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What skills can Butterfly Effects teach my child?

August 7, 2020

Long haired hispanic boy laughing and having fun with his friends standing on a wooden fence in a summer park blowing bubbles, with a vintage develop

Butterfly Effects uses Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques to teach your child nearly any socially significant behavior or skill, as it relates to the core deficits seen in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For a behavior to be socially significant, it must: 1.) Help to produce reinforcement in your child’s environment, 2.) Be a prerequisite to a more complex skill, 3.) Help to increase your child’s access to other environments (such as school, stores, etc.), 4.) Help to increase the likelihood that others will interact with your child in an appropriate and supportive manner, and/or 5.) Be an age appropriate behavior.

Communication skills, social skills, play skills, daily living skills and adaptive/coping skills are taught to increase your child’s independence and create a functional environment for your child to thrive in. ABA is used to increase behaviors, maintain behaviors, generalize behaviors from one environment to another, and reduce interfering behaviors. But what does that mean?

Communication skills taught to your child may increase their likelihood of accessing the things they need in their environment. For example, a nonverbal child who previously cried to indicate that he/she wanted an item may be taught to use sign language or an Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) device to communicate to others what they want. Listening skills taught to your child may increase their understanding of the world around them, as well as keep them safe. For example, responding to “stop,” “hot,” or “no” can be vitally important when met with a dangerous consequence if not adhered to.

Social and play skills your child will learn will also increase their likelihood of accessing and maintaining meaningful relationships with others. Social skills may include, but are not limited to initiating greetings, playing with peers, maintaining a conversation, and/or requesting items from peers. Play skills may include cause and effect play, compromising, losing a game, and accepting that loss, engaging in pretend play, using toys the way they are meant to be used, and playing independently.

Daily living skills taught to your child will increase their independence and likelihood of accessing other environments. For example, a child may be required to be toilet trained to attend school, so not only will toilet training your child increase his or her independence, it will also increase the likelihood that they will be able to access the school environment in this scenario. Daily living skills taught to your child will also increase their safety and hygiene, such as handwashing or bathing.

Many skills that are taught using ABA are also necessary pre-requisite skills for a more complex skill. For example, if a family engages in family dinners on Sunday nights for approximately 30 minutes and the client is currently only able to sit for 2 minutes before attempting to leave the table, the staff at Butterfly Effects may work on increasing his or her ability to sit gradually, because being able to sit at the table is a prerequisite for attending family dinner on Sunday nights. Likewise, an important prerequisite skill for verbal speech is being able to “echo” or mimic what someone else is saying. Therefore, the staff at Butterfly Effects will work with your child to increase his or her ability in that area.

For your child to be as successful as possible, ABA works to reduce interfering behaviors. Interfering behaviors are any behaviors that may interfere, or get in the way of, your child accessing what he or she wants or needs. These behaviors may include self-injury, stereotypy, tantrums, physical aggression, and/or property destruction, among other behaviors. However, please note that stereotypy should not be targeted for reduction unless it interferes with your child’s ability to access reinforcement, participate in the learning environment, or create/maintain relationships with others.

Because Butterfly Effects utilizes ABA, any socially significant behavior can be taught to your child. Butterfly Effects will work to increase your child’s communication, social skills, play skills, daily living skills, adaptive/coping skills, and reduce interfering behaviors. Butterfly Effects will help to increase your child’s independence and quality of life through love, laughter, and ABA.