Teaching Methods

Teaching Methods at Harmony Autism Therapy

ABA therapy involves breaking down skills to their smallest manageable units and expanded into more meaningful and complex units.
Procedures such as reinforcement, extinction, shaping, prompting, fading, chaining, discrimination, generalization etc. are used to teach a variety of skills.

We follow a Verbal Behavior approach to teaching language skills

  • Similar to a typical child’s language acquisition, first words taught are related to motivations in the child’s environment. We identify your child’s individual motivators.

We rely heavily on positive reinforcement and always consider the child’s motivation

  • Resistance to learning is significantly minimized when motivation of the learner is considered. With a motivated learner, skills are taught without many negative/task-avoidant behaviors impeding learning.
  • A learner who is not enjoying the learning process is not blamed or made to comply through direct interventions. Instead the teacher uses the student’s motivation to establish instructional control.

We use Errorless Teaching, therefore Errorless Learning!

  • Increases the number of trials that can completed, therefore increasing the number of opportunities to learn. Keeps success rates high, making reinforcement available at higher rates, duration, etc.
  • Uses most-to-least prompting- increasing the number of correct trials therefore, decreases the number of trials needed to acquire the skill

We “mix ‘n vary” tasks

  • Responses are mixed across skill domains and varied across response forms.This aids in maintaining a child’s attention. With the environment changing and unpredictable, attention is maintained for longer amounts of time
  • This also helps to closer replicate natural language, making generalization embedded within teaching sequences.
  • A speaker and listener in the natural environment will cross various operants throughout a conversation.
  • For example, a listener is not exposed to a speaker asking to receptively identify 10 objects in a row during a conversation, but instead is asked various types of questions evoking different responses are components of all conversational skills.

We teach in the natural environment

  • Natural Environment Training (NET) makes up 80% (sometimes more) of all teaching during the initial stages of the program.
  • Encourages generalization into the natural environment without the need for extensive and exhaustive generalization training at a later time.
  • Increases the number of opportunities for trials with family members and caretakers- supporting further generalization.

We use a natural pace of instruction

  • Keeps stimulus presentation at a rate that supports generalization since it closely resembles the rate of stimuli presentations found in the natural environment
  • Keeps the opportunity to demonstrate inappropriate/negative behaviors to a minimum

We rely on data rather than subjective opinion on progress

  • Provides information to make sound, educational decisions relative to task acquisition

Skills We Teach

  • Receptive language
  • Expressive language
  • Mands, Tacts, Intraverbals, etc.-read more
  • Social skills
  • Motor imitation
  • Self-help skills

In a 1999 report, the United States Surgeon General concluded, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior.”