“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.” Paul Bryant
We understand the incredible need for Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) in the field of ABA therapy for children with autism. In fact, there are children on waiting lists to receive therapy at almost every ABA agency.
We urge you to begin working towards your RBT credential and start your career in this amazing field. ATCC now offers multiple programs to meet the needs of each and every learner.
Do you already have experience in the field of ABA and just need the 40-Hour Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) curriculum? Awesome, you can enroll for just $29! Enroll in the ATCC RBT course and get your 40-hour curriculum done easily and quickly.
Are you joining the field for the very first time and need help through the entire RBT credentialing process? Enroll in one of our comprehensive Autism Therapy Programs. These are offered both On-Campus and Online.
Take the 40-hour RBT Curriculum for $29 and build your skills to educate, enrich and inspire the lives of children diagnosed with autism. Or let Autism Therapy Career College lead your though each step of the entire RBT credential in one of our comprehensive Autism Therapy Programs. Either way your are on the path to your rewarding future career!
Imitation: the act of mimicing, copying or using someone as a model for behavior.
From very early in life, babies learn by imitation. It comes naturally to them. A baby imitates the way her mommy reads to her, she picks a book up and flips through the pages, babbling away. A baby imitates the way her daddy sips his coffee, saying ‘ahh’ after pretending to drink from her plastic tea cup. A baby imitates the way her sister picks her nose. She even imitates the dog, as she crawls on all fours to the dog bowl and gives the food a taste. Yes, we’ve all heard it, watch what you say and do around a child, because the child will say and do the same.
On the other hand, this is often times not the case with children with autism. Imitation skills is a deficit for individuals on the Autism Spectrum, which contributes significantly to their difficulty with learning. If your unable to imitate actions of others, you can not readily learn skills such as play, social interaction, language and daily living. Nor can you pick up behavior patterns or be easily prompted to do something correctly.
Imitation is a building block skill, therefore it should be one of the very first skills taught to a child with autism in their Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program, that is if they do not possess ability to imitate already. A method called ‘Imitation Training’ is often used to do this.
1) An RBT demonstrates the behavior they want their client to perform while giving instructions such as “Do this”
2) The client is assisted or prompted to do the same behavior
3) The RBT delivers reinforcment such as a food, toys or activity the child enjoys immediately
Gradually the prompts are faded and the client learns to independently imitate their therapist. It’s important make sure this skill is then worked on with family and peers, so it is may be used in their daily life.
Imitation Training doesn’t have to remain such a dry activity though, there are many fun ways to work on imitation that you’ll remember from childhood. Here’s a few to try out!
Children’s Song: Children with autism often love music, use this to your advantage and teach them to imitate the actions you are doing while singing a song such as ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
Simon Says: This can become a great imitation game if Simon performs each action while giving the verbal direction or if a peer joins in on the fun your client can be prompted to mimic his/her friend.
Follow the Leader: Make a human train, push the child in a wagon or simply hold hands on a tour of their environment. Make frequent stops to perform an action, then have them imitate it. Here are some examples: knock at the door, push in a chair, jump in place, pick a flower, give a parent a high five. The options are endless.
Learn about more ways to educate children with autism. Better yet, become an expert in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Join the growing career field for RBT Autism Therapists. It’s easier than you think, just let Autism Therapy Career College, a quick and inexpensive vocational school, lead the way!
Time to discuss the details of yet another Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) frequently used in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) by Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). It’s called Task Analysis. The name might sound complex, but it is actually a rather simple strategy to understand. What Task Analysis entails, is breaking a skill down into sequentially ordered steps, so they can be taught one step at a time. Think of Task Analysis as creating an instruction manual to complete a task.
In our everyday lives, we complete long strings of behaviors in order to accomplish tasks without giving much thought to it. The act of brushing your teeth alone is comprised of a whopping 22 steps or more! Check it out…
Get your toothbrush.
Turn on the faucet.
Get your toothbrush wet.
Turn off the faucet.
Get the toothpaste.
Take the cap off the toothpaste.
Squeeze the toothpaste on the toothbrush.
Put the cap back on toothpaste.
Brush the inside surfaces of your teeth on top and bottom.
Brush the bitting surfaces of your teeth on top and bottom.
Brush the outside surfaces of your teeth on top and bottom.
Spit in the sink.
Brush your tongue.
Turn on the faucet.
Rinse your toothbrush.
Put the toothbrush away.
Grab a cup.
Fill the cup with water.
Rinse your teeth with water.
Spit the water out.
Put the cup away.
Turn off the faucet.
That’s a lot for an individual with autism to take in all at once. Students with autism learn best when they are given small teachable units of information to process one at a time.
Here are some things to remember when creating a Task Anaysis:
Consistency: Not everyone brushes their teeth in the same way, there is naturally going to be variations to the way a task is completed. The team, consisting of the Behavior Technicians, along with the parents of the child you’re working with, need to agree upon a set procedure for how a task will be performed and write the individual steps down clearly for all to follow.
Tailor-Made: We all have our strengths and weaknesses. When building a task analysis, it is important to consider the skill sets of the child you are working with, this way you know if you need to break steps down into very small sections or if you can group steps together. It will also give you an idea if the skill should be taught starting at the beginning or at the end, and what form of prompting should be used.
Do The Task Yourself: Completing the task yourself while you write your task analysis is very important. You’ll be surprised just how many steps you may leave out unknowingly if you don’t walk through the completion of the steps yourself.
For children with autism, learning does not always come easily, nor
naturally from observing the people and environment around them. DTT works
well for children with autism, and all children really, because it takes
a complex skill and breaks it down into small simplified steps. Each step
is taught until it is mastered in a structured way.
The Discrete Trial Cycle: It has a distinct beginning, middle and ending. The three main components are as follows:
Inter-Trial Interval (ITI) – this is the transition or pause of roughly 1-3 seconds before the start of the next Discrete Trial Cycle.
The first component of DTT, the Sd, is the instruction that
a RBT therapist gives to their student. This can be in the form of words or
actions given that stimulate a behavior to happen. This must be said or
shown clearly, concisely and slightly louder than a normal tone of voice.
It should not involve the student’s name and be too lengthy, especially
with a new student just starting ABA therapy.
The second component, the Response (R), is the behavior of the child that
happens in response to the Sd or instruction given.
The last component is the Feedback/ SR+ given to the child. This is the
consequence that immediately follows the student’s response. If a correct
response is given, the child is given SR+ right away in the form of a food,
praise, a preferred toy or activity, etc. If an incorrect response or no
response is given, the child receives corrective feedback by being
presented with the Sd again and being prompted (P) with the correct answer
immediately prior to the child’s next response.
It is important to deliver a consequence (Feedback/ SR+) after every response so your student becomes aware of which behaviors or responses are correct and incorrect. Giving reinforcement to correct responses will make it likely
the response will occur again. It’s important to vary your reinforcement.
Highest SR+ for correct responses that include eye contact, focus on the
task and good effort will show the student that this is a behavior to
repeat and therefore learn, because great things happen when I display it.
While, correct responses with poor eye contact, focus and
effort still receives SR+, but at moderate to lower levels.
Here are examples of a Discrete Trial Cycle when a student gives a correct
response and incorrect response.
DTT with CORRECT Response Materials: 2D images of a ball and bicycle Sd: “Touch the one you ride on.” R: Child touches the bicycle picture card. SR+: “Right on, way to go!” RBT therapist gives lots of tickles.
DTT with INCORRECT or NO Response Materials: 2D images of a ball and bicycle Sd: “Touch the one you ride on.” R: Child looks away, no picture card is touched. (RBT therapist immediately repeats the Sd and prompts the correct answer) Sd: “Touch the one you ride on.” P: Therapist physically prompts the child’s hand to touch the bicycle card, making sure he is looking at the card. SR+: “That’s right, you ride a bicycle!” (Follow up with an independent trial) Sd: “Touch the one you ride on.” R: Child touches the bicycle picture card SR+: Fabulous! You got it. RBT therapist gives some tickles.
Did you enjoy your introduction to DTT teaching? Learn more about this method of teaching children with autism and much more at Autism Therapy Career College. It the inexpensive vocational school that prepares you for a career you’ll love in just 90 days!
Thanksgiving, a joyous occasion filled with festive foods, loving family and time reflecting on all the things we are grateful for in our lives. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to practice many life skills with individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
Thanksgiving usually brings together family and friends who may not see each other on a regular basis. This opens up an opportunity for an individual with autism to work on conversation exchanges with unfamiliar people. Prior to the big day, it’s a good idea for parents and behavior technicians to practice these skills using conversation scripts, which are pre-written sentences that give the learner the language to use in specific conversations. Details such as making eye contact and responding to greets are also important skills to include.
Critical thinking skills can be challenging for children with autism, so it’s always beneficial to practice them. A Thanksgiving themed critical thinking skill for beginners would be having an individual discuss the things, people and experiences that make them happy and thankful. Adding the question of why they are thankful for these things would take this skill a step further, and jotting down a list and categorizing them in order of importance could be an advanced level skill to teach.
Formal dining arrangements allow for students with autism to work on daily living skills such as setting the table, eating with a fork and placing a napkin in their lap while eating. It is also a good time for ABA therapists to work with their clients on manners such as saying, “please pass the gravy” and “pardon my reach.” Targets such as ‘setting the table’ can be taught using task analysis which involves breaking the skill down into individual steps. Then chaining can be used to teach each step, one at a time in sequencial order. For manners, the use of video modeling in which the child watches a video of themselves or others using good manners, would be a beneficial tool.
It’s also important to make accommodations and modify the environment so that individuals with autism are able to partake in festivities with as little stress as possible. An experienced Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) will be able to come up with suggestions of exactly how to do this.
What To Expect
Children with autism love predictability. If they are informed with what expect on Thanksgiving Day, their level of anxiety will be low and they will be better able to navigate through their environment. A social narrative that describes what a typical Thanksgiving Day at Auntie Betsy’s house looks like and explains appropriate ways to behave should be read many times prior to the event. This is an evidence based practice(EBP) that will allow a child to gain a sense of familiarity in preparation for the day to arrive.
Designating a quiet room or even an outdoor space where a child with autism can take a break from all the loud music and boisterous company many Thanksgiving events brings will also help to ease a child with anxiety or sensory sensitivities. A feeling of being overwhelmed can often times lead to extreme meltdowns, so it’s best to be proactive and take breaks at fixed intervals so everyone enjoys their Turkey Day!
Join in the fun with a rewarding career in the field of Autism Therapy. So many children need your help to achieve their goals. Autism Therapy Career College will get you started as an Autism Therapist fast with our low-cost online technical school. Get started obtaining your Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) credential today!
“Seeing is a gift that I share. Because I’m blind, I see people with my heart for who they truly are instead of what they look like on the outside”
Faced with so many challenges at birth, its hard to believe just how far Christopher Duffley has come. Christopher was born very prematurely with a host of medical conditions due to maternal cocaine and oxycontin use. In addition, he has been blind since birth and was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. Soon after leaving the hospital as an infant, Christopher was placed in foster care. It was not until he was adopted by his Aunt Christine at the age of two, that his life began to turn around and the gifts he shares with the world began to be revealed.
From the first day Christopher was brought home by his Aunt Christine, she recognized that he had a profound love and talent for music. In preschool, when he formally received his autism diagnosis, Christopher’s Aunt sought out Music Therapy for him. With Music Therapy, Christopher thrived. He went from having very limited language to developing an advanced vocabulary, ability to comprehend, and communicate with the world around him. He was found to have the rare auditory phenomenon of perfect pitch which allows him to re-create a music note without referencing the tone. In 4th grade his music teacher taught him the National Anthem. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is his first public performance, which he sang for his elementary school.
He went on to sing the National Anthem many more times for even bigger audiences, including at Red Sox games at Fenway Park. One of his most notable performances was of “Open the Eyes of My Heart” with a large choir at 10 years old. This video of the performance goes viral, racking in 5 million views the first month and more than 22 million views a week by the second month.
Christopher Duffley, now 16 years old, is an exceptional singer and runs his own podcast titled ‘Mission Possible’ in which he does his own editing and engineering for. Christopher says, guests on his show are all “people who have a mission.” His own ultimate mission is be an advocate for others, helping as many people as he can to rise above their struggles and find their purpose in life.
To understand ABI, you must first understand what an antecendent is. When a Behavior Analyst wants to bring about positive changes to a behavior, they must first ‘analyze the behavior’. In order to do this, they use the basic model of ABC:
Antecedent – what happens immediately before a behavior occurs.
Behavior – the observable behavior or response of the child.
Consequence – the event following the behavior which may increase or decrease the future occurrence of the behavior.
For example, Sammy has a hard time with brushing her hair during her morning routine. When asked by her RBT therapist to brush her hair (antecedent), Sammy verbally protests ‘no’ (behavior), her RBT therapist then prompts her through brushing her hair hand over hand (consequence).
Now that you know the role an antecedent plays in the making of a behavior, it will be easier to understand what ABI looks like. ABI are a collection of proactive strategies that modify the environment or change components of a setting that generates a maladaptive behavior. Your goal in ABI is to identify what is triggering a behavior, then change your approach to prevent the anticipated behavior from happening. ABI can assist a child with autism in feeling prepared and in control.
Here are three ABI strategies that could be used in the example above to decrease the likelihood of Sammy’s verbal protest behavior occurring.
Visual Cues: Sammy’s RBT therapist could provide Sammy with visual support in the form of a list which shows her all the morning routine tasks to complete and lets her know when ‘brushing hair’ will occur. Sammy would review this list with her RBT therapist prior to starting her morning routine. Visual supports help children with autism reduce anxiety by letting them know what to expect and when to expect it.
Offer Choices: Sammy’s RBT therapist could also provide choices for when to complete ‘brushing hair’ by saying,“Would you like to brush your hair before or after you eat breakfast?” Offering children with autism choices and respecting their chosen choice helps them feel a sense of control in their lives.
Change the Difficulty of the Task: Maybe Sammy’s verbal protest behavior is happening because she finds ‘brushing hair’ too difficult or possibly painful. Using a detangler in her hair prior to brushing it could make her hair easier to brush and be a simple fix to the problem.
Find out more about Antecendent-Based Interventions and become an expert in Applied Behavior Analysis. Join the growing career field for RBT Autism Therapists. It’s easier than you think, just let Autism Therapy Career College, a quick vocational school, lead the way!
A night when rules are thrown out the window. Kids get to stay up late, dress in scary costumes, and gobble down candy they got from strangers’ houses. Sounds like tons of fun for most, though for kids on the Autism Spectrum, Halloween can sometimes be confusing, frightful and lead to a sensory overloaded. Here are some tips to help make Halloween night an enjoyable one for children with Autism.
Dressing Up in Costumes
As exciting as it may be for most people to dress up and pretend to be whomever they choose on Halloween, costume wearing doesn’t always appeal to children with autism. Whether it’s because the costume is scratchy or hot, making it a sensory issue or because they simply don’t understand why they need to dress up differently then they usually do, here are some solutions. For a child facing sensory overload when putting on a costume, practice having the child wear his costume for a week in advance, to get comfortable with it. If this doesn’t seem to be working, there’s always the alternative of having him wear a simple Halloween themed t-shirt or silly hat instead. For the individual who simply doesn’t understand the need to dress different from all other days of the year, share this with your ABA Technician and seek out their guidance, your child may benefit from reading or listening to a Social Narratives that outline what Halloween is and why costumes are worn, prior to the big day.
Trick or Treating
What?! Walk up to scary looking houses and knock on a stranger’s door…no way! The thought of this act alone could cause an individual with anxiety to shoot through the roof, as many children with ASD tend to be fearful in new social setting. The use of Social Narratives or Video Modeling that describe and display the steps involved in Trick or Treating, can significately ease tension. Another way to prepare a child with autism for Trick or Treating is to role play it with them ahead of time either at their own front door or a willing neighbor’s door. To help the night of Halloween run smoothly, bring earplugs for the kiddos who are sensative to sounds, skip the elaborately decorated haunted houses and set limits. If a child is pushed to the point of sensory overload, a tantrum may be looming and this will only decrease the likelihood he will want to participate in future Halloweens.
Let’s start off by talking a little about what Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) are. EBPs have become the standard for professionals in various fields of study including medicine, healthcare, psychology and education. These fields have embraced EBP procedures in a nationwide effort to provide better quality services to the people they serve. The distinct features of EBPs include: the best scientific evidence, professional expertise, and an understanding of client characteristics. Combining these three features in the decision making process for clients produces an opportunity for the greatest possible clinical outcome and quality of life.
Evidence Based Practices Application to ABA
Scientific Evidence: Scientific evidence is empirical evidence that is interpreted according to scientific methods.This is the foundation of EBP and how ABA Therapists make decisions with regard to which interventions to use with their clients.
Professional Expertise: EBPs are informed by experts in the field. Their knowledge of EBPs guide how they interpret and apply EBP interventions.
Understanding the Client: In order for EBPs to be effective, the individual with Autism’s strengths, weaknesses, values and preferences must be taken into consideration. The concerns of the individual’s support network, such as their family and community must also be upheld.
ABA Therapy uses only Evidence Based Practices
The United States is experiencing a massive increase in children diagnosed with Autism. One out of every 68 babies born today in America will develop Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is crucial that the therapeutic interventions for these children be EBPs that will yield result that contribute to improvements in learning, independence, daily living skills and overall betterment of their lives.
The following are 27 interventions used in ABA Therapy that have been proven to be effective EBPs for children diagnosed with autism.
Antecedent-based Intervention (ABI)
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI)
Computer Aided Instruction (CAI)
Differential Reinforcement (DR)
Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
Functional Communication Training (FCT)
Naturalistic Intervention (NI)
Parent-implemented Intervention (PII)
Peer-mediated Instruction and Intervention (PMII)
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
Response Interruption/Redirection (RIR)
Social Narratives (SN)
Social Skills Training (SST)
Speech Generating Devices (SGD)
Task Analysis (TA)
Time Delay (TD)
Video Modeling (VM)
Visual Support (VS)
Stay tuned for details on all these remarkable interventions for children with autism, or get a head start and begin learning about many of these teaching techniques when you start your career as an RBT Autism Therapist with Autism Therapy Career College. Its a quick and affordable vocational school where you can become a Registered Behavior Technician in 90 days!