Dr. Becky MacDonald, Senior Program Director, and Susan Langer, Chief Program Officer, recently published Teaching Essential Discrimination Skills to Children with Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents and Educators.
Discrimination skills enable us to tell one object from another, understand that different things have different names, and use those names to perform a wide range of cognitive and language skills, including following spoken instructions, communicating, and reading. The book outlines outlines a systematic, evidence-based curriculum to promote children’s learning. Based on the authors’ thirty years of research, the user-friendly text and illustrative case studies cover:
- Delivering effective instruction (repeat trials, brisk pacing, child’s active participation, reinforcement)
- Types of discrimination skills (understanding differences, matching like to like, matching words to objects, following spoken-word instructions)
- Prompting and prompt fading
- Prerequisite skills (imitation, readiness to learn)
- Overcoming barriers to learning (lack of scanning, low motivation)
- Assessing a child’s entry level to the curriculum
- Curriculum sequence, specific discrimination skills instruction, and remedial strategies
Parents and educators can use this book to teach foundational discrimination skills that help children become more proficient and independent in a variety of ways, such as using picture activity schedules and augmentative and alternative communication systems, mastering more complex academic skills, and applying learning across many situations in their daily lives.
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