Interview with a TAGteacher: Occupational therapist Mary Handley on handwriting instruction

Interview Mary

 

Check out the latest in our Interview with a TAGteacher series. This time we talked to Mary Handley, a school-based occupational therapist who is working with a 3rd grader to improve his handwriting. Noah’s handwriting skills were not functional and this was affecting his grades and his attitude at school. Mary explains with several video examples how she helped Noah to improve significantly in just four sessions using TAGteach applied with her usual method of teaching.

“At that 4 week point I was amazed beyond my expectations. I knew this would work in the right circumstances, but it worked better than I anticipated. I just don’t see that in my week to week therapy. The retention was pretty amazing. His teachers were amazed. Even the librarian made a comment. This has positively impacted his whole attitude toward school.” – Mary Handley.

Here is a sample of Noah’s handwriting before the intervention. He is so frustrated because he can’t even read it himself that he scribbled it all out.

TAG

 

Here is a before and after sample (after 4 sessions, 1 week apart). In the before sample, Noah started almost all his letters from the bottom. In the after sample he started all except the final g from the top (the proper way).

before and after mary handley

Here is a portion of the interview.

There are additional videos showing TAGteach in action with Mary and Noah. Please watch these here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJMNefdXYPVX0zppaHeiqm0bTRDHMqqca. These are best watched in order from 1 to 7 according to the number at the start of the filename.

To see the entire 1 hour-long interview and hear additional discussion about the rest of the videos you can register here: http://tagteach.com/event-2222565

 

 

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The Three Try Rule – How to Make Sure Your Learners Stay in the Game

3 try rule

 

How do you feel when you try something and make mistakes over and over? How do you feel when it seems that you are disappointing the person trying to teach you? Do you feel energized and excited to be “learning from your mistakes” or do you feel frustrated and discouraged? For most people and especially kids with autism, repeated failure and “just one more’s” make them anxious, frustrated and wanting to escape to do something less stressful. Sometimes the result of too much pressure to try something too hard results in a full-on meltdown. Once this happens, there is no more learning.

This is why we suggest the three try rule. If a learner fails three times (or fewer) to meet the specific learning goal (the tag point), go to a past point of success and move forward in smaller increments. A point of success is something earlier in the learning process that you are 100% sure the learner can get right. By starting at a point of success and moving forward in small steps you build on existing success instead of searching blindly for a good starting point. Of course the ‘three try rule’ isn’t really a rule. The learner doesn’t HAVE to fail three times. If it is clear the learner will not likely achieve the tag point criterion after the first failure, or the learner is very sensitive to failure, jump right in and clarify or break the skill down further and change the tag point.

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FREE Book with Practical Help for Autism Parents – April 3-6 2016

amazon_book_coverIn honor of the United Nations World Autism Day, the Kindle version of the book Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism is FREE in the Amazon Kindle store from April 3-6, 2016.

Please tell an autism parent about this. Change a life!

Click Here to get your free copy.

If you are outside the US and you don’t have an Amazon.com account, you can get the book at your own country’s Amazon site. Search Google for Amazon + [name of your country].

If you get your free copy of the book, please help us out by writing a review on Amazon.

“This remarkable book is something that any ABA person would be proud to offer parents. TAGteach has an important future in the treatment of autism and other developmental delays and this parent has shown the way. I will be recommending the book to both parents and ABA therapists.”
Joseph Morrow, PhD, BCBA-D
President, Applied Behavior Consultants
Professor of Psychology and Behavior Analysis (Emeritus)

California State University, Sacramento
Licensed Psychologist, State of California

“I am on the Autism Spectrum. I’m both high and low functioning but have achieved a level of integration in neurotypical society because of my higher functioning attributes. It has been a difficult path to walk alone though. If TAGteach had been around when I was a child I am one hundred percent sure I would have a had an even more successful, less frustrating, anxiety ridden childhood and been a higher achiever than I currently am.”
Katie Scott-Dyer

“I completely enjoyed this book. It was an engaging and easy read with the appropriate amount of personal testimonial and practical generalization. I wish I could have read it years ago. Parents and practitioners alike will benefit from reading this book regardless if your child is high functioning or severe. After reading, you’ll know that all those other books you read on autism, sensory processing disorder, auditory processing disorder, apraxia, etc. were mostly a big waste of time and money. Don’t let your child’s doctor or other professional convince you that nothing can be done. It’s not true and this book proves it.”
Aimee Taylor – Autism Parent

Click here for more reviews from parents and professionals

About the Book

Chaos to Calm describes how Martha Gabler discovered that effective solutions really did exist for the overwhelming behavior problems of her own son with profoundly nonverbal, severe autism.

Here are some of the things Martha explains in this book:

  1. How to observe your child
  2. How to use positive reinforcement to shape simple behaviors
  3. How to notice even tiny moments of desirable behavior
  4. How to break behaviors into tiny pieces
  5. How to add simple behaviors together to build complex behaviors
  6. How to communicate to the child “Yes!” without using words
  7. How to organize the child’s environment to maximize success
  8. How to arrange the day’s activities for maximum success
  9. How to stop tantrums, aggressive, destructive and self-injurious behaviors
  10. How to teach the child to go to bed, stay there and sleep
  11. How to manage and teach without force, threats or coercion

When Doug turned five, Martha realized that she and her family were basically on their own. During the “dreadful early years,” Doug’s behavior worsened and worsened. The family floundered. Daily, if not hourly or even more often, there were screaming, tantrums, self-stimulatory “verbal stimming,” running off, and even violent, self-injurious and destructive actions. The Gablers were exhausted beyond description by lack of community understanding, by lack of help that they could afford, and perhaps worst of all, by night after night of severe sleep deprivation.

A chance reference in an email listserve lead Martha to TAGteach, a teaching system based on the structured delivery of positive reinforcement. TAGteach gave Martha the tools she needed to observe Doug’s behaviors, break them down into manageable pieces, and reinforce his previously-rare positive actions – in fact, positive actions that sometimes lasted only a few seconds in the beginning, but which gave Martha the precious key she needed to unlock major improvements. With a few basic rules and a commitment to practice them, Martha was able to apply step-by-step solutions to Doug’s disruptive behaviors. In TAGteach, Martha found a powerful supplement to other scientifically-based behavioral interventions, many of which required difficult-to-find behavioral experts whose costs would have taxed the family’s financial resources in the extreme

The result? A boy who was once wild and chaotic now has the skills that enable him to be a charming teenager who loves life and enjoys going places.

This book explains, step-by-step, how Martha taught Doug to vocalize appropriately, go on walks, wait in line, go to the grocery store, ride a bike and many more skills that are normally taken for granted, but for a child with autism, they do not come easily if at all. Perhaps the most important skill was how to lie quietly in bed and go to sleep, so the other exhausted members of the Gabler family could themselves get some badly-needed sleep. Martha uses simple language and engaging prose to explain how she achieved all this. The book is in turn heartbreaking, humorous and brutally honest.

Every autism family seeks the light in an ocean of despair. Every autism mom, every autism dad, in fact every person who loves another person with autism, can use TAGteach with ease. This book shows you how.

What is TAGteach?

TAGteach stands for Teaching with Acoustical Guidance. TAGteach is a teaching and communication method based on the scientific principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

TAGteach enables extremely precise positive reinforcement of behavior by using an acoustical signal to “mark” the behavior – at the precise moment the child performs the behavior! The acoustical signal is a short, sharp sound made by a handheld device (the “tagger”). When the child performs the correct action, the parent/instructor immediately presses the button on the tagger and hands over a treat (candy, treat, token, praise, social recognition, or money) as a reinforcer.

With TAGteach, it is easy to reinforce behaviors precisely and quickly. The immediate, accurate feedback and positive reinforcement result in the child performing the correct action more often, and for longer periods of time. With immediate feedback and learning tasks broken down into small steps, children can learn many new skills with TAGteach — at their own pace.

TAGteach in Action

Watch this video that shows TAGteach in action in an autism school setting. This approach is unique in that it allows the child to “be the teacher”. The child gets to be the teacher before he takes his turn to try the new skill. This is fun, gives him control over his own learning and lets the teacher know for sure that he understands the skill before he tries it himself. One of the critical features of the TAGteach approach is that only one aspect of a skill is worked on at a time. There is no error correction by the teacher. If the child makes a mistake, it is up to him to self assess or try again. There is also no physical prompting, nagging, coercion, cheerleading or verbal coaching in TAGteach.

In this example the teacher gives two tag points, with five tags for each. The first tag point is “paper in lines” so that the child will know how to position the paper for printing. The second tag point is “hand on paper” so that he learns to hold the paper still with his other hand. Notice that even when the tag point changes to “hand on paper”, the child still remembers and tries to position the paper properly.

Connect with Us!

 

autism, TAGteach, ABA, positive reinforcementCheck out the TAGteach International website.

Join the free TAGteach Yahoo Group.

See Martha’s book about TAGteach for Autism or ask a question (with no obligation).

Sign up for Martha’s mailing list  to receive updates, new articles and free tips right in your inbox!

If you liked this post, please share it on social media. Thank you!

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Interview with a TAGteacher – Joey Iversen – Special Needs Tennis

Interview with a TAGteacher Joey

 

Have you wondered how to apply TAGteach in a group sports setting with special needs kids? Will it be too noisy for the learner to hear the tags? Will the learner be too distracted by everything else going on the room? How do you handle the reinforcers? Can you use TAGteach to manage behavior and social issues? Do coaches really think that kids taught with TAGteach learn better? Listen to this month’s interview with a TAGteacher and watch the accompanying videos to get answers to these and more questions.

This month, Martha Gabler interviewed TAGteacher Joey Iversen (in red shirt above). Joey is a Level 2 TAGteacher with extensive experience from both ends of the tagger. Joey has trained several tennis coaches to use TAGteach during her own lessons because she wants to learn in the most efficient way possible. Joey has also been working with a special needs tennis program and successfully integrated TAGteach into the teaching protocols.

Martha had questions for Joey on the following topics:

  • How did you get started with TAGteach?
  • What was the one feature that really “pulled” you in?
  • Where did you first start using TAGteach?
  • Tell us about TAGteach and tennis for special needs kids
  • How did the coaches react?
  • What were their positive comments?
  • Where there any negative reactions?

Joey referred to a couple of videos and these are shown lower down in this post so that you can watch them after you listen to the interview.

 

Video #1

This video shows a tennis lesson in which the tag point is “step forward”. The player is focusing on stepping forward with her right foot after hitting the ball.

Video #2

This video shows a group tennis lesson. Three players are hitting the ball and the other three are tagging. This means that everyone is participating, focusing on one thing and learning, even when it’s not their turn to play.

As part of our online course: TAGteach for Autism, we are holding monthly live Q&A sessions with author and mother of a child with autism, Martha Gabler.  A feature of these Q&A sessions is an interview with a TAGteacher. We will be posting the interview section in our blog each month for you to view for free. The full Q&A session will be available for purchase.

 

learn more course martha button

 

learn more qa martha button

 

 

 

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Ten important things to build a strong relationship with your child’s support team

10 tips

Your special needs child will do best with a strong team of professionals and parents working together. You are the expert when it comes to your child. The professionals working with your child will have more success when you work to support a relationship with them. Here are 10 tips from Bethan Mair Williams to help you get the most for your child through a successful relationship with your support team. Bethan is a Speech Language Therapist/Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with more than twenty years of experience in working with children with special needs, training and supervising classroom staff, and developing data collection and interpretation systems.

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Interview with a TAGteacher – Anne Wormald – TAGteach in the Autism Classroom

Interview with a TAGteacher

Have you wondered how to apply TAGteach in a classroom setting? Will it be too noisy for the learner to hear the tags? Will the learner be too distracted by everything else going on the room? Will you need to give too many food reinforcers? Can you use TAGteach to manage aggressive and dangerous behaviors? Is it OK to let the child use the tagger and be the teacher? Listen to this month’s interview with a TAGteacher and watch the accompanying videos to get answers to these and more questions.

This month’s interview is with Anne Wormald. Anne is one of the first TAGteachers and has extensive experience from both ends of the tagger, being the daughter of Joan Orr, one of the TAGteach cofounders. Anne is working on her BCBA and is a Level 2 TAGteacher. She has many years of experience working with special needs kids and at the moment is working in home and school settings with children with autism.

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Horses, helmets and autism, oh my! How TAGteach taught a little boy to keep his helmet on during therapeutic riding

autism parent help, TAGteachThe problem

What do you do when a child with autism will not wear something that is required for safety?

This was the problem facing a therapeutic riding center with one client, an eight-year old boy with autism. The boy would not wear the safety helmet.

The rules are clear: no helmet, no horse.

Jon Luke, a determined volunteer at the center, tells how he asked for and found a solution. A boy, a horse, a happy ending. Watch this drama unfold!

The volunteer asked the TAGteach community for help

“I volunteer at an equine therapeutic riding center and am looking for some help with getting a young Hispanic boy with autism to wear a helmet. We need to have him wearing a helmet but he keeps pulling it off. Has anyone had a similar challenge and, if so, what did you do to successfully get the rider to wear the helmet?

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Alone in the woods with autism again, this time with finger-licking, face-rubbing, and, thankfully, TAGteach

Copy of Alone in the woods...

 

TAGteach is really a wonderful way to deal with difficult behaviors that can pop up when you least expect it.

A damaging behavior appears

Last fall I took my son out for a hike in a beautiful park with a trail around a small lake. We were having a nice time when I noticed with dismay that he was licking his fingers and rubbing his chin and neck, although there was no apparent medical problem.

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Injury! TAGteach to the rescue — for crutches and a walking cast

The Injury

TAGteach is a great tool for dealing with those “pop-up” challenges that erupt when we least expect them.

A few days ago my teenage son (non-verbal, severe autism) stumbled in the evening when going up the stairs. The next morning he was unable to put weight on his left foot, so he hopped bravely around the house on his right foot.

We made an appointment for him right away and pulled out some old crutches for him to use.

Autism parent help TAGteachFirst Problem — Crutches

Although my son has seen people use crutches, he has never used them himself. So, I had the task of immediately, on the spot, teaching him to use crutches.

Luckily, he understood right away to place them under his arms, grip the handles, and lean on them. The part that was confusing for him was swinging them forward.

Immediately, I had my tag point: Swing crutches forward. (What you want, One thing, Observable, Five words or less). I showed him how, and after a few tags he was able to swing them forward quite well.

We hobbled off to the doctor and, after an exam and x-rays, walked out, not with crutches but with a removable padded walking cast. (Luckily, nothing was broken, only sore.)

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We Special Needs Parents can sail our own ship and weather the storms

 

Special Needs Parents

by Sean Pogson

From a parent with a 4-year old little girl with a complex genetic condition that not much is known about: TAGteach has been the only thing that has made a real positive difference to my daughter’s progress.

The Struggle

Before we first started using TAGteach we struggled even to get our daughter to engage with us. We were not seeing much progress in our daughter’s development. We felt at a loss, and our beautiful little girl seemed lost to us. We struggled to reach her. No matter how hard we tried, our daughter couldn’t even cope with a cuddle or give eye contact. So we struggled to be able to teach her anything.

The Change

Autism parent help TAGteach eye contactThen we discovered TAGteach and slowly and surely things started to change. We learned how to prepare our daughter for blood tests and medical tests. We learned to teach her to feed herself. We taught her to give eye contact.

We learned how to help her take control whilst having meltdowns. We watched in total awe as our screaming, frustrated little girl’s tears turned into laughs and giggles. We learned to help her cope with sensory processing issues. We learned to teach her to enjoy a swing. We learned to teach her to pull-to-stand (pull up to a standing position), and we taught her to get up and down the stairs with assistance.

Our Journey

There are a great many things that our daughter and we have learned via the aid of TAGteach and this wonderful science of helping. We are very much still novices and there is much we still have to learn, but the one thing we have learned, more than anything else, is that we can learn. And no matter what is thrown at us, we can learn to sail our own ship and weather the storms.

We have learned TAGteach is the unrivaled champion of our household, and all this we learned from Martha Gabler’s website, Chaos to Calm, the TAGteach International website, and the webinar series for autism parents.

You don’t have to take my word for it. In fact, I would suggest you try it and see for yourself. I suspect you will not be disappointed. Our family certainly isn’t, especially our once non-verbal little girl, whose favorite phrase at the moment is, “Look what I can do.”

A message from Martha Gabler

 

TAGteach Free Video Series

Newly released video series available, free, on TAGteach:  Three Steps Any Autism Parent Can Take to go From Tears and Frustration to Family Happiness

 

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What is TAGteach?autism parent help TAGteach

TAGteach stands for Teaching with Acoustical Guidance
. TAGteach is a teaching and communication method based on the scientific principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

TAGteach enables extremely precise positive reinforcement of behavior by using an acoustical signal to “mark” the behavior – at the precise moment the child performs the behavior! The acoustical signal is a short, sharp sound made by a handheld device (the “tagger”). When the child performs the correct action, the parent/instructor immediately presses the button on the tagger and hands over a treat (candy, treat, token, praise, social recognition, or money) as a reinforcer.

With TAGteach, it is easy to reinforce behaviors precisely and quickly. The immediate, accurate feedback and positive reinforcement result in the child performing the correct action more often, and for longer periods of time. With immediate feedback and learning tasks broken down into small steps, children (and adults) can learn many new skills with TAGteach — at their own pace.

For more information visit the TAGteach website.

Join the free TAGteach Yahoo Group.

TAGteach taggers are available here.

See Martha’s book about TAGteach for Autism or feel free to ask me a question (with no obligation).

Sign up for my mailing list to receive updates, new articles and free tips right in your inbox!

If you liked this post, please share it. Thank you!

 

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