Our Services

Does your learner need help with: physical aggression, communication, making friends, toileting, reading, dressing, community safety, or anything in between?

Steve Ward, MA, BCBA and Teresa Grimes, MS, BCBA are available to provide:

  • Services to individuals between 2 and 80 years of age
  • Services to individuals with a wide array of diagnoses (e.g., Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD OCD, Asperger Syndrome, PDD, NLD, etc.)
  • Services in a wide array of environments (e.g., home, school, work, community)
  • Frequent contact in between on-site visits
  • 1 or 2-day workshops (see available workshops below)
  • Whole Child Consulting is willing to travel to see individuals in their home environment, wherever that may be.

We currently travel the USA and Great Britain. We live in North-Central Florida and spend significant time in the greater Chicago area.

Whole Child Consulting

Our Mission

Using a deep understanding of learner’s strengths, needs and interests, Whole Child Consulting designs multi-dimensional programs to establish learning foundations and put learners in contact with natural reinforcers.


Introduction to Social Behavior

This workshop is designed primarily for teachers, therapists, parents and consultants who are relatively new to the concepts that guide social development. Those with extensive experience in guiding social development will also benefit. The material presented is appropriate for learners who currently demonstrate neither social interest nor social competence, but will also benefit more advanced learners. The instructors will introduce the concept of “steam”, or a measure of the interest a learner takes in a social interaction.

Participants will learn to:

  • Describe a number of critical early social objectives
  • Describe some of the critical differences between free-flowing play and structured play, as well as between adult-directed play and child-directed play
  • Take advantage of a variety of existing learner interests to work on a variety of social targets
  • Expand learner interests
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Advanced Social Behavior

Participants in this workshop will benefit from experience in the “Introduction to Social Behavior” workshop, though it is not a prerequisite. The instructors will briefly review some of the content from the introductory social workshop, and will cover methods for establishing and maintaining independent leisure, peer play, and joint attention. A brief review of relevant literature is provided, but the emphasis is again on practical examples and ideas that participants can use with their learners the next day.

Participants will learn to:

  • Describe a number of early and advanced social objectives
  • Identify subtle indicators of learner interest, and shape their learner’s ability to initiate social interactions
  • Establish and maintain a variety of independent leisure activities
  • Facilitate peer play
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD


Anxiety is a part of everyone’s life. We fear business deadlines, public speaking, social situations…sometimes to the point where we meet criteria for diagnosis with an Anxiety Disorder. 60-70% of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are also diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder. They may not fear deadlines, but may fear nail clippers, haircuts, swimming pools, intersections, ice machines, and more. Additionally, many of our students develop rigid and intense dislikes of things like throat-clearing, clapping, greetings, singing, etc.

But learners don’t simply become tense. Instead, they may physically resist, cry, scream, throw themselves on the floor, run away, and more. Left untreated, inability to cope with these stressors can become debilitating. Students are unable to go to the mall without a ton of supports. Parents are afraid to take their children to birthday parties. Quality of life is significantly limited. The vast majority of people respond to signs of student stress by offering some sort of comfort. Professionals may recommend having a student squeeze a stress ball, count to 10, take some deep breaths, take a sip of water, chew on a tube, swing, or engage in some other activity intended to calm the student. These procedures are largely ineffective.

In this workshop, I will explain why traditional methods fail in teaching students to cope with stressors and will teach you an alternative approach that has produced dramatic improvements with dozens of students.

CE’s are available for BCBA’s and BCABA’s.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explain why traditional approaches to calming tend to be ineffective
  • Identify potential target stressors for their students/children
  • Arrange and conduct a “calm count”
  • Gather data on progress
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Problem Behavior

This workshop provides training both in conducting a functional assessment (e.g., Iwata, 1996), and in some broader perspectives of behavior treatment. The trainers will provide explanations of the inter-related nature of each learner’s repertoires, and how this affects programming for the treatment of any particular problem behavior. In many cases, addressing deficits in cooperation, social interest, manding (requesting) an increased number of items or activities, manding attention, tolerance for delays, or independent leisure can preclude the need to conduct a functional assessment.

Participants will learn to:

  • Formulate operational definitions of target behaviors
  • Measure behaviors
  • Determine the functions of problem behaviors
  • Select appropriate interventions
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Introduction to Verbal Behavior

This workshop introduces ways in which the behavioral interpretation of language development (e.g., Skinner, 1957) differs from the cognitive interpretation. The instructors will review definitions and examples of the primary verbal operants, but will spend the majority of the workshop emphasizing practical ideas for teaching verbal behavior to any learner. The instructors emphasize a multi-dimensional approach to instruction, by taking advantage of contextual teaching opportunities and contrived opportunities, but also by programming for instruction to occur across a variety of learning channels. The presenters emphasize the creation of environments and interests that promote the development of verbal behavior.

Participants will learn to:

  • Define the primary verbal operants, and provide examples for each
  • Account for a variety of variables that impact the effectiveness of mand training
  • Program for receptive skills
  • Teach in both natural and contrived settings
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Advanced Verbal Behavior

Participants in this workshop will benefit from prior participation in the “Introduction to Verbal Behavior” workshop, though it is not a prerequisite. Definitions and descriptions of the verbal operants will be reviewed very briefly, with more time dedicated to how these operants are inter-related. Compared with the introductory version, this workshop will cover the development of relatively advanced verbal repertoires, such as mands for information and intraverbals in greater detail

Participants will learn to:

  • Teach a variety of mands for information
  • Create and take advantage of meaningful activities that promote the development of verbal behavior
  • Program for intraverbal development in a non-rote manner
  • Problem-solve a variety of potential challenges in the development of verbal behavior
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Introduction to Precision Teaching

Have you ever “taught” a child a skill, only to review and re-teach it again and again after they have forgotten it? There is a way to avoid having to re-teach things over and over. The answer is: Teach a skill until a student can perform it quickly and accurately. If a student can perform a skill “fluently,” they will retain it and be able to use it readily. Furthermore, it is possible to help students with learning problems before they get so far behind, by teaching early, component skills to fluency, prior to moving on to higher level skills. This workshop is highly interactive, including on-going question & answer sessions.

Participants will learn to:

  • Breakdown instructional targets into: tool, component, and composite skills
  • Take data on the speed and accuracy of student performance
  • Chart performance and use this data to determine when a skill is “mastered”
  • Make data based instructional decisions
  • The significance of Retention, Endurance, Stability, Application, and Adduction (RESAA)
  • The difference between “free operant” responding and “restricted operant” responding
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

ABA for Older Kids

Those who have seen previous “Whole Child” workshops will recognize familiar concepts such as reinforcement, extinction, NET (Natural Environment Teaching), etc. However, the application of these concepts may need to be tweaked as kids grow older, particularly for those who are not functioning well in regular education for at least one hour per day. It may be easier to achieve the academic goals of a school or home program by teaching the individual to be proficient in the application of the goals. For example, an individual may become better at adding and subtracting on paper after he/she has had experience purchasing items regularly at a store. And for some learners, establishing the functional use of money may be more important than academic exercises for which he/she can see no purpose.

Community-based (and other natural environment) instruction is often necessary, but it also exposes many deficits that aren’t apparent in learners who work primarily at a table. For example, learners may create dangerous situations by running at inappropriate times. They may lack the focus to travel 10 feet and retrieve something. They may not respond appropriately to “No,” or may have debilitating ritualistic behaviors. Targeting these types of deficits is particularly important for older children, and increasing community-based instruction is only one way that programming adapts as learners age.


In this workshop, the presenters will:

  • Discuss differences in programming for younger vs. older learners across several critical dimensions
  • Show and describe examples of programming for older learners
  • Introduce a new assessment tool
  • Conduct at least one case study using the assessment tool
  • Problem-solve multiple programming issues with members of the audience
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Teaching Games

Do you work with students who: Are socially delayed? Are language delayed? Seem unmotivated to play games? Lack the skills to play with peers? Need to be prompted through games? Are too controlling?

The book “What You Need to Know about Motivation and Teaching Games” (Ward, 2008) can help. The book provides detailed teaching strategies for 12 specific games that most students should learn. This book also provides a behavioral analysis of teaching play, in general. We identify common teaching errors, especially as they relate to motivational variables, and provide practical ideas for avoiding these errors. This workshop will introduce participants to the book “What You Need to Know about Motivation and Teaching Games”. Whole Child Consulting workshops are always highly interactive, and this workshop will provide role play opportunities.

Copies of “What You Need to Know about Motivation and Teaching Games” will be made available to those who need it at a discounted price!

Participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of motivation, including dimensions like intrinsic/extrinsic, social/non-social, and natural/contrived
  • Improve their ability to identify learner motivation on a moment-to-moment basis. Is your learner having a good time? Are they interested in the activity?
  • Practice teaching selected games during role plays
  • Be able to provide rationales for teaching play, in general, and for teaching any of the games described in this book
  • Receive blank data sheets and samples of completed data sheets for each game
  • Practice collecting data from video sample
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Developing Good Learners

Steve Ward, MA, BCBA and Teresa Grimes, MS, BCBA will focus on ways to establish and maintain learner motivation throughout programming. When these methods are employed, learners become easy to teach. Many are familiar with the concepts of “pairing” (i.e., delivering “free reinforcers”) and of mand training (i.e., teaching students to request reinforcers). These strategies are both important to programming, especially in the early stages. Few are familiar with the critical repertoires that should develop while learning to mand. Typically developing children develop these repertoires naturally. Exceptional learners sometimes require more careful teaching to ensure that these repertoires develop.

Steve Ward, MA, BCBA and Teresa Grimes, MS, BCBA will demonstrate effective methods of gauging learner responsiveness, teaching new play, and creating an individualized learner profile based upon strengths, interests, dislikes and abilities. “The Inventory of Good Learner Repertoires” (Ward, 2008) provides such an assessment, and allows for development of programs capitalizing upon learner strengths while addressing weaknesses. We will also draw from “What You Need to Know about Motivation and Teaching Games: An in-depth analysis” (Ward, 2008). This publication has been used by professionals around the world to teach meaningful play to kids who previously “just didn’t like to play”.

Steve Ward, MA, BCBA and Teresa Grimes, MS, BCBA “draw from a deep well” of knowledge and experience. They will relate practical experiences and engage audience participation throughout this workshop.

Participants will learn to:

  • Gauge motivation
  • Expand upon limited play interests
  • Condition themselves as reinforcers
  • Identify critical repertoires that should accompany the development of mand repertoires
  • Teach mands along with associated repertoires
  • Remediate common barriers to effective instruction
  • Structure teaching sessions to maximize learner participation
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Task as Reinforcer

What do you do when your student is not working well? Historically, many have recommended “escape extinction”, also known as “working through it”. In some cases, escape extinction is exactly the right intervention. But there are several molecular and molar drawbacks to the use of escape extinction, and those can usually be avoided by replacing “working through” with “waiting through”.

While maintaining emphasis on a potentially large number of proactive variables, task resistance is frequently best treated by temporary task removal, an absence of attention, and significant limits on access to positive reinforcement. This treatment package can establish the representation of a task as a reinforcer…as an opportunity to begin moving forward.

Participants will learn to:

  • Describe at least 3 potential problems with the use of escape extinction
  • Explain how access to non-preferred tasks can be established as a reinforcer
  • Gather and analyze data on the efficacy of “wait outs”
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Problem Solving

Students with special needs may require specific instruction to speak, dress, demonstrate social skills, read, and much more. Many of these repertoires are traditionally (and appropriately) taught through errorless teaching. Errorless teaching can help students quickly learn new skills and early successes can increase the confidence with which they approach new tasks.

But teachers cannot prepare students for every possible challenge that they may encounter. Teachers can teach to the “general case”, but also ultimately need to teach students “what to do when they don’t know what to do”. If you teach a student to zip his pants, he will be able to zip his pants. But if you teach him to figure out how to zip his pants, he may also be able to snap and button his pants, open and close zip-lock bags, put a shirt on a hanger, find a towel to dry with, and overcome many of the novel challenges that his life may present.

Teachers, including parents, have challenges at multiple levels. They have to recognize the supports they typically provide to their learners, develop the will to allow their learners to encounter failure, and master the art of providing the appropriate supports at the appropriate times. In this workshop, we will identify prerequisites to and provide a behavioral analysis of problem solving.

Participants will learn to:

  • Identify current levels of prerequisites for their learners
  • Identify (and contrive) opportunities for problem solving
  • Use “discrimination training”
  • Implement “productive floundering”
  • Gather and analyze data
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Healthy Manding

Skinner (1957) identified the mand as a primary verbal operant, critical to the development of verbal and social repertoires. The importance of the mand (request) has been popularized over the past 20 years, especially by Sundberg and Partington (1998), and many learners have made tremendous gains. Students have communicated wants and needs to family and teachers, engaged in fewer problem behaviors, developed functional vocabulary, learned to appreciate the value of others, learned to make eye contact, and become increasingly cooperative. Mand repertoires have served as a foundation that has ultimately led to fluent conversational repertoires.

But many learners have: failed to develop functional mand repertoires, failed to develop spontaneity, resisted prompts to mand, become dependent upon prompts to mand, “scrolled” (i.e., rapidly emitted a variety of inaccurate mands before landing on the correct mand), turned into “manding machines” (i.e., students who mand at an excessive rate, fail to tolerate delays, or fail to tolerate “no”)

For some students, functional mand repertoires, and their many potential collateral benefits, cannot be realized without the use of refined teaching procedures. Those procedures will be detailed in this workshop.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least 3 potential benefits of the development of a healthy mand repertoire
  • Identify at least 2 potential hazards associated with the development of a mand repertoire
  • Describe how the timing of prompts impacts a learner’s responsiveness to, or dependence upon, those prompts
  • Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate prompts
  • Individually tailor differential reinforcement policies to the needs of a particular student
  • Establish stable and flexible tolerance of delays in reinforcement from their learners
  • Gather data on the development of healthy mand repertoires
Autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers, PDD, NLD

Contact Us Today To Learn More!