Posted by on Jun 15, 2022 in Uncategorized |

Barriers to Learning

Ashley Overton, M.Ed, BCBA, LBS, COBA
Co-Owner/Chief Clinical Officer
ABA Therapy Solutions

For many of us, being able to effectively communicate our wants and needs, focus on our daily tasks and respond to simple directions from others are a part of our daily lives. We take these skills for granted and do not think twice about engaging in these socially appropriate behaviors. For children with autism, particularly those with limited functional communication skills, these are significant barriers to inclusion in our schools and communities.

Working intensively on decreasing the barriers to learning is an important aspect to ABA Therapy. To increase independence, it is important therapy is focused on increasing socially acceptable behaviors and decreasing the barriers that impede a child’s learning or the learning of others. Children with autism may be able to focus on a small detail that is right in front of them but may struggle with seeing and understanding the big picture. Specific skills that can increase a child’s ability to be successful in a large group setting included the ability to attend to a teacher/therapist at a distance, raise their hand, accept and/or complete an activity they may find aversive or non-preferred, understand personal space, imitate and learn from peers, work in a group, engage in age appropriate social skills, effective communication with others, walk in a line, sit at a desk or table independently and sit quietly without interrupting or disturbing others.

A child who cannot work through these barriers or who is not intensively taught the replacement skills or alternative/more appropriate skills to these behaviors will struggle with being successful in a larger group setting. A child who is put in settings without these pre-requisite skills could get “left behind” in terms of academics, have an increase in problem behavior due to stress or the inability to cope with these environments and in turn be asked to leave these environments because their needs “cannot be met appropriately.” ABA Therapy is designed to be proactive in identifying the barriers to learning and removing those barriers by teaching more socially acceptable and appropriate skills. It is about meeting the needs of all children to ensure they engage in skills that help them to reach their full potential in all environments.