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Aba Therapy Essay

1588 words - 7 pages

Tarbox, Madrid, Aguilar, Jacobo, and Schiff (2009) researched this behavioral technique in a study involving three children with Autism who had echoic language deficits. Each of these students (ages 3, 5, and 7) could only produce single-syllable approximations of words prior to this study (Tarbox et al., p. 902). Three child-relevant, di- and tri-syllabic words were selected as targets of mastery for each student. A chaining procedure was then utilized by in-home ABA therapists to allow gradual, yet effective mastery of the words. Each word was broken down into sounds, and each sound was a step in the chaining process. The therapist would then verbally model a component of the word. Once ...view middle of the document...

Gradually, this reinforcement was subsided and he was rewarded for getting closer to the rooms. These steps were broken up and the mastery of each component slowly led toward the desired behavior. As demonstrated in this study, shaping can be an effective strategy for many individuals with ASD because it eases them into a new behavior and makes the transitioning process less alarming.
Utilizing extended trials within ABA programs is the final strategy used to acquire desired behaviors. This is commonly used to build the memory of newly-learned behaviors or tasks. First, a discriminative stimulus (SD), or instructional cue, is provided at the start of a task. If the subject responds incorrectly to the SD, the answer is then provided to them. The SD is then repeated until the subject correctly responds with the targeted answer. Once this correct answer is given, the instructor briefly switches tasks (Brams, 2008). Typically, these tasks are maintenance items that the subject can answer correctly with no assistance. These maintenance tasks act as a distractor from the initial SD. Then, the original task is presented again to ensure that the memory of the correct response has withheld. If this memory has been acquired, the extended trial for that task is finished. In contrast, if the incorrect response is given once again after the distractors, the steps for the extended trials are restarted until the memory has been obtained (Brams, 2008).
All of the previously mentioned techniques of ABA can implemented in a variety of settings through several different methods. While certain ABA methods are more effective for acquiring particular skills, hundreds of studies have recommended the use of a method known as discrete trial training (DTT) (T. Smith & Eikeseth, 2001). While neuro-typical individuals thrive from learning via “exploration, creative play, modeling, [and] conversation”, those with ASD usually require more instructor-directed, individualized, and straight-forward learning (T. Smith & Eikeseth, 2001, p. 86). Thus, DTT caters to this need through simplified and person-specific instruction. This method consists of a brief, 5-20 second unit of instruction provided by a one-on-one teacher in a distraction-free zone. Its brevity allows those with short attention spans to remain focused and earn reinforcement often. Each unit, or trial, contains five parts (in order): a cue (SD), prompt, response, consequence (reinforcement or extended trial), and 1-5 second inter-trial waiting period. A collection of DTT trials can be run anywhere from a few minutes to several hours daily (T. Smith & Eikeseth, p. 86). Researchers have found this to be an effective way of learning for individuals with ASD because its brevity permits many different trials to be completed within a session. The one-on-one teaching involved in DTT also allows the instruction to be very individualized to each case. This is important due to the broad nature of the Autism Spectrum. In...

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