Incorporating Social Peers into ABA Instruction to Teach Social Skills
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Kate B. LaLonde, Ph.D., BCBA-D & Kenzie Gatewood, BA Presented at the 2017 Michigan Autism Conference
Abstract: Young children with autism often have difficulty cultivating friendships due to the language and social deficits associated with the disorder. Additionally, therapeutic environments may not be arranged to promote social interaction between individuals with autism and those without autism. As such, individuals with autism often lack appropriate models for language and social skills. Further, therapists face multiple challenges in creating therapeutic environments that mimic real life settings in which children would apply these skills. A possible solution is to include children with autism in education and social settings with neurotypical children. This presentation will outline how to use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy in inclusive pre-school settings. The strategies outlined have been developed and evaluated at Michigan State University’s Early Learning Institute, an inclusive, early intensive behavior intervention center for young children with autism. Specific strategies discussed will include language and social skills training, facilitating activities between children with and without autism, and incorporating children with autism into typical routines observed in preschool settings.