Here is an interesting article – one that calls for ABA to stop with the elitist and often confusing terminology and make it accessible. I agree – why not use ‘added’ and ‘subtracted’ reinforcement rather than ‘positive’ and ‘negative’?
I always try to speak in layman’s terms…yes, we need the scientific language so we can communicate with other professionals…but we don’t always need to use it. Time to get off our high-horses and share our knowledge in a way that makes sense.
I regularly see, and hear about, ‘treatments for autism’ and how parents will try anything to try and help the child they love so dearly. For me, telling a parent a treatment will cure their child’s autism without the scientific evidence to support such claims in on a par with telling a recently bereaved parent, or widow, that they can contact their love one through a Medium or psychic…the person delivering said treatment is, as Tim Minchin would say, “lying, or mentally ill”. Not only can these treatments be expensive and ineffective but they can also be harmful – both physically and mentally, and can even be life threatening. Look for the science, look for the evidence, because “Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed; Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.”
This linked article is old but resonates a lot with me. I regularly come across autism ‘treatment packages’ which are not supported by science. Further, as I see more and more, I am a true believer of using a mixture of approaches to support a child. Every, single child is unique…and so their treatment should be approached as such.
How do we know if what we’re doing is useful? Data!! And we adapt and adjust accordingly.
Tim Minchin talks about this in his poem, named ‘Storm’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U
Encouraging speech…this is a fun little video in which we are shaping the little one’s speech sounds to be closer to ‘Swing’. This has been a long process…first, as she made NO sounds at all, we reinforced ANY sound she made whilst swinging (a HIGHLY preferred activity) with extra big/fast/more fun swings. Now, we’re waiting and modelling the sounds that we want…and when she makes a sound that’s closer to “swing” than before (e.g., “wing” vs “ing”) she’s getting even bigger/better/longer swings than if she just made an unrelated sound. This is so she knows when she’s got it right!
And listen to her trying so hard to make the sound “swing”. 😍
The most important thing is that we’re doing this when she’s having FUN and is highly motivated. 😁 Plus, what you can’t see is how engaged she is with us both, with lots of eye contact and sign!
She’s a little superstar!! 🤩
What is shaping?
Shaping is defined as differentially reinforcing successive approximations toward a terminal behaviour. It can be applied to any behaviour – speech, movement, sign language, length of time studying.
Welcome to my website and blog.
I will periodically be posting content around ABA, counselling, and Transactional Analysis. Much of my writings will be musings about how I work and what is valuable to me.
If you have any questions (about my blog or otherwise) please get in contact with me – I will do my best to answer!
For now, I hope you enjoy the content!