- Bringing ABA Into Your Inclusive Classroom: A Guide to Improving Outcomes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
How can general education teachers create a successful inclusive environment for a student with autism that makes sense for everyone? What makes applied behavior analysis (ABA) the most effective intervention for children with autism, and how can it be applied in a general education classroom? Debra Leach’s new book, Bringing ABA into Your Inclusive Classroom: A Guide to Improving Outcomes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, answers these questions thoroughly and concisely in a fully-stocked tool belt of applied behavior analysis. Called “a blueprint for quick and painless ABA” (back cover), this book introduces the principles of ABA in only seven manageable, well-illustrated chapters.
Though presented as a guide for general education teachers looking for ways to improve the success of a student with autism in their classroom, the book is also an insightful guide for students, professionals, paraprofessionals, and parents. Leach uses clear, jargon-free language and employs frequent use of charts and practical examples that make this book accessible to a variety of audiences. The book includes chapters outlining characteristics of autism and ABA principles, as well as a study guide, suggested resources, and ready-to-use teaching plans, assessment outlines, and data collection templates.
In the introduction, Debra Leach addresses her hope that this book will help to bring ABA out of the one-on-one setting and [End Page 290] introduce the interventions in the general education classroom. By doing so, Leach believes students will generalize the skills they learn and have the ability to “enhance their active participation in general education classrooms” (p. 2). The chapters take a clear, step-by-step approach to understanding ABA. Concepts are clearly introduced and supported by examples and tables which help to clarify the information presented. The author begins with an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the inclusive classroom, followed by an introduction to ABA principles, history, and practices. The chapters take the reader through successfully implementing assessments, goal-setting, interventions, data collection and analysis.
Chapter one, entitled “Students with Autism in General Education Classrooms,” begins with an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The author covers characteristics involving social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. She then provides clear examples of behaviors and characteristics, and how each behavior serves a function for children with ASD. The author covers extensively in this chapter the “benefits and barriers of including students with ASD in general education classrooms.” According to the author, not only are children with autism benefitting from peer interaction and opportunities for developing communication skills, but typically-developing students also benefit from the practices and strategies used for students with autism. The chapter continues on to discuss the best practices for inclusion and how to appropriately collaborate with professionals and paraprofessionals. Successful collaboration between teachers, related service professionals, and paraprofessionals is a topic that Leach continues to emphasize throughout the text.
The next chapter “Understanding ABA” goes over a brief but comprehensive overview of the history of behaviorism and ABA. The author covers each of the seven dimensions of ABA and includes a table that breaks down each dimension into a concise definition. Leach uses this pattern of tell-show-example in most of the concepts covered in the book. This allows each concept to be reinforced in several different ways, so that nothing must be continually re-read in order to comprehend any one idea. For example, when discussing generality, there is a paragraph explaining the dimension’s definition and details. The chart provided of the seven dimensions briefly explains generality in one sentence as, “the skills learned can be maintained over time and utilized across different settings and contexts”(p. 14). The author then further explains generality through the use of a fictional example, the story of Brian, a 5-year-old boy who learned when someone said “hello” he responded with “hello” followed by the person’s name. Brian [End Page...