Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ABA strategies and typically developing toddlers



All the reading I've done has left a big gaping hole in terms of pre-verbal toddler strategies. I couldn't help but wonder if strategies designed for kids who were struggling with language acquisition wouldn't also be helpful for pre-verbal toddlers? I'm reading The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism to test the waters.

What I like:

The math person in me loves how scientific this strategy is. Behaviors are carefully observed and counted so improvement (or stagnation or worsening) in behavior is easy to identify and explain. Although, let's be real, I'm not going to collect any data. But the general ideas behind these strategies are informative, even for lazy moms like me.

It breaks down some important aspects of operant conditioning (e.g., rewarding behaviors you want to encourage, ignoring those you want to extinguish) and how you can use it to encourage language development and discourage tantrums.

It seems to offer some great strategies for reaching goals, as opposed to other books that seem pretty vague when it comes to "how." {ahem, eating quietly at the table. in other words, it offers suggestions that will could be applied to your verbal kids, as well}

It just seems really smart. Reactions are proportional and logical and tailored to fit the needs and personality of the kid. One thing I especially like, they consider the function of a child's behavior (is your kid trying to gain access to something or escape something?) when deciding the best way to respond. That way, you don't accidentally "reward" a bad behavior. For example, if a child is doing something to get your attention and you yell at her, you are actually rewarding (not punishing) her behavior. Conversely, if a child is trying to get out of doing something (eat dinner) and you send him to his room, you are rewarding (not punishing) his behavior.

So cross your fingers, guys. I think I might actually get some good toddler management strategies.
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