Why Skills Generalization is Important for your Child in ABA Therapy

Monday July 18, 2022 at 11:50 AM


Why Skills Generalization is Important for your Child in ABA Therapy

Generalization is an important part of autistic children’s growth and development as they go through ABA therapy. Generalization happens when a child is able to take the skills they’ve learned in therapy and apply them in their everyday lives. In a recent interview with Metro Parent, Taylor Fortin, a Supervising Board Certified Behavior Analyst at our Lake Orion clinic, talks about the importance of generalization and how parents can help.

Taylor explains that generalization helps ensure that newly learned skills from ABA therapy are maintained over time and promote independence. Parents and caregivers will see the occurrence of generalization when a new behavior is demonstrated in the presence of factors that are outside of a therapy session. Generalization includes applying the skills learned from ABA therapy to home, school, and social settings, extending across new time frames and people as well.

To ensure that a child is generalizing their skills and behavior, it’s encouraged that parents recognize various ways their child can successfully generalize learned skills. For example, Taylor shared that one of the ways to generalize is using the same object for various scenarios, such as teaching a child that the word cup can be used for water bottles, coffee mugs, and solo cups, so the child can learn to apply ‘cup’ to various drinking vessels other than their specific cup.

Having collaboration from parents, teachers, family members, and ABA technicians can provide great support in teaching a child skills across different environments. For example, once a technician teaches a child how to clap their hands, a parent could help maintain this skill by asking the child to clap their hands in the car or at home.

Taylor encourages parents to help their child with skills generalization by meeting with their child’s BCBA to learn about specific goals for their child, attending parent training offered here at Gateway, and being consistent with reinforcing new behaviors and skills.

Remember that generalization occurs in small steps, so take it day by day. Every child’s journey is unique. Be supportive by reminding your child that they’re doing a great job. Learning to incorporate skills may take time, consistency, and perseverance, but the end results are worthwhile.

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