Teaching Children with Autism, continued

Teaching Children with Autism, continued

I have mentioned TAGteach several times since beginning this blog, the most recent in connection with a TAGteach workshop that I attended locally. Deciding to push that agenda with the parents and instructors of some of the children whose ABA-based programs I supervise, I have written a brief introduction and, in the absence of anything more pressing, I am going to serialize it here over the next few days.

TAGteach – Using Clicker Training with Humans

Applied Behaviour Anaysis is not without its critics. The most common complaint – not the most valid; just the most common – is that it is mechanical and dehumanizing. Unfortunately, ABA can be delivered in just that way, but that is extremely rare. Like any good teaching, it is a very human enterprise. Of course humans are prone to error! But the point that I want to make here is that ABA does not have to be mechanical and dehumanizing, and rarely is.

Which brings us to clicker training, which most people associate with dog training and, therefore, feel is not appropriate for use with humans. In fact, clicker training – TAGteach (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance) – has been applied very successfully in all kinds of human endeavours, from teaching surgical skills and workplace safety to training athletes and musicians. It is also being applied to teaching children with autism.

When it comes to teaching children with autism, I feel that TAGteach is so important that it is next to criminal to avoid incorporation this relatively-new-to-autism technology into your teaching! Relatively new? I was surprised to learn that Kerry Madden and Robert Hanson of Applied Behavior Consultants Inc. had written about “The Use of TAG for Children with Autism” a good ten years ago. Personally, I have been advocating for greater use of TAGteach for the past four years, without much success. However, I have just completed a Primary Level TAGteach certification workshop and am ready to try again.

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