STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
Sara’s Garden uses a whole-child approach to autism therapy. This means that every child is assessed to determine his individual strengths and weaknesses and to establish a set of goals unique to the child. As part of this approach, each child is monitored to evaluate the ongoing effectiveness of the programs in which he participates. This way, each child’s program can be efficiently tailored to meet his needs.
Families of children with autism spectrum disorders confront a wide range of challenges. Raising a child on the autism spectrum is difficult, both for the children as well as the parents. Autism’s influence on the family can be exhausting, isolating and troublesome.
A child with autism may be withdrawn, frequently playing alone, and may be inappropriate in their play and conduct. Autistic children sometimes make strange noises or engage in repetitive behaviors that can be frightening to other children and adults not used to being around someone with additional needs. Some children with autism may have sensitivities to certain foods, eat special diets to lessen their symptoms, or have strange eating habits. Many children with autism may have altered sleep patterns and be particularly devoted to doing things a certain way.
Sara’s Garden is committed to providing an education to children on the autism spectrum through the use of Applied Behavior Analysis. By creating a central resource for education, assessment and treatment, we aspire to replace fear and uncertainty with hope, knowledge and support, to aid in re-establishing family balance, and to help put children on the path to realizing their fullest potential and becoming an active part of their community.
Applied Behavior Analysis is the science of learned behavior through motivation and reinforcement of these behaviors. The principles of ABA create opportunities and motivation to teach and increase desirable behavior such as improving attention, communicating wants and needs, increasing academic skills or building play skills, just to name a few. Behavior Analysts and their team focus on the function of behavior based on what happens immediately before and after the area of concern. ABA is based on the science of learning and behavior. Ongoing assessment and data collection drive decision making.
Through decades of research, the techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis have been shown to be highly effective in altering the developmental outcomes for individuals with Autism. Based on further studies, we now know that children learn more effectively by using a combination of rewards for, and teaching of, positive behavior and extinction or punishment for negative behavior as consequences instead of punishment alone. “Reinforcement” refers to something that will increase the likelihood a given behavior will happen again in the future. “Extinction” refers to withholding reinforcement for an unwanted behavior. “Punishment” simply refers to something after a behavior that will decrease the likelihood a given behavior will happen again.