Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
The modern world, it seems, runs on mobile apps. In 2017 alone, apps were downloaded over 197 billion times! Yes, billion, with a “B”. What’s more, is that the explosion of app use over the past decade has created an entire ecosystem comprised of app developers, smartphone users, and companies such as Apple and Google whose app stores sell them to the public. In 2018, the mobile app ecosystem, described as “one of the biggest industries on this planet”, will turn ten years old.
It was only a matter of time, then, that app developers turned their sites on the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) industry, and one company did just that. DrOmnibus, a Polish technology company, is poised to break into the U.S. ABA market with help from Google’s LaunchPad Accelerator program. They recently told the story of Alex, a boy diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and his experiences with the ABA DrOmnibus App.
The app was designed to supplement ABA services in the absence of a therapist, by using interactive games that target fundamental learning skills. One of the first changes, reported by his mother, was that his attention span started to increase after using the app. Moreover, his listener skills, particularly his ability to follow simple instructions, became more pronounced. Lastly, rates of challenging behavior were virtually nonexistent while using the app and for a significant period afterwards.
One of his favorite features of the app was the virtual token board, embedded during teaching trials. As he progressed with the skill building games, he earned tokens for correct responses. When the token board filled up across the bottom of the screen he would earn points and contact embedded praise within the game. He was even noted to actively seek out the token board on the screen when it would disappear during testing trials. The latter were implemented to act as probes for the retention and maintenance of skills in the absence of programmed reinforcement contingencies.
One particular area of focus for Alex has been learning body parts. His mother noted that they tried other learning tools such as a dancing bear singing about different body parts. However, the anatomical differences between a bear and a human can sometimes be confusing for children with ASD. For example, the bear might touch the top of his head when pointing to his ears, while Alex’s ears are on the sides of his head. Luckily, the ABA DrOmnibus App has its own human-like character named “Juno” who has greatly facilitated Alex acquisition of body part identification.
If you are interested in learning more about DrOmnibus, or receiving a free 14-day trial of their app, you can visit the company site here. Also be sure to check out their original article on Alex, as well as our other articles on the company below:
Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org. bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series. Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar. He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues. Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at email@example.com