Please take a look at the attached video “teaser” announcing the segment featuring Dr. Beverly Braman and Dr. Susan Catlett discussing autism and ABA. Set your DVRs or tune on on April 10 and/or May 8!.
Tiffany Crow, behavior analysis graduate student and special education teacher shares this excellent review of a research article by K. L. Pierce L. Schreibman from the Journal of Applied Beahvior Analysis (27, 471-485). Teaching daily living skills to children with autism in unsupervised settings through pictorial self-management
Daily self-management and independence are skills that most parents strive to teach their children. Self-management skills could allow a child to function independent of a care giver, for daily tasks such as grooming, meal preparations, cleaning, possibly have a job in the community or participating in group activities. Children with disabilities are at higher risk in that they do not as often obtain such a level of independence in self-management skills. Photographic picture schedules have been successful in the past in teaching children with autism independence. The current research article specifically targets children with autism to increase their independence of daily living skills through the use of pictures in the absence of a trainer/caregiver. There were 3 participants in this study, all boys that were diagnosed with autism and attended a classroom for children with disabilities. A task analysis (steps of a task) was created for each of the 3 tasks and picture prompts were created to depict each step in the analysis. Each step of the analysis was placed on an individual page and made into a book. The participant had to flip through each page, complete the step on that page until the total task was completed. On the last page of the task book there was a smiley face indicating to the participant that they could self-reinforce (give themselves a reward). Upon independent performance of each of these skills the experimenter then began to fade themselves out of the environment by standing further distances away and eventually out of the room while the participant completed the task analysis and self-reinforcement. The participants in this study were categorized as low-functioning children with autism and the procedures used in this experiment proved to be effective in independent self-management skills without the presence of a care giver for every participant.
The following is an excellent article review by Tiffany Crow, behavior analysis graduate student and special education teacher. This review was written about the FCT: A Review and Practical Guide, from Behavior Analysis in Practice, 1, 16-23 by Tiger, Hanley and Bruzek (2008).
This article is a type of review or collection of information about best practices for the implementation of functional communication training (FCT) covering the years from 1985 to 2006. I found the article very informative and one that I will reference in the future.
Functional communication training (FCT) is the process of teaching a person (with disabilities) to ask (communicate) for something they want or need in an appropriate way. This technique is typically used when a person is using a problem behavior (i.e. hitting, property destruction, self-injurious behavior) to communicate a want/need. An example of this would be a scenario where a child wants a cookie. Instead of asking for the cookie they fall on the floor and tantrum until the cookie is given to them. The tantrum was the child’s way to ask for the cookie. The child has learned that by having a tantrum he can obtain things he wants. In this example FCT would teach the child to say, “I want ___.” Or exchange a picture card of a desired object to obtain things he wants. During FCT the tantrums would no longer produce the desired items and the child would be taught to appropriately ask for the desired item. This procedure works because the child still wants the desired item and they learn that the only way to get it is by using the “new/appropriate” functional communication. In doing this the child appropriately asks for desired items and problem behavior decreases.
Tiger et. al. in this article lay out the best ways to implement FCT. They start by describing the 3 stages of FCT, describe who could benefit from FCT then continue by providing guidelines for teaching FCT that are research based. They also tell who should implement FCT, how to teach the new response and how to transition from training to a sustainable behavior. This article provides the collective knowledge of 91 articles on FCT! I specifically thought the article could be useful for parents/teachers/caregivers that are facing the decision of what type of communication they want to teach their child (oral language, picture exchange or sign language). The authors explain best practices for making this initial decision.