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Assessing the Efficacy of Sensory Diets on Latent Responding and Frequency of Inappropriate Behavior

January 7, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Typically developing people can take in all sensory input (i.e.: visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, etc) and regulate their sensory systems to remain at a state of homeostasis (i.e.: sensory integration). However, people with Autism do not have the same ability. It has been described by people that are on the Autism Spectrum (e.g.: Temple Grandin) as an experience that leads them to seek out sensory input that allows them to regulate their behavior (i.e.: sensory seeking-squeezing themselves into small places, stereotypic behavior-hand flapping, toe walking, visual “stimming” [self-stimulation], etc.). Read the rest of this entry →

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Book Review: The Behavior Code

July 17, 2012 in Book Review by Dennise Goldberg

Robert Langdon has nothing on Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport.  While Robert Langdon was out cracking the DaVinci Code using symbology and being chased by deadly assassins Jessica and Nancy were hard at work in our public schools cracking “The Behavior Code” for our most challenging students.  In their new book, “The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students,” Jessica and Nancy share their wisdom and experience working with the most misunderstood population in our schools.  This book is a must read for every Teacher in elementary school whether you are in a general education or special education setting.  I also highly recommend that Parents read this book as well to get an understanding of what it takes to change behavior and how important it is to carry these philosophies over to the home environment. Read the rest of this entry →

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Prompting Using Graduated Guidance

April 4, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Shaping behavior is an art. As a scientist I think of things that are difficult to do, and very beautiful, as art. I cannot do mainstream art, just behavior analytic art. Shaping can be easy and very difficult to do, depending on the behavior and depending on the ability of the instructor.  An instructor whose behavior quickly becomes controlled by the behavior of that who he is shaping will be better at shaping. Prompting to shape, or as a strategy to establish a behavior, can also be a piece of art.

I see, time after time, instructors using physical prompting to teach children with autism, who, even given considerable training on the job, still overuse the physical contact, making learning slower and fostering inappropriate stimulus control; prompt dependency an accident waiting to happen. I see that even in videos on the internet that are supposed to show good examples of applied behavior analysis being implemented to teach children with autism. I had guessed a long time ago that it may help if instructors receive training in shaping a behavior “with their own hands”, that is, observing the organism behave and making several decisions about exactly when to present the reinforcer contingent on a response that is not yet the final one, but is the one that a) is the closest approximation to that one seen until then; b) with such timing that the approximation itself will not be extinguished until a better approximation is seen and caught, reinforced. Read the rest of this entry →

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Is the Behavior in My Child’s Control?: A Question of Consequence

May 1, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

It is common parenting practice that when a child misbehaves, a consequence is likely to follow.  From natural consequences like cleaning up a mess to discipline like removing privileges, misbehavior and consequences go hand in hand.  However, what happens when the behavior is not in the child’s control?  For parents of children with special needs, it can be confusing to know when and how to consequence which behaviors.  What is in my child’s control?  Is it fair to consequence a behavior that isn’t in my child’s control?  Will it make any difference, anyway?  Read the rest of this entry →

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The Need for a Good IEP Strategy

February 6, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

One of the benefits of being an advocate is when you attend a lot of IEP meetings in the same District you start to see patterns.  Usually, these patterns are designed by the School District to manipulate the outcome of an IEP with a set agenda.  As a parent, you probably won’t even realize this is happening because you only attend one or two IEP meetings a year, but as an advocate they are easy to spot. 

For years, my local school district has been paying behaviorists from non-public agencies (NPA) to help children in school who need more behavior support than a paraprofessional can provide.  Due to the cost and shrinking budgets, the School District has decided to try and eliminate NPA behavior support from ALL IEP’s.  The elimination of NPA behaviorists isn’t a written policy that a parent could find in the School District’s Special Education manual but it’s still happening none the less.     Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Change Your Child’s Behavior the Easy Way

January 2, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The following is from the “ToolBox Approach© which focuses on increasing positive behaviors in a proactive ways. 

Taking these small steps can make a big difference in your child’s behavior. Again I encourage small proactive steps.  Try not to react to the negative behaviors.  Give energy to the good ones!  If you look back at the old school parenting or the way we were raised, we received attention when we did something wrong.  The following is just the beginning of being able to add more tools to your tool box  Read the rest of this entry →

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Social Thinking and Applied Behavior Analysis

December 12, 2010 in Special Education Articles by Jess

There is a tendency when exploring treatment options to build walls and think in the black and white.  As we have moved from developing treatment with people with classical autism to exploring and developing treatments for the entire autism spectrum and related disabilities, we have to shift from thinking there is one way to treat by embracing a range of approaches to better meet the range of challenges our students and adults experience across the “spectrum.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Behaviorists & Paraprofessionals (Aides)

August 18, 2010 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

When dealing with behavior, safety and medical issues for Special Education students often times the IEP team will discuss the use of behavior intervention specialists (behaviorists) or paraprofessionals, such as one on one aides or classroom aides.  It’s important to understand the difference between all of these options and the qualifications of the personnel.  Read the rest of this entry →

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