Fun & Functional Behavioral Services’ Director, Dr. TJ Glahn has been working in the areas of autism, curriculum development and program design as a clinician, university instructor, administrator and researcher. She trains and consults for individuals and agencies at the local, statewide and national levels. Dr. Glahn has extensive experience developing a comprehensive set of instructional tools and teacher training protocols which reflect a balance between head & heart, and between ABA & ACT. Both are evidence-based behavioral treatment approaches.
ABA provides the systematic framework for specific instructional strategies based on the principles of behaviorism. ABA has been documented to be the most effective treatment for promoting therapeutic gains in persons with autism for the past 30 years. ABA includes but is much more than discrete trials. Naturalistic and Functional teaching within inclusive settings and classrooms is now where the fields of autism and education have headed. Fun & Functional behavioral teaching embraces these treatment approaches of teaching the toddler, the child, and the adolescent within his/her home, school and community. These behaviorally-based strategies permit for a more flexible and responsive therapy and teaching within the child’s individualized settings and using his/her motivators to make learning Fun & Functional and sustainable as evidenced by the data.
ACT, although less used with persons with autism, has been conceptualized and formalized for over 20 years by Dr. Steven C. Hayes and colleagues. ACT encourages MINDFULNESS or BEING PRESENT for teaching individuals to focus, identify and take action. Dr. Glahn has been teaching MINDFULNESS for over 20 years. But ACT has given her practice more expanded direction. Children with autism can and should learn to be PRESENT to facilitate positive changes identified in ABA behavioral plans. The combination of ABA & ACT promotes positive, naturalistic and behavioral programming to comprehensively meet the needs of the person with autism and their families.