Category Archives: Autism Videos at ACT

Integrating ABA Methods in Schools: Supporting School-Age Children

Filmed at Integrating ABA Methods in Schools: Supporting School Aged Children – August 24 & 25, 2017

This workshop focuses on using Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) methods to support students with autism from Kindergarten to Grade 12; in particular, those who are moderately to severely impacted by their autism.

While many educators are familiar with early behavioral intervention using discrete trial teaching, the science of ABA has much more to offer teachers who are responsible for the education of students with autism and related disorders. This workshop aims to expand your conceptualization of ABA in ways that are practical in the regular classroom.

Topics covered include:
  • Creating high quality Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Review of BC Ministry of Education IEP standards
  • Introduction to the 4 core elements of IEPs
  • Instruction and guided practice in developing quality IEP long-term and short-term goals
  • Collecting practical and useful data as a necessary component of IEPs
  • Addressing problem behavior
  • Introduction to 6 types of consequences and how they affect problem behaviours
  • Introduction to the (4) functions of problem behavior and functional assessment
  • Introduction to the Competing Pathways Diagram and the structure of positive behavior support plans
  • Practical classroom strategies for everyday use

Richard Stock, PhD, BCBA-D, Capilano University

Richard Stock, Ph.D., BCBA-D is one of B.C.’s most respected Behavior Analysts. He is highly regarded both as a teacher and a collaborative member of inter-disciplinary intervention teams. 

Dr. Stock has been on faculty in the ABA – Autism Department at Capilano University since 2009 and co-ordinator of the program since 2013. He has extensive clinical experience. Since 1999 he has provided behavioral/educational consultative services to children and youth with ASD and other developmental disabilities in home, school and community settings. His scholarly and clinical interests include: ABA, behavioural intervention, knowledge dissemination and inter-disciplinary collaboration, and the application of ABA to education and environmental sustainability. He also teaches graduate courses in ABA as an Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario and Adjunct Faculty at UBC.

Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis

Part 1: Why ABA in the Education of Students with ASD?

  • Top 10 reasons children with autism deserve ABA

Part 2: What IS Applied Behavior Analysis

  • How ABA approaches teaching
  • ABC’s of behavior
    • Antecedent
    • Behavior
    • Consequence
  • ABC examples
    • Preschool
    • Kindergarten
    • Grade 6
    • Grade 12
  • How ABA benefits teachers

Part 3: The Learn Unit

  • A measure of teaching: The presence and number of learn units is the strongest predictor of effective teaching
  • Example: teacher’s antecedents

Part 4: Teacher Performance Rate and Accuracy Scale

  • The Teacher Performance Rate and Accuracy Scale is “…a method of direct teacher observation used in the teacher evaluation and training component of the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS®) model of schooling. The TPRA builds on the concept of academic engaged time (a measure frequently employed during ecobehavioral assessment) by counting the presence or absence of learn units (interlocking three-term contingencies for both students and teachers) during instruction.” Ross, D. E., Singer-Dudek, J., & Greer, R. D. (2005)
  • School teachers & Behavior analysts
  • Teaching & Behavior analysis

Part 5: Top 10 Myths of ABA

  • Bringing ABA and autism together

Part 6: Transitioning from Home Program to IEP Program at School

  • Individual Education Plans (IEP’s)
    • Purpose and process
    • Core elements
    • SMART objectives: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely
  • Examining the quality of IEP’s for young children with ASD
  • Issues arising from poor IEP’s

Part 7: Baseline Assessment and IEP’s

  • How to assess: RIOT
    • Review records
    • Interview
    • Observe
    • Test

Part 8: Assessing Present Level with RIOT


Part 9: IEP Collaboration: Working Together

  • Collaborative meeting – features
  • Preparing for an IEP meeting
  • Collaboration continuum
  • IEP writing practices
  • Questions & Answer period

Part 10: Writing IEP’s – Long-Term Goals

  • Transitions from high school
  • Planning for the future
  • Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS)
  • Activity: Write long term goals

Part 11: Writing Short-Term Objectives (STO)

  • Avoid verbs that are not measurable
  • STO mastery level
  • STO components
  • STO wording

Part 12: Strategies and Tactics

  • Suggested literacy resources
  • Physical long-term goals

Part 13: Data Measurement

  • Types of measurement
    • Anecdotes
    • Summative
    • Formative
  • How to gather data

Part 14: IEP Implementation Checklists

  • Barriers & solutions for:
    • Data sheets
    • Collecting data
    • Graphing data
  • IEP Data tips

Part 15: IEP Examples; Functional Assessment and the Four Functions of Behaviour

Skip to 11:02 for Functional Assessment and goals of the rest of the sessions.

  • Tier 3 supports
  • 7 day Functional Assessment/Positive Behavior Support Training

Part 16: All Behavior Serves a Function

  • The problems with problem behavior
    • In the past
    • The traditional goal: “Behavior Management” techniques
    • Traditional interventions
  • The problems with punishment
    • Potential negative effects of P+ (positive punishment)
      • See Part 19: Consequences for more on types of punishments

Part 17: Functional Behavior Assessment

  • Functional Assessment/Positive Behavior Support process
  • Topography: What does the behavior look like?
  • Question and answer period
    • 9:35: How do we reconcile the move towards summative assessment for the general population in the new curriculum in BC, when it seems contrary to data-based, formative assessment?
    •  10:57: How do you approach increasing distance with bolting behaviour in a student with autism?

Part 18: Setting Events

Setting Events (SE) are conditions that “set the stage” for problem behavior

  • Question & Answer period
    • 6:05: What is the likelihood of success if there is little continuity between home and school life?
    • 7:49: How would you approach the issue of a school only allowing a child to attend a small portion of a school day?

Part 19: Types of Consequences

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Positive punishment
  • Negative punishment
  • Recovery after punishment

Part 20: Extinction

  • Extincition is a procedure of withholding a previously available reinforcing stimulus, with the subsequent function being a decrease in behavior
  • Examples of extinction
  • A caution about extinction bursts

Part 21: Types of Consequences Maintaining Behavior

  • Activity: Reinforcement & Punishment – Determine the type of consequence maintaining a problem behavior in the examples provided. Ask yourself:
    • Is something being added, subtracted, or withheld?
    • Is behavior increasing or decreasing?

Part 22: Goals of Functional Behavior Assessments

  • Functional behavior assessment (FBA) process
  • Four functions of behavior
  • Focus on addressing problem behavior maintained by:
    • Tangible
    • Attention
    • Escape

Part 23: Functional Behavior Assessment

  • Name that function!
  • Interview
  • Observation
  • FBA process

Part 24: Functional Behavior Assessment (continued)

  • Example of an FBA
  • Competing behaviour pathways diagram: writing activities

Part 25: Categories of Support

  • Setting event supports
  • Antecedent supports
  • Contingency maps
  • Antecedent/Trigger strategies

Part 26: Interventions

  • Behaviour interventions
  • Teaching new behaviour
  • Intervention: Consequences
  • Practice interventions

Part 27: Effective Strategies for the Classroom

Add visual supports and adapted text to storybooks to improve access during read-alouds.

  • Maximize structure & predictability
  • Post, teach, review, feedback

Part 28: Actively Engage Students in Observable Ways

  • Increase student active engagement with Opportunity to Respond (OTR)
  • Examples of OTR: response cards, model – lead – test, class-wide peer tutoring, guided notes

Part 29: Continuum of Strategies to Acknowledge Appropriate Behavior

  • Continuum – from individual to class to school population
    • Specific and/or contingent praise
    • Token economics
    • Group contingencies (continued in part 30)

Part 30: Group Contingencies

  • Independent group contingencies
  • Dependent group contingencies
  • Interdependent group contingencies
  • Example of a school-wide group contingency
  • Wrapping up
  • ABA and PBS resources

INVESTing in Women and Girls with Autism

INVEST: Identify Needs, Validate, Educate, Strengthen and Thrive

Girls and women with ASD largely camouflage their characteristics in an effort to pass as neurotypical. Due to their difficulties reading social cues, girls and women with ASD are disproportionately victims of bullying, sexual assault and abusive relationships. Mental health challenges such anxiety, depression, panic, eating disorders, ADHD, OCD and addictions often come to the attention of professionals before an ASD diagnosis is given, if at all.

The INVEST model has been developed by Dori Zener based on her extensive clinical experience with women and girls with ASD. The following are excerpts from her one day workshop  on the INVEST model filmed at  INVESTing in Girls and Women with ASD – November 2, 2018

Dori Zener, MSW, RSW

Dori Zener is an Individual, Couple and Family Therapist in Toronto, Dori Zener has been working with individuals affected by ASD and learning differences for over a decade, with a particular interest in girls and women. She hosts “Asperfemme,” a free support group for women on the spectrum in Toronto.

Introduction to the INVEST model and Women and Girls with Autism

Part 1: What Does Autism Look Like in Women & Girls?

Topics Covered: 
  • Asking autistic women and girls what helped their wellbeing, and what would have made their life easier
    • Encouragement, acceptance, patience, support
    • Celebrating differences
    • Sensory experiences
    • Encourage interests
    • School
  • A brief word on language
  • Female autism profile:
    • Social communication
    • Restricted repetitive behaviour
    • Sensory processing
    • Associated challenges: emotional regulation, executive functioning

Part 2: Positive Traits, (Mis)Diagnosis, and Co-occurring Mental Health Issues

Topics Covered:
  • Creativity, empathy, animals & information

Question & Answer Period on Women and Girls with ASD

  • 0:00 – 0:50 – Are girls not identified because parents aren’t recognizing the signs?
  • 0:51 – 3:24 – How to balance your child’s desire to be by themselves while also encouraging her to build friendships?
  • 3:25 – 4:55 – What is your opinion on the changes to social communication disorders in the  DSM-V?
  • 4:55 – 6:26 – What is the best way to support a child to continue healthy friendships?
  • 6:27 – 7:35 – How do you teach complex emotions?
  • 7:36 – 11:25 – How often do you validate behaviour and how and when do you make it a learning point?
  • 11:26 – 13:05 – How could I help my child prepare for a job interview?
  • 13:06 – 14:46 – How do you include your child in social situations if your child rarely speaks?
  • 14:47 – 17:22 – How can an adult woman pursue a diagnosis?
  • 17:23 – 18:45 – Do you know of resources to help a young adult accept or come to terms with their autism diagnosis?
  • 18:45 – 21:27 – How do you handle a situation where your child is attached to inanimate objects?
  • 21:30 – 22:01 – Information on Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Dori Zener has given permission to share some excerpts from her one day workshop.

Visual Support Strategies for Individuals with ASD

Visual support strategies have been used to successfully support children, youth and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for decades. Many are familiar with the use of visual schedules, but there are many ways in which visual support strategies can be used. These supports have been demonstrated to increase independent functioning, teach specific skills, improve environmental awareness, teach rules and social expectations, reduce problem behavior and so much more! There is a large body of research to support the use of these strategies with children, youth, and adults in home, school, community and employment settings.

Filmed at Picturing Success: Visual Support Strategies for Individuals with ASD – October 20-21, 2017

Brenda Fossett, PhD, BCBA-D, Capilano University

Dr. Brenda Fossett, BCBA-D, is an inspired teacher who is widely admired for her ability to convey complex concepts to those who work with children and adults with special needs, whether they are educational professionals or parent. Dr. Fossett has been on faculty in the Applied Behavior Analysis – Autism Department at Capilano University since 2013. Prior to that she was Assistant Professor (Special Education) in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. She is also a certified teacher of the deaf, as well as being a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Dr. Fossett has extensive clinical experience providing behavioral/educational consultative services to children with ASD, deafness, and other developmental disabilities in home, school, and community settings. Her scholarly and clinical interests include: applied behavior analysis, the implementation of positive behavior support in home and school settings, and educational interventions for deaf children with developmental disabilities. For more information on Dr. Fossett see


Introduction to Visual Support Strategies

Part 1: Overview of Visual Support Strategies

Part 2: What Does the Evidence Say?

  • Object cues
  • Difference between graphics symbols and PECS
  • Selecting appropriate representations

Symbol Assessment Preparation, Formats, and Planning

Part 1: Symbol Assessment

  • Preparing for a symbol assessment

Part 2: Symbol Assessment Formats

  • Receptive Language Format
  • Yes/No Format
  • Visual Matching Format
  • Conducting a symbol assessment

Part 3: Planning for the Future

  • Other considerations

Part 4: Where to Get Symbols, Photographs, and Materials

Visual Supports Guide

Part 1: Visual Supports to Provide Information

  • Environmental supports

Part 2: Visual Schedules


Part 3: Using an Object Cue Schedule

Part 4: Using Visual Schedules

  • Embedding behavior support in visual schedules
  • Time pieces in a visual schedule

Part 5: Using Visual Schedules (continued)

  • Tablet-based visual schedules
  • Teaching with a visual schedule
  • Considerations when using visual schedules

Part 6: Visual Schedule Routines – with examples

  • Within-activity visual schedules
  • Examples include: Showering, After-school Routine, Transition Routine: School to Homework, Snack Routine at School, Dressing at the Pool, Making a Sandwich, Using the Bus, and Morning Routine
  • Table-based within-activity schedules using Pictello

Part 7: Creating and Using Within-Activity Schedules

  • Temporal and waiting supports in a visual schedule
  • Using timers and track timers

Part 8: The Problem with Social Interactions and How Visual Supports Can Help

  • Social narratives: Social Stories, Power Cards, Tablet-based social narratives
  • Implementing social narratives

Part 9: Using Contingency Maps

Contingency maps are a visual support designed to provide information regarding the consequences for positive and problematic behavior.

Part 10: Rule Supports

Rule supports are a visual depiction of the rules. They can provide information regarding rules and assist with teaching individuals to follow rules.

Improving Communication with AAC

Part 1: Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)

  • Supporting expressive communication with AAC

Part 2: Expressive Communication using Choice Making

  • Visual support strategies for choice making
  • Using choice boards

Part 3: Improving Expressive Communications: Communication Boards & Books

Part 4: Improving Communication Using the Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS)

  • Overview of PECS
  • When PECS is appropriate
  • Six phases of PECS instruction

Part 5: PECS in Daily Activities

  • Examples of implementation
    • At a restaurant
    • During cooking
  • Exchange-based communication support

Improving Conversation Skills

Part 1: Visual Support Strategies to Improve Conversation

  • Conversation supports
    • Visual bridges
    • Conversation books
  • Examples of visual bridges

Part 2: Improving Conversation Skills with Conversation Books

  • Creating conversation books
  • Teaching conversation book use
  • Tablet-based conversation books
  • Developing communication skills

Improving Skill Acquisition

Part 1: Improving Skill Acquisition with Video Modelling

  • Definition: Video of a model demonstrating desired behavior
  • Different types of video modelling
    • Video modeling
    • Video self-modeling
    • Point-of-view video modeling
    • Video prompting
  • What can we teach with video modelling?

Part 2: Implementing Video Modelling

  • Planning a video model
  • Making the video
  • Showing the video
  • Apps for video modelling

Improving Literacy Skills

Part 1: Academic Activities & Literacy

  • Access to academic activities
  • Instruction guides
  • Examples of lesson topics
    • The periodic table
    • Transportation in Canada
  • Story guides: Examples with Tale of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Owls in the Family, Chocolate Fever, and Charlotte’s Web

Part 2: Adapted Stories for Read-Alouds

Add visual supports and adapted text to storybooks to improve access during read-alouds.

  • Adapted story example: Caillou: Merry Christmas!
  • Adapting story books and novels
  • Question and answer activities
  • Brainstorming for poem writing
  • Lesson on healthy eating
  • Graphic organizers
  • Sort & classify
  • Compare & contrast

Part 3: Graphic Organizers for Sequencing & Describing

  • Examples of sequencing: Romeo & Juliet, The Little Red Hen, The Rainbow Fish, Turtle Hatching, The Mitten
  • Examples of describing: The Rainbow Fish, Jack and the Beanstalk, Charlotte’s Web

Part 4: Visual Supports for Literacy Development

  • Skills for literacy development
  • Teaching comprehension of text
    • Drawing to show comprehension
  • Visual supports for writing

Considerations and Planning for Visual Supports

  • Considering your purpose
    • Determine the necessary representation and type of visual support needed
    • Determine what type of visual support is most appropriate
  • Creating your visual supports
  • Advice for implementing & using visual support strategies in practice

Resources recommended by Dr. Fossett

  • Indiana Resource Center for Autism

  •  The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, Vanderbilt University

  • VCU Autism Center for Excellence

    Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence provides a number of online resources, including 45-minute webcasts, 30-minute seminars, and 5 minute ‘how to’ videos demonstrating a number of evidence-based interventions, including the use of visual supports. This website also provides guides and factsheets related to evidence-based interventions.

  • Design to Learn

    Provides information and resources focused on early communication development, including the use of tangible symbols, with an emphasis on individuals with complex communication needs/dual-sensory impairments/etc.

  • In the references/resources section of the handouts, there are links to two providers of online modules (Autism Internet Modules and AFIRM). There are also links for Mayer-Johnson (Boardmaker) and SymbolStix, as sources for symbols. The best place to buy Boardmaker in Canada is Bridges (prices in Canadian dollars and shipping from Canada).

Including Students with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities in Schoolwide PBS: All Means ALL!

Filmed at Setting the Stage for Success: Positive Behavior Support in School, Home and Community – October 20, 2018

Part of a video learning stream on Positive Behavior Support.

Although the three-tier school-wide positive behavior support (SW-PBS) model is intended to be applied to all students within a school, those with autism or other developmental disabilities are often excluded from Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions. This session examines some of the elements of school-wide PBS that are intended to benefit the full range of students within a school, with suggestions for including students with significant developmental and behavioral challenges.

Pat Mirenda, PhD, BCBA-D, University of British Columbia

Pat Mirenda is a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education, and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism (CIRCA) at the University of British Columbia. She teaches courses on augmentative and alternative communication, autism spectrum disorder, inclusive education, instructional techniques for students with significant learning challenges, and positive behavior support.

Dr. Mirenda has published over 150 research articles and chapters and presents frequently at international, national and regional conferences. She is the Principal Investigator for the Parent and Child Early (PACE) Coaching study that is examining the impact of community-based parent coaching for toddlers at risk for ASD.

Part 1: Introduction to the School-Wide System

Part 2: Setting and Teaching School-Wide Expectations

Part 3: Using Acknowledgement Systems and Visual Supports

Part 4: Discouraging Problem Behaviors

Part 5: Q & A


Part 6: Tier 2 – Check-in Check-out (CICO) System

Part 7: Tier 3 – Individualized Behavior Support; Summary