Back to school is here! For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is common that Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) strategies are used within their special education program to support learning.
In May 2007, the Ontario Ministry of Education introduced Policy/Program Memoranda number 140 (PPM 140). PPM 140 is a directive that incorporates methods of ABA into programs for students with ASD. The purpose of the directive is to provide direction to school boards to support their use of ABA methods and to strengthen collaboration with parents, schools, and the community.
First, what is Applied Behaviour Analysis?
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) examines the relationship between the environment and behaviour. It is an effective approach that uses methods based on scientific principles of learning and behaviour to help address challenging behaviour, build skills, and reduce problematic behaviors.
When used in the classroom, ABA can help your child to develop positive behaviours, learn new skills, build independence, transfer positive behaviours, and decrease motivation to engage in challenging behaviours.
The Five Components of PPM 140
There are five key components of PPM 140 that are incorporated into your child’s education to support their learning and development.
Programs must be individualized for your child
For many students with ASD, their educational programs include academic goals with accommodations and modifications to best support them. Elements of areas that may need to be individualized for your child may include:
- Learning environment
- Task expectations
- Teaching methods
- Level and types of supports necessary
- Materials /Resources
- Assessment methods
Positive reinforcement must be utilized to support new skill development
Reinforcement is how all new skills are learned and effective reinforcement must be motivating to the individual child. Your child’s school team may work with you to identify a variety of reinforcers so that they can select from different options to help increase your child’s motivation and engagement in learning.
Data must be collected and analyzed to measure student progress
PPM 140 states that reliable data must be collected and analyzed on an ongoing basis to measure a student’s progress of new behaviours and skills, and to identify skills or behaviours that need to be taught. This is typically done through a step-by-step process called Functional Behaviour Assessment which helps to understand why a behaviour is occurring.
Generalization must be emphasized to support the transfer of skills between environments
Many students with ASD struggle to transfer or generalize skills between environments and people. The teaching of skill generalization is a goal in ABA and a component of PPM 140. This helps to support them when using learned skills at school, at home, and in different community settings.
Transition Planning is required at various stages and levels
PPM 140 stresses the importance of transition planning for students with ASD. In school, transitions happen at various stages and levels. Some transitions occur regularly between activities within the routines. While significant transitions, such as entry into school and between grades, happen periodically and require planning to support effective outcomes.
Kinark offers a range of educational workshops for parents and caregivers. To learn about more about ABA strategies in school and PPM 140, register for upcoming workshop on our website here. If you can’t find one that relates to a school topic you have questions about, consider registering for one of our Ask a School Consultant workshops.
Our team is always here to support your child and family. For additional one-on-one support, you can always request a service consultation with our team of Family Support Workers.
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