Get Those Heels Down! Innovative Ways to Deal with Toe Walking

toe-walking-tag-point

This article was first published as a cover article in Autism Parenting Magazine Issue #51, Aug 2016

We’ve all seen children with autism who engage in toe-walking: the child walks on his or her toes or the ball of foot without putting much weight on the heel or any other part of the foot. Toe walking is so common that it has become one of the early indicators for a potential autism diagnosis.

When we first see it, we may feel amused. However, when we see it go on and on, we may feel concerned. Should we be concerned?

Prolonged toe walking through childhood can lead to physical problems:

  • Tightening of the heel chords
  • Incorrect foot position
  • Abnormal stress on the bones and ligaments in the knees, hips, and lower back (Yoell, 2001).

 Toe walking can lead to social problems:

  • Toe walking can make walking long distances very tiring
  • Children may have trouble keeping up with family and friends
  • It can create problems with shoes; they get worn down quickly in odd places or may be difficult to fit (Unity Therapy, 2016)

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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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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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Great TAGteach ideas for the classroom from Italy!

TAGteach, tag point, teaching, positive reinforcementTAGteach goes international

Around the world people are using TAGteach to help children and adults learn new skills.

This article comes from Luca Canever, an educator and Level 3 TAGteacher from Verona, Italy. He shares his knowledge, dedication and love of positive reinforcement techniques at his website, TAGteach Italia.

Luca tells how he came up with great reinforcement ideas for his entire class (group reinforcement!), and how he used TAGteach to help students with specific problem areas. Here is his story.

TAGteach at school: Reinforcing the group

Managing the reinforcement for a group of people is one of the major difficulties that we may encounter. Especially if the people in question are 20 kids, 11 years old, with interests and personalities different from each other.

For the last two months I’ve been working in a school as a teacher. For the first time, I have the chance to use the marker with a large group — a group with no particular desire to be at school! How can we reinforce them? Some of the kids enjoy candies, some others like beads or extra time for recess. There are (they exist!) students who find study itself reinforcing, but, they are very, very, very rare.

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