Being a functional member of society obliges us to act in a socially acceptable manner by integrating ourselves into the community. However, various developmental disorders prevent individuals from doing so by profoundly affecting their behavior. One of the most common developmental illnesses in modern society is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Millions of children around the world are growing up with social and communicational delays. Although the severity can vary at times, these social and communication delays prevent these children from integrating into society. They can find normal stimuli. Additionally, they may also find it difficult to bond and maintain healthy relationships.
However, the good news is that behavior specialists and psychologists strive to create individuals who function better and who can play a role in society. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has become perhaps the most widely used therapeutic intervention for autism. The strategy has proven to be effective in thousands of cases and is now the number one technique used for autism. It is a technique that attempts to reinforce positive behaviors in children to help them gradually adjust to society. Treatment often begins at a young age for children with a high autism spectrum.
If you want to learn more about ABA and the teaching strategies used, read on.
1. Positive and negative reinforcement
Reinforcement of any kind is a great way to teach your children. However, it can be somewhat detrimental when dealing with an ASD.
- Positive reinforcement is often helpful in rewarding good behavior. So praising, patting on the back, or giving kids candy can be a perfect example of positive reinforcement. This encourages the child to repeat the behavior because he associates positive results with that behavior.
- Negative reinforcement is pretty much the opposite of positive reinforcement. However, you punish the child or remove positive stimuli in the environment to learn his lesson.
Effective use of braces is easier said than done, hence the need for an experienced practitioner. Experienced practitioners can understand an individual’s behavior from different perspectives to develop a tailored approach every time. A master’s degree in ABA enables you to learn from the best in the field and to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities overcome their problems. Suppose you are looking to enter this field. In that case, you can effectively complete your Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis online and start teaching these kids how to cope.
2. Visual stimuli and modeling
Visuals and various multimedia have a positive effect on children with ASD. Therefore, most classes with special needs are equipped with suitable projectors / computers to help teach children.
In addition to visual aids, showing videos and pictures could help the child better understand social behavior. Children are incredibly sensitive to modeling. Therefore, showing them photos and videos can encourage them to repeat positive behaviors they are exposed to on screen.
Once students associate positivity with an on-screen character, they are very likely to repeat the behavior. Hence the reason why so many children imitate superheroes when they are young.
3. Integrate social learning
The ABA suggests that students can learn a lot from each other. Peers are one of the main agents of socialization in children. Therefore, if you want children to learn positive traits and learn how to function better in social and professional fields, consider exposing them to other children.
Exposure to normally functioning or high performing children with autism could teach them a thing or two about social behavior. Like the previous point on modeling, children can learn tricks they think have a positive image.
Children with autism learn to function better in terms of communication and social interaction, but social interaction is important. Stigma has surrounded these children for too long, and making new friends has been a rather difficult task. Spending time with other children and making new friends can go a long way in managing ASD.
4. Error-free learning
This is one of the most commonly used examples of ABA principles in the classroom. The teachers would give the children different tasks / questions and then encourage the correct answer. Therefore, children are less likely to make mistakes and learn more about the subject in the process.
For example, a teacher might ask seemingly simple questions such as “What words begin with the letter A?” “. If the child does not answer or does not know the answer, the teacher can ask the child. “Does an apple start with an A?” Could be an incentive to lead the child in the right direction to provide the correct answer.
It helps children learn new things without the pressure of giving right or wrong answers. Once the child is on the right track and begins to respond correctly, the teacher can remove the clues and encourage independent responses.
5. Symbolic economy
Symbolic economy is a behavior modification strategy that is useful for both adults and children. It is also beneficial in the treatment of drug addiction clients who are in rehabilitation. However, it has also been shown to be effective in children with ASD.
The technique proposes that children do good deeds / tasks and are rewarded for their behavior with tokens. The teacher gives the children these tokens, which they can exchange for something of value. For example, by exchanging ten tokens, children can get a box of juice — five tokens for a candy bar, and so on.
In this way, children learn which behaviors are appreciated and how to implement them. It’s quite similar to positive reinforcement, but kids can choose their rewards from a token economy.
A specialized class is considerably more difficult than a regular class. Not only must the teacher be educated in the relevant field, but he must also have angelic patience in dealing with children.
The above technique and seriously helps to make teaching autistic children easier and also helps them to cope. Practice the ones that you think are most effective and watch the children grow up. It is a rewarding experience to see.