Approaches for increasing communication and social skills

In Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), did you know behavior analysts use many approaches to increase people’s communication and social skills?

Here are some interventions and procedures used in ABA to increase people’s communication and social skills:

  1. Verbal operant approaches:
Verbal behaviors

2. Functional Communication Training (FCT): a differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) approach in which teaches people ways to communicate that serve the same function as the interfering behavior/skill/response.

3. Discrete Trail Training (DTT): a systematic approach to teach a new skill/behavior/response in small repeated steps.

4. Imitation and modeling: a live demonstration of the behavior/response/skill in which an individual learns to imitate a new behavior/response/skill.

Do you anymore interventions or procedures to help increase communication or social skills? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Interview with Merrick Egber as an Autistic board for Florida ASPE and ELS for Autism

When is it important to teach self advocacy skills to autistic people?

Its not about the age of the person with autism to teach self advocacy skills. It is more important to teach them these skills when autisitc people many skills mastered or improved on, such as communication and social skills. All of these skills go hand in hand. I can tell you from this guest in the guest interview podcast series for “The World of Autism”:

Merrick Egber

Merrick Egber is an autistic adult who learned to self advocate for himself. Today, he has many roles with Els for Autism, an autism organization and school on the east coast of Florida for autistic students. He works for them as an administrative assistant, represents on their autistic self advocate advisory board, and co-hosts a podcast to share his experiences on the autism spectrum. Not only he is with Els for Autism, but he is also on the board for Florida ASPE, an organization advocating for employment for people with disabilities. He truly does a lot to advocate for employment for people with disabilities. Check out the interview I did with Merrick here:

Learn more about Merrick with Els for Autism in the link attached: https://www.elsforautism.org/get-to-know-us/our-board/

Interview with Sam Mitchell as an autistic podcaster and entrepreneur

How many of you have heard of podcasts talking about autism?

Podcasts about autism have been growing more than ever before. Podcasts are being created and hosted by parents of autistic children, therapists who work with autistic people, teachers, and autistic self advocates. It is truly amazing! Now get ready for a new guest in my guest interview podcast series on, “The World of Autism”:

Sam Mitchell

Sam Mitchell is a young autistic adult who created his own podcast and cooperation: Autism Rocks and Rolls. The mission of his podcast is to educate about autism from his experiences growing up on the autism spectrum. Sam does invite guests on his podcast to let people know they need to advocate for people who are on the autism spectrum. Check out the interview I did with Sam here:

Check out Sam’s podcast here: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/autism-rocks-and-rolls-sam-mitchell-Eg759SekWvU/

What podcasts should people should listen to about autism? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Inclusive companies for Autistic people

Did you know autistic people still struggle with employment, from being unemployed to working below minimum wage?

Credit: Spectrum-Autism Research News

Personally, I work with an inclusive ABA company that hires autistic people to work in various roles for the company. As you may know, I am their main blogger. Also, I am a team member of the high needs support ABA virtual team and working on certification to be a therapist with the company. My experiences with them for almost a year in June has been incredible! The amount of support I’ve gotten on my journey in the ABA field is so grateful! If you are autistic and want to pursue work in the field of ABA or even showcase your skills (ex: marketing, video editing, and etc), join this ABA company: Full Spectrum ABA!

There are so many more inclusive companies and organizations out in the world today hiring autistics. Here is a list of some companies that hire autistic people:

1. Google – Google Cloud’s Autism Career Program

2. Walgreens – Autism careers program

3. Microsoft – Microsoft Neurodiversity Hiring Program

4. AMC- FOCUS program

5. Home Depot- Ken’s Krew program

6. Equally Fit- Ambassdors program

It is still a work in progress when it comes to companies hiring autistics and people with disabilities, but the change is already incredible. We must continue striving for more companies to be inclusive when hiring potential employees with autism and disabilities.

Do you anymore companies who are inclusive? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

High school to college transition

It is graduation time already!?

Throwback to my high school graduation class of 2016

Many schools already had their graduation commencements back in May or during this month. As for me, I graduated from my high school 6 years ago and now I will be graduating with my bachelor’s degree in October of this year. I recall my transition from high school to college went smoothly.

In my last year of high school, my child study team case manager expressed to me that I can attend Brookdale Community College by taken at least two years of Spanish. It was good that I took Spanish classes in high school because it helped me towards attending college. Also, I learned that I did not need to take the ACT/SAT because it was not required for this college. Afterwards, my parents and I went through the application process for Brookdale Community College during my last year of high school. I was so happy to know I got accepted to Brookdale!

Towards the end of winter and early spring, I recall taking a couple of exams, so my courses could be placed for me as soon as I began attending Brookdale. These exams were college placement exams, which assessed my math and reading skills. The results I learned were that I needed to take one perquisite course for reading and a couple of perquisite courses for math before taking courses in my associate’s degree program. This was because I did not do so well on the college placement exams. This made me feel glad I did not have to take the SAT/ACT, haha!

During open house in the spring of my senior year, my parents and I went on a tour at Brookdale. I was so grateful one of my good friends from high school gave the tour. Her name is Ashley A, and she was already attending Brookdale before I did. My parents and I asked questions about Brookdale in general while on the tour. Ashley did a great job answering my parents’ questions about the college. The tour she provided helped me feel better that I would navigate around the college. Parents, make sure to request a tour of the college for your child because it helps them out to navigate around the college.

Furthermore, my parents and I scheduled an appointment for the disability services. I expressed to the case manager of the disability services at Brookdale about my accommodations and modifications I needed to do well in college. I learned from the meeting that the disability services was different in college than during my K-12 education years. It was preparing me to self-advocate more for myself as soon as I attended Brookdale.

How would you support people with disabilities for them to have a smooth transition from high school to college? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Prompting

Prompting is a teaching procedure that comes before the behavior/skill/response occurs. It is used to support a person as they learn a new skill/behavior/response. There are different prompting systems used to teach people new behaviors/skills/responses:

Credits: The Autism Helper

Least to Most prompting: a person providing no assistance at first and then moves to a more instructive prompt if an individual is not able to perform the skill on their own.

Most to Least prompting: a person providing hands on assistance to learn the skill and then uses a less instructive approach as an individual is able to the perform the skill more on their own.

When a individual needs a lot of help learning a new skill/behavior/response, use the first prompting system. When an individual is able to perform a new skill/behavior/response already, use least to most prompting. The ultimate goal is that prompting should be faded out as soon as an individual can perform the skill/behavior/response more on their own.

When have you used prompting? Share your experiences in the comments section?

Interview with Michael Gilberg as an autistic special education lawyer

Did you know students with disabilities have rights to gain appropriate education?

Students with disabilities, like autistic students have rights to appropriate education based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. My latest special guest can tell you about these acts and the importance of disability rights.

Michael Gilberg

Micheal Gilberg is an autistic adult who advocates for students with disabilities’ rights in the education system as a special education lawyer. He shares about the importance of getting appropriate education for students with disabilities that meet individual needs and for their own success in life. Check out the interview I did with Michael here:

To learn more about Michael, check out his website here: https://www.michaelgilbergesq.com/

Do you have any questions for Michael? Share your questions in the comments section!

College success stories of 2022

2022 is the year for the disability community in the college arena!

There are two students with disabilities who have been getting recognized all over social media for their achievement of graduating college this May! Now let me tell you about these two amazing women with disabilities who graduated from college this year:

Elizabeth Bonker

Elizabeth Bonker is an autistic woman from Florida who graduated from Rollins College. She graduated at the top of her class and was the valedictorian of her college! Her graduation speech blew the crowd away as she used a text to speech software to celebrate achievements with her classmates graduating. Check out her amazing speech here:

https://www.rollins.edu/college-of-liberal-arts/news/elizabeth-bonker-commencement-address

Jennifer Rucci

Jennifer Rucci is a woman who lives with encephalitis, a condition that inflamed her brain to the point it affected her motor functions. She uses a wheelchair to move from one place to another. It took her ten years to complete her associate’s degree, due to her condition worsen over the years. After a decade of attending Brookdale Community College, she finally graduated! To learn more of her story, check out this article here:

https://www.app.com/story/news/education/2022/05/13/brookdale-community-college-nj-student-with-encephalitis-graduates/9704284002/

Parents, I encourage your child to attend college. No matter the obstacles your child will face, colleges provide resources for people with disabilities to thrive and earn their college degree, such as an associate and bachelor’s degree. Do not give up!

Interview with Michelle Zeman as an autistic BCBA

Did you know more autistic people either are pursing work in the ABA field or already work in the ABA field?

Currently, I have been working with an ABA company on the side as I am growing myself in the ABA field. I work alongside with 7 other autistic colleagues, which most of are either pursuing work in the ABA field or already work in the ABA field. We have a team full of different experiences and abilities in the ABA field. I am so excited to share about this next guest, who actually does not work in the same ABA company as me and even wants to open up their own ABA company! Here is my next guest in the guest interview series:

Michelle Zeman

Michelle Zeman is an autistic behavior analyst from Florida! She has years of experience as a behavior analyst in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) field for ABA companies in Florida. She has worked with clients with autism and other disabilities of various age ranges. Want to hear her perspective as an autistic in the ABA field? Learn more about Michelle through the interview I did with her here:

Please wish Michelle the best of luck as she is on a journey towards opening up her own ABA company with a friend!

Interview with Corben Heaver as an autistic union advocate

Employment has still been a big issue in the disability community for years. People with autism are more unemployed and working lower wage jobs than people living with other disabilities. Although, there is one guest that I brought on who is advocating for that change as a union advocate. Here is my latest guest in the guest interview series on “The World of Autism”:

Corben Havener

Corben Heaver is a young autistic adult from Indiana. The goal of his work as a union advocate is to change the statistics of people with disabilities when it comes to employment. Corben strives to make changes in regards to workplace’s perceptions about employees with disabilities, as well helping to improve workplace conditions for people with disabilities to work. Want to learn more about Corben and his union advocacy work? Check out the interview I did with Corben here:

Do you think more workplaces need to change their perceptions when it comes to hiring people with disabilities? Also, do you know any inclusive companies hiring people with disabilities? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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