The combination of Montessori and Applied Behavior Analysis

At Autism Parent Care students attend a Montessori pre-school program in the morning and ABA therapy in the afternoon with the support of an ABA therapist in both settings. Clients enter the program after a brain map shows deficits in cognitive, social, language and/or behavioral areas along with a medical diagnosis. At first these teaching philosophies seem to contradict one another, however, when combined they provide a well-rounded educational fit for all children.

Through both programs a client is allowed the freedom to learn by choice and by programmed targets through DTT teaching. The school provides a setting for both typical and non-typical peers to learn from one another. The therapists guide activities and also support self-directed learning activities through exploration of the environment. Learning is guided at each individual’s pace. Clients learn in group settings as well as in individual therapy.

Both Montessori and ABA stress the importance of repetition, self-responsibility, individualized instruction, peer interactions and language growth. Daily living activities are stressed in culturally diverse terms. World current events are discussed on a daily basis. Independence and self-care are highlighted in a natural way. The materials support functional learning in a natural developmental sequence.

Clients with autism thrive in this unique program because of the multi-faceted teaching methods with one-on-one ABA therapist support. Social and language growth are supported throughout the day by peers, teachers and therapists. Executive function and other cognitive skills are practiced when the clients choose their work, discover a solution and complete the task.

Along with other data collection, brain maps are repeated every six months to document individualized progress. Weekly targets are reviewed and updated by using the VB-MAPP assessment tool. Daily parental communication facilitates program carryover from the school and therapy time into the home. The assessment tools we utilize as well as parental anecdotal testimony supports the positive results we see every day.

By: Denise Hubble, MA, BCBA

Karen Lake, MA,ABA Therapist

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