Motor Skill Development for Learners with Disabilities

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Written by Becca Byers

Simon Dejardin, a BCBA, tells us about his gross motor skills/sports program at an ABA school in France — and gives insight on how he’s used the Big 6 (isolated motor movements) to enrich the abilities of a student.

Video highlights include: Simon’s background (00:39), the state of ABA in France (04:52), how BCBAs and parents respond to the Standard Celeration Chart (06:15), Simon’s swimming program (08:44), challenges with teaching strength and force (14:14), collaboration to assess gross motor deficients (17:36), how the Big 6 teaches functional communication (20:17), and the purpose of timings for building fluency (25:40).

What’s Simon working on, and what outcomes have his learners achieved?

These days, Simon is working with adolescents and young adults with disabilities on gross motor skills. Along with the ABA school sports teacher, he’s doing composite-composite analysis (a.k.a. element/compound analysis) and frequency building to teach a learner to swim. (Learn about that program at 08:44.)

Previously, Simon worked with a learner called Cecelia (not her real name). When she came to him, she had very few functional communication skills. But Simon used the Big 6 and clicker training to teach her core, isolated motor movements, such as reach. (Listen to his description of her Big 6 intervention at 20:17, or read it here.)

Now, Cecelia can use a communication app on a tablet. Plus, she has life skills like pull and empty a dishwasher, and wipe a table — largely because of the Big 6 timings on isolated motor movements.

What are timings (timed trials) and what is their purpose?

Throughout all his mobility programs, Simon has used timings — short sessions of 10, 30, or 60 seconds that are focused on one movement or skill. Timings (or timed trials) are part of the process called frequency building. They help to make the response very quick and precise, developing endurance to work longer, and generalization to the larger environment. (Simon speaks on this more at 25:40).

Simon says, “Fluency requires a lot of practice. But a lot doesn’t mean a long period of time.” Even 2-3 timings of 1 minute per day can produce amazing levels of fluency.