Teaching Children with Autism

Teaching Children with Autism, continued
TAGteach is well-established in the training of athletes and other animals. It involves establishing the secondary reinforcement value of an auditory stimulus by pairing it with tangible and/or social reinforcement. Click a clicker and provide a reward. Once that has been done, the clicker can be used to alert the trainee to your approval of his or her response – of course, you could establish and deliver this cue-to-your-approval in any sensory modality, but sound is an easy stimulus to deliver. Then begin to shape the learner’s physical behaviour. The click is delivered whenever the learner does what you consider to be a step in the direction of producing the correct response, shaping the behaviour until the correct response is fully achieved.
Whether or not it is best to tell the learner in advance what it is that you want him or her to learn to do is part of the art (as opposed to science) of behaviour analysis. Personally, I am biased in favour of letting the student find out for himself, but that depends very much on the student. But here is what I would want to try when toilet training a child who is well past toilet training time and has a history of failure. Start TAGteach, as described above and unobtrusively shape, through differential reinforcement, your student’s elimination-in-the-toilet behaviour. Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?!

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