The main objective of the Skills Program is to focus on building new skills to increase the quality of life. These skills are broken down into four broad categories:
Independence and Life Skills: daily living skills that help the individual achieve independence
Language and Social Skills: the ability to express wants and needs, have a conversation with family and friends, navigate the social world, and make friends
Behavioural Support: skills to self-regulate. If there is a behavioural concern, our priority is to determine why the behaviour is occurring and help the family or the individual change the environment to prevent that behavioural concern or teach the individual how to communicate their wants and needs better.
Academic Skills: sessions that break down academic tasks (such as math, reading, writing, etc.) into more manageable steps to accelerate academic learning.
When there is an opportunity to help new people/families, a person/family that expresses interest will complete an interview and initial assessment to help determine the best possible partnership between the individual/family and UNB student. Provided there is a good fit, students will schedule one-on-one sessions to provide support in one of the categories above. Unfortunately, not all individuals/families will be a good fit for the scope of the program and when that is the case all efforts will be used to refer the individual/family to an appropriate provider. Skill-building programs will be individualized to each person using evidence-based practices and a team-based approach. In other words, the students in the program work together with their supervisor(s) and the individual and their family to determine what skills to build, along with how those skills will be built.
This program is a partnership between UNB’s Applied Behaviour Analysis(ABA) Certificate Program and Autism Connections Fredericton. Students in the ABA Certificate Program are supervised by Dr. Michael Palmer, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and the Director of the ABA Certificate Program at UNB in addition to another BCBA, Alisha Hasan (Gainforth) of Real World ABA. Students in the program complete a practicum as part of their certificate program and the Skills Program at ACF is one of the practicum sites for the ABA Program, providing skill-building services under the supervision of the certified professionals listed above. Due to this, the program is considered a teaching program/clinic where students provide low-cost skill-building services while simultaneously learning and practicing their clinical skills.
This program is being offered separately from ABA services provided by the Provincial Preschool Autism Program or by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.