Fort Myers ABA therapists

Key Skills Our Fort Myers ABA Therapists Target

As Fort Myers ABA therapists, our work involves systematically teaching kids with autism spectrum disorder (and other developmental disabilities) a wide range of skills while simultaneously reducing challenging behaviors that are socially significant.

We do this using the principles of behavior analysis. That means we don’t just try to put a stop to behaviors. We recognize that all behavior, at its core, is communication. We use evidence-based approaches to get to the root of why a child is behaving in a certain behavior. Usually, motivations include access to attention, tangibles, escape, or sensory input/avoidance.

This understanding is what allows us to help kids phase out certain behaviors while also providing the tools that help them express themselves and meet their personal needs in ways that are clearer, safer, more effective.

A few guiding truths in behavior science are:

  • Behavior is controlled by consequences.
  • Reinforcement (i.e., reward) can increase or strengthen a behavior.
  • Negative consequence can decrease or weaken a behavior.
  • Extinction (withholding reinforcement of a previously reinforced behavior) can help us minimize challenging behaviors.

In working with children, we find that a mix of positive reinforcement and extinction tend to be the most effective approaches.

The Skills on Which We Spend the Most Time

The exact skills and behaviors targeted by our Fort Myers ABA therapists will depend heavily on the individual. We look at the child from the “whole child” perspective to determine what skills are going to be the most meaningful and significant for them – both now and in the future.

That said, most skills our Fort Myers ABA therapists are working on in our pediatric sessions fall under one of the following umbrellas:

Communication Skills.

ABA therapy can be a tremendous help in improving expressive language (verbal and non-verbal), receptive language (understanding spoken language), social communication, and pragmatic language. Many of our patients also receive speech therapy, but our services can overlap – and collaborative treatment is just one of the many benefits of receiving ABA at a multidisciplinary therapy center.

Our therapists can teach kids to make requests (using words, gestures, or AAC devices), follow instructions, appropriately respond to questions, and initiate/maintain social interactions.

Social Skills.

One of our most central functions is giving kids the tools they need to facilitate successful interactions and relationships with others. We target things like eye contact an joint attention, better understanding social cues (facial expressions, body language, etc.), and engaging in reciprocal play and turn-taking/cooperative activities with peers.

Adaptive Living Skills.

Adaptive living skills are those that promote independence in daily life. These can include things like personal hygiene (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.), mealtime skills (feeding, using utensils, making healthy meal choices), and household chores and self-help tasks.

Academic Skills.

Setting kids up for educational success is a major function of ABA therapy. All kids learn differently, and some may need accommodations to thrive. We work on getting them ready for the classroom, so that they can excel in the least restrictive education environment possible. We work on pre-academic skills (letter and number recognition, color, shapes, sorting, etc.), reading comprehension, and basic math concepts. We also work on skills they’ll need to navigate school interactions – in the classroom, on the playground, during testing, etc.

Behavior Management and Self-Regulation.

Self-regulation strategies are key for success in daily life. We work to help kids identify and express their emotions appropriately, utilize various coping strategies to manage triggers like frustration, anxiety, and sensory overload, and follow the rules, routines, and expectations in various settings.

Fort Myers ABA Therapists Make a Big Difference

ABA therapists help kids more effectively navigate the world around them – which ultimately helps them reach their full potential. With consistency, patience, and collaboration among therapists, caregivers, and educators, ABA therapy makes a profound and lasting impact on the lives of the patients we’re privileged to treat.

FOCUS offers ABA therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

Patient Outcomes After Applied Behavior Analysis for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Jan. 1, 2022, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

More Blog Entries:

Benefits of “Center-Based” Fort Myers ABA Therapy, March 20, 2024, Fort Myers ABA Therapists Blog

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