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Lovaas’s major beliefs are based around the fact that individuals with ASD are able to learn and it is important to focus socialization and communication.
During the mid 1960’s Lovaas used the basics of procedure and discrimination treatments to influence these non speaking children to imitate others.
Some examples of discrimination treatments from the book- “They began by reinforcing a child with food and praise for making any sound while watching the teacher. After the child mastered that step, they reinforced the child only if she made a sound after the teacher made a request—such as the phrase, “Say ‘ball’” (a procedure known as discrimination training)”
Example of shaping treatment - “Once the child reliably made some sound after the teacher’s request, the teacher used shaping to reinforce”
Naturalistic teaching strategies- “Attempting to use more child directed versus adult directed techniques (Durand, 2014). These teaching strategies include arranging the environment so that the child initiates an interest (e.g., placing a favorite toy just out of reach) and this is used as a teaching opportunity (e.g., Say, “I want truck.”).”
Evidence based treatments include incidental teaching, pivotal response training, and milieu teaching. “These techniques seem to increase a variety of social communication skills (e.g., making requests, interactions with peers, joint attention skills, play skills) among some children with more severe forms of ASD”
I was an AID at a school for kids with autism this past summer and this technique was used frequently with the children. They teach social skills, for example, how to carry on a conversation and ask questions of other people. These exercises included the use of peers who do not have ASD as trainers, and there is evidence that those with ASD can improve their socialization skills (Durand, 2014). I was used as a peer without ASD who could have an open conversation with the child to make them comfortable speaking with others. I would prompt them to be polite and sometimes whisper the answers of the questions. Overall my job was to mediate conversations between two students with ASD.
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