At The Lighthouse, in addition to our 3 classrooms, we also have an ABA therapy room. The learners in this classroom are ages 4-6 and focus on programming written individually for them based on their ABLLS assessment. Each student receives 1:1 therapy during the day with one of our trained instructor therapists. Although we believe completing these programs everyday is integral to the development of these students, we like to take their programing a step further to prepare them to eventually be integrated into a classroom environment. During different activities like circle time, guided play and arts and crafts, our therapists are able to use Natural Environment Teaching (NET) to help our learners with hitting their ABLLS targets, social interaction, fine/gross motor skills, as well as show them how to behave in a classroom setting. Here is a look at what these activities look like in the ABA room and how they benefit our students on a daily basis!
Circle time is a huge part of a daily schedule in a primary classroom, which is why we feel it’s important to start working on this particular skill set in ABA. During circle time we do a calendar, which focuses on the date, weather and upcoming events (holidays, field trips etc) and sing songs! Using NET our students learn to attend to an instructor during group instruction, raise their hands to answer questions and take turns with their peers.
Arts & Crafts
Arts & creativity are a huge part of development as well as a typical school curriculum. The learners in the ABA room love to do crafts with each other and are so proud to show their parents what they have created at the end of the day. Using different art projects our therapists target multi-step instruction, fine motor skills and encourage creativity.
Social interaction can be difficult for students who have Autism. Usually our students may want to interact with their peers, but don’t have the practical skills to do so. Using a task analysis our team can break down what skills a child may need to learn in order to have a positive social interaction with a peer. For example, a child may have the skills approach a peer appropriately with the intention to play, but not know what to say to engage them once they get there. Our therapists can intervene with a prompt to teach that student the skill, in the moment, with another child, in hopes that they begin to use these skills independently during play. Giving students words like “do you want to play with me?” or “it’s your turn” will hopefully transfer to a classroom or recess setting without the support of a therapist.
Our students do amazing work with our therapists at their desks, but we believe that through the additional activities we do, we have created classroom like opportunities where our learners are thriving!
Written by: Amber Boychuk, ABA Supervisor at The Lighthouse