Methodologies

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

"Applied behavior analysis is the science in which procedures derived from the principles of behavior are systematically applied to improve socially significant behavior to a meaningful degree and to demonstrate experimentally that the procedures employed were responsible for the improvement in behavior." - Cooper, 1986

Research has documented that ABA is an effective method for teaching and increasing a wide variety of valuable skills and reducing problem behavior for individuals with autism and related disorders.

ACES is committed to providing quality ABA services to help improve the lives of children and their families. The systematic method for assessment and intervention allows ACES staff to identify “why” a child engages in maladaptive behaviors and develop the most successful strategies to teach new skills. With the use of behavior plans and consultation/training, parents and other professional are taught how to utilize ABA principles so that a child and individuals in their life can be successful across environments.

Discrete Trial Training

Discrete Trial Training (DTT) is a specific method of teaching based on the principles of ABA. DTT breaks down skills into discrete steps and provides multiple opportunities to practice each skill. Through the use of prompting and reinforcement, children learn individual skills and then the ability to combine these skills into more complex repertoires. Research has proven that DTT is an effective method in teaching various skills to children with autism and related disorders.

PECS

Children with autism and related disorders often have delays in their ability to communicate and develop expressive language. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) offers an alternative means of communication through the use of visuals. Parents and children are taught in stages how to initiate requests and develop more complex language. PECS is often used with children that have a limited vocal repertoire and helps children increase interest in initiating communication and develop the means to communicate with others.

Visual Strategies

Research has shown that children with autism have difficulty processing auditory information. In a world that communicates so much information verbally, it is important to utilize the strengths of the children we work with. ACES utilizes visual strategies to promote a child’s understanding and success in addition to reducing frustration when teaching new skills and addressing behavioral excesses.

Pivotal Response Training

Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a behavioral intervention based on the principles of ABA. By focusing on the two pivotal behaviors such as motivation and responsivity through PRT, we are able to address a larger range of behaviors affecting communication, play, and social skills. PRT is a child directed, naturalistic approach, allowing ACES staff and parents to effectively teach to children in a comfortable, less structured format.

Social Skills Training

For children and adults with autism and related disorders, social interaction is often a challenge. ACES utilizes a social skills curriculum that is based on typical development. This curriculum includes social skills such as joint attention (e.g. referencing others to share enjoyment, pointing to show others something of interest), play skills (e.g. turn taking, pretend play), conversation (e.g. initiating and responding) and understanding social rules (e.g. how to be a good sport). The implementation of this curriculum utilizes ABA methods in the clinic, home, school and community settings. Skills are initially taught in a 1:1 setting and are generalized to peer dyads and eventually social skills groups.