Last week, I participated in an intensive training session that covered applied behavior analysis for teachers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, paraeducators, and other professionals involved in teams who support children with autism. Over the course of three days, I learned the basics of applied behavior analysis and how those components can be used in the classroom.
Topics covered included: antecedents, behavior, consequences, verbal operants, reinforcement, extinction, punishment, errorless teaching, two second time delay procedure, error correction, variable ratio, card sort organization, and how to collect/analyze data. All of the topics covered are tested in what are called “check outs.” During a check out, a PaTTAN consultant ensures a participant’s understanding of the concepts covered by having them explain and also demonstrate how to apply these terms in the classroom.
This week, I’m attending the training not as a participant but as a trainer. I’m in charge of a table of participants—I answer their questions, further their understanding of the applied behavior analysis terms/techniques, and ensure their understanding with the check outs.
Being surrounded by such great people has highlighted how special these educators are in the lives of children with autism. They are taking time out of their summers to attend trainings to improve their classrooms and students because they want to, not because they have to. Every day they deal with challenging and difficult children but they go back and keep learning because they know the potential of the children they’re teaching. It’s incredible to be a part of their training!