Skills Checkmark

Individualized
ASSESSMENTS

Skills Checkmark

Lesson
INSTRUCTIONS

Skills Checkmark

Progress
TRACKING

core assumptions

The Skills® approach to intervention is rooted in applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA-based treatment approaches are currently considered to be at the forefront of effective therapeutic and educational interventions for children with autism (Myers, & Plauch√© Johnson, 2007; National Research Council, 2001; New York State Department of Health, Early Intervention Program, 1999; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999; Vismara & Rogers, 2010). ¬†An ABA approach leads us to the following core assumptions:

  1. Everything that a person says or does is considered behavior, including covert behaviors, such as thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires.
  2. A person’s behavior is a result of complex interactions between that person and his/her environment; thus people are not just “slaves to their genes” and behavior is not “fixed.” Both overt and covert behaviors are amenable to change through the manipulation of environmental variables.
  3. All individuals, with and without autism or other disabilities, are capable of learning (though not everyone will learn at the same rate or in the same way). A person’s disability or “label” cannot be used to explain why a behavior or skill is occurring or not occurring or why a teaching procedure or intervention plan fails.
  4. Family members should participate in treatment. The family is most often the child’s primary environment and thus plays an essential role in shaping and maintaining a child’s skills. Parent participation and training are a vital part of the treatment process.
  5. Continuous learning opportunities (helpful and problematic) are presented in the environment throughout people’s waking hours as they interact with people and objects and engage in every-day activities. Treatment programs should therefore maximize a child’s learning opportunities by training all individuals who interact regularly with the child (therapists, family members, teachers, classroom aides etc) to capture and contrive teaching opportunities throughout the child’s day.
  6. Accountability and the reliable demonstration that treatment procedures are effective are essential. Thus, ongoing data collection and data monitoring are a core part of Skills (and of ABA-based interventions in general). The detailed data-tracking systems within Skills allow users to monitor child progress and adjust treatment procedures to ensure that intervention is effective and individualized.