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birchesA note from Preschool Director Nancy Little: “Dr. LorRainne Jones has been our partnering contractor of Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy for more than 20 years. We are so proud to have this continued relationship with her, and we congratulate her on her achievements. She has had a great deal to do with the success of many of our students and of others nationally and internationally. She is the author of many books, articles and resources, and a blessing to the Palma Ceia community.”

With the increase in children being diagnosed with autism there is an increased awareness of ABA (applied behavior analysis). ABA involves the principles of learning theory. Specifically it is the contingent use of reinforcement and other important principles to decrease inappropriate behaviors and increase, or train, appropriate behaviors and then generalize those behaviors or skills to other environments. I would argue that successful intervention with children with autism, and all chldren, involves a broader view and perhaps a look back in time.

Training is considered to be very different from teaching. Teaching is defined as the process of imparting knowledge or telling someone how to do something. Training, it is felt, incorporates instruction, discipline and drill. Teachers cause learning by providing information; trainers facilitate learning. lt has been said that the essence of teaching is causing another to know. lt may similarly be said that the essence of training is causing another to do. I would argue that the best and most gifted teachers do both. They know how to isolate a skill that a child struggles with and systematically “train” it. Furthermore, the best ABA practitioners instantly perceive, and fluidly “teach” in a way that instills in a child with autism a love for learning. I would argue that the best teacher and the best behavior analyst are in many ways more alike than different.

A “best teacher” who comes to mind is Anne Sullivan, who moved into the Keller household in March of 1887. Anne Sullivan has been quoted as saying, “People seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved.” In the 1962 movie, The Miracle Worker, Anne said to the Kellers after initial “training” session with Helen, “The room’s a wreck, but she folded her napkin!” From folding her napkin, Helen went on to inspire many and change thinking about people with disabilities and their ability to learn. Anne Sullivan was not the first great teacher/trainer. Humankind would not be where it is today without teacher/trainers, who strategically instilled the skills and the love of learning that fostered creativity and innovation – a hallmark of our progress as a nation and as a species. I enthusiastically welcome the next generation of teacher/trainers and trainer/teachers. Your students are anxiously waiting your arrival…

LorRainne Jones, Ma. CCC-SLP, Ph.D., BCBA-D