Learning With Other Children

Learning With Friends

At OAI we use leading edge behavioral techniques to give children with ASD the skills they need to learn both with and from their typically developing peers. Positive feedback during actual social interaction allows children to develop social and other skills directly in the setting where they will need them most. These can be in childcare centers, karate or art classes, scouting groups, or other similar settings where the vast majority of other children do not have disabilities. A registered behavior technician (with additional training in increasing independence and social skills in the natural setting) is present with the child, providing prompting and reinforcement as indicated by the data and your child’s response. RegularBCBA supervision is also provided directly in the social setting.

Joining a group of children running to see an exciting new toy, learning the movements to a new song, or taking turns on a game are all examples of social skills that can be learned by observing and imitating other children. More complex skills may include responding and initiating speech to other children, imitating a play activity, and playing interactively with other children.

Designing an effective program for each child requires careful ongoing analysis. The board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) working with your child is thoroughly trained in how to decide which behaviors to change (or teach), how to change them, determining whether behaviors have changed after our strategies were implemented, and ensuring that any desired changes remain after the program is
ended.

If all or almost of all of the children in a group are typically developing, there are many opportunities for a child with ASD to observe and imitate excellent social skills. At OAI, we provide systematic, data based reinforcement that builds social skills in the natural setting. Once a given skill reaches a certain criteria, the reinforcement is gradually faded away until the child uses the skill independently.

For best results, OAI programs include sessions with typically developing peers, and structured practice of social skills in the one on one setting, as appropriate for each child.