Definitions of the
Evidence-Based Methods We Use

Antecedent-Based Interventions (ABI)

This is a method to help the person with ASD reduce interfering or problem behaviors. It includes assessments to determine the function of a behavior, removing or changing the “triggers” for the behavior, rearranging the circumstances in which a behavior tends to take place, etc.

Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI)

Using computers to improve communication, develop language skills, teach academic skills, etc.

Differential Reinforcement

Methods of reducing problem behaviors by reinforcing more effective and more positive alternative behaviors.

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

This is a highly effective method of teaching that involves breaking learning down into small and manageable steps.


A method for determining what is reinforcing (causing the repetition of) a problem behavior, and training parents, teachers and caregivers to stop reinforcing that behavior.

Functional Behavior Assessment

Every behavior serves a function. Before trying to stop an unwanted behavior, it is important to use a behavior assessment to try to determine the function of the behavior. Then alternative behaviors that serve the same function can be taught.

Functional Communication Training

Often, the learner is trying to use an interfering behavior to communicate something. After a behavior assessment is done, we can teach more appropriate communication alternatives.

Naturalistic Intervention

Interaction techniques, and behavioral strategies designed to encourage specific target behaviors based on the learner’s interests.

Parent-Implemented Intervention

Our programs are primarily parent training programs that enable parents to implement and oversee effective interventions. We believe that outcomes are better when parents are trained.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

This is a communication method involving picture exchange. Growing Minds may use this method to enable beginning talkers and children without speech to acquire speech. With the use of picture exchange, we can determine what a child is trying to say and use that as an opportunity to prompt speech.


This is a set of practices that provide extra help for a learner to successfully respond. “Prompt fading” is used to enable the learner to gain expertise and ultimately respond without help.


This method involves arranging circumstances that follow behavior to increase the probability that the learner will repeat that behavior. The more skilled parents and teachers become at reinforcement, the more effective they are at teaching and inspiring positive outcomes. This includes understanding how and when to reinforce, determining what is reinforcing for each child, how to avoid reinforcing unwanted behavior, rates of reinforcement, etc. These are essential skills that everyone naturally uses in all relationships, but that very few people fully understand.

Response Interruption/Redirection (RIR)

Some problem behaviors (for instance some self injurious behaviors) are not maintained by social reinforcement such as getting attention or avoiding demands. The child is doing the behavior because of some aspect of sensory experience. RIR is effectively used to redirect the learner into another activity. The more time is spent in other activities, the less time is spent engaging in self injurious behavior.

Social Narratives

This involves using stories to teach social skills to children with good language skills. One of the great benefits of using social narratives is to help the ASD learner understand the perspective of others.

Speech Generating Devices/VOCA

Speech generating devices (SGD) and voice output communication aids (VOCA) are electronic devices that are portable in nature and can produce computer generated voice output for the user. SGD may be used with graphic symbols, and/or keyboard for spelling words.

Task Analysis

Task analysis is the process of breaking a skill into smaller, more manageable steps in order to teach the skill. Other practices, including discrete trial teaching, reinforcement, video modeling, etc. are used to facilitate learning of the smaller steps. As the smaller steps are mastered, the child becomes more and more independent in his/her ability to perform the larger skill.

Time Delay

Time delay involves intentional pauses between instructions and any help that is given during the pause. We use time delay whenever we are giving instruction. We also use time delay very effectively to elicit speech in beginning talkers.

Video Modeling

Video modeling is a mode of teaching that uses video recording and display equipment to provide a visual model of the targeted behavior or skill.

Visual Supports

Visual supports are any tool presented visually that supports an individual as he or she moves through the day. Visual supports might include, but are not limited to, pictures, written words, objects within the environment, arrangement of the environment or visual boundaries, schedules, maps, labels, organization systems, timelines, and scripts. They are used across settings to support individuals with ASD (National Research Council, 2001).

NOTE: Many of the above methods are most effective when used in combination with each other. For example, using antecedent interventions, functional assessment, differential reinforcement, extinction, functional communication training together can be extremely effective in reducing interfering behavior.

Discrete trial teaching, prompting, reinforcing, time delay, task analysis when used together can be powerful methods for teaching new skills.

Read more about the methods we use.