Alexandra Elena Panaite is a Program Coordinator in applied behaviour analysis at the New Oyssey Center, with 8 years of experience in approaching children with ASD. Alexandra makes her debut this year as a speaker at the ABA International Conference.

Abstract of the conference presentation

Intervention on Focused Attention by Changing the Behavior to Maintain a Learning Activity

In working with the child with ASD, Alexandra Panaite noticed the tendency of children with ASD to shift the focus of attention at short intervals, from the material (stimulus) followed by other stimuli in the environment. The ability to concentrate is a significant ability for all individuals, with special consequences for information processing and self-regulation (McClelland, Acock, Piccinin, Rhea, & Stalling, 2013). By mediating access to the new information that an organism comes into contact with, the ability to create, but also the way we make contact, both with ourselves and with those around us, focused attention acquires a special importance in the further development of children, influencing school results, social relationships, but also the relationship with the self.

One way to focus on working with a child with ASD was to introduce an intervention to increase concentration time as an independent goal in the intervention plan.

Using the principles of applied behaviour analysis, the ability of focused attention was pursued in 3 case studies in parallel with the integration of learning objectives from the personalized intervention plan. The results confirm the hypothesis that the quality of focused attention correlates positively with the ability to acquire new skills, maintaining and integrating them in a social context.