Our mission is to provide cutting edge applied behavior analysis services with compassion for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities to enhance the quality of their life.
Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc. (ABC) is a human services agency that is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and learning disorders. ABC's commitment in the delivery of services is to act with compassion, work from a team approach, and provide what is in the self-interest of every individual and family we serve. We believe we can best serve this mission by operating within the theoretical practices of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) derived from the philosophy of behaviorism.
What our mission statement means in practice is that, for every individual receiving ABC services, intervention will be implemented within the following general parameters:
A functional assessment will be performed on all presenting problems, followed by a functional analysis to determine the contextual contingencies, discriminative stimuli, setting events and consequences that effect the behaviors targeted for change.
Treatment procedures will be designed to systematically build in socially significant behaviors, decrease problematic behaviors, and generalize pivotal behaviors to maintain appropriate behavior change.
Although ABC services children and adults with developmental disabilities, ABC specializes in Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBT) for children with Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The majority of the children ABC serves are under 10 years of age, and receive ABA treatment in a school environment or in the family home.
All ABA programs begin with a comprehensive functional assessment (as described above), including an extensive evaluation of the child's language, play, and social repertoires. The VB-MAPP (Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program, Sundberg, 2008) or ABLLS (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills, Partington & Sundberg, 1998) tool is used to identify core language deficits that prevent the child from communicating and listening effectively, engaging in basic play, and socializing with peers and adults. For children 0 to 5 years of age, The Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers or Preschoolers is also used to determine where each child functions developmentally in comparison to same age peers. Skill deficits identified from these assessment tools are then probed within ABC's generalization levels, referred to as REAL (Recreating Environments to Accelerate Learning; Terzich, 1996), to determine the level of generalization training necessary to maintain the behaviors in the child's daily repertoires (home, school, community, etc.).
Intervention programs are designed to build the repertoires that are necessary to teach the child to interact with others in a purposeful and meaningful way. Thus, the language repertoire first taught in each child's program is critical communication (Frost & Bondy, 1997) which teaches the child socially appropriate ways to request and initiate his/her wants and needs (mands). All lessons that follow are built upon this foundation of language. When behavior problems arise (excesses), a descriptive and functional analysis (functional assessment) are performed on the behaviors that interfere with the child's learning or jeopardize the safety of the child and/or others. Based on the outcomes of the functional assessment, proactive procedures are developed. Behavior reducing procedures contain preventative strategies; treatment procedures that systematically reduce or eliminate behavior excesses (when needed); and more important, functionally equivalent alternative responses to replace the problem behavior.
Our goal for each person is a more effective, independent and improved quality of life. To effect this end, we are committed to providing our professional staff with the highest level of training and supervision consistent with the cutting edge technology of our field.
Applied Behavior Analysis, also known as ABA, is the theoretical foundation that underlies all of ABC’s clinical practices and educational development. Each child receives a comprehensive functional assessment that identifies core deficits and excesses interfering with the child’s ability to learn and participate in daily life at home, school and in the community. To play and to be social are crucial aspects of the human experience and are repertoires that many children with autism have extreme difficulty in learning. Thus, deficits in these skills require attention and remediation. To this end, ABC’s intervention includes ways to measure and impact this particularly important facet of a child’s life.
All assessments and development of treatment procedures are performed by qualified staff in Behavior Intervention.
The importance of developmental milestones
Working within the parameters of applied behavior analysis, ABC’s evaluation includes an assessment of the child’s current skill levels guided by standardized developmental milestones including play and social repertoires. This provides a more accurate depiction of where to direct therapy. These milestones are assessed throughout and at the end of intervention. This gives a clearer picture of the effectiveness of the intervention, and in our experience results in greater generalization of the acquired skills needed. Because play and social skills are such an integral part of each child’s program, the same assessment and outcome measures are used to evaluate these types of deficits found in children with autism/ASD and other neurological and behavioral disorders to develop appropriate treatment programs.
Parent involvement and training is core
Parents play a central role in a child’s development. One of our goals is to provide the best guidance, advice and training to ensure a consistent approach in caring for your child in both our center-based and in-home programs. Hence, we have an open doorpolicy where parents can come and observe the programs anytime upon appointment. We also include parent/caregiver training individualized for your specific child’s needs as part of our package. This maximizes the effectiveness of our program for your child.
Language and social skills are priority
The acquisition of language is one of our most primary goals. Communication is a critical aspect to every program and is emphasized throughout. Each child learns to request his or her wants/needs, taught to comment about the world around them, answer questions, imitate the language of others, and eventually read, write and finally to respond in their own words. The rate which these skills are learned are determined by the child’s overall deficits and competing excesses. These repertoires are the bases for interacting in a social world, thus, opportunities to use these language skills spontaneously within a variety of social settings and activities are provided. We use several methods to stimulate language such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and sign language, particularly, for children who have significant deficits in vocalizing. The focus is on building a functional communication repertoire where the child can request/reject, comment and interact with others. We concurrently teach vocalization to give the child the foundational skills for language development.
Data based analysis is fundamental
Data specific to behaviors of each child is a fundamental basis upon which we create an individualized program. Hence, data of how the child responds is meticulously collected during each session, and this is then analyzed fully - daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly - to determine the child’s rate of improvement, and serve as the guide to determine how to progress the child’s program.
Unique and individualized programs
Each child’s program is uniquely developed for his or her needs. Every child receives a comprehensive functional assessment that identifies core deficits and excesses that impact learning, daily living and family-social life. This is the basis upon which an Intervention Program is individually designed to address each child’s unique needs and learning style. Intervention is continuously adapted as the child’s progresses to higher skill levels
Intervention on advance language
The general focus is on executive function deficits where difficulty with recall, organization and processing information effects everyday interactions with the environment. Intervention may also involve social skills training (individual and group), teaching of self-management and coping skills, problem-solving, as well as, relaxation/desensitization training when needed.
1:1 Child/Adult Ratio
ABC believes in providing a 1 to 1 ratio to ensure appropriate focus is given to each child, especially at the start of a program. Only when a child is ready and can benefit from social interactions do we then enhance the program to enable interaction in pairs or small groups.
Generalization of skills is emphasized
To address the difficulties commonly faced in children with Autism when generalizing new skills learned, ABC’s 5 level generalization program was developed in 1996 by Co-founder Brenda Terzich-Garland, referred to as R.E.A.L. (Recreating Environment to Accelerate Learning; Terzich-Garland, 1996). Each child’s assessment and educational program is guided by R.E.A.L.to more successfully generalize learned skills from a highly structured environment to the natural environment. In particular, mands (requests), play and social skills are taught at the beginning and continue to be built upon throughout the child’s intervention and transition into the public school. R.E.A.L. involves moving away from the table to novel situations, rewording requests, adding natural environmental distracters, requiring the skills in daily life routines, and responding to social contingencies while still maintaining the learned behavior. Therapy is guided by ABC's R.E.A.L. program during assessment, treatment development and lesson progression. R.E.A.L. is also used to program the eventual integration of learned skills into the daily life requirements of the child, including relations with the social community.
Positive Programming in ABA intervention for behavior problems
To address serious behavior problems that often prevent children from learning new skills or maintain existing appropriate behaviors, ABC uses Positive Programming procedures (also written into the Hughes Bill, AB2586). With this technology, a descriptive analysis is performed and a functional analysis is made of the behavior.
In other words, we analyze the environmental antecedents and consequences to see what is evoking the problem behavior or what the student gets out of the behavior. Intervention plans are developed based on the outcome of the functional analysis, and continue throughout the intervention to determine the effectiveness of the procedure in reducing the problem behavior. Many problem behaviors are prevented by extinction and/or redirection and can suffice to solve the situation. Others are easily decreased by teaching alternative functional behaviors to replace those that serve to get attention or escape such as calling the person’s name or asking for a break. Overall, we believe problem behavior is a result of poor environmental contingencies, and it is these contingencies we change rather than try to suppress behavior with punishment.
The R.E.A.L. Model
In order to effectively address the lack of concept generalization so the individual with Autism/ASD can respond to the natural contingencies in the environment, ABA treatment must be designed to promote repertoires that will allow he/she to come into contact with those natural contingencies without structured training. To further enhance the generalization process in ABA intervention, ABC’s Co-founder, Vice-President & CEO Brenda Terzich-Garland developed the R.E.A.L. (Recreating Environments to Accelerate Learning) Model in 1996. It is used as the theoretical and conceptual framework for ABA treatment at Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc. and as a curriculum guide for teaching generalization at the start of treatment and throughout.
The R.E.A.L. Model delineates 5 levels of generalization that guide the development of lessons designed from the individual’s comprehensive behavioral assessment and then used as a curriculum guide for lesson development and progression throughout the ABA treatment.
The process starts from initial concept and skill acquisition taught in a highly structured environment and systematically introduces stimuli and contingencies that eventually represent what the individual will come into contact with in the natural environment. Each step provides the generality of behaviors expected and the generalization of behavioral principles and techniques needed for correct lesson implementation by the therapist (behavior technician).
Special emphasis highlights the need to bridge concepts and skills to teach complex repertoires, establish multiple-control and generalize social behavior to the verbal community in a variety of natural settings. More specifically, as the individual readily displays skills taught in structured teaching across predictable daily routines, emphasis of intervention is on skill performance focusing on complexity and accuracy of repertoires acquired. Intervention then moves towards teaching the quality of repertories performed in social situations that are typical for the individual’s age so behaviors are performed based on the verbal behavior of others.
The focus is on social competence where behaviors the individual learns lead to doing what is required or desired, stop or modify what is not acceptable, and generalize the acquired social repertories across novel situations.
Consistent with over 40 years of scientific data from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, ABC Inc. finds that all children in our care make progress with ABA.
100% of children in our program are effectively communicating their wants and needs within one year, either vocally and/or by PECS, and sometimes ASL (American Sign Language) or other types of language assisted devices.
90% are eventually transitioned to either a mainstream or special education school.
If ABA is started at an early age, a significant number is transitioned to attending regular school with same age peers
Some results can only be described as spectacular. Consistent with the findings of Ivar Lovaas, Patricia Krantz, Lynn McClannahan and others, we find that some of our students can attend regular education classrooms with same age peers. Our in-home programs show similar outcomes.
"In the first four years of providing school services ABC had nine students who came to us before the age of four years and one month who reached this criterion and were placed in regular education programs without supports. They continue to succeed in those placements."
While several of our intensive in-home clients have become indistinguishable from same age peers, we are currently analyzing these datum for a more objective analysis.
The amount of gain that a child makes from the age the child starts the Infant Toddler program until they reach age 3 can be seen on the Outcome Research Posters.
ABC Charity Raffle
June 8, 2019
ABC will be holding a charity raffle at Van Ruiten Winery in Lodi during their annual BBQ competition. Proceeds from this event go to our Autism Walk Team and help fund Autism research and support programs.
We need your help to make this our best year ever! We are asking staff, families, local businesses and anyone who would like to support children on the Autism Spectrum to donate to the raffle. Donations can be gift cards, products, services or any new items and any amount. A tax break is offered for any business donating to the raffle. Please contact Amanda Carr for donation information.
Donations will be accepted up to the day of the event itself, feel free to keep browsing for new prizes throughout the month of May and the first week of June.
2018 OBM Network Award
ABC received the 2018 OBM Network Award for Outstanding Applied OBM Interventions in Businesses.
ABA Center in San Fernando Valley, CA
Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc. is excited to announce the opening of their ABA Center in the San Fernando Valley
Our center will serve children ages 0-6 diagnosed with Autism or at-risk for an Autism diagnosis. The Early Start Program (i.e., for children 0-3) also provides services to children with language delays, global developmental delays, and other behavioral disorders. The San Fernando Valley center uses ABA-based teaching methodologies in 1:1 and group settings to increase each child’s skills across developmental domains so he/she can participate and learn in the natural environment. Please review our detailed description of ABC’s program philosophy and description of ABA services. Group Parent Education Classes are also available at this location.
For further information or to schedule a tour, please contact email@example.com.
ABA Center in Walnut Creek, CA
Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc. is excited to announce the opening of their ABA Center in Walnut Creek. Our center will serve children ages 0-5 diagnosed with Autism or at-risk for an Autism diagnosis. The Walnut Creek center uses ABA-based teaching methodologies in 1:1 and group settings to increase each child’s skills across developmental domains so he/she can participate and learn in the natural environment.