Using Behavior Skills Training and Other Environmental Manipulations to Teach Safety Skills to Adolescents with ASD 2081
PhD, psychologist, board certified behaviour analyst, Associazione ALBA ONLUS, Italy
PhD, psychologist, board certified behaviour analyst, Associazione ALBA ONLUS, Italy
Choosing the correct target behavior to teach is fundamental for parents, teachers, therapists and other professionals working with people with autism and other intellectual disabilities. While early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for young children diagnosed with autism can produce large gains in social, cognitive, and language development, choosing the appropriate curriculum for adolescents and adults warrants some further reflections. Starting from puberty and adolescence, the focus of teaching should move from what the student is missing with respect to typically development peers to what the student needs to become an effective adult, with the final outcome of “making a life”. Applied Behavior Analysis is effective in teaching functional skills, adaptive skills, daily living skills, safety skills, sexuality, physical exercise, self-advocacy and other often overlooked skills that can contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of people with or without disabilities. Research suggests that working on functional skills provided through a meaningful curriculum leads to a more independent life. During this presentation the contribution ABA can offer in developing a meaningful curriculum for adolescents will be reviewed. Particular focus will be placed on using Behavior Skills Training (BST) and other environmental manipulations to teach safety skills to adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Examples of safety skills include abduction prevention, seeking help if lost, inappropriate physical contact and information disclosure. The use of technology in teaching safety skills to students with a poor repertoire of verbal behavior will be discussed.
The authors are very grateful to Crystal Slanzi for her critical reading and precious suggestions.
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