The purpose of this manual is to train individuals who interact with children with autism and other severe handicaps, to provide treatment that is easy to implement and readily usable in community settings. Our original work (Koegel, O'Dell and Koegel, 1987) focused on nonverbal children and resulted in dramatic increases in their vocabularies. Many of these children who participated in our early work demonstrated numerous inappropriate and disruptive behaviors, which seem to be directly related to the teaching conditions and their lack of communicative skills. Thus, the procedures described in this manual also greatly reduce disruptive behaviors. More recently, we have included higher level children. However, all of the principles are the same regardless of the present functioning level of your child. Thus, we recommend these procedures be applied to all children. Various examples have been included so that this manual will be helpful to a broad spectrum of children. As you read through the examples, try to think of how you might adapt the principles for your own particular child.
Since most children with severe handicaps need to receive treatment for many behaviors it is essential to identify target behaviors for treatment that will produce simultaneous changes in many other behaviors instead of having to treat each individual behavior one at a time - a task that would be prohibitively time consuming. Therefore the purpose of this manual is to describe a set of training procedures to teach important pivotal behaviors to children with autism. By "pivotal behaviors" we mean behaviors that seem to be central to wide areas of functioning. Positive changes in pivotal behaviors should have widespread positive effects on many other behaviors and therefore constitute an efficient way to produce generalized improvements in the behavior of children with autism.
The pivotal behaviors addressed in this manual are motivation and responsivity to multiple cues. Difficulties in these areas have been shown to have general negative effects on the behavior of children with autism while improvements in these pivotal behaviors have very important and positive effects on the functioning of such children. Let us look at each of these pivotal behaviors in mom detail.FULL MANUAL HERE