Quality of Life as the Primary Goal of Treatment

  • Citizenship as a Measure of One’s Quality of Life:  This article describes the “Big Picture” thinking that is the real secret to success in treatment.  Here, we define how we systematically use the concept of increased Quality of Life as a driving force in our treatment of specific issues and developmental acceleration overall.  Read more...
    • Characteristics of a Home Program Focused on Quality of Life: In this article, we explain how a program focused on Quality of Life uses authentic and individually meaningful experiences from daily life to increase relatedness, cooperation, and accelerated development.  Read more…
    • Characteristics of a School Program Focused on Quality of Life: Here, we give guidelines for Teachers on what a program focused on Quality of life in school looks like, and what parents should look for in a school program.  Read more…
  • The Autism Wars, “Evidence Basisand ABA as both an Open System and a Bottom Line for Judgment of Effectiveness: Parents are often flooded by overwhelming amounts of information and competing claims about effectiveness and evidence.  Much, if not most of that information is biased and based on the one and only method a company or researcher represents.  This does not serve parents well.  These are methods, not religions.  No single method is “the way the truth and the life.”  This article gives you an unbiased perspective and a way to evaluate what is best for you and your child.  Read More…

How We Develop Programs at Sponderworks

  • Developing a Unique Prescription of Methods and Techniques for Your Child: We develop techniques based on knowledge and expertise in Contemporary ABA and Relationship Based methods.  We seek to preserve rather than remake your family’s lifestyle.  As long as you are with your child, there is something powerful that you can do to enhance reciprocal relating and cooperative behavior and accelerate development.  It’s a matter of picking the right method for the right situation.  Read more…
    • Assessing Citizenship Roles and Teaching Opportunities: TheFace Time Inventory:” Matching your natural lifestyle, personalities, learning and teaching styles to the right method, time together can be both joyful and productive.We believe that any time spent with your child has the potential for growing your relationship and your child’s development.  We call it “Face Time.”  Every family will have its own preferred combination of ways to spend time together, each of which lends itself to a certain type of teaching.  The Face Time Inventory has Four Categories:
      • Life: Time that you already spend together (e.g., eating together; homework; driving here and there; helping your child bathe or dress, etc.)
      • Work: Time that you spend doing things for your child, that you could possibly do with your child if you could just find the right role for him
      • Play: Time that you spend doing the things your child likes to do
      • Early Intervention: If you’re lucky enough to have early intensive treatment hours allotted to you with a professional Therapist, we can discuss the areas that are difficult or too time consuming for you and we can make up that difference.  Read more…
  • Assessment: In order to help you, we look at the issues in a manner that is much more holistic than typical.  We rely on the foundations and methods of applied behavior analysis, but we look at areas traditionally overlooked or under-emphasized by conventional applied behavior analytic techniques.  These include a heavy emphasis on relationship factors, the child’s internal world and developmental patterns – not just behavior. Our motto is “It’s not behaviors – it’s a child.” Read more…
  • Goals and Objectives for Behavior Change and Accelerated Development:  Here, we discuss the difference between Goals and Objects – that”s technical.  More importantly, we also discuss how we take your concerns and develop them into measurable outcomes for treatment.  Read more…
  • Accelerating Development: The whole point of Early Intensive Treatment Programs for Autism and Disorders of Relating and Communicating is to accelerate Development.  We discuss how pivotal it is to help your child learn to enjoy and feel confident around people; to be able to share her own and others’ experience, and; to find cooperation and pleasing more satisfying than being inflexible.  Once we experience success in these pivotal areas, we find it much easier to teach communication, or any other skill that you feel is useful or needed.  Read more…

Methods

  • Basic Tenets of the SCS Philosophy on the Functional Analysis of Behavior: SCS uses the rules and guidelines of Applied Behavioral Analysis to provide the foundational structure and lawfulness of behavior – always with a primary focus on how to apply those principles to increase and enhance the individual and family”s Quality of Life.  The Developmental Psychopathology approach that we use is entirely consistent with the principles and guidelines of ABA, but differs in that it emphasizes program elements not commonly found in traditional ABA programs.  There is strong and consistent attention paid to increasing the individual’s capacity and motivation for warm, reciprocal, and spontaneous relating (something psychologists refer to as intersubjectivity)Briefly, here’s what we consider most important and most representative of our approach to treatment:
    • Pivotal Areas of Assessment:
      • Functional Analysis of Behavior: Sponderworks uses the rules and guidelines of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for the bottom lines of defining goals and treatment objectives, practicality and usefulness in the natural environment; precision and measurement and objective evaluation of progress… Read moreAs part of the process of analyzing a person’s behavior, one forms hypotheses as to why the behavior occurs. An important tenet of ABA valuation and treatment decisions is that since no one can never know with 100% certainty why anyone does anything, we can only form hypotheses of why behaviors occur, but we must rely on testing and objective [empirical] observation methods to test these hypotheses. This process of taking in information from observations, interviews, reports, testing and other means gives analysts material to form hypotheses about behavior. The term Baseline Logic describes this process of going from initial information gathering to testable hypotheses.

At Sponderworks, we maintain that it is entirely consistent and beneficial for ABA Functional Analysis of Behavior to incorporate the empirical findings of other scientifically valid fields – a practice currently done very rarely and with little real knowledge of other disciplines and ways of thinking. We incorporate research and scientific knowledge in the fields of neurological development, child development, the biological and developmental characteristics of autism and related disorders, etc. into our baseline logic.

Given our criticism that the field of ABA Functional Analysis has been too slow to incorporate the thinking of other valid and rigorously researched scientific disciplines into their methodology, we agree that although biological, developmental, emotional and psychological data may be powerful and necessary reference points for our baseline logic – the bottom line is always, observable and measurable changes in behavior in non-clinical settings.

      • Sensory, Neurological, Emotional and Psychological Development: Sponderworks uses typical development as a way to understand the ways in which the child is like others his or her age, as well as the unique biologically-based ways each child takes in, regulates, responds to, and comprehends sensations such as sound, touch, and the planning and sequencing of actions and ideas. Read more…
      • Relating and Communicating: Sponderworks uses Greenspan and Wieder’s DIR Model of Socio-emotional Milestones to evaluate the child’s ability to pull together his or her sensory, motor, emotional and thinking skills in order to relate and communicate with others. The DIR model focuses heavily on the child’s abilities and skills for engagement with others in spontaneous, reciprocal, and mutually enjoyable interaction. Read more…
      • Systems Theory: Developed as a mathematical system for analyzing the properties of everything from biological growth and development to cosmology, engineering and other hard sciences, the analysis of systems has also been applied to psychology, the organization of the brain and social interaction since the 1930s. We find this to be an excellent lens in which to observe the types of interactions and behaviors the person prefers and the skills he or she may need to be able to function in spontaneous, fluid and truly reciprocal social interaction.  Read more…
      • Learning Processes and Abilities: Children learn in different ways. They also see the world through the lens of their own, unique understanding.  When we look at learning abilities and process that affect communicating, relating and behavior in general, we look at two broad areas:
        • How the child explores and finds meaning from the world of objects and how things work: Biologist Jean Piaget provides us with ways of understand the ways and means in which a child learns from interacting with objects and people. This is very helpful in understanding the child’s point of view, as well a way to teach the child how to learn through exploring the world.
        • How the child profits from teaching: Russian Psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, as well as anthropologists analyzed the most natural and effective parenting methods and ways in which children typically learn from their more experienced counterparts or “Guides.” We look at how the child responds to various methods of teaching. We especially value this point of view because “Guided Participation Teaching,” the term coined by Vygotsky to describe how parents and masters (Guides) have guided children and less experienced individuals (Apprentices) for millennia. In recent years, anthropologists such as Barbara Rogoff have described Guided Participation’s role in human evolution, paleolithic and modern terms, and authors and Autism Researchers and Methodologists Steven Gutstien and Rachelle Sheely have taken Vygotsky’s ideas and adapted them further to intervention for autism and related disorders.
        • How the child profits from observing the world: We find the work of imitation expert Andrew Meltzoff PhD. , Edward Tronick, and the applications of systems theory to how children learn to make inferences about and to understand the perspectives and intentions of others. We know now how what skills are involved and how to teach children to observe the world in ways that they can develop abstract thinking
    • Pivotal Areas of Treatment: Our concept of Citizenship broadly entails our choices for treatment goals, and our philosophy of taking the best from a variety of differences gives us ultimate flexibility and choice in develop a prescriptive, rather than a programmed approach to treatment.Briefly, the concept of Citizenship as we define it applies to how flexible and adaptable a person can learn to be. We find that when a person gets over their fears and behavioral inflexibility, other people interact with them more and they have more opportunities to go out and experience the world. Over a lifetime, learning tends to expand rather than stagnate or regress.  With numerous opportunities for varieties of experiences, more natural and motivated  learning takes place, and there is much less of a need for curriculum guides that try to cover every imaginable skill under the sun – a fool’s errand.Supporting the Citizen are the Guides. Intervention focuses primarily on parents learning how to turn everyday events into opportunities to increase engagement and learning in ways that do not try to remake the family into a therapy clinic.And finally, we focus on Dynamic Intelligence and Learning how to Learn skills much more so than we do individual skills with limited application.

Criticisms: We’ve included two articles that we think you should read, given the enormous amount of commercially motivated and biased information found on most other websites like this: 

    • Assessment and Treatment:
      • Functional Behavioral Assessment: Deeper Understand of Behavioral Handicaps, or a Trojan Horse? This article was written by John Stewart, PhD, author of “Beyond Time Out[1].  This is an article that expresses looks at issues with current methods in functional analysis.  Read more…
    • Intervention
      • Is ABA the Only WayArticle by Barry Prizant, Ph.D.:  First of all, every evidence-based method we use meets the guidelines and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (if correctly understood).  This article, written by the renowned researcher and author in the field of communication, developmental psychopathology and autism spectrum disorders, Barry Prizant, looks at differences and similarities between behavioral (ABA) models of assessment and treatment and developmental models of treatment.  Dr. Prizant questions claims made by some of “evidence basis.”  Read Dr. Prizant’s article…