Learning from 9 to 9

Dr.-Shabani-at-LA-FEAT-meeting-11-11-13-300x300Yesterday was a day off school. However, not a day off learning…


9 AM- 6 PM- A class on supervising BCBA candidates in Marina del Rey.


7 PM- 9 PM- A presentation on “Addressing Maladaptive Behaviors” by Dr. Daniel Shabani at LA FEAT (Los Angeles Families for Effective Autism Treatment) in Hermosa Beach. Two takeaways: 1) “Be a detective” and discover the reasons behind these behaviors. Figuring out the cause is often not easy, but is critical to the goal of replacing a challenging behavior with an acceptable one. 2) Reinforcement. Reinforcement. Reinforcement. Yes, it is that important.

A book review: Raising the Curve

Raising-the-Curve-by-Ron-Berler-300x300How do you improve education? A simple question that receives attention galore, but has no definitive answers.


Ron Berler’s book, Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America’s 45,000 Failing Public Schools, takes a year long, in-depth look at a single school, Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut. It introduces us to teachers, administrators, specialists, and students as they make a school wide effort to raise standardized test scores. After school programs, teacher camaraderie, intense teaching to the test, peer leadership, classroom distractions, and more are all explored.


What works best? Frustratingly, the answer appears to be D: None of the Above, since the Brookside test scores barely improved after this year long effort. However, Raising the Curve hints at a possible key: Home. Yes, that place where a child spends even more time than at school. Reading together. Homework support. Quality time. Good nutrition. Mealtime discussions. Would a year of these activities raise the test scores? Maybe a subject for a Raising the Curve, Home Edition?

Reducing Challenging Behaviors

Dr.-Doreen-Granpeesheh-300x300Attended an excellent presentation by Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh of the Center for Autism & Related Disorders. The subject? “Using ABA to Reduce Challenging Behaviors.” Among much wisdom, here are three takeaways:


1)All challenging behaviors are, in essence, communication. Not functional communication, but communication nonetheless. The challenge? To figure out what children or students are “trying to say” through these challenging behaviors.


2) The two main areas of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy: Provide reinforcement to increase skill deficits, and remove reinforcement to decrease behavior excesses.


3) How do we change behaviors? By changing the antecedents (What comes before the behaviors) and the consequences (What comes after the behaviors.)


One more? ABA works, but that does not mean “easy.” Parents, teachers, and therapists should be on the same page. Hours of consistent work. However, as Dr. Granpeesheh pointed out, it should ideally be provided as part of a day that includes fun.


Which triggers the realization that 123TokenMe uses ABA methodology to assist in reinforcement of skills and behaviors. With a touch of fun. Perfect.


Autism support from TylersPieces.com

IMG_4548-300x300 the day of diagnosis. Well, so does Leanna Sizer, but what came after for our neighbor at the 2013 National Autism Conference is today’s story. Leanna decided to do something positive. She founded TylersPieces.com and has been crafting for autism ever since.


Every penny she makes is donated to help autism right in her own community of DuBois, Pennsylvania. By keeping it local she knows exactly where this hard earned money goes: Learning materials, equipment for a special needs sport’s league, and school assistance are a few of the beneficiaries of Leanna’s heartfelt handiwork. As lucky as her community is to have Leanna, Tyler is even more fortunate to have a loving Mom and a tireless advocate.

Summer reading

IMG_4302-300x300Reading? Academics? In the summer? Let Me help. McCartney and her mom set up 123TokenMe for a target behavior of “Fun in the Sun.” Every book McCartney reads this summer earns her a token. 


Shhhh… it’s a secret, so please don’t tell McCartney. If she earns all her tokens, she’ll be heading back to school in style. And, if this summer reading project is successful, her backpack just might include some books for fall reading.

Keep Mommy happy!

IMG_4280-300x300Summer. A time for vacation, right?
Not for Me, evidently:


“We’ve put 123TokenMe to work at home this summer. Here are a few of the behaviors we’ve been reinforcing: Follow directions. Put away toys. Positive attitude. And, my favorite- Keep Mommy happy!”


The photo that was included seems to confirm that kids, Mommy, and Me are all happy. Summer work has benefits!

And, the winners are…

And-the-twelve-winners-from-ABAI-are...-300x300A dozen lucky ABAI attendees that liked Me on Facebook are winners. Their iTunes gift cards were emailed. They’ve downloaded 123TokenMe. The last step is adding unlimited students. 123TokenMe is a free download for one student. This one child version is all most parents will ever need.


The winners have multiple student caseloads, so unlimited students are a must. Upgrading to unlimited is just $9.99, but it’s still fun to be chosen. The true winners? Any therapist, teacher, or behaviorist that uses 123TokenMe. They know firsthand the drudgery of making token boards. Each one costs over $10 to make, so having Me on their iPads and iPhones is a reason to smile. The biggest smiles, however, will emerge upon seeing their students respond.


Congratulations to these winners: Jenny M-TX, Jamie O-NY, Kelly G-MA, Tiffany T-IL, Kristi H-OH, Kara B-TX, Melissa L-CO, Wendy K-WA, Krystin K-IL, Karlyn G-MT, Tess G-IL, and Kelly T-WI. Now, start using Me to motivate your students!

On the iPhone, and out to eat!


Take Me anywhere my first iPhone version is out! Easy to use Me on the playground, while shopping, and in dozens of other situations. That’s 123TokenMe in the photo. Do you see where we are in this example? At a restaurant with Freddy’s Mom & Dad. They’ve always been hesitant to take Freddy out to eat because of behavior issues.


Since Freddy is familiar with 123TokenMe from his classroom iPad, Mom set up Quiet sitting at restaurant as his target behavior. She chose ten tokens with a three minute reminder interval. If Freddy reaches his 30 minute goal, the whole family will celebrate with ice cream. That’s why Mom added an ice cream cone to the reward chest with her iPhone camera. This highlights what Freddy is working for. And, please don’t forget about Me, Mom and Dad. My favorite is butter pecan.


Great timing, since (right after ice cream) my flight leaves for the ABAI conference in Minneapolis. It’s always fun to have people try Me out for the first time, but this is better. Now attendees can put 123TokenMe on their iPhone while visiting my booth.