I never had a goal to write a book. It happened mostly by accident. As you may know I fell into the autism world in 1999 when my first-born son, Lucas was diagnosed with autism one day before his third birthday. I then became a Behavior Analyst in 2003 and started focusing most of my work on training teachers and other school staff on ABA through a large State-wide grant called the Pennsylvania Verbal Behavior Project.
I set out to write and publish a book when I realized that everything I learned about autism and verbal behavior from 1999 until 2006 was not in any book and parents and professionals desperately needed the info.
“The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders.” was published in 2007. It’s sold more than 50,000 copies and is available in several different languages.
The foreword to my book is by Dr. Mark Sundberg and many other distinguished professionals including Dr Jack Michael (who I call the Grandfather of the Verbal Behavior Approach) and Dr. John Cooper (one of the co-authors of the famous white book) have written wonderful endorsements you can find at MaryBarbera.com/praise.
While my book can be read by a novice parent, it is also required reading in many graduate level ABA programs.
Here are a handful of things I learned in the past 10 years since my book was published:
1) Very few children with early signs of autism get a diagnosis quickly. Also, most don’t get high quality ABA programming started in the toddler and pre-school years which is so critical to their long-term success in life. These toddlers and preschoolers, especially those with more mild symptoms who start treatment before the age of 30 months have the best odds which I talked about in a previous video blog a few weeks ago.
2) Many children on the spectrum, especially children, teens and adults with moderate to severe autism plus language problems struggle in school, home, and in the community. While I’ve helped many children with high functioning autism who were fully conversational, the kids that my online courses and book help most are those with moderate to severe autism with language delays and disorders. I’m one of the few people in the world that knows how to help these children reach their fullest potentials.
3) Pairing and manding need to be the center piece of every program for kids and adults who are not conversational. If your child or clients have minimal to no language, it is crucial that teaching the child to communicate his needs and wants must take center stage.
4) The number one struggle of both autism professionals and parents is dealing with problem behaviors. I did a survey a few years ago and the #1 struggle of both parents and professionals was handling problem behaviors. If you see problem behaviors, the demands are most likely too high and/or the reinforcement is probably too low.
5) And, my final lesson in the past decade since the VB Approach was published is this: While my book is a great start, the best way to learn how to transform any autism program is through my online training course where you see tons of video examples and get step-by-step advice for starting or re-vamping an ABA program for toddlers through teens with autism plus language delays. Type II BACB CEUs are also provided.
For a free video workshop to get a sample of some of the techniques in my online course for professionals and “gung-ho” parents, click here.
And, if you’ve been in the autism world but haven’t read the Verbal Behavior Approach yet, you can order that through Amazon here.
See you next week!