dent/teacher ratios, increasing programming time, reformulating curricula, or providing additional training and consultation.


To the extent that it leads to the specified educational goals (e.g., peer interaction skills, independent participation in regular education), children should receive specialized instruction in settings in which ongoing interactions occur with typically developing children.


Six kinds of interventions should have priority:

a. Functional, spontaneous communication should be the primary focus of early education. For very young children, programming should be based on the assumption that most children can learn to speak. Effective teaching techniques for both verbal language and alternative modes of functional communication, drawn from the empirical and theoretical literature, should be vigorously applied across settings.

b. Social instruction should be delivered throughout the day in various settings, using specific activities and interventions planned to meet age-appropriate, individualized social goals (e.g., with very young children, response to maternal imitation; with preschool children, cooperative activities with peers).

c. The teaching of play skills should focus on play with peers, with additional instruction in appropriate use of toys and other materials.

d. Other instruction aimed at goals for cognitive development should also be carried out in the context in which the skills are expected to be used, with generalization and maintenance in natural contexts as important as the acquisition of new skills. Because new skills have to be learned before they can be generalized, the documentation of rates of acquisition is an important first step. Methods of introduction of new skills may differ from teaching strategies to support generalization and maintenance.

e. Intervention strategies that address problem behaviors should incorporate information about the contexts in which the behaviors occur; positive, proactive approaches; and the range of techniques that have empirical support (e.g., functional assessment, functional communication training, reinforcement of alternative behaviors).

f. Functional academic skills should be taught when appropriate to the skills and needs of a child.

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