In last month’s article Irina explained the importance of functional communication and how this is taught to a child within 1:1 ABA sessions. Once a child learns the fundamental elements of communication, we are then in a central position to start teaching them more complex communications such as requesting for help and conversations.
One way a child can continue to develop these skills is through participation in our social clubs. This small group environment is ideal in that it provides individualised support during peer interactions in a fun and engaging format. The development of functional communication forms part of a broader set of life skills we teach within our social clubs.
Our social skills curriculum is based on the ‘Preschool Lifeskills Curriculum’ which was developed by Gregory Hanley, a Board Certified Behvior Analyst (BCBA) in the US. The curriculum was originally developed to prevent problem and challenging behaviour from occurring in preschool children, hence the name, however more recently has been used with children with ASD of all ages and developmental levels.
Through their research, Hanley and his colleagues identified four fundamental and crucial categories of skills which include instruction following, functional communication, tolerance and friendship. Research shows that these are of great importance to success in early learning environments and beyond by teaching children how to display more desirable behaviours and therefore replacing challenging and inappropriate behaviours.
Skills such as initiating and engaging in positive social interactions, tolerating delays, and communicating appropriately for desired and undesired items are areas of focus. Our group facilitators take individual data each week to monitor the learner’s progress. We ask parents and teachers to practice targeted skills as often as possible to help consolidate and generalise newly acquired skills. The more practice a learner gets, the faster the achievement rate.
For more information on the life skills curriculum or our social clubs please contact us on 9240 5800.