• What Should Kids Know Before Entering Kindergarten?

    Entering kindergarten is a major milestone in every child’s life. But before your little one heads off to school, you’ll need to make sure he or she is well prepared for it. Kindergarten readiness is one of the reasons why early intervention is so important for children with autism. A behavior analyst can help your child learn crucial academic, social, and behavioral skills that prepare him or her for success in the classroom. 

    Language Skills 

    During their time in kindergarten, children make remarkable progress with reading, writing, and speaking. To help future kindergarteners get ready, parents should spend time reading to their kids every day. Sing children’s songs and nursery rhymes to help kids learn the rhythm of language. Teach your child to sing the alphabet song with you, and to recognize the letters of his or her first name. You can also help your child learn the “rules” of reading, such as that English is read from left to right, and that books are read from front to back. 

    Math Skills 

    In kindergarten, children are taught how to count to 100, add and subtract within five, and sort and categorize objects. You can help your child get ready by teaching him or her how to count to 20. Help your child understand that smaller numbers lead up to bigger numbers. Make math seem less abstract and more concrete by counting similar objects. 

    Self-Care Skills 

    Academic skills aren’t the only ones your child will need in kindergarten. Kindergarteners are also expected to know how to use the restroom independently, without needing to be reminded to wash up afterward. An ABA therapist can help your child master the following skills: 

    • Put on and take off outerwear 
    • Sit patiently for a story for five to 10 minutes 
    • Share with other children 
    • Take turns 
    • Follow two-step directions 

    The Behavior Exchange Early Start Program (B.E.E.S.) can help your preschool-aged child get ready for kindergarten. Our ABA school near Plano and Frisco, Texas covers crucial academic, language, social, and motor skills so your child can get ready to achieve! You can get in touch today at (888) 716-8084. 

  • Teaching a Child to Wait: How ABA Can Help

    Waiting is an essential life skill, and also one of the most difficult to learn successfully. Any child may have trouble waiting. For a child with autism, in particular, the abstract concept of time can be difficult to grasp. This is why undesirable behaviors sometimes occur when a child is told to wait a few more minutes before he or she will get a desired objective or item. Fortunately, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can help teach children with autism how to wait patiently. 

    Structured Program for Waiting 

    An ABA therapist may design a structured program to help your child learn how to wait. First, it’s necessary to determine how long a child can already wait for a desired object. For this example, let’s say Jane is waiting for a doll. Jane can wait 30 seconds before grabbing at the doll or pleading for the doll. To start, the therapist may give Jane the doll for a few seconds, and then put it out of reach and say, “Wait.” Then, Jane must wait for 20 seconds before receiving the doll again. Gradually, the therapist will increase the length of time that the child will wait for an item or an activity. 

    Opportunities for Waiting in the Natural Environment 

    It’s important for parents to learn the basics of ABA techniques so that they can practice them with their children in the natural environment. Here’s a look at some natural opportunities to practice waiting: 

    • Mom starts to unbuckle Jane from the car seat, but then says, “Hold on a second,” and pretends to be busy with something else. 
    • Dad starts to hand Jane a book she wants, but then says, “Just a minute, let me read the back cover.” 

    Each time the child can successfully wait, he or she should receive praise and the desired item or activity in order to reinforce the lesson. 

    Here at The Behavior Exchange, we are tireless advocates for kids with autism and their families. Our autism therapy experts in Plano and Frisco, Texas firmly believe that every child deserves the opportunity to live up to his or her full potential. Call our ABA school at (888) 716-8084 to learn how our approach to therapy can help your child. 

  • What Is HOH Prompting?

    Autism therapy experts who use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) have a number of tools and techniques that they can use to help children reach their full potential. One example is prompting. A prompt is a stimulus that encourages a desired response. Sometimes, hand over hand (HOH) prompting may be appropriate. As the name suggests, HOH prompting involves the practitioner placing his or her hand directly on the child’s hand to guide the child in completing a task. 

    HOH prompting is often used for teaching children how to acquire academic skills, such as manipulating a pair of scissors, and self-care skills, such as wielding a toothbrush. The goal of HOH prompting is eventually to fade it out. As the child develops a better grasp on the skill, the therapist will begin to make the hand prompting less obvious. For example, the child may eventually only need a gentle tap on the hand to remember how to complete the task properly. 

    At The Behavior Exchange, our autism therapists in Plano and Frisco, Texas only use evidence-based, proven ABA techniques, so you can feel confident in your child’s therapy plan. We welcome your call at (888) 716-8084.

  • Comparing Independent, Onlooker, and Parallel Play

    To the casual observer, one child’s method of play might look the same as any other. But behavior analysts and sociologists have identified multiple types of play. The type of play a child may engage in depends on his or her developmental level, age, mood, and social setting. Younger children often engage in independent play, also called solo play. Independent play is important for developing self-sufficiency. Children with autism tend to engage in independent play more than cooperative play with other children. 

    Onlooker play is similarly more common in younger children. It occurs when a child is acting as an observer as other children play. Onlooker play enables children to learn the rules of the game and pick up on the nuances of social interaction. Parallel play, which is common in three-year-olds, occurs when two children play beside each other, but not with each other. Although it might seem like children enjoying parallel play aren’t paying much attention to each other, they are indeed learning about important social cues. 

    Are you concerned that your child might not be engaging in age-appropriate play? Call The Behavior Exchange at (888) 716-8084 to request an appointment with a behavior analyst in Plano and Frisco, Texas.