Open Educational Resources

Teaching Problem Solving to Increase Academic, Communication, and Social Skills (Judah Axe)

Problem solving is defined as manipulating stimuli to increase the probability of arriving at a solution to a problem. When given a problem, such as a math problem or a question that involves recalling a past event, an individual arrives at a solution by engaging in a few behaviors, such as asking herself questions, drawing out possible solutions, and visualizing. A challenge of analyzing problem solving is it often occurs covertly, or within an individual’s skin. Although typically developing people engage in problem solving on a daily basis, there is limited research on teaching problem solving strategies to individuals with disabilities, especially in a behavior analytic framework. Two potential benefits of teaching problem solving skills to children with autism are less rote responding and more generalization. The presenter will provide a conceptual analysis of problem solving and review previous research on using problem solving to teach academic, communication, and social skills. The presenter will also describe his research on teaching problem solving to help children with autism recall past events, and he will recommend directions for research and practice.
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Judah B. Axe, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA
Presented at the 2018 Michigan Autism Conference
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