Last updated 4 days ago
The nature of autism spectrum disorders often makes it difficult for children to communicate with others or comprehend basic social cues. Verbal operants are different phrases which are used to reinforce significant social behaviors through individualized instruction. Explained below are a few examples of basic operants and how they are used in verbal behavior training.
Mand operants teach children how to directly request a certain item. For example, a child may start with simple two-word phrases such as “more water.” Tact operants teach children how to name and label certain objects or feelings in order to communicate their thoughts more clearly. For example, a child may point to a dog and say, “dog” out loud. Intraverbal operants involve answering questions and reciprocating conversation. When a parent asks, “What would you like to eat for lunch?” the child may respond with their food of preference. Echoic operants simply involve repetition of certain words or phrases. An instructor may hold up a pen and ask the child to repeat the word “pen.”
We here at STAR of California understand that children with autism require individualized care, and that’s why we’ve committed ourselves to providing psychological and ABA services to families throughout the Bay Area since 2006. To request more information about our programs and methodologies, visit us online or call (805) 804-5671 today.
Last updated 12 days ago
Pivotal response therapy (PRT) is one of the best studied and validated behavioral treatments for autism intervention. Rather than focusing on individual behaviors, PRT is designed to identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses and facilitate positive social behaviors and pivotal social skills, such as making choices, responding to social cues, and initiating social interaction. Below is a brief overview of PRT at STAR of California:
Child Chooses Object of Instruction or Play
In PRT, the child is traditionally presented with the opportunity to choose his or her own means of instruction or play. Providing a choice between various tasks motivates the child to engage with the lessons. By incorporating simple tasks with more complex problems, PRT helps the child develop a sense of accomplishment, which is then supported with positive reinforcement and rewards.
Therapist Helps to Develop Self-Management Skills
Positive reinforcement is crucial for pivotal development, but many adolescents with autism spectrum disorders remain dependent on others for long-term care. Depending on a child’s individual needs, instructors may develop specialized approaches to encourage self-management and increase independence. For example, instructors may ask the child how he or she did on an activity before providing feedback.
Therapist Provides Multiple Examples
Responding to multiple cues is one of the biggest advantages of PRT for children with autism. Traditional behavioral treatment in a classroom typically involves repetition in an isolated setting, but a classroom setting is significantly different from what a child may encounter in real life. A PRT instructor will provide different activities in the context of everyday life to help address common issues with autism.
STAR of California provides personalized behavioral and psychological services for families struggling with autism throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties. Our team of specialists uses the latest evidence-based methodologies to help children with autism develop valuable social skills. To get more information about our programs, contact us online or call (805) 804-5671 today.
Last updated 18 days ago
Autism spectrum disorders affect individuals differently and in varying degrees. Although children do not “outgrow” autism, researchers have found that early diagnosis and intervention can significantly contribute to improved treatment. Below is a brief look at some common challenges of raising a child with autism:
Delayed Speech or Physical Responses
Symptoms of autism can manifest themselves at a very early age, before the child even develops basic language skills or vocabulary. Children with autism may not express basic wants or needs through physical gestures or requests, and parents may be forced to play a constant guessing game. This can cause stress for both parties—the parents may be frustrated by not being able to tell what their child wants, and the child may become upset when he or she is not able to express him or herself. In serious cases, this may lead to aggression or self-injurious behavior.
Lack of Interest in Peer Relationships
Because of the nature of autism, a child may have difficulties forming a satisfying relationship with members of the family. Children with autism may have difficulties reading social cues or understanding socially unacceptable behavior, which can lead to embarrassing situations such as the child grabbing food off of a stranger’s plate. This can lead to some hesitation about bringing the child out with the family to public locations.
Fixation on Objects or Patterns
Some children with autism may develop fixations on certain patterns or objects, such as taking the same path to school every day, eating the same types of foods, or having the same clothes on hand all of the time. Coping with these needs and discouraging maladaptive behaviors over a long period of time can be extremely difficult for parents.
STAR of California understands the difficulties that raising a child with autism can pose for the entire family. We offer a wide range of evidenced-based treatment options and parental support groups throughout Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Connect with us online for more family resources or contact us at (805) 804-5671 with any questions or comments.
Last updated 24 days ago
Medical specialists are always on the lookout for potential symptoms of autism, but new research reveals that neurological changes may appear long before symptoms develop. This news clip provides more details.
Researchers recently completed a study using specialized MRI scans on a sample group of 92 children, 28 of whom were later diagnosed with autism. The scans revealed significant neurological differences in the brains of those who did develop autism compared to those who did not.
STAR of California provides a wide range of treatment options for autism using the latest medical studies. Our specialists understand that every child diagnosed with ASD has unique needs, and we provide personalized instruction to children with autism throughout central California. To learn more about our services, send us an online message or call (805) 804-5671 today.
Last updated 1 month ago
Discrete trial training methodology, or DTT, is a form of autism therapy that falls under the broader umbrella of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is based on the theory of behaviorism. According to behaviorism, each behavior has three parts: the antecedent, the behavior, and the consequence. ABA is applied to autism spectrum disorder management by controlling consequences and linking both good and bad consequences to actions. DTT is a form of ABA that has shown success in children with autism. Is it the right method for your child? Here are the facts to consider.
DTT is usually performed by a therapist working one-on-one with the child. The therapist will take whatever task he or she hopes to accomplish with the child and break it down into very small and very achievable steps. By breaking down the task into the small steps, the therapist is able to draw out the risk/reward consequences of different behaviors.
ABCs of DTT
DTT adheres to the ABA notion that behavior has three parts. With the task broken down into small steps, the therapist can use these three parts to encourage progress. The therapist begins with the antecedent, or the request that the child with autism perform a specific task. Next comes the behavior from the child. The response to the antecedent could be successful completion, no response, or non-compliance. Last is the consequence. With DTT, successful completion is rewarded and other behaviors are ignored. Rewarding success makes the child with autism want to succeed again and again by responding positively to antecedents.
STAR of California employs ABA theory in our work with children with autism. We only use researched, tested, and proven methodologies when we work with children with autism and their families. To learn how we can help your entire family evolve and help your child with autism achieve progress, call us now at (805) 804-5671.