Team Approach to Teaching Communication Skills
At the Children’s Autism Center, a team approach to targeting communication skills using ABA principles is utilized. Clients receive direct speech and language therapy, consultative speech and language services, and in-home parent training.
The team at the Children’s Autism Center includes, but is not limited to, the board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), the speech and language pathologist (SLP), the registered behavior technicians (RBTs), and the caregivers. The SLP and the BCBA collaborate to identify communication skills to be targeted within each client’s ABA program. This program is then carried out by the SLP, the RBT and the caregivers whenever possible. In our experience, this team approach to teaching communication skills is effective because when clients participate in repeated practice of communication skills within speech and language therapy, daily ABA therapy sessions, and their homes, they are more like to demonstrate progress toward skill mastery. We also have found that our learners are more likely to generalize and maintain mastered skills with this approach.
Speech and Language Evaluation at the Children’s Autism Center
Each full-time client typically receives a speech and language evaluation provided by a licensed SLP*. The SLP will evaluate clients using formal standardized assessment tools, informal assessment tools and clinical judgment based upon the needs of the client. The evaluation will provide information regarding a variety of speech and language skills including: articulation of speech sounds, receptive and expressive language abilities, vocabulary skills, voice, and fluency skills. The SLP will typically give one or more of the following standardized assessment tools depending on the chronological age and specific strengths and weaknesses of the client:
- PLS-5 (Preschool language scales)
- CASL (Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language)
- TOLD P:3 (Test of Language Development)
- EVT (Expressive Vocabulary Test)
- PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test)
- GFTA-2 (Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation)
- BOEHM-3 (Boehm Test of Basic Concepts)
*If the learner is receiving services with another SLP in the community, the evaluation may be waived.
Speech and Language Therapy Sessions at the Children’s Autism Center
Speech and language therapy is provided by a licensed SLP. Our SLPs have also received over 40 hours of training in ABA and/or have earned the certification of RBT. During a speech and language therapy session, clients target communication skills in a clinical setting. SLPs use evidenced based therapy techniques paired with ABA principles to teach communication skills. A variety of speech and language skills are targeted during sessions. The skills targeted include but are not limited to: articulation of sounds, receptive and expressive language skills, use of alternative and augmentative systems, use of appropriate pragmatic skills, voice and fluency of speech.
Some of the programs that our SLPs use in addition to other evidenced based therapy techniques during speech and language therapy sessions include:
- Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol
- Talkies (Lindamood-Bell Program)
- Visualizing and Verbalizing (Lindamood-Bell Program)
Teaches oral language comprehension and expression, increases language comprehension and length and complexity of expressive language, and develops higher order thinking.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
- PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
- Use of voice output communication devices and other alternative and augmentative systems
Teaches initiation, gaining a communication partner’s attention, manding (requesting), and tacting (labeling/commenting).
- Video Modeling
- Role Play
- Speech modification techniques
- Stuttering modification techniques