Integrated Education and Communication (IEC), offer specialized educational and supervisory support services for children who have autism and other related developmental disorders. IEC provide individualised educational programs, specifically designed to meet, challenge, strengthen, and optimize a child's education and inclusion. The structure of each individual program utilizes the core principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA is a systematic approach to analyzing and changing behaviour. Using the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis, IEC take the time to consider the functional purpose of behaviours. Interventions are then designed focusing on positive proactive strategies to increase appropriate behaviours, and decrease inappropriate behaviours.
N.B. IEC does not support or use any aversive interventions.
ABA is based on more than 50 years of scientific investigation, with individuals affected by a wide range of behavioural and developmental disorders. Beginning in the early 60's, extensive research has documented the efficacy of behavioural intervention with individuals who have autism. The research has shown ABA to be effective in reducing disruptive behaviours such as self-injury, tantrums, noncompliance and self-stimulation. ABA has also shown to be effective in teaching skills such as complex communication, social interaction, play and recreation skills, and self-help skills.
IEC offer highly structured teaching programs where skills are broken down into their simplest most manageable form, a process guided by the child's learning pattern and current level of functioning. Child specific skills are targeted and taught using 'discrete trials'. A discrete trial is the primary teaching tool and consists of three crucial components:
1) 'SD' - the instruction to the child.
2) 'R' - the child's response to the instruction.
3) 'SR' - feedback given based on the child's response to the instruction.
As the child progresses through each program, assistance is provided and systematically reduced until the child demonstrates complete independence. As simple skills are acquired, the child is then taught to combine them into more complex tasks, and to use these skills in a variety of settings.
The child's progress through the program is regularly documented, and the data recordings provide continuous records of the child's progress to enable precise 'fine-tuning' of teaching procedures. The main goal of IEC is to provide children with the prerequisites necessary to learn naturally from the environment through, explanation, modeling, and other appropriate cues available in the situation. There is a high priority on having fun and making learning an enjoyable and rewarding process.
Time, consistency in the implementation of the program, and immediate feedback for behaviour, are key elements to the successful implementation of an ABA program. Individual programs provided under our intervention approach are aimed at increasing and teaching skills by providing repetition and high levels of reinforcement for desired behaviour. These key factors of the intervention approach are intended to provide structure, and to increase the child's motivation to want to participate in a learning situation (see Factors Contributing To A Successful Outcome).
IEC's curriculum covers 10 key developmental learning areas:
Matching - Student learns to pair items that go together. Imitation - Student learns to copy the actions of others.
Motor Skills - Student learns to manipulate and participate in a variety of activities that aim to facilitate the development of gross motor and fine motor skills.
Play Skills - Student learns to manipulate objects / materials, and to participate in a variety of play activities.
Receptive Language - Student learns to listen, comprehend, and respond to early language concepts.
Expressive Language - Student learns to produce sounds, words, phrases and sentences.
Abstract Language - Student learns to comprehend abstract concepts receptively, expressively and functionally.
Conversation skills - Student learns appropriate means of communicating and responding in social situations.
Academic Skills - Student learns to participate in a variety of classroom activities and gains exposure to academic concepts. Independent living skills - Student learns personal care skills and a variety of household chores.
The student's ABA programs, as provided by Integrated Education and Communication, are derived from a variety of the above developmental concept areas. To achieve maximum results, the child's program needs to be a balanced curriculum. Balance can be achieved by incorporating a variety of learning goals from different developmental areas, and by working with the child's strengths and on their weaknesses simultaneously.
IEC ensures that children on the program have a balanced curriculum, one that provides them with the necessary skills required to take advantage of the educational and social opportunities available in their communities.
Children with autism have more difficulty learning in the same way that other typically developing children do, and find it somewhat difficult to learn from the environment. They may experience difficulty distracting, focusing, comprehending and responding to relevant information in the environment. Impairments in communication, social interaction as well as challenging and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, impact on the child in ways that may result in high levels of frustration, and feelings of failure in a number of learning environments. Without the ability to communicate and comprehend their environment, children with autism may express such frustration in tantrums and other avoidance behaviours, as they attempt to reduce the confusion in their surroundings.
Children with autism do have the ability to learn. Our treatment approach ensures that the learning environment provided for children with autism builds success and motivation, whilst reducing the possibility of failure. This optimal learning environment may be established in a number of ways: Simplifying the language presented Removing irrelevant distraction and information from the environment and teaching material. Providing high levels of reinforcement for desired behaviours. Guiding the child to achieve the desired response.
By modifying the teaching material and environment to ensure that the child is presented with only the most critical pieces of information, we will inevitably attempt to facilitate the child's comprehension of the situation. By guiding the child to achieve the desired response, and by providing consistent reinforcement for desired behaviours, we will increase the likelihood of establishing and maintaining desirable behaviours. N.B. IEC does not support or use any aversive interventions.