Teaching Children with Autism
Through ABA-based instruction, the student learns that he can influence the universe to give him what he wants. “I do this (behavior) and I get this (reward).” Cause and effect.
Learning works best if the reward follows the beaviour immediately, i.e., the reward is most likely to be reinforcing if it can be delivered immediately – but that is not always how the universe works. Sometimes, the reward is delayed and the student is actually doing something else when the reward arrives. Theoretically, that “something else” is what is being rewarded. Clicker training – the TAGteach “TAG” – helps to bridge that gap between the behaiour that you would like your student to learn and the reward that will be provided. Since the TAG is always followed by reward, the student quickly learns that the behavior being TAG’ed will be rewarded, even if circumstances don’t allow the reward to be delivered immediately. Thus, the student learns to produce that behavior.
Not only does TAGteach work, the learning is what I would call “clean.” Having to think of successive TAG points requires the instructor to define the teaching targets with some precision, and the feedback to the student is precise, always positive, and relatively unencumbered by any negatives in the relationship that you may have with the student.