Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science-based methodology. The “tools” presented in this blog sustain using reinforcement procedures. Parents can incorporate these skills into daily life activities.
- The schedule
We all use schedules! Activities that are important for parents maybe not be important to a child. Additionally, children’s abilities to manage time are not completely developed. Hence, it is a good idea to supplement their proper behavior with a visual aid. A visual schedule will assist your child in moving from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity, reducing the chance for aberrant behaviors. For example, if your child has a hard time completing homework or a task, the visual schedule will include the number of minutes or exercises to be completed before moving to playing video games for 10 minutes. You can involve your child in the arrangement of the activities and the “moving” to another activity requirement. Initially, will introduce the schedule with more fun activities than no fun activities, gradually introduced more non-fun activities.
- Is timer time!
In order to assist the child’s ability to move from the fun activity to the non-fun activity without display of aberrant behaviors, bring out of your toolbox the timer. The timer can be anything that signals the end of an activity. You can verbally state “you have another minute,” later you can count down from 10, 9, 8, observing the child’s reaction and providing more time during the countdown if necessary. It is important to allow the child to make a good decision. After the end of the countdown, if the video game needs to be paused, first give the opportunity for the child to complete the action before you take action. The timer gives your child the opportunity to prepare emotionally for the transition.
- Social Story Telling
If you are introducing prosocial behavior a good positive story can aid the process. A social story is catered for your child with his/her favorite characters with visual and auditory prompts. Use the moment to display what is expected from the child, the steps of the process, etc.
- Nutritional at its best
A rich environment will promote exploration and proper development. It is important to take into consideration the idiosyncrasies of your child before deciding what to bring into his environment. A rich environment does not mean lots of toys and colorful rooms, etc. Sometimes contact with a loving adult is what the child prefers, and it will make the difference when the child approaches social stimuli in other settings. Another important component when making decisions regarding what to add to your child’s environment is the idea of social interaction. For the most part, best practice will promote a toy or an activity that requires some sort of social interaction. Re-arrange your home so the child does not have free access to all the enjoyment but needs you. That places you in control of the environment. Imagine your child coming and asking for a preferred toy then you can say: “Of course, first clean up your room then 30 minutes with my iPad.”
- Choices make it better.
Limiting choices when moving throughout the day will help with compliance without the display of aberrant behavior. If you are going to provide a choice, it should be for the child to gain something not to lose something (e.g., you prefer to eat dinner or go to bed?). Choice makes eating dinner better, a great example: (gain child’s attention) do you want to eat one cookie or one scoop of ice cream after you eat your dinner?
There are many more tools you can use so if you need more information just reach out to TEAM 4 Kids’ ABA department. Give us a call at 1-800-376-3440. We also have a YouTube video titled Therapy Tip of the Week – ABA Parent’s Toolbox where we discuss these tools!
Rodrigo Mendoza M.Ed., BCBA