Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy is a fun activity that teaches your child how to engage in the world, learn basic and complex language, skills and behavior.  There are many types of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), the Lovaas Method is one type and we have discussed Discrete Trial Training (DTT) that the Lovaas method uses. But another type of play for your child during ABA is called Incidental teaching.

Incidental teaching is when an environment is created for the child that motivates them to learn about the world around them. This means putting objects out of reach but still in sight, in a room set up to encourage your child to ask for the things they want. Instead of the therapist initiating engagement, as with (DTT), the therapist will wait for the child to mention the object or talk about it. The therapist then prompts the child to talk about the object or ask for the object.

You can do this at home too. If you place your child’s favorite toy somewhere they can see it but can’t reach it and then your child points or approaches the toy, you could say the word of the toy as a prompt. For example, ‘teddy’ and wait to see if the child asks for the teddy. If they child asks for the teddy you can hand them the toy.

This sounds so simple because it is something we as parents do a lot, and something you see over and over with non-autistic children. But we know Autistic children have a hard time initializing conversation. However, it is because Autistic children struggle in this area that this therapy works. It not only encourages language but helps your child engage with their environment, which motivates them in the future by practicing engagement, and consequences of engagement.

As time goes on the therapist will fade out all prompts until the child is able to approach the object and ask for it when they see it, or perhaps without even seeing the object in question.  This can also be used to teach reading, create complex conversations and teach propositions (on, in, under).

This therapy is a fun, exciting way for a child to learn about the world around them in an exciting, gentle environment.