Teaching Children with Autism: An ABA Primer

Teaching Children with Autism: An ABA Primer

The second edition of my book, Teaching Children with Autism: An ABA Primer, is now available (e.g., on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble). Here is the Table of Contents:



Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (from DSM-5)

What is autism?

Myths about autism

But this one is not a myth

Autism and the role of education in its treatment

Classical (or Pavlovian) conditioning

Operant conditioning

Social learning theory

ABA and the science of teaching children with autism


Establishing the reinforcement value of social approval

Stages of play: Melinda Smith

Stages of play: Westby

Stages of play: McAlpine

Stages of play: Interactive and cooperative play

Stages of play: The ABLLS-R

Stages of play: Greenspan

The Play Project

A few place skills references

Prerequisites to formal instruction: Beginning social relationships

Giggle time – Establishing the social connection

Beginning social relationships: Joint Attention

Beginning social relationships: Referencing

Playing with your child


Play dates and playgroups

More precursors to ABA: What to do even before you try to get a formal instructional program started

A few autism ”Lists” that you might wish to join

A few other books and resources that you may want to examine when you have time

A word of caution regarding recommended resources

Beginning formal instruction

Principles of remedial education

Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (in the context of teaching children with autism)

ABA and the teaching of observable behaviors: A brief review

Teaching models/venues: ITT and NET

Reinforcement and shaping

Now for another brief review of ABA principles

Variation among ABA programs

Applied verbal behavior and its associated effective teaching procedures

Teaching procedures associated with ABA/VB

More effective teaching techniques that you should know


Skinner’s analysis of language from a functional perspective

Preschool curricula



Social/emotional relating skills

Gutstein’s Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Reinforcement: A brief review

The reinforcement value of consequences changes from time to time: The role of motivating operations (establishing operations)

Which brings us back to shaping

Now, let’s talk a bit more about undesirable behaviors

Functional analysis of behavior

Arbitrary and natural consequences

Reinforcement: Continuous and intermittent (a bit of a review)

A few more general teaching procedure reminders

Teaching to the child’s preferred sensory modality

Augmentative communication systems



A few more correction tips

Data recording procedures: Probe data

Data recording procedures: Graphing/charting

Celeration and celeration charting

Transition to school

Preschool and kindergarten

When your child is ready to start school: Developing an individual education program

How to organize and manage an ABA program

Steps in getting an ABA program up and running

Your role in teaching your child

And how, specifically, do you teach these small, observable steps?

Setting the stage for success

A few effective teaching procedures: A review

Now, here are a few tips for surviving the process

A few things that I have learned since the first edition of this book was published

Beyond ABA

Appendix A: Common ABA errors

Appendix B: TAGteach – using clicker training with humans



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