1. Visual Schedules:

Some children are able to memorize sequence of events, but the problem with this is that as children get older most things in life do not happen in the same order or at the same time every day. This can then lead to behavior problems when unexpected changes occur. Visual schedules can be used to depict what events/activities are going to occur and the order
with which they will occur. Using visual schedules can develop a positive routine of looking for information and facilitate the ability to cope with daily changes. Research has shown that visual schedules can increase also increase and individuals independence. They can learn to move from
one activity to another using these schedules rather than relying on someone else to guide them or verbally prompt them to the next activity.
Just as many people use their telephones and other electronic devices to organize their lives, visual schedules can also provide individuals with developmental delays the daily stability they need.

Learning Objectives

  • What are Visual Schedules?
  • Misconceptions about visual schedules
  • Creating visual schedules
  • Implementing visual schedules

2. Token Economy Systems:

A token economy is a system of behavior modification based on the systematic reinforcement of target behavior. The idea is to delay the onset of a highly preferred reinforcer by offering ‘small’ frequent reinforcement that eventually lead to a highly preferred reinforcer. The reinforcers are often symbols or «tokens» that are exchanged for other reinforcers.

The basic principle is that an individual earns/accumulates a certain number of tokens by engaging in desired behaviours (called “target behaviors”) and can then exchange these tokens – effectively
using them as payment – to gain access to backup reinforcers. This system can be quite effective in educational settings, as it ensures high levels of motivation through on-going reinforcement, while not causing disruptions in the actual learning environment.

To help provide insight on how valuable token economy systems can be, consider the following quote “One of the most important technologies of behaviour modifiers and applied behaviour analysts over the last 40 years has been the token economy.” (Matson and Boisjoli (2009, p. 240))

Learning Objectives

  • What is a token economy system?
  • Discuss various types of token economy systems.
  • Discuss components of a token economy system.
  • How does a token economy work?
  • Considerations for Implementation

3. Prompting and Fading Techniques:

In this seminar, participants will learn the importance of prompting (applying ‘hints’) and how prompts can be used to teach a wide array of new skills. There will also be discussion about specific types of prompts, how to correctly apply prompts (hints) and perhaps most importantly how to identify which prompting strategies may help the student acquire new skills most expeditiously. Hierarchies.

There will also be discussion about establishing Prompt Hierarchies and strategies to systematically fade prompts to avoid possible prompt dependency.

Learning Objectives

  • Define prompting
  • Identify and discuss types of prompts
  • Discuss factors that influence the effectiveness of promptsv
  • Discuss establishing Prompt Hierarchies
  • Discuss systematically fading prompts

4. Reinforcement:

Reinforcement can mean lots of things to different people. In Applied Behavior Analysis it is very specifically defined by its function. Although it can mean many things and take on many forms, the hallmark of reinforcement is that desired consequences increase the future frequency of behavior.

Reinforcement happens along a continuum from primary reinforcement (food, water, and other physical reinforcers) to social reinforcers, such as social attention, praise or recognition. Many individuals with disabilities do not respond to secondary or social reinforcers, since they don’t actually function to provide reinforcement.

Learning Objectives

  • Define reinforcement
  • Distinguish positive and negative reinforcement
  • Identify types of reinforcers
  • Discuss factors influencing the effectiveness of reinforcers

5. Incidental Teaching and Natural Environment Training (NET):

Incidental teaching and Natural Environment Training (NET) is utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach in the “real world.” Instructions are both driven by the individual’s motivation and carried out in the environments that closely resemble natural environments, with structure being provided in regards to the individual’s access to reinforcement. NET leads to skills acquired in 1:1 structured teaching being utilized in generalized settings, while also being to learn new skills in less structured environments.

Learning Objectives

  • Define Incidental Teaching and Natural Environment Training
  • Explain the difference between Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and NET
  • Discuss guidelines for implementing NET

6. Executive Functioning (EF)
What it is and its Impact on Educational, Communication & Daily Living Skills:

Difficulties in the area of Executive Functioning can manifest themselves in many different ways. Some individuals pay attention to minor details, but fail to see how these details fit into a bigger picture.
Others have difficulty with complex thinking that requires holding more than one train of thought simultaneously. Others have difficulty maintaining their attention, or organizing their thoughts and
actions. Executive Functioning difficulties can also be associated with poor impulse control. Temple Grandin once said: «I cannot hold one piece of information in my mind while I manipulate the next step in the sequence.» Individuals with AS often lack the ability to use skills related to executive functioning like planning, sequencing and self-regulation.

Learning Objectives

  • Define Executive Functioning
  • Discuss everyday executive functioning skills
  • Discuss warning signals for ‘executive dysfunction’
  • Assessing executive functioning
  • Practical skills for teaching/improving executive functioning skills

7. Theory of Mind (THOM): What it is and Its Impact on Social Skills (Social Competence):

By definition, Theory of Mind is the ability to attribute independent mental states to self & others in order to understand, explain andpredict behavior. It allows people to make assumptions about other people’s feelings, desires, thoughts, knowledge, intentions, etc. so they can properly respond and often predict others behavior. Individuals with Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism (HFA) can encounter difficulty recognizing and processing the feelings of others, which is sometimes
referred to as “mind-blindness.” As a result of this mind-blindness, people with ASDs may not realize if another person’s behaviors are intentional or unintentional.

It is essential to foster perspective taking abilities, as it is a critical component for social language
programming and intervention. Failure to identify and/or treat delays in theory of mind will make it
hard for individuals to establish and maintain meaningful relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Define Theory of Mind (THOM)
  • Common THOM Impairments
  • Examples of THOM delays
  • Teaching THOM Skills
  • Research
  • False-Beliefs (Sally-Ann) Task

8. Improve Pragmatic Understanding & Improve Socialization:

An individual may say words clearly and use lengthy grammatically correct sentences, while still having difficulty with communication. The point is that language and communication can be quite different, especially when an individual has yet to master the rules for social language………
commonly referred to as Pragmatics.

Pragmatic language involves 3 specific communication skills: 1) Using language; 2) Changing language and 3) following rules. Although these communication skills may sound simple on the surface, they are quite complex and confusing………….especially because these rules vary within
and across cultures.

It is important that people increase their awareness of pragmatic delays and possible pragmatic disorders. Pragmatic problems can lead to social isolation due to lower social acceptance, self-esteem and subsequent confidence.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss Pragmatic Language/Understanding
  • Analyze the 3 communication skills
  • Identify and Discuss common pragmatic delays
  • Discuss different teaching approaches for teaching appropriate Pragmatic skills