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Programming for Success: Critical Elements of an Effective Intervention for Individuals with Autism

James Partington
Professionals who provided services to individuals with a diagnosis of autism strive to help these learners reach their fullest potential. However, many instructional programs for individuals with autism fail to devote sufficient instructional time on those skills that will result in the greatest overall rate of acquisition. In order to facilitate the rapid acquisition of critical language and learning skills it is important to prioritize both the selection of specific learning objectives and the teaching activities. When selecting learning objectives, it is important to select developmentally appropriate skills to teach based on the learner’s age and skills in relation to development as demonstrated by typically-developing individuals. The actual development of skills requires active participation in teaching activities throughout the day by a motivated learner in a wide variety of situations. Most importantly, parents and other caregivers need to develop and consistently implement effective teaching strategies, and track the development of the learner’s skills over time so that timely adjustments can be made and new learning targets can be identified.

Presented at the 2017 Michigan Autism Conference

James W. Partington, PhD, BCBA-D is the director of Behavior Analysts, Inc., and provides services to children and their families at the STARS Clinics in Walnut Creek, California. He is a licensed psychologist and a board certified behavior analyst, doctoral level (BCBA-D), and has more than 45 years experience working with children with developmental disabilities. His expertise is in language-based intervention with children who are experiencing language delays as a result of autism and other related developmental disorders. Dr. Partington is the co-founder of a school that specialized in language-based instruction for children with autism (STARS School) and has helped several public school systems establish similar classrooms within their own districts. He has been a faculty member of several universities including West Virginia University, University of San Francisco and St. Mary’s College. Dr. Partington is a former President of the Northern California Association for Behavior Analysis and has served as a member of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Dr. Partington has received several professional awards including the Public Service Award for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis in Florida, presented by the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis. He has co-authored the book, Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities, and The Assessment of Functional Living Skills (The AFLS®). He is the author of several books including The Assessment of Language and Learning Skills-Revised (The ABLLS-R®), Capturing the Motivation of Children with Autism, and Getting Started: Developing Critical Learning Skills for Children on the Autism Spectrum.
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