Teaching Children with Autism, continued
Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, I want to cover these (and perhaps other) topics in a bit more depth.
I would strongly urge parents of children with autism to learn the teaching strategies being discussed here and apply them in all their interactions with their child, for a number of reasons: First, experience has shown that a child’s progress in ABA is directly related to the extent to which his or her parents are involved in his or her teaching/training – if the parents happen to be fortunate enough to be able to hire an experienced supervisor for their child’s program, they should insist that they be taught to use the same effective teaching procedures that are used by ABA instructor therapists, and that they be as involved in their child’s ABA program as they are able to be.
Second, there are many opportunities for teaching/learning outside of any formal instruction program that may be set up for a child, and most of that teaching has to be done by the parents. Some years ago there was a book about psychotherapy called “The Other Twenty-Three Hours.” Its point was that what goes on during the rest of the day is just as important, and possibly even more important, than what goes on during the psychotherapy hour. The same principle applies to a child’s ABA program. Regardless of how intensive it may be, there is going to be a lot of “dead time” unless the parents can learn how to apply ABA principles throughout the child’s waking hours.