How has ABA been adapted for AbaPlanet?
Within any intervention based on ABA there are a great number of exercises to be carried out. Some can be adapted to tablets, and among these the two most important ones are the exercises of matching and receptive language.
With the AbaPlanet expert system we have aimed at simulating a personalized work session. It is not enough to simply define a series of working parameters and create a set number of exercises. To be effective, the system must be capable of analysing how the child responds, and react accordingly, repeating exercises as necessary, and adapting the difficulty of the exercises as the session progresses.
The expert system is responsible for introducing distraction exercises as part of each session, simulating the process carried out by a therapist or tutor. In this way, during the receptive language learning sessions, the system progressively adds matching exercises, so that your child concentrates for a moment on other images and later returns to deal with exercises where the image of the concept to be learnt appears. The complexity of these distraction exercises, of which there are 50 variants, increases as the session progresses.
Managing Incorrect Responses
When the child makes a mistake, AbaPlanet will provide immediate feedback. The default response by the app consists of the screen going dark for two seconds. This is considered to be a non-stimulating response, and has the opposite effect to the sounds and highly visual graphic responses that are provided with correct answers.
AbaPlanet offers the possibility to replace this mechanism with a white screen, a sound or simply no response at all, leaving the response up to the adult.
Following an incorrect response, the child should repeat the exercise twice, first with a visual clue, then a second time with no aid of any kind. For each iteration of the process, the position of the images will be changed, in order to avoid the response being associated with a particular position on the screen.
The visual aid may consist in the correct image flashing and changing size, or in professional sessions, with the elimination of one of the distraction images.
When to give a reinforcer, which reinforcer to give and for how much time are key aspects to determine when preparing a work session. Proper motivation is essential, in order to gain the full benefits from a work session.
AbaPlanet allows you to configure of a varied list of reinforcers independently for each child, including pictures of real objects or activities. The option of loading the child´s favourite videos, or watching them on YouTube guarantees that the list of reinforcers is never exhausted.
Token Economy for Reinforcers
One commonly used technique in ABA is the use of a token-based reinforcement system. AbaPlanet implements this by allowing the option of choosing the number of tokens to be accumulated by the child before a reinforcer is offered. The token counter can either be displayed on the activity screen or in a separate window. When a separate window is used, the child can pick up the token after each successful exercise and sees what reinforcer is available at the end of the session.
With the professional session editor, we have aimed to provide maximum flexibility to tutors. The editor allows to create sessions on the fly and allows to configure key aspects such as how the exercises should be carried out, and the type of clues that should be provided if an incorrect answer is given.
A work session based upon ABA should be logged and later analysed. AbaPlanet creates a log of each work session and for each time interval within the session.
It is essential that mistakes are detected. For that reason, AbaPlanet creates a complete log for each incorrect response. This allows to analyze if a child has difficulties with one particular image or concept. With the concept editor, the professional can then prevent that concept from appearing again.
AbaPlanet determines whether a concept has been learned as a function of a number of parameters that can be configured in professional sessions. For example, the image of a concept which has already been learned is considered to be a more difficult distraction than an image of a concept that is not yet known by the child. The adult user also has the ability to manually indicate which concepts are known by the child.