Teaching Children with Autism, continued
Of course, you will have to have some kind of curriculum to follow. Two of the most popular are the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills – Revised (ABLLS-R) and the Verbal Behaviour Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). The former is the most commonly used in Ontario, while the latter includes a Barriers Assessment that can help you isolate some of the issues that can interfere with your child’s progress (and which, therefore, may need to be addressed). There are a number of internet-based scoring and tracking programs for the ABLLS-R (such as the WebABLLS), and the VB-MAPP has an app that you can purchase and use to guide and track your child’s progress.
I believe that either of these curricula needs to be supplemented by at least two other curricula: specifically, a social skills curriculum (such as the McKinnon and Krempa Social Skills Checklists) and a daily living skills curriculum (as can be abstracted from Partington’s The Assessment of Functional Living Skills).
There are, as you might imagine, a number of other curricula which might be followed: The Eden curriculum, The Carolina curriculum, the Hawaii Early Learning Profile, the Early Start Denver Model curriculum, etc. Each has its own contribution to make.
In addition, I would like you to think of yourself as being in a master-apprentice relationship with your child, as suggested by Steven Gutstein in his writings about Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) – you are raising this child to be someone like yourself: an independent, fully-functional adult.
I have mentioned two authors of approaches to the treatment of autism who are antagonistic to ABA, Stanley Greenspan and Steven Gutstein, and I don’t want you to think that either of their approaches is an adequate substitute for ABA. In my opinion, they are not. There are hundreds of treatments being touted by hundreds of individuals, but ABA is one of the very few approaches to treatment that has been scientifically demonstrated to work with this population (and the others make use of ABA principles). The reason for that if anything is learned as a result of these other approaches, that learning will occur in keeping with the laws of learning, which ABA is based on. Until anyone else can demonstrate scientifically that their approach is as good as or better than ABA, you should be skeptical of all of their claims.