We're back in business! Plus: Montessori and ABA?

June 30, 2020

Voici une article sur la méthode Montessori et l'ABA, en français: https://www.montessori-family.com/blogs/news/autisme-montessori-et-aba-une-combinaison-unique

 

Hello to all,

 

Happy to say that ABA Senegal is back in full swing after two and a half months of absence. We thank our families for their patience and look towards September with optimism. After a full month of services while navigating pandemic restrictions, we now know we can provide for our students no matter the legislative decision regarding the openings or closings of schools. We currently have 2 families who have decided to pick home services back up (each with their own interventionist), 1 student in our therapy room, 2 school consults, 2 currently weighing the risks for center services, and 1 new client booked for September. We are allowing families all the time they need to make their own decisions regarding the re-continuation of services for their children.

 

Below: Summer kit for a home program:

- Box of basic art supplies and school supplies. This is the box usually given during 2-week school breaks.

- Additional: Day and date poster with removable components

- Additional: Social skills board game (customizable for math, reading, and any other subject!) 

- Additional: Daily activity packs, books, and games - picked up by the interventionist each Friday

(Most books are actually read-alouds on Youtube! Some are printed). 

- Token board with 100 cfa "coins" and items that will be "for sale" during this student's Friday Market

 

And on to the second part of our post : Though this may have already been mentioned in the past, we hope to connect with a local Montessori school this coming September for one of our students. The blending of Montessori and "classic" ABA can be quite tricky, as they both treat child motivation a little differently, though Montessori does have several techniques used in ABA such as task analysis and prompt fading. After an initial meeting with the school's personnel, it seems that Montessori may have more in common with naturalistic ABA models such as PRT (Pivotal Response Treatment) than "classic" ABA - Or shall we say, a bit of both. 

 

Montessori's teaching philosophy stems from child self-motivation and the acknowledgement that time is a resource for learning, as sometimes children need to take plenty of time to become exposed to materials before beginning the learning process. Montessori teaches foundationals of how to learn, part of which is supporting a child's natural curiosity and allowing them to go at their own pace. 

 

But what if that child is unable to communicate their intentions, goals, or needs with the outside world? What if they have trouble making decisions even when offered only 2 or 3 choices? What if they do not imitate those around them, or attend to the teacher, or interact with the other children? This is where ABA may have room to make a difference.

 

Naturalistic ABA relies on natural reinforcers just like Montessori does (though, interestingly, Montessori does not rely on social reinforcers, like high fives and "good jobs!" like ABA). Through natural reinforcers and close 1-1 supervision, ABA can construct an environment where a child must communicate with others in order to get what they need.This allows plenty of opportunities to practice their communication with their teachers and friends at school, while also allowing them the freedom to choose which activities they want to do, and with which materials. 

 

After a meeting with the school, we have decided that ABA may fit best in the "Communication and Socialization" realms, and the Montessori method for everything else within this environment, such as personal independence (especially hygiene), autonomy throughout the day, and the majority of it's curriculum for young children, much of which is about interacting with the natural world through all five sense (this bodes well for those on the spectrum!). We will give the child plenty of time to habituate to the environment and materials, but continue to ask them to communicate their needs during that process, even if it's hard work sometimes. We will also help the student interact with other children during the day, redirecting much of their communication towards their peers, such as asking a friend for help! 

 

As for a 1-1 aide, the Montessori staff have claimed that an aide will not be needed! We will be doing a trial period come September to see what everyone thinks. 

 

For information on ABA and Montessori, see the book "Autism, The Montessori Way" by Rachel Peacey and available materials at montessoriautism.com. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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