Speech and Language Development

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Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Play

Date: May 1, 2014 Author: Michele Dickson Categories: Speech and Language Development 0


I have enjoyed sharing my experiences working with children with Autism and their families. My last blog for this month is geared towards ABA and play.

What is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)?

It is a form of teaching that is used with children with Autism. It is a type of therapy that uses a system of rewards and consequences to teach new skills and replace undesirable behaviors with desirable behaviors (autismspeaks.org).

The last 14 years of my career I have used ABA when working with children on the spectrum. I have worked with some wonderful ABA therapists and incorporated ABA into my speech sessions. Over the last few years I have started using a modified ABA approach during my sessions. Kids learn thru play which was my first blog.

Using Play with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)

gabbingSo why do many people feel that play is not important with children on the spectrum. I think there are many misconceptions that children with Autism don’t play or can’t understand pretend play. So ABA programs don’t emphasize play and work on more concrete skills such as; eye contact, gross motor imitation and identifying body parts.

I have spoken to colleagues about play not being something that can be put into program but needs to be done in a natural environment. Now I agree that ABA is important and a child needs those concrete skills, but play is just as important.

Children get stuck on behavioral teaching and start to mimic things they hear in therapy. This is because its familiar to them and they say what they hear but don’t learn to use in real situations. A child I am seeing told me “that’s delicious” because we were playing with kitchen. These are steps and every child is different so based on child’s level play skills can be modified.

It has been a great month blogging about Autism. Next month is Better Speech and hearing month.

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