Learning pre-academic skills through ABA for your English or Dutch speaking child

Expats Holland: ABA treatment at Preschools, ACI’s Center, and special needs schools

Education is one of the most important aspects of a child’s life. As a parent, you do your best to guarantee your child gets a great education. 

Being an expat mom myself, living in a country where English is not the first language, I experienced it can be challenging to find the best care or education. If you have a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a developmental delay, ADHD, or Down Syndrome, getting your child into an English-speaking school (or getting any education at all) is not easy. 

ABA Center International, ACI, uses Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and provides the opportunity to educate and teach English-speaking learners about basic life skills and pre-academic skills that will set the basis for getting accepted into schools and/or becoming independent individuals.

For a learner to be part of a class or any teaching group, the first skill taught is attention and attending. For example, through ABA, a learner is taught how to sit in a circle, actively listen during story time, and stay seated for a given amount of time. The ABA specialists use various visual stimuli like signs and schedules. Essentially these skills can lead to participating in group activities and following the teacher’s instructions like they would need in a typical classroom. 

Pairing these activities with reinforcers, such as access to favorite toys, lots of social praise with high-5’s, or hugs, increases the possibility of the learner staying seated longer next time or follow a group activity independently.

Once the learner can stay attentive, they are taught pre-reading, pre-writing, and math skills through activities carried out in the ABA structure. For example, first, a learner is taught how to draw a line, then a circle, a plus sign, etc., which eventually turns into a letter, a word, or a simple math calculation. 

Various skills are worked on to build the foundation for writing, reading and math, such as reading a story, sorting objects by size, matching the same forms or letters, and counting. These skills prep the learner for school, and to function independently in the community. Think about learning to recognize a sign in the market to push the door or pay at a supermarket by themselves. 

At ABA Center International (ACI) all learners, whether English-speaking or not, are offered ABA treatment in a rich learning environment. ACI focuses on pre-academic skills, communication skills, and essential life skills. ACI provides a safe, friendly, and educational environment for learners of English-speaking expat families, which is supportive and inclusive of all learners no matter the developmental diagnosis. 

All children deserve the right to education! 

Alexandra Gkouma, Behavior Technician at ACI