Speech and OT 
Topics in ABA

April 2015
In This Issue

BACA Information


Aimee Irwin, MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA







Hayleigh Kanzler, 








Shannon Fuelling, 



Angela Seal, MOT, OTR







Leah Logan, MS, OTR








Educational Opportunities:

BACA's OT's 
Angela Seal and 
Leah Logan 
will be attending the
(National OT Conference) on 
April 16-19th, 2015, in Nashville, TN.


As of 2/28/15, there are 202 identified SLPs who are dually certified as BCBA-D, BCBA or BCaBA. We are present in 39 states and 5 other countries (Canada, Australia, England, India and Africa).

Two SPABA Members presented at ABAI-2014 (Chicago):


ABAI 2014 (Chicago) Workshop: Technology Now: Useful Communication and Behavior Recording Apps for Behavior Analysts: Jose D. Rios, private practice; Isaac Bermudez, Love 2 Learn Consulting LLC; and E. Cheryl Fletcher, SLP, BCBA Integrated Therapy Services 


ABAI 2014 (Chicago) Workshop: Improving Acquisition of Intraverbal Language Skills: The Role of Verbal Conditional Discriminations: Barbara E. Esch, SLP, BCBA-D, Esch Behavior Consultants, Inc. 


One SPABA Member will present at ABAI-2015 (San Antonio):


ABAI 2015 (San Antonio) Paper Session: Using Gestures to Improve Speech Intelligibility: Janine Shapiro, SLP, BCBA, The Applied Behavior Center


BACA Atlas

Dr. Barb Esch, BCBA, CCC-SLP, is continuously involved in the BACA Atlas program. 

For more information about BACA Atlas, call 
317-769-4335 or email 
Ann Dorlet at   adorlet@thebaca.com.


   About BACA     


Th e Behavior Analysis Center for Autism (BACA) uses the principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach language, social, self-help, academic, daily living and life skills to children and young adults with autism and related disorders throughout Indiana. BACA is committed to the continuous education and training of its staff by hosting regular seminars and training sessions from its esteemed clinical team. 



Call 317-436-8961 
for more 
information today!


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Welcome to BACA's 
SPOT Newsletter!

Here you'll receive  information on BACA's speech and OT services, how our professionals implement ABA principles and their involvement in upcoming conferences in each field.



Dr. Carl Sundberg, PhD, BCBA-D, Hayleigh Kanzler, MA, CCC-SLP, and Angela Seal, MOT, OTR, were interviewed about BACA's multidisciplinary collaboration of ABA, speech and occupational therapy. Check it out!



Occupational Therapist Corner
Leah Logan, MS, OTR

As an occupational therapist in a center that provides treatment for children with autism, several important factors go into creating client-specific goals upon completion of an OT evaluation. These factors can include, but are not limited to, areas of poor performance on standardized tests, the child's primary form of communication, the child's ABA program goals, the parents' primary concerns, the child's transition plan, and the child's health and well-being.

Areas in which the child scores below average on a standardized test can help indicate the direction in which a goal may need to go. For example, if a child scores below average on the Visual Perceptual subtest of the Beery Visual Motor Integration assessment, a goal to address his or her visual perceptual skills may be important. A child's primary form of communication is integral to making goals for this client. A signer will need good dexterity and fine motor imitation skills in order to have a wide repertoire of signs. A client with an adaptive communication device will need good target acquisition using his or her index finger in order to be able to accurately select an icon on the communication device. A child's OT goals should support and further his or her goals in their ABA program. For instance, if a client has an ABA goal of matching two pictures in an array of 10, the child must have the ability to visually scan the large field of items. Similarly, the client's OT goals should address the primary concerns of the parents. If self-care skills are the parents' major concern, but they are not as worried about the child's poor handwriting, goals for addressing self-care skills need to be created. A child's transition plan has a big impact on the OT goals that I make. If a child has a transition plan to eventually return to a school setting, that child will need to have the skills to function in a classroom. If the child has a transition plan to live in a group home and work at a supported job, the child will need skills to live as independently as possible and to complete the tasks required at his or her place of work. The child's overall health and well-being is important, as well. A client who is overweight may benefit from an exercise program to help prevent future health concerns.

No two of my client's occupational therapy goals are the same as there are numerous factors that go into creating specific goals for each client. Determining specific goals for each client can be a time-consuming process, but as an OT, I take pride in providing client-centered treatment based on client-centered goals. 

OT Success Stories:

Leah Logan, 


One of my clients has made significant improvement on his decreased trunk strength and decreased balance. About two months ago, he was unable to complete a simple yoga position without assistance and he occasionally needed assistance to simply transition from sitting on the floor to standing. He now is able to complete 6-8 yoga positions with supervision only, and he often even requests to work for yoga as he finds great enjoyment in it. 



I have worked on food pairing with a client for about 8 months, and he initially would refuse a bite of a non-preferred item by demonstrating several problem behaviors including spitting, hitting, pinching, crying, and even vomiting. Because of these behaviors, his Team Supervisor and I decided it was best to move his snack time away from his peers. This client is now able to appropriately try new foods, including non-preferred foods, by taking several bites of the non-preferred food, and he is able to enjoy snack time with his peers again. 

Speech Success Story
Shannon Fuelling, MA, CCC-SLP

Certain clients with autism are stronger in their receptive language versus their speech production. This means they can understand a lot of the concepts of language like following directions and identifying pictures, but don't necessarily use speech as their primary means of communication. This particular client uses a program on his iPad to communicate his wants and needs to others. While speech was heavily targeted the first few years of speech therapy, decreased progress changed his speech goals to focus more on using his iPad as a way to tell his communication partner what he wanted. The client slowly started to show more interest in making different sounds and attempting to imitate speech sounds from others around age 7. Speech goals were added back into his program to include imitating vowels. Within four months, the client could imitate 2 vowels and 2 consonants. After 2 more months, the client could imitate the consonants plus the vowel (i.e. "puh, mah".)  This client taught me that you truly never know what skills they are capable of unless you try. While vocals weren't something he was ready for years ago, it's important to keep in mind that eventually clients may be. He also taught me to persevere. A total of 6 months can seem like a long time to make progress in vocals. But if the child reaches age 7 and hasn't had meaningful speech yet, it is definitely worth the wait.