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What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized by impairments of the ability to form normal social relationships, the ability to communicate with others and the engagement of abnormal behavior. Autism has a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism. Autism occurs four times more often in boys than in girls.


Children and adults with autism tend to have problems in three specific areas: communication skills, social skills and restrictive and/or repetitive behaviors. Communication skills, such as spoken language may be delayed or lacking. A child with autism may also have a deficit in social skills, such as limited eye contact, little or no interest in peer relationships and the lack of make-believe play. Restrictive and/or repetitive behaviors for those affected by autism may include repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (i.e., hand-flapping, spinning in circles or twirling objects), or fixation on parts of objects (i.e., wheels on a car or fascination with ceiling fans).


Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved lives.

What is Autism
ABA therapy

What is ABA Therapy?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science of human behavior founded by B.F. Skinner over 70 years ago.  The field of ABA uses a variety of techniques to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease interfering behaviors. ABA has been successful with many learners of all ages, with and without disabilities, and has been recognized as a safe treatment.


An ABA program is a systematic teaching approach that involves breaking skills down into small, easy-to-learn steps. Praise or other rewards are used to motivate the child, multiple opportunities are provided to practice each skill and progress is continuously measured to challenge the child. ABA programs are specifically developed and designed to meet the developmental needs of each child.


ABA is used to support persons with autism in at least six ways:


  • to increase desired behaviors such as appropriate social interactions or on-task behavior

  • to teach new skills such as communication, social skills or functional life skills

  • to maintain behaviors such as teaching self-control or self-monitoring

  • to generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation to another such as completing assignments in a resource room and then performing the same task in a mainstreamed classroom

  • to limit conditions under which interfering behaviors occur by modifying the learning environment, and

  • to reduce interfering behaviors such as screaming or self-injurious behaviors.


 An ABA program involves: 


  • Breaking down skills to their smallest manageable units and eventually expanding into more meaningful and complex units.

  • Using procedures such as reinforcement, extinction, shaping, prompting, fading, chaining.

  • Skills taught may include: mands, tacts, intraverbals, receptive language, social skills, matching programs, motor imitation, play skills, or self care skills.


Why ABA?


ABA is the most widely used intervention to treat children with autism. Today, there are thousands of published research studies documenting the effectiveness of ABA and validating this treatment. ABA focuses on treating behavioral difficulties and producing socially significant improvement in human behavior.

ABA Therapy

What is VB Therapy?

Verbal Behavior (VB) is a methodology based upon behavioral principles that relies on an intensive teaching setting and a rapid secession of tasks. In order to reinforce correct answers and decrease frustration, the verbal behavior methodology uses a combination of easy and hard demands (80% easy and 20% hard). This specific method allows the therapist to challenge the child in areas of weakness while decreasing frustration by allowing the child to respond to simple tasks.


Verbal Behavior uses a systematic approach that moves away from the traditional ABA method. For example, verbal behavior does not require a specific number of trials before decreasing prompts and encourages the therapist to probe the skill level of the child by fading prompt levels as quickly as possible. This method allows for a fast paced learning environment and quicker success. This also allows the child to be more flexible and less rote because of the variety of topics being addressed.


The Components of an ABA program with an Emphasis in Verbal Behavior include:


  • VB focuses on mand-training (requesting needs/wants) to increase learning language


  • VB relies heavily on positive reinforcement


  • VB uses errorless learning to increase success rates and to make reinforcement available at higher rates


  • VB mixes and varies tasks


  • VB teaches mostly in the natural environment with the focus of generalization


  • VB typically uses a quicker and more natural pace to support generalization and minimize negative behaviors


  • VB relies on probe data rather than recording every response to increase teaching time

VB Therapy
VB Therapy
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