• Examination of Training for Individuals Using ABA With Students Diagnosed With ASD

      Dontoh, Edna
      Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the social communication and behaviours of individuals diagnosed; Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based treatment for individuals with ASD and a teaching strategy that breaks down skills into smaller steps by using prompting and reinforcement (Mayer, Sulzer-Azaroff, & Wallace, 2014). Although the Ontario Ministry of Educationʼs (OME, 2007) Policy/Program Memorandum 140 (PPM-140) identifies ABA as a teaching method for educators, some parents are concerned that educational assistants who work one-on-one with students with ASD are not skilled enough (Nanowski, 2017). For the 2017-2018 school year in Ontario, a pilot project was conducted to increase the training of educational assistants through online learning programs (OME, 2017). The project focused on ABA-based professional development (PD) and sought to identify most effective types of PD and if experiential learning occurs. This paper examined the types of policies/PD opportunities offered within Canada and specific parts of the United States. Data analysis revealed each region had a different way of explaining its respective policy on teaching students with ASD; some clearly identified ABA as an evidence-based practice, some used tools based on ABA, while others focused only on inclusive education. Experiential Learning Theoryʼs 4 steps—experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting (Yeganeh & Kolb, 2009)—were fully implemented within the PD of teaching staff concerning ABA and ASD in a few regions. To improve outcomes, each region can focus on integrating PD that completes the experiential learning cycle.