classroom. The technique is designed to help teach real world social skills and to help children learn to interact with both adults and their peers. ABA is also an essential part in developing cognitive and academic skills as well as the ability to learn and respond in a classroom environment. It can also help children better manage daily tasks such as tying shoes or performing other basic acts.

ABA is a method of teaching that is proven to work. The method uses data collection and analysis to gather information regarding progress, patterns, behaviors, responses, and more. Prompting and repetition are used to help children learn how to complete tasks or respond in a certain situation. While to some degree the method works through memorization, however, it is shown to help build neural pathways in the brain that will help children develop the ability to critically think over time. In other words, the memorization of basic tasks in the beginning helps children learn how to complete other tasks in the future without the need for repetition and prompting.

Few educators are properly trained when it comes to understanding what autism is and how it works. The brain of an autistic child works differently than the average student, and these individuals must be taught differently in order to be able to perform well in a classroom setting later on. By employing ABA training in your school system through the use of DVD courses and training materials, your staff members can understand the fundamentals needed to offer ABA therapy to students with autism spectrum disorders. Children with these disorders are typically very bright and highly capable of learning, and when educators have the tools necessary to teach them it makes possible to unlock the hidden potential that lies within every child.

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Encouraging ABA Therapy Within Schools Can Help Many Children

If you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with autism, knowing what to do in regards to their education can be difficult. For children with moderate to severe cases of autism, the ability to function and perform well in a classroom can certainly be hindered. Many schools, however, offer no treatment for autism. Instead, the place children in a classroom with other developmentally disabled children to essentially wait out the school day. If you find that your child is in this situation, one of the best things that you can do is to encourage the school to offer ABA therapy.

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is a therapy designed to teach kids the very basics of behavior and learning. A quality ABA program will offer teachers a comprehensive set of tools for understanding autism as well as for teaching children who have been diagnosed with it. The therapy revolves around a number of principles, all of which have been repeatedly proven by science to be effective. Of all known autism treatments, ABA is still the only treatment most insurers will cover because it is large known to be the most beneficial to children.

While there is not yet a cure for autism, ABA training can make a significant difference in classroom function and learning ability. ABA breaks down complex behaviors into smaller chains, teaching them one step at a time so that they can be more easily understood. Few educators seem to understand that autistic children are highly capable of learning and adapting and that it is only the way that they process information that is really different. Studies show that with proper ABA therapy, many kids can learn at equivalent rates to their peers, especially if treatment is started early.

If your school does not offer ABA therapy, it is surely an excellent idea to encourage them to start teaching it. Schools can find an excellent course that uses DVDs and paper materials to provide all of the information and skills required to teach ABA within the school system. A single course can be used to train an entire school district, and the costs are designed to be affordable for these educators. Every child deserves the absolute best opportunity to learn and grow with their peers, and Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is surely the most effective way to offer them this opportunity.

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Data Collection is a Key Part of ABA Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is the most successful and highly recommended treatment for autism spectrum disorder and it is one that has shown the best results for educators within public and private school systems. There are a number of different elements to ABA therapy, and one of the key components involved is data collection. With ABA, the goal is to use techniques such as prompting and task analysis to break concepts and behaviors down into teachable steps. With data collection and analysis, it becomes easier for educators and other professionals to understand behavior patterns and to measure the progress of the child.

When you implement ABA therapy into your school system using a DVD course or other means, data collection is very important. In most cases, a child will interact with different teachers and guidance counselors each week. Keeping accurate data that highlights behaviors, responses, and progress enables everyone involved to see what is working and to assess which types of prompts or teaching methods work best for the individual child. This makes it much easier to teach the child using the most understandable and effective methods possible.

Another benefit of proper data collection is that it allows everyone who teachers the child to stay on the same page. Parents and educators work hand in hand to shape behaviors and to teach concepts, and data analysis sheets highlight what is being done as well as what is really working. When a child performs well at home but not at school, or vice versa, these sheets allow parents and educators to work together to see what differences are creating the problem. They also allow all parties to determine the behaviors that are the most immediately necessary so that everyone can work on teaching the same thing.

There are many studies that show that ABA therapy in schools is the most effective way to ensure that children with autism spectrum disorder receive the best education and the best chance of being able to learn in a classroom with their peers. These children are often very intelligent, but they often miss out on learning opportunities because they are never given the training they need in order to learn. ABA training for teachers is very important, and data analysis can make a significant difference. When the goal of your school system is to ensure that you are really teaching every child, implementing properly Applied Behavior Analysis training is definitely a very serious step to take.

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Picture Cards Make ABA Therapy More Effective

Applied Behavior Analysis is the most common and most highly recommended form of treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder. The treatment is done terribly through repetition, prompting, and data collection and is used to teach a very wide variety of skills. From academic and cognitive learning skills to social skills and even the ability to perform basic tasks needed for day to day life, ABA can equip children with vital abilities. DVD courses offer school systems an excellent way to train educators in ABA, and picture cards provide them with remarkable teaching tools.

Picture cards are often an integral part of Applied Behavior Analysis. For children with autism spectrum disorder, large concepts and the idea of ​​cause and effect are not immediately recognizable. Instead, concepts must be broken down into individual steps or tasks. This is true for such acts as tying shoes or brushing teeth and is also true for concepts such as the movement of the sun during the day or rain falling from the clouds. Picture cards help to break down these tasks and concepts into images that represent each step.

By utilizing picture cards, educators can help students recognize the individual elements of a task or concept. Through repeated testing and teaching, children learn to recognize the pattern required for these tasks until they are able to recognize the entire pattern. For many children, learning in this manner can help the brain to develop new neural pathways. These new neurons and brain signals allow the child to naturally learn to see cause and effect and can enable them to learn to recognize larger concepts and patterns. This is an essential skill for daily life, and ABA enables children to develop this skill and retain it through the rest of their lives.

There is a great deal of evidence out there to support the fact that ABA is the most appropriate treatment for autism spectrum disorder, especially in small children. DVD courses are highly effective and offer school systems an affordable way to provide educators with the necessary skills to teach ABA. Whenever integrating ABA into a classroom environment, educators will find that picture cards may well be the best tools to have at their disposal. With cards that teach sequences of events, error recognition, and ongoing actions, learning can become much easier for these students. ABA simply works, making it an ideal treatment for students faced with learning with autism spectrum disorder.

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Applied Behavior Analysis Treats Numerous Autism Spectrum Disorders

When asked to describe a child with autism spectrum disorder, it can be difficult. There are a number of different conditions that fall within this line of diagnoses, and children can experience the disorders to remarkably varying degrees. The common thread between children with these disorders, however, is that there is a fundamental difference in the way that they interact and learn. For virtually all children with an autism spectrum disorder, a different method of teaching is important. ABA therapy is proven to offer great benefit to students who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy works by encouraging behavior patterns and repetitive actions in order to teach basic tasks. These exercises also help teach the mind how to learn by developing new neural connections that allow children to literally learn how to learn. These new pathways help children learn to connect the various parts of a task or concept together so that they can understand how and why things work. This is an essential part of learning, but many teachers fail to understand that autistic children do not have this ability.

When a school system makes use of a DVD training course and supplemental tools and materials to teach educators how to employ ABA therapy, it can prove highly rewarding for students. A large percentage of children with an autism spectrum disorder can be taught how to function normally within a classroom setting. It is not that these children are incapable of learning or performing well, only that they need extra help in order to be able to do so. Through proper Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, these students can often be afforded all of the same opportunities for education as their peer group.

While typically called a treatment for autism, it is important to realize that ABA therapy is effective for treating the entire range of conditions listed on the autism spectrum disorder diagnostic chart as well as many other behavioral conditions. The result of ABA therapy will be different for every individual child, but studies show that skills learned through early ABA are transported with the child for the rest of their life. ABA is an excellent way of preparing children for a lifetime of learning and social interaction. Employing the technique in schools and ensuring that educators are equipped to handle children with autism spectrum disorder is certainly the best method of ensuring that these children are properly tapped from the earliest age possible.

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Applied Behavior Analysis DVD Courses Reduce Expenses and Improve Education

If you are a school board member or school administrator struggling to find a balance between expenditure sheets and training educators to better handle students with autism spectrum disorder, it is important that you take the time to consider an ABA course taught through a DVD series. Applied Behavior Analysis is known to be the most effective means of treating autism spectrum disorder, and DVD courses offer school systems a cost effective way to train numerous employees in the proper application of the therapy.

With an Applied Behavior Analysis training course on DVD, it can be easy to train educators and staff members throughout the school system while only purchasing a single course. The DVDs can be used to train new employees as they enter the system as well as to provide refresher courses as they are needed. They can also be used to help educate counsel counselors as well as non-educator staff members so that these individuals understand how to properly respond and react to students who exhibit behavior patterns caused by autism spectrum disorders.

With ABA DVD courses, school systems will find that they have almost everything they need, but that there is always an option to obtain supplementary materials to go along with the courses. Ordering additional data collection sheets or purchasing picture cards to help educators teach certain concepts and skills can be done easily and will provide an excellent supplement to the information provided in the DVDs. Data collection is an integral part of ABA therapy, and picture cards can be among the most effective teaching tools through ABA. With these materials readily available, a DVD course becomes an even more efficient tool for educating staff members through a school district.

When you need to find a way to help provide for students with autism spectrum disorder and standard training courses are not affordable, considering a DVD series that offers Applied Behavior Analysis training is definitely worth your while. Providing autistic children with the best chance possible at a full education is important, and these classes have helped many children go on to excel in a class of their peers. For many children, ABA can mean the difference between an education in special needs classes and the ability to learn in a standard classroom. As any educator knows, the difference between the two environments is significant and students will certainly benefit from the opportunity to join their peers in a more traditional classroom setting.

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DVD Training Courses Offer Schools Affordable ABA Training

As a school board administrator, employee, or educator, you likely understand the commitment that a school system makes to provide every student with the best opportunities for education possible. Unfortunately, however, most school systems find that their levels of funding do not allow them to offer the levels of training required to properly teach students with autism spectrum disorders. With the number of diagnoses of these disorders rising, however, it is becoming clear that something must be done to improve education for these students. DVD training courses that teach Applied Behavior Analysis therapy can be an excellent choice.

With DVD ABA training courses, you can easily train as many of your staff members as you like in this successful teaching method. ABA is proven to be the most successful method of teaching children with an autism spectrum disorder. It makes use of a number of proven techniques such as repetition, prompting, and data analysis to track and teach behaviors and concepts that are impossible for the minds of many autistic children to learn without extra help. While paying for seminars or personal training for each employee can be expensive, DVD training is a very cost effective solution.

When you invest in a high quality DVD training course for your school system, you will find that you get more than a couple of simple how-to videos. A quality program will offer numerous step-by-step lessons that teach the fundamentals of Applied Behavior Analysis as well as how to implement these techniques properly. You will also have access to data collection sheets, picture cards, and other important tools used in providing ABA therapy to students with autism spectrum disorder. These programs are affordable for virtually all school districts and offer many students the best chance at a better education.

Students with autism are typically very bright and are capable of learning in a classroom setting surrounded by their peers. Before they can do this, however, ABA therapy is often needed to help them learn how to take in basic concepts and how to properly behave in a social setting. Students with autism need to learn differently than other students, and a DVD ABA course is an excellent way to equip your staff members with the skills and expertise needed to ensure that these students are given that opportunity. With the right training, your staff members can certainly meet the challenge of ensuring that students with autism are able to reach their maximum potential.

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ABA Therapy is So Much More Than Rote Memorization

When discussing the integration of Applied Behavior Analysis into school districts, the most commonly heard argument is that the therapy works through rote memorization, or that students are not actually learning, but instead are simply mimicking behaviors and answers. It is important for school administrators to understand that this is not how ABA therapy works. While repetition and mimicking are certainly a part of initial treatment, they are not the end result. ABA is about forming new neural pathways in the human brain that can help children learn how to understand concepts and behaviors.

The reason that mimicking and repetition are integral to ABA therapy is that it is through these behaviors that new neural pathways are formed. Just like children often have to memorize spelling words when they are young until they ever learn how to spell by using words they already know and applying the same principle, ABA requires certain behaviors to be repeated and mimicked until the brain develops the ability to learn new behaviors on its own. ABA is exceptionally effective and is an important tool for children with autism spectrum disorder. Offering such a program within school systems can help these children learn to perform in the same manner as their peers and allows many to integrate into a standard classroom environment.

It is important for educators to understand that Applied Behavior Analysis is about much more than simple memorization. Through these exercises and lessons, children are able to pick up the very fundamental concepts of learning and behavior, which opens the door to a lifetime of learning. So often these children are improperly taught or even disregarded as bad children or as children who are incapable of learning. The simple truth is that these children have excellent potential, but that it is the job of the schools to understand how to teach them.

While most ABA training courses are costly, making them unaffordable for school districts, DVD training courses are designed to fill this gap. A well designed course will offer a large number of training lessons as well as supplementary materials, teaching tools, comprehension tests, and even the option to receive help if a lesson is not fully understood. Providing educators with access to these courses is very cost effective and can give your teachers the ability to better teach students with autism. ABA therapy uses memorization to teach very important life skills and to help build neural pathways that leave children open to a full lifetime of learning and enjoyment.

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ABA Therapy is Affordable For Your School District

School systems today have a lot of things to deal with. In many cases, a lack of proper funding means that schools are already pushed to their limits in terms of training. Many teachers are forced to pay out of pocket for continuing education, and new techniques that can improve learning are often pushed to the back burner simply because classes are not affordable. When it comes to ABA therapy to help teach children with autism spectrum disorders, however, pushing proper training to the back burner is not acceptable. Autism disorders are often prevalent, and school systems have an obligation to provide the best possible education for every child.

So what do you do when your teachers are ill equipped to teach autistic students but you lack the funding needed to train them? While ABA training through personal instruction or through teaching retreats can be too costly, DVD courses and course materials are affordable for most school districts. A program like this can offer the same quality of instruction while remaining cost effective. A single course can be used to educate a number of teachers and can be used whenever a new hire is made or a refresher course is needed while only paying a single fee.

ABA therapy is certainly a very important part of teaching students with autism. It has been proven time and again to be the most effective means of teaching social skills as well as teaching children classroom conduct. ABA therapy is also an integral part of developing cognitive and academic skills that will enable students to perform well both in and out of a classroom setting. When educators take the time to understand how critical it is to teach using these methods, the importance of quality training becomes obvious.

ABA training through DVD courses can be very effective. Ensuring that students with autism spectrum disorder are afforded the opportunity to learn as much as possible is a direct responsibility of school systems, and these courses ensure that doing so is affordable. Autistic children can be very capable of learning and of functioning within a classroom environment. By employing ABA therapy as soon as possible within the classroom or through a guidance counselor, these children can be offered the best chance for a lifelong education as well as the best chance to learn how to interact with both adults and their peers.

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Defining Success – Piano Education and Students With Autism

All education professionals need to be flexible. This is especially true when teaching students with autism. During a half-hour piano lesson an instructor may be required to drastically change their compliance schedule, replace the current reinforcer (s) etc., further individualize the material for a student or decide that behavior reduction has become an immediate priority (as opposed to the instructional material). What works for one student may not work for another and what does not affect one student's performance may drastically improve another's. And then there's what will work for tomorrow's lesson.

There are very few rules and many, many guidelines. While defending a successful teaching strategy for each student is challenging, determining what 'success' is for that student can also be arbitrary and hard to nail down. Is a student successful when they play a song independently? Or should the criteria be that they also perform the piece without any mistakes? Perhaps, playing and performing piano pieces are only a means to an end. Is the act of focusing and practicing, constructively for increasing amounts of time the true benefit? What about the possible social skills development resulting from learning and performing music in the community?

I am inclined to state that these are all stages of a student's individual development and therefore levels of success, but that is not true. At least, it is not accurate to assign a relative quality of success to each level for all students. While a student's performance can be measured to reflect his or her progress it is more difficult to quantify the benefits associated with the process in general. What is the impact on his current and future peer's perception of them after finding out that they are learning the piano? Or, what is the affect on society's perception in general for that matter? How does practicing the piano benefited their fine-motor and hand-eye-coordination skills in respect of other instruction programs? While these questions are more challenging to answer, it is the teacher's responsibility to definitively decide just what each student's immediate definition of success is. For some students this is defined as playing with multiple fingers or introducing the skill of playing with the left hand or possibly fading a prompt. The relative difficulty associated with any of these forms of instruction is as unique as each student is unique.

Therefore, all students' progress through individualized phases of instruction, but these phases may or may not be leading to the same goal for each student. If you imagine a teaching phase as a rung in a ladder, each step is leading towards a goal; yet the path that each student uses can be very unique. For instance, all of our students are initially taught to read musical notation. A certain percentage of our students have not yet met the given criteria which indicates that they have an understanding of this skill. Instead of discontinuing that student's education at the piano, his 'ladder' adjusts and a new set of material is provided which will allow him or her to appropriately interact with the piano and play new and challenging pieces. The skill of reading musical notation is still reviewed and practiced. It is the teacher's goal to make this skill clear to him by adjusting the curriculum. In the meantime, though, he is developing his fine-motor skills, participating in a structured activity and shares the possibility of future involvement in the musical community.

It is appropriate for instructors to focus on skill acquisition in the early stages of a student's development at the piano. This allows them the chance to generalize the skill across locations, teachers and materials – ie practicing at home, with his or her parent / guardian and on a new keyboard. At a certain point though, all students would benefit from a structured and supervised system of community involvement. This could be a parent / guardian bringing the student to a musical performance or on a trip to a museum with a friend. For the vast majority of all students who pursue the piano, the instrument today provides an enriching hobby or pastime. Our goal is not to foster virtuosi or seek out prodigies at the piano.

Rather, it is to develop a skill which will provide the opportunity to further strengthen the student's life. The other factor would be society's perception. Fairly or unfairly, people often make judgments on an individual based on their abilities / interests. An understanding of core educational curriculum is important but sometimes learning that a person enjoys baseball or hiking is much more indicative of how you will get along. To a certain degree, I think most of our clients who decide to begin piano instruction for their child understands this and view the process as beneficial in that way. I must stress though that the goal of all of our teachers is to challenge the student appropriately and allow objective data to indicate just what immediate and future success is for that student. Unfortunately, I have found that the more challenged a student is the more that his challenges end-up defining what success is for him. All students should be given the opportunity to succeed, regardless of behavioral or comprehension challenges, based on objective standards instead of this subjective assessment.

Therefore, while it is important to initially challenge all students equally, it is just as important to individualize each student's development going ahead. I feel that a good example of this is a recent student who was diagnosed with autism and visual impairment. Going into the lesson, the degree of both these challenges was unknown to myself or the teacher. After concluding the initial baseline (which measures the student's ability to read musical notes and identify the keys of the piano {the result was 0% correct}) I decided to try some discrimination trials. The student correctly identified several letters over 3 or 4 trials when he was asked to “Point to G”, “Point to F”, etc. At that point we can objectively determine that the current material is appropriate for him and proceed with instruction. It does not mean that the material will not have to be individualized along the way, though. It would be seem to be very understandable for a teacher to determine that, based on this student's challenges, it would be best to incorporate brail, teach the piano 'by ear' or adjust the standard immediately. It would seem to be understandable but it would not be fair to the student.

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