How do we teach?
We teach the children by using procedures based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)
These intervention procedures and techniques have been and continue to be developed through research undertaken by thousands of professionals within the ABA field.
Some people elaborate arguments that are opposed to ABA, largely or frequently based on misunderstandings. Having a behavioural focus does not entail that the treatment concentrates exclusively on reducing behavioural problems. Nor does it mean that the type of training necessarily has to be "excessively strict or repetitive" in order for it to be followed by a small child.
These perceptions, each of which can easily be cleared up, are on many occasions the product of lack of knowledge and the absence of up-to-date information.
As with all professional practice, however – and naturally even more so within psychology – beyond the question or right or wrong approaches what really makes the difference and what really makes it effective, apart from being backed by research, is how it actually works in practice. The question of how it takes concrete form – how this idea, this approach, is implemented – is what truly gives added value to professional efforts and, of course, to the children and their families.
In all educational settings, the person doing the teaching aims to obtain behaviours that are adjusted to context on the part of the learner. Why? Because appropriate behaviour facilitates faster learning. Because it predisposes people to learning, because it makes life easier for whoever lives with those people. This is giving people no more than their due, including people with ASD.
All learning requires repetition, and children with ASD are no exception. We want the children in our programmes to learn as rapidly as possible, as rapidly as a typically-developing child can learn. We want to provide a foundation for learning in each child, which enables them to learn with the fewest repetitions possible. Some children will require more repetitions, others fewer – but the important thing is to provide only those that the children needs.
Our goal is for the child with ASD to be able to learn, just like the typically-developing child, in the most natural situations possible; this is why in we work in the child’s most immediate settings and with technical procedures that are empirically validated. This does not mean that we can achieve our goal with all children. What has been amply demonstrated however is this: simply by modifying any of the variables that may prove necessary, the child’s integration into those day-to-day settings can be maximized as much as possible and be the least restrictive for him and his family.