Older learners with autism need support with the activities of daily life. Because of how they experience the world, they need specific instruction to learn new tasks, often broken down into small components taught with frequent repetition. The approach taken in our ABA therapy for high school students allows our learners to be more independent, thereby opening doors to living, employment, and social situations beyond graduation from high school and transition programs.
At Nexus, we typically use the Essential for Living (EFL) curriculum to inform our skills instruction for older learners. It focuses on the “Essential 8” skills for independent living, instructing through “must have,” “should have,” “good to have,” and “nice to have” skills.
We teach everything from dressing independently to hygiene to broadening food choices to developing functional language to vocational skills to applying for a job. These Applied Behavior Analysis for parents and teens programs typically take place in client homes only, working closely with parents and other supports to practice the skills outside of sessions as well. This is even more vital because the types of skills being practiced here don’t make sense to practice more than when they naturally occur. For example, you’re not going to practice taking a shower more than once a day usually, so every time there is an opportunity to shower the person who is helping should be using the same techniques to teach, whether it’s a Registered Behavior Technician, parent, grandparent, care provider, or personal support worker.
The importance of collaborating with other professionals in this stage of life is even greater than earlier. Independent living and quality of life are so linked that supporting other professionals in using ABA techniques helps to foster more effective growth because those skills are being practiced well in all settings of the learner’s life.
Our focus is turning the natural environment into a classroom for daily living skills. We want our learners who are approaching adulthood to feel more confident, more independent, and have a greater range of skills. This allows them to access more opportunities, whether it be a more desirable adult day program, a college classroom, or a job that gives them joy.
Becoming an adult means advocating for yourself. Telling other people what you heed and want is a huge part of independent living. We teach self advocacy throughout our programs, but especially at this age level. We want our learners to communicate clearly to others so that they feel safe, comfortable, and cared for no matter where they go.
No matter where you’re at in the process, we would love to hear your questions and concerns. We are here to help. Give us a call! Family Support would love to learn more about your loved one with autism and your family.
When you’re ready, we’d love to meet you! When you’re ready to move forward, we will schedule an initial intake appointment. This is designed to let you meet one of our clinical staff and have more specific questions answered. And if you’re ready, this can be a jumping off point to begin therapy.
At the initial intake appointment, we just want to have a conversation with you as a parent about your concerns for your child. Our Lead BCBA will be the one to meet your family for the first time and will ask questions about your child, your concerns, and what you’ve experience so far. This meeting is just a conversation and should be a comfortable place for you to ask questions and express yourself.
A diagnostic interview will be conducted with you, the parents and/or caregivers, to obtain detailed information about the referral concerns and your child’s developmental history, medical history, and family history.
Direct observations of your child by a Behavior Analyst (BCBA), an Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), or a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), all of whom are certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
At the end of the intake appointment, the Behavior Analyst will discuss clinical impressions and schedule 1 to 2 follow up assessment sessions, during which we will work more specifically with your child to find areas of strength and deficit to help us set more accurate goals.