Category Archives: Skills

Planning & Organizing

Organize

It’s that time of year.
I’m shamelessly susceptible to commercial marketing. Candy corn never crosses my mind until midway through September when the backpacks and crayons disappear and Halloween candy floods retail stores. I’m first in line for a gingerbread latte on November 1. Right now, it is in the high 80s in Southern California and I still bought a pair of gloves last week.
According to the retail stores, we are currently in the three-week window (before the Valentine’s Day rush) when we should be organizing our homes as we pack away winter holiday paraphernalia and find places for the gifts we received.
If you’ve been bitten by the organizing bug, consider taking some time to organize your child’s home program.
Physical Space
Organizing therapy space is very dependent on the nature of your child’s program. I recommend checking in with the lead therapist or supervisor before making any major changes, as they may have some specific ideas that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your child’s home program. With that in mind, here are a few organizing suggestions.
Materials
- Create a home base for the therapist. This space should be large enough to store and organize therapy supplies that stay in the home, including pens, Post-Its, tape, scissors and stimuli. Ideally, it would also be a place where the therapist can store his or her bag during sessions. It should be inaccessible to your child and their siblings – with regularly used reinforcers kept here. If not, they need to be stored in another location that will not provide your child with free access.
- When organizing toys or clothes that you expect your child to use (and clean up) independently, use labels that your child understands. If your child is not reading, label bins or drawers with pictures or drawings rather than words. Adhesive business card sleeves are my personal preference. They stick to bins and drawers and you can easily change the label when you change the contents by sliding in a new picture or written label.
- Store toys and reinforcers in clear bins. Just as we might do an inventory of our pantry before going to the store, when children see the contents of their bins, it serves as a reminder of what they have. This increases the likelihood that they will mand for these items because they can see the options available rather than having to recall all their toys from memory. If for some reason the therapy team needs to store an item out of sight from the child, a clear bin can always be lined with paper or the item placed in a bag.
Therapy Space
- Find space in your home for the therapy team to store toys and materials that will be inaccessible to your child outside of sessions. Motivation is essential to an effective ABA program. If your child has free access to toys and materials used during sessions, they may quickly lose motivation to access those items during therapy. This can dramatically slow learning and shift the focus of therapy from learning new skills to identifying new items and activities that are motivating. Communicate with the therapy team to see which toys or materials they would like kept out of reach.
- Keep things close to the location where they will be used. This practical approach to organization isn’t always our first instinct. For example, you may currently store all your child’s homework supplies in her bedroom, but if your child always does homework in the dining room, it makes sense to keep those supplies in the dining room where they will be used. This reduces the task demand for doing homework because your child will not have the added chore of gathering and putting away homework supplies.
- Once you find storage locations that work, be consistent, especially if the therapy team and your child will be going to those locations to access items. Knowing where things are located reduces frustration and confusion for your child and increases their independence at home.
Paper Organization
- Some ABA programs, like Skills® are now web-based. Having worked in the field for many years before the advent of tablets and web-based data collection, I cannot overstate how fantastic this new technology is! No overflowing log books exploding during a clinic meeting, no need to file data, and no risk of losing valuable information because of leaky sip cups or a sibling who wants to “collect data” all over the behavior graph. If you aren’t already using web-based curriculum and program management such as Skills®, now might be the time to start.
- Store additional documents electronically with a scanner. Organize and save IEP records, school work, assessment reports and medical records on your computer or a cloud. If you have a large backlog, this might take some initial work, but getting rid of that foot-high stack of papers will be worth it, and it makes retrieval and sharing of documents much easier too.
Wishing you and your family a productive and Happy New Year!

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Skills® Behavior Intervention Plan Builder Now Available As A Stand-Alone Web-Based Program

BIP Builder

The Skills® Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Builder is available for the first time as a stand-alone program that is designed to treat the root cause of challenging behavior. The BIP Builder offers newly-enhanced features and is the ultimate tool for efficiently designing effective BIPs to decrease challenging behavior using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The program utilizes evidence-based practices and emphasizes least-intrusive procedures.

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Pouting Pumpkins, Grinning Gourds, Smirking Squash

Halloween

Yes, Costco now has 5 aisles of Christmas décor, but it is still pumpkin season for at least a month! Do you have a pumpkin at home yet?

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Skills Makes It In Autism News Of Orange County

Anoc

Skills® is making a big splash this summer! We had a very favorable review in Behavior Analysis in Practice in June. In July, CARD’s “Mission Possible: Portraits of Hope” online video series highlighting personal journeys, challenges, and successes of children with autism released a video of Maddy Robinson who achieved recovery from autism after early intervention and applied behavior analysis (ABA) intervention led by her parents using the Skills curriculum.

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January 2013 Smarty

Smarty

If crafting isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there isn’t much work involved. The end result is a wonderful inexpensive alternative to commercial magnetic calendars. To download the template, visit the Autism Live facebook page. Once you have the template, print, cut and paste! Want to make it even faster? You can print directly to a printable magnet sheet, like these from Avery. Mount your calendar on the fridge or put it on a metal cookie pan for a mobile calendar.

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December 2012 Smart Art = Smarty!

Smarty

Have you seen the new Smarty videos on Autism Live? Skills® is sponsoring this new monthly series, so I got a sneak peek. I absolutely love them!

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Boo!-ks

Books

Books are a wonderful way to introduce the new concepts and vocabulary related to holidays. Here are some Halloween books that can be integrated into your child’s ABA program.

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The Help Group to Begin Using Skills® Curriculum with Students with Autism

Help Group

CARD is proud to announce that The Help Group, considered the largest comprehensive non-profit organization serving the needs of individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders, will begin a 4-month pilot of Skills® curriculum for 40 children with ASD, along with the CARD eLearning™ training in ABA to help maximize their treatment services for students on the autism spectrum!

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Cameras On, Lights Up, Audio Set, Computers Booted, And We’re Live In 3-2-1!

SkillsLive

That’s how I start each morning since Skills Live started airing back in September. As Technical Director for the show, I have a unique perspective on the quality programming we are providing to the world. As technology advances, the ability to provide new and original programming on the web has empowered people to share their knowledge with a previously unreachable audience. (It’s not just cat videos, I swear!) Here at Skills Live we get the chance to help those families in need of support and guidance at a time when their world might feel as though it’s gotten a little smaller. With the help of the BCBAs at CARD and an array of experts in the field of autism from all over the world, we are here to provide the information you want and need to know. Meant to be a communication between the show and our audience, we’re driven by the needs of our viewers.

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CARD Launches Live Web Show Giving Viewers 100% Access to Up-to-the-Minute Autism Resources and Training

This Thursday, September 8 was the official launch of CARD’s Skills Live™daily webcast. Skills Live gives everyone access to up-to-the-minute autism news and effective treatment strategies. It is the first of its kind and is broadcast live each weekday from 9 am to 1 pm (Pacific Standard Time) streaming on the internet at skillsforautism.com/skills-live.html.

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