Acceptance & Commitment Therapy For KIDS | The A.I.M Curriculum

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy For KIDS | The A.I.M Curriculum


hi my name is Erin Bertoli and I am a
board certified behavior analyst with Brett DiNovi & associates this video is
a follow-up video to one previously created on the analysis of private
events and the use of acceptance and commitment therapy with kids if you
aren’t familiar or haven’t already viewed it please check out our channel
for that and other content that has been created on acceptance and commitment
therapy and my previous discussion of private events I mentioned to act based
models that have been developed for kids and young adults the aim curriculum and
the DNA V model this video will review the aim curriculum this is simply an
overview more information training opportunities and purchase of the
curriculum can be found at www.acceptidentifymove.com. the aim curriculum
was developed by dr. mark Dixon and dana paula Lunas and is a combination of
mindfulness act and applied behavior analysis dr. Dixon knew that act could
and should be used with kids so he tinkered around with running act
processes on his own kids trying to figure out ways for them to become more
mindful or to accept when it was time for bed to step back from worrying and
to do their chores that they could watch TV later in the day but he explained how
the heavy psychological concepts of act needed to be stripped down to their
basic elements and articulated in discrete learning trials and language a
child could understand and what resulted was 180 days of actual lessons for kids
and a book that framed these lessons and within the context of autism
intervention aim stands for accept identify and move together these three
words serve as a philosophy towards value driven life according to dr. Dixon
if we can accept both the wonderful and terrible that is the natural course of
everyone’s life identify what really matters to us and what we like want our
life to be about and move towards these goals and values we might just make it
the goal of aim is better living with adaptive flexible behavior that leads to
success in various environments mindfulness and parts of act seek to
increase an individual’s awareness of what is going on in the environment
right here right now rather than being caught up in a world inside
their mind aba and other parts of act seek to increase or decrease certain
behaviors making it more likely that he or she will engage in behaviors that
result in rewarding experiences in that environment together these three
elements help the individual be an aware active participant in his or her life
aim can be implemented in homes or schools either in a one-to-one setting
in small groups classroom wide or even school-wide but remember this curriculum
utilizes the principles of act which is rooted in relational frame theory if an
individual cannot make arbitrary or derived relations and understand and
interpret metaphors and they may not fully benefit from this curriculum in
other words the individual needs to have a pretty sophisticated language
repertoire think about kiddos with high functioning autism or emotional and
behavioral disorders kids with anxiety or OCD and other mental health disorders
in terms of ages the curriculum is developed for kids in grades K to 12
although my personal experience has led me to make some pretty heavy
modifications for those in the younger and older grades the aim curriculum has
five main components mindfulness practices daily act lessons the aim
point system function based reinforcement and ongoing progress
monitoring we’ll start with the mindfulness practices included in the
curriculum are 75 scripted mindful moments which are one minute mindfulness
exercises that could be done at the start of the session or lesson morning
meeting or even over the loudspeaker during morning announcements mindfulness
can be understood as the foundation and basic precondition for education
children need to learn to stop their mind wandering and regulate attention
and emotions to deal with feelings of frustration and to self-motivate
mindfulness practice enhances the very qualities and goals of Education in the
21st century these qualities include not only attentional and emotional
self-regulation but also pro-social dispositions such as empathy and
compassion self representations ethical sensitivity creativity and
problem-solving skills they enable children to deal with future challenges
of the rapidly changing world ideally becoming smart caring and
committed citizens next are the 175 act lessons broken down into weekly themes
that include things like good versus bad past and present the give and take
acceptance taking things one at a time willingness values transformation
flexibility perspective taking quiet and loneliness setbacks compassion and more
the lessons includes three tiers to offer options of interventions based on
individual needs and amount of time and resources available to the instructor
each lesson includes which core process and the hexa flex the lesson is
addressing present moment awareness acceptance diffusion values committed
actions and selfish context or flexible self as I usually say
each lesson also includes a description of the lesson preparation notes scripts
discussion prompts and experiencial activities next we’ll talk about the
point system and use of function based reinforcement again one of the three
major components of aim is applied behavior analysis and what good ABA
intervention doesn’t include a good solid reinforcement system an analysis
of function and a lot of data the authors have created and shared a ton of
data sheets in the book including a number of variations of point sheets
referred to aim point calculators a my act monitor for self management an
example of a good function based reinforcement menu that includes price
points and cash out opportunities ABC and act record logs and more when
implementing aim the students have opportunities to earn as well as lose
points for social and act related behaviors in a number of different
categories on some of the data sheets there are spaces to record the behavior
possible function and/or which component of the hexa flex the behavior is related
to once the point system is chosen a function based reinforcement menu should
be developed the menu should be broken down into reinforcement options that
match the four functions of behavior scape access to tangibles attention and
sensory the menu should also include options offered at different prices
based on the chosen point system the students are given set opportunities to
cash in their points to purchase something from the menu
many behavior analysts out there likely already utilize function based
reinforcement in their programs but think about all of the classrooms we
work in that utilize prize boxes trinkets and toys from oriental trading
are great for kids that are motivated by access to tangibles but what about kids
that are motivated by escape kids that are motivated to gain attention from
others engage in a lot of sensory seeking behaviors it’s really important
that we offer reinforcement options that are functionally equivalent to the
students problem behavior think homework passes lunch with the principle being
teacher for morning meeting opportunities to work with a peer making
deliveries to favorite staff members and so on there are two other components of
aim that I feel are worth pointing out the first is the use of a response cost
and the second is the concept of delayed gratification many practitioners don’t
agree with a response cost system or the removal of things that have already been
earned but the author’s give an example in the book about how adults will earn
money for going to work and then get pulled over get a speeding ticket and
have to pay a fine embedding contingencies as similar to the natural
environment as possible will increase the likelihood that the appropriate
behavior will generalize to other situations a big component of act is
persisting in behaviors or committed actions even when it’s hard in an effort
to access larger longer-term rewards as opposed to smaller more immediate
rewards for those students who are ready it’s important to tweak the cost of
items and the frequency of cash outs in order to expose them to this concept of
delayed gratification which is a big component of the aim curriculum in terms
of data collection and progress monitoring there are a number of things
that aim offers first there is something called the child psychological
flexibility questionnaire where the CP FQ you can use this to assess the
students before starting the program and then a follow-up
intervention the CPE FQ provides a total score that indicates psychological
flexibility as well as subscales for each component of the ACT EXA flex you
can also graph the students total points earned or the percentage of points
earned over time as mentioned earlier there is also an ABC record log for
logging incidents of behaviors with a corresponding act record log there is an
act quantitative analysis scale for the AQA s which is a rubric that can be used
to rate the student’s performance during the ACT lessons finally there is a
program design checklist and even a treatment fidelity checklist and act
implement our evaluation sheet this book literally comes packed full of resources
and as some of our experts in the field have said this timely and important book
describes the integration of three effective and well-established
interventions into a coherent and unified treatment approach with children
who are struggling to adapt and find meeting in an often chaotic and
challenging world it is a must read for any behavioral health professional
wanting to make a difference in these children’s lives aim is packed with
creative methods for moving behavior change processes of known importance
this book gives practitioners the scientific and practical understanding
needed to apply this modern form of behavior analysis to children why isn’t
easy to use it will make a difference in your practice simply put this is the
book you’ve been waiting for there are a lot of behavior analysts in our field
who believe that act is too mentalistic too therapeutic or outside of our scope
of practice but as discussed in previous videos Skinner made this very clear
behavior analysis is supposed to be a comprehensive science of psychology a
comprehensive science of everything all organisms do which include private
events thoughts and feelings are in fact behavior influenced by or a function of
the same kinds of variables as publicly accessible behavior let’s take a look at
the bacb task list look at all of these areas
and this is just to name a few now of course as with any newer technology more
data is needed I am happy to share a few samples of data that I have collected
over the past year or so and very much look forward to seeing more data and
published studies on this curriculum I will conclude by sharing some words from
dr. Dixon that had a huge impact on me in hopes of doing the same for those
that are watching language changes everything
once we start talking we begin to interact with a psychological world that
might be removed from the current time in place everything changes the
phenomena that behavior is under control of substitute stimulus functions of the
actual stimulus objects is nothing new within the science of behavior the
problem lies in altering behavior under the control of such substitution but
this is only a problem for those who believe that the three term contingency
of antecedent behavior consequence is sufficient to produce results if anyone
thinks a simple differential reinforcement system is sufficient to
change the behavior of a verbally sophisticated human while they are a
damn fool go flip through the pages of our most sophisticated peer-reviewed
journals if you doubt me and try to find a robust research
program that manages to alter behavior of verbally competent children and
meaningful ways using direct acting contingencies when you can’t go and
examine what has been developing over the past 20 years when the participating
factors of language and cognition are embedded within a traditional behavioral
approach and when we start teaching children with interventions that match
their level of complexity and with interventions that incorporate a
comprehensive contemporary account of human behavior we will have accomplished
our aim as caregivers this curriculum along with the DNA V model have taken my
approach with my clients to a whole new level
there is more to intervention and promoting behavior change than direct
contingency management we need to include an analysis of private events
into our approach and act based interventions like these are
technologies that are available to us and are within our scope of practice as
behavior analysts if you have not already done so please click subscribe
and stay tuned for further content being created on the DNA V model and other
ways in which we can increase psychological flexibility and our youth you


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