What should I do with my child?
Teach DON'T Test. Alway teach your child. If your child did not answer you once, twice then provide him with the correct answer the third time. You do not want the child to guess and make errors, when you teach you ensure errorless learning and you reduce frustration.
Does my child need to receive 40 hrs/week as per Lovaas program ? How intensive is intensive?
During most or all of his/her waking hours, teaching is what parenting is all about and a parent is the child’s first and best teacher. This is specifically true for children with autism because they need explicit instructions to learn and we cannot assume that they will pick the skills independently therefore we have to teach them.
HOWEVER, you do not need to panic as this does not mean that you have to hire a therapist 24 hours a day and work with your child in a clinical setting or at a table 100 hours per week. It means that you will need to familiarize yourself with the principles of ABA and Verbal Behavior (VB) then build on all teaching/learning opportunities throughout the day, this includes, a trip to the grocery store, bath-time, or meal time.
This specific type of teaching is called Natural Environment Teaching (NET) that is a contrived and planned to teach different skills. You will need to incorporate NET and Intensive Trial Teaching (ITT) in the child’s program (Barbara, M.L., 2007).
A strong behavioral program includes the elements of best practice taken from current research in the area of applied behavior analysis. Dr Lovaas studied a group of 59 children with autism (1987) to examine the best ways for the children to learn. The result of the study showed that 19 children who received 40 hours per week of 1:1 ABA therapy achieved the best outcomes and maintained these outcomes after six years. This study was the first of its kind to provide hope and direction to parents and professionals. The Lovaas program requires that a discrete trial teaching approach, the Lovaas curriculum be followed and the teaching is intensive- ideally 40 hours per week. The intensity of the program is what causes the most debate (Lovaas, I, 1987). It is not only a matter of hours, other factors that are as important as numbers of hours are; how many teaching/learning opportunities presented in the time available? How reinforcing is the teacher/instructor? How motivated is the child? Are the right skills being targeted? (Anderson, M., 2007)
My son only likes iPad?
Observe your child, test new toys, activities, games, or ask the teacher. If it is still difficult to identify reinforcers, then show the child what they can do with the toy, sometimes the child does not know what to do with what we offer them and teaching them what to do can build their reinforcers repertoire.
For more ideas on reinforcers, please see our facebook page Functional Learning Centre Inc. at https://www.facebook.com/functionallearning.ca
Should I place my child on a special diet?
This is a family decision, some families reported that they observed progress and others reported that they did not observe any changes following the diet. To learn more about Autism and Diet, visit http://btvc.webfactional.com/p/about-the-diet/ or