As a parent, you will receive information about interventions and therapies that may benefit your child. One of the most important elements of ABA is generalization, especially for children receiving services in a clinical setting. Generalization is vital because it allows children to thrive and practice their skills outside the therapy room. Keep reading to learn more about generalization strategies and how they are implemented in ABA therapy.
What is Generalization?
Generalization is an essential component of ABA therapy. It teaches children with autism how to apply newly mastered skills in different situations. Generalization allows us to extend the effects of ABA therapy to new environments where clinical services may not be available. This means the therapist has a goal for each child that involves them taking the skills they learn in a clinical setting and applying them to the “real world.” For example, when prompted at the clinic, a child can clean up their toys independently. However, when the child’s parents say “clean up” at home, the child does not respond. This would reflect a lack of generalization.
Stimulus generalization refers to performing a learned skill in a new environment. An example is when a child learns to put their books away and then spontaneously cleans up their toys. Stimulus generalization also includes identifying objects as equivalent to one another. For example, knowing the word “dog” can apply to various dog breeds.
Response generalization occurs when a child successfully uses newly learned skills and the variation of these skills in different contexts. For example, if a child learns how to zip up their jacket and can also zip up their backpack, then they have generalized the skill of using a zipper d. Unlike stimulus generalization, where multiple stimuli generate the same response, response generalization happens when the same stimulus generates multiple responses.
Maintenance of Learned Skills
Maintaining a behavior after it is learned is another crucial aspect of generalization. This is essential because if a skill is learned and then forgotten, it must be taught again. One example of this includes learning to tie shoes. After this complex behavior is learned, we don’t need prompts from anyone else. This skill has generalized over time if we can continue to tie our shoes independently years later.
Benefits Of Generalization
The ability to apply newly learned skills to a variety of settings has many benefits for children on the autism spectrum, such as:
- Improving the long-term retention of skills.
- Promoting self-confidence and independence.
- Allows for the recalibration of behavior, that is, modifying skills to suit changes in the environment over time.
- Sets the ground for better interaction with others.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.