Child Autism Programmes use behaviour analysis (sometimes known as ABA) to support you and a team of tutors to provide a programme for your child. This programme usually starts in the child’s home before transitioning into nursery or school. According to extensive research, behaviour analysis is the most effective approach for children with autism. Find out here about how behaviour analysis programmes are funded.
Behaviour analysis programmes provide intensive teaching for children. Typically this will initially take place in the child’s home before gradually extending into the nursery or school.
Behaviour analysis programmes for children with autism have two main components:
- Building skills: building on the child’s strengths with emphasis on communication, social interaction and play skills.
- Behaviour management: replacing inappropriate behaviours with alternatives that serve the same function for the child. For example, if the child has tantrums to get his/her needs met, teaching the child how to request would be a more appropriate replacement behaviour. Behaviours are prioritised according to how much they hinder learning or affect the child’s quality of life.
Behaviour analysis programmes typically have the following key characteristics:
- Strategies based on behaviour analysis (with regular workshops from trained clinical staff)
- One-to-one instruction (from a team of tutors)
- Intensity (approximately 30-35 hours per week)
- Early intervention (Principles of behaviour analysis can be effectively applied to any age group but ‘behaviour analysis programmes’ usually refers to EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention). Most of the research is with children who started programmes between 2 and 7 years old)
- Family involvement (programmes work best when families are involved)
The Child Autism UK Model uses behaviour analysis techniques within the following framework:
The 3 key aspects of Child Autism UK programmes
1. An individualised approach: Child Autism UK case managers have a wide range of strategies at their disposal, used according to the needs of the child. These include discrete trial training, a variety of communication strategies, visual support strategies, verbal behaviour approaches (language development based on the work of Skinner), teaching to fluency, errorless learning. Some children respond well to more structured teaching and others to more incidental teaching. Most children require a balance to help them initiate and respond to their full potential across all environments.
2. Flexibility: Case managers assess the individual needs of each child and make recommendations of programming and intensity according to these needs. Child Autism UK believes that interventions should be based on scientific principles and ultimately decisions should be data driven.
3. Staff quality: Our team of case managers are overseen by clinical managers who are BCBA (Board Certified Behaviour Analysts). They receive external and in-house training on the latest developments in the field. Between us, the staff have well over 50 years combined experience and so the support network within the staff team is invaluable. All of our case managers have extensive experience in the field and have seen many children all the way through their programmes. They are therefore quickly able to tailor teaching styles to the specific strengths of the child and are able to problem solve to overcome any specific obstacles to progress.
Other aspects of Child Autism UK programmes
Positive approach: Motivation and positive relationships are key. Children learn best when they are having fun and this is always a priority.
Teaching naturally: Emphasis is on teaching as naturally as possible across all environments. This results in rapid generalisation of skills to new situations and ensures the child experiences maximum success.
Family orientated: Case managers work with parents, siblings and extended family members to include them as fully as possible.
Comprehensive curriculum: Our curriculum covers all aspects of the child’s life with particular emphasis on communication, language, play and social skills. We use the VB-Mapp as a basis with additional individual programmes according to need. Our programmes lead into or include National Curriculum targets as appropriate.
Tailor-made programmes: Skills taught are always functional for the child, the child will be taught skills that they are able to build on or make immediate use of.
High supervision: Research indicates that a high level of supervision is required for a successful ABA programme. Child Autism UK provide the family with workshops for at least one full day every six weeks to provide the team with ongoing training.
Continuous monitoring: The child’s progress for each aspect of the programme is continuously evaluated so that the best interventions are in place for every aspect of their development.