The Affect-Based Language Curriculum

Diane Lewis, Director of CITG, co-authored The Affect-Based Language Curriculum (ABLC): An Intensive Program for Families, Therapists and Teachers (Second Edition, 2005).

This curriculum provides a unique developmental approach to helping children on the autism spectrum and children with other developmental delays master communication, language and speech skills.  It is appropriate for children whose skills fall between birth and 48 months developmentally. The ABLC provides a strategy where speech and language skills are taught within the context of pleasurable affect-driven flow of back-and-forth communication.  The key to teaching these new skills within the ABLC is to acknowledge and harness the child’s natural interests to facilitate optimal learning opportunities.

The core capacities that can be taught with the ABLC are:

  • Engagement, reciprocity, and pragmatics;
  • Imitation;
  • Receptive Language;
  • Expressive Language.

The support skills that are addressed within the ABLC include:

  • Sensory preparation;
  • Oral-Motor;
  • Augmentative Communication;

The ABLC process starts with the administration of the Checklists which allows you to measure which skills the child has mastered, which skills are emerging, and, which skills have never been observed.  Once this has been completed the therapist is able to select goals within each of the core areas.

Next, the skills are taught within multiple levels of structure starting with Floortime which is the foundation where the adult is expected to follow the child’s lead and build upon their individual interests and skills.  Once the child is easily regulated and engaged with the adult, the ABLC can begin.  The two primary components within the ABLC are:

  • Systematic Instruction which is the most structured where the skill is directly explained and taught to the child;
  • Applied Floor Time which follows Systematic Instruction and is an activity during which time the child is working on skills across all the core areas at the same time.  An example of this would be blowing bubbles, playing “Don’t Break the Ice”, or, pretending to go grocery shopping.

There are chapters within the ABLC which explain how to work on the skills within groups and school settings.

Copies of the ABLC may be purchased from:

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