Opinion

Alex and I get into the elevator with a neighbor. Perfectly normal thing to do after the end of a perfectly normal day. The door slides shut and the neighbor says, “Five, please” when I ask what floor she wants. Then perfectly normalcy ends.

This violates my new rule of avoiding, if I can, elevators with neighbors when I’m riding with Alex. He still presses the buttons for a load of extra floors.

Alex presses three (not our floor) and nine (our floor). “Alex, press five, please.”

“Noooo!” he says. “Alex, press five.” “Noooo!”

Once, I would’ve felt the neighbor’s eyes on my back. I don’t this time. I try to press five and Alex grabs my hand; my other hand holds a grocery bag. “Alex, press five now.”

Noooo!

I could put down the bag and, suddenly needing both my arms for this 13-year-old, force his hand to the five button. I guess I still feel the eyes for a moment, though,  because I don’t force his hand.

We get to three. Alex dashes to the door, in front of the neighbor, and stares out. He curls the fingers of two hands to make his own 3.
Eventually we get to five. I forget how, but I may have pressed the button myself. “Have a good night,” I say to the neighbor. “Take it easy,” she says. “Take it easy,” Alex says.

Alex, walk this way…  Alex, press five, please …  Those times he doesn’t, I grunt like Basil Fawlty in comedic exasperation even as I know that whatever Alex is doing is no passing instant but the way things are and the way they’re going to be. I’m getting lain old pissed at the idea that not every parent has a son who’s going to have to be a grown-up amid the wreckage of our special-needs budgets. Some doctor put it best 14 years ago: “You’re at the mercy of everybody with an opinion.” At that time, I believed he was talking about just Alex’s year in a hospital. Now I think he was talking about the rest of Alex’s life.

What must people must think when they see Alex? I pity the parents. Why do they let him do that? Why don’t they find a home for him somewhere?

He has a home. The opinions we have of him there will do for now.

Jeff Stimpson is a native of Bangor, Maine, and lives in New York with his wife Jill and two sons. He is the author of Alex: The Fathering of a Preemie and Alex the Boy: Episodes From a Family’s Life With Autism(both available on Amazon). He maintains a blog about his family at jeffslife.tripod.com/alextheboy, and is a frequent contributor to various sites and publications on special-needs parenting, such as Autism-Asperger’s Digest, Autism Spectrum News, the Lostandtired blog, The Autism Society news blog, and An Anthology of Disability Literature (available on Amazon). He is on LinkedIn under “Jeff Stimpson” and Twitter under “Jeffslife.”

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The Beneficial Effects of Positive Reinforcement

Education often uses positive or negative reinforcement to teach the student a lesson. For instance, a child learning to speak is going to receive smiles when they emulate the sounds of the adults around them, and this is going to encourage them to continue with their attempts at speech. This is a simple illustration of the effects of positive reinforcement, but there are some people for whom this tactic just cannot work. Consider the millions of children born with some form of ASD.

ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorders and is a sort of umbrella name for a large category of issues. These issues can range from very mild to very severe, and unfortunately there is no known cure for any of them. Instead, there are widely accepted therapies and treatments. Among the most widely accepted are the treatments that use ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) as their foundations.

Applied Behavior Analysis is not actually a treatment in itself but is the science by which human behaviors are observed, analyzed and altered accordingly. Most of the ABA strategies that are used for children with ASD issues will count on the effects of positive reinforcement to generate reliable results.

These strategies are often different from those used by the parents and teachers of children without ASD because such children have no impairment to their ability to imitate. As mentioned at the opening of this brief article, a child with ASD may not be able to emulate the speech patterns and communication skills of the adults around them. This is not something willfully done and is simply a symptom of the Autism disorder.

This means that the child will need to experience the effects of positive reinforcement in a different way. For example, a parent or teacher may need to identify the types of rewards that a child needs to encourage them to focus on developing their speech. This reward will then serve to help that child to communicate more effectively and on a much more independent basis. Soon, the effects of positive reinforcement (the reward) will become unnecessary as the child learns to associate the pleasure of speech and communication with their own emotional responses.

This is certainly more complicated than the traditional route to speech development, but ABA tactics are known to be one of the most beneficial to children dealing with any level of ASD. Parents and teachers are encouraged to seek training for themselves in order to implement the best strategies at home and at school.

 

Garrett Butch is the father of a 8 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group http://www.abatrainingcourse.com.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.
View one of our sample videos and contact us at http://www.abatrainingcourse.com/video-demos.htm

Schools and ABA Training

When a school of any kind seeks to meet federal mandates about inclusion they often have to consider ways of upgrading the staffs education. This is one of the primary reasons that schools seek out ABA training. This is a type of training that uses the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to develop teaching strategies for children with disabilities like ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). It is actually the primary method used when any sort of research is done on the development of treatments for Autism, and is considered one of the only effective therapies currently available.

Remember, the ABA training itself is not going to actually be applied to the student, but will instead give the teacher the tools that they need in order to identify some of the reasoning for a student’s behaviors and to then formulate a teaching strategy that can help to alter any negative behaviors. A good example of ABA training at work would include a student with a tendency towards anti-social behaviors and the parents and teachers who used their ABA training to develop a treatment plan.

Let us say that this child had always shown a tendency towards isolated play time and had failed to develop adequate language skills. The parents and teachers who had received the training would have learned how to observe that child for any indicators of the reasons for the behavior. They would then apply their learning to create a plan for positive reinforcement of the behaviors desired, and a precise teaching strategy to begin training that child to learn how to behave in a more productive and meaningful way.

For instance, the parents and teachers might observe that the child preferred to play with a certain set of toys. This is information that could be used to begin teaching that child about the value of communication with a peer. Once that child begins to show signs of a change in behavior, such as seeking out a parent or teacher to play with the preferred toys, this would then be expanded upon to include an ever-widening set of peers or playmates. In this way, the child would have received positive reinforcement of their behaviors and also learned how to communicate more.

Naturally, it isn’t as simple or straightforward as that, but the use of ABA training is going to give both the parents and the educators the tools or skill set that they need to get the best results possible.

 

Garrett Butch is the father of a 8 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group http://www.abatrainingcourse.com.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.
View one of our sample videos and contact us at http://www.abatrainingcourse.com/video-demos.htm

Reducing Behavior challenges In School

Humans tend to learn by observing others, and this is particularly true of humans in their very early years. Interestingly enough, when someone is born with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) they may not pick up on things in the same ways as others and may even fail to learn some expected behaviors. This is one of the reasons that Autism often manifests itself as behavior challenges in school.

Even though there are many red flags and warnings that someone has ASD, it may be misdiagnosed until the time they enter into formal schooling, and then it becomes clear that they may be experiencing some of the cognitive or academic disorders as well as the social and behavioral problems that come with Autism. This leads to the need for a child’s teachers to find ways to address their behavior challenges in school, but it also helps to know that there are many at home tactics that can be put to good use too.

It all begins with finding one of the better Autism training systems, and these will tend to rely on something known as ABA. This translates to Applied Behavior Analysis which is a science dedicated to observing, noting and addressing human social behaviors. Obviously, these include the behavior challenges in school, but also everywhere else too.

ABA works on the premise that a child with any of the ASD issues is going to generally have an inability to imitate the standard behaviors, and this leads to them being viewed as presenting behavior challenges in school and at home. When parents and teachers are trained in the ways to use ABA principles and strategies, however, they are going to be able to address specific issues in order to promote and encourage positive behaviors and to curb the unwanted ones.

It is interesting to note that most school systems tend to consider the needs of ASD students as something belonging entirely to the special education department, but newer federal mandates make it essential that all children are included in the mainstream environment. This means that most schools systems will, eventually, need to implement Autism training of some kind, but it  helps when parents consider it too.

Fortunately, the better training systems make an at home or parents version of their programming available, in addition to the teachers training. This can really boost a child’s chances for academic and social success because it means they get the kind of support they need on a full time basis.

 

Garrett Butch is the father of a 8 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group http://www.abatrainingcourse.com.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.
View one of our sample videos and contact us at http://www.abatrainingcourse.com/video-demos.htm

Methods for Managing Behavior Challenges In School

Most people are aware of the fact that children begin their educational process long before they step inside of their first schoolroom. This is because it is the home life of the student that is the first part of learning to socialize, solve problems, and find answers. Because of this, when a student manifests behavior challenges in school, it is often also something that their parents are asked to help to address as well.

Certainly it might be difficult to somehow deal with any behavior challenges in school strictly through at home work, but when a student also has a condition relating to ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) it is normally essential that their home life is taken into account as well. For example, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development notes that most students with some form of ASD will tend to be diagnosed very early in their lives  so at home work is vital.

Because ASD is characterized by developmental disabilities, parents must accept and help to address the potential for behavior challenges in school by beginning a great deal of training well in advance of Kindergarten. This is not always something easy to handle, nor all that affordable, but there are now many high-quality programs designed for training parents in the best methods to use when beginning to teach their children with ASD.

It is interesting to note that changes in federal educational rules make it impossible for schools to shunt students with ASD into special education classrooms, and insist that they be educated in the same classrooms as students with the condition. To help teachers and classroom support staff to assist students with ASD, however, many school systems use specialized Autism training courses.

These courses are designed to teach the educators about Autism and about the methods with a proven history for success, including methods for managing behavior challenges in school. These same training courses are also made available for parents as well, though the best of them will tend to be re-designed or re-structured for the at home environment instead of the schoolroom.

The great thing about school or home Autism training systems is that they use the ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis principles known to be among the few accepted treatments for ASD. When parents and educators have these powerful tools for behavior modification available at an early part of a student’s life, they can often prepare them to achieve greater educational and social success than ever before.

 

Garrett Butch is the father of a 8 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group http://www.abatrainingcourse.com.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.
View one of our sample videos and contact us at http://www.abatrainingcourse.com/video-demos.htm

Measuring the Effects of Positive Reinforcement

There are many people who are born with some sort of disability, and in the United States it is estimated that one in every one thousand children is born with ASD. This is also referred to under the blanket term of Autism but actually means the Autism Spectrum Disorders. This is because someone with the condition can show an array of symptoms with some people showing only the mildest signs of the disorders and others showing extreme signs of the issues.

While there is no known cure for ASD, there is a lot of information about the various treatments that have been proven to be effective. Among the most amazing things about treatments for ASD are the documented effects of positive reinforcement.

This is something that is normally detected when using the principles and strategies associated with something known as ABA. This is the acronym for Applied Behavior Analysis and is the science that serves as the foundation for some of the most effective treatments for people with ASD.

Why are the effects of positive reinforcement such an important part of ABA? It helps to understand that people with Autism tend to be lacking in the ability to mimic or imitate. This is actually a core part of the human developmental process, and when someone cannot emulate the actions of those around them they will fail to develop good communication, social, and academic skills. When, however, a teacher or parent is able to give a great deal of support to a child’s efforts, this can really help them to master some of those skills that are essential to an independent and socially active life.

How are the effects of positive reinforcement measured? Basically, the ABA tactics are going to be somewhat outside of the traditional teaching or learning parameters. For example, a teacher will have to accept that their usual, structured teaching patterns may not have any effects whatsoever on the student with ASD. Instead, they will have to find methods of introducing them to concepts of interest and then using this to alter their behaviors for the better.

This is where the effects of positive reinforcement are so important because they will guarantee that the student begins to actually view their own behaviors as positive and beneficial. Receiving praise for something as simple as making eye contact can often help a person with ASD to improve their personal and academic skills to an enormous degree.

Garrett Butch is the father of a 8 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group http://www.abatrainingcourse.com.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.
View one of our sample videos and contact us at http://www.abatrainingcourse.com/video-demos.htm

How to Select the Right School Autism Training Materials

It is not uncommon for teachers, administrators, and additional teaching staff to feel persistently maxed out.  After all, most school systems have faced the kinds of budgetary and staffing challenges that make it hard to accomplish some fairly basic goals. This doesn’t mean that certain issues can be overlooked or avoided, however, and this is especially true where inclusion is concerned.

New federal mandates make it essential for schools to be sure that all students are educated to the anticipated levels, in other words that none are left behind, and this is where school Autism training can prove very useful. This is something that a lot of schools are turning to as a means of helping teachers to learn the best approaches to supporting students with a condition as variable and diverse as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Consider that ASD has a very broad definition and is viewed in terms of something that can cause problems with social interaction, communication, and learning. It is actually a category of disorders that are normally identified by the large number of possible symptoms. ASD can be identified as mild to severe as well, and this means that school Autism training can help teachers and staff to learn the different techniques that actually help students with any level of ASD.

Naturally, the best or most successful forms of school Autism training will rely on the approved treatments for the condition. Unfortunately, most people will quickly learn that there is no accepted cure for ASD, and instead there are approved therapies and treatments that help someone to change the behaviors so often associated with Autism.

As an example, a good school Autism training program will help teaching staff to recognize signs of ineffectiveness in their strategies, and then will show them the less structured approaches to use when common teaching or classroom scenarios fail. For instance, most teachers are surprised to learn about incidental teaching principles, but this is actually part of the most commonly used approach to Autism training.

Currently, it is ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis that is used in the top teacher and parent training systems. This is because ABA is a scientific approach to changing behaviors in the ASD student, and it uses both failure and success to create a way of determining the best methods to create change.

Teaching classroom staff to identify the right method for the individual student is always the best system for addressing ASD in the classroom, and this is the reason to chose training that incorporates ABA techniques.

 

Garrett Butch is the father of a 8 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group http://www.abatrainingcourse.com.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.
View one of our sample videos and contact us at http://www.abatrainingcourse.com/video-demos.htm