"There is no greater reward than children
finding the value within themselves."
Spears Learning Center primarily utilizes the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised (ABLLS-R). The ABLLS is an educational tool typically used with ABA to measure basic communication and functional skills of individuals with ASD or other developmental delays. There are two components to the assessment: the assessment protocol and the scoring instructions and IEP development guide. Protocol scores are used to develop an individualized curriculum with concrete educational objectives for the student's current repertoire and its progressive development.
Additionally we use the Essential for Living assessment, a communication, behavior, and functional skills curriculum developed for those who work with children and adults with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities. It provides a scope and sequence of skills that are functional and will significantly improve the client's quality of life based upon empirically validated procedures and B.F. Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior.
1:1 Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Our therapy primarily consists of intensive, one-on-one instruction based upon the principles of ABA and incorporating Skinner’s analysis of VB for 20 to 30 hours per week. Therapists and technicians are trained on the use of effective teaching procedures to increase learner cooperation and decrease the frequency of inappropriate behaviors during instruction. They are also trained on procedures for increasing spontaneous manding, increasing manding from peers, and teaching appropriate group and social skills. In order to ensure the precision of teaching language skills and implementing behavior reduction procedures, programs are supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) who is familiar with Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, evidenced based effective teaching procedures to decrease motivation for escape, and procedures for contriving mand opportunities and transferring control of mands from echoic prompts or the presence of the item to the MO. Personnel is skilled in making data-based decisions for all programs as well as trained in conducting a functional assessment to reduce problem behavior. Recommended teaching procedures include teaching in the natural environment as well as in an intensive setting while using strong reinforcers and implementing appropriate behavior reduction programs to reduce problem behaviors in specific antecedents.
Following initial assessments, parents are offered meetings with the BCBA that works directly with the child twice a month. During these meeting, behavioral strategies, programming, and future plans are discussed with the parents. The team also fields any questions from the parents and offers explanations of general behaviors techniques being used in the clinic. In addition to the parent training meetings, progress report meetings are offered every 6-9 weeks with printouts of updates and further support from the clinic supervisor and line therapists.
At Spears Learning Center, speech therapy services are provided to clients ranging from toddlers to school aged. Speech services occur in the clinic and/or in the school setting. The speech pathologists on staff specialize in treating children with autism, articulation delays, language impairments, cognitive impairments, social pragmatic disorders and academic delays. Therapists are trained in using alternative augmentative communication devices to help foster verbal communication. For those with social pragmatic disorders, after school social groups are lead by speech pathologists where skills such as turn taking, initiation and termination of interactions, topic maintenance, attention to task and eye contact during interactions are targeted.