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Inclusion: Consider the Environment

Posted by on in Autism
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Many times parents are eager to place their child in a school environment after their child has gained many skills with intense ABA training, however, these considerations are often without thought given the environmental supports currently in place that contribute to the growth and success of the child. Here are some practical tips for deciding if your child will learn optimally in a school setting.

Consider how dense and rich reinforcement is currently to maintain optimal learning.

Ask yourself these questions. How often does my child need reinforcement to maintain achievement? What motivates my child? Are there natural reinforcers in the classroom or school setting that my child can work for? Will the teacher give him or her access to this?

Consider how often your child would access reinforcement for appropriate behaviors.

Boys painting at schoolHow often do adults working in the environment call out or give positive attention to good behavior? Now count the number of times attention is drawn to inappropriate behavior.

Consider how your child will succeed in the school setting without being isolated and lonely.

Does your child lack skills to interact and grow socially without intrusive interventions? Can your child do the work without constant help from an aide? Is the aide trained to encourage your child to be independent? Does your child's behavior or lack of responding isolate him/her?

If you are eager to transition your child to school, work with us to prepare your child for lean schedules of reinforcement, increased independent skills, self-monitoring and motivational systems. Talk with your BCBA about goals, but understand that environment has a significant impact on behavior. Your child may perform beautifully in a controlled, well structured, reinforcement laden environment now, but would he or she continue that level of performance when the very thing that contributes to success is stripped away? Consider this thought, we all behave well in a positive reinforcement rich setting and often misbehave in order to avoid or escape unpleasant, difficult and punishing people and places. Don't believe it? Take data on your own behavior. Who or what place do you avoid and why? Where do you shine and why?

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Guest Saturday, 19 October 2019