Does ABA Belong in Schools?

Back to school, this year feels a little different to years past, however, one thing remains the same – we all send our children off hoping they get the education they so deserve! Children with autism and other developmental disabilities may have unique learning styles therefore require Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s). An IEP is a written plan, based on an assessment of the child’s strengths and areas of need. The results of this assessment identify how the child’s ability to learn might be affected and what strategies and resources can be implemented to ensure success.

On May 17, 2007, the Ministry of Education released a Policy/Program Memorandum No.140 (PPM140). This policy was developed to provide direction to school boards, specifically around how Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) can be incorporated into programs for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The memorandum highlights that a collaborative approach between parents, community providers, and the school is essential in a child’s educational success.

The Ministry outlined 2 requirements for school boards:

  1. School boards must offer students with ASD special education programs and services, including, where appropriate, special education programs using ABA methods.
  2. School board staff must plan for the transition between various activities and settings involving students with ASD.

During these uncertain times, we have been very focused on the health and safety of our children. While this is essential, so is a child’s right to effective education. Here are a few things to consider:

*Be sure to have open communication with your child’s teacher, principal, and community providers such as ABA therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Occupational Therapists.

*When your child’s IEP meeting is scheduled be sure to invite all relevant team members to join. The more people who know your child and can speak to their areas of strength and need the better!

*If you’re not sure – ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.

*Lastly, check-in regularly on goals– how is your child’s progress? What else can be added or changed to assist in them achieving their academic goals?

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Wishing you all a healthy and happy school year!