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!

TAGteach. Do you wonder how it actually works? What kids think of it? How instructors react to it? Here are 6 minutes of video that answer your questions.

TAGteach! What the heck is it

You’ve heard about the acoustical support, TAGteach (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance). You may be wondering how it works in a real life teaching situation with real kids and real instructors. Here are three short videos, totaling 6 minutes, that show the “how” of TAGteach magic in action.

Video #1:   The Lesson: TAGteach Parkour: Lazy Vault — Coaching Past Fear (2.47 minutes)

In this video, a young woman is learning to do a vault. She is dispirited and fearful. Her coaches observe and end up developing the following series of tag points:

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TAGteach Tale:  From Sensory Avoidance to Self-Feeding – Tink’s journey to success

Tink is a beautiful little girl in the U.K. She had trouble touching things, a common form of sensory defensiveness, that led to problems with touching food and feeding herself. Her dad, Seany, found a gentle, incremental way to increase her ability to touch things, so that she can now feed herself. Please note (1) the importance to Tink of having a “choice” as to what to do and when, and (2) that her dad used reinforcers that were pleasing to her. Also note: For American readers, “biscuit” means “cookie” and “crisps” means “potato chips.”  “Capturing” a behavior means “marking” a behavior with a tagger at the exact moment the child performs the behavior, and following up with a reinforcer; it does not mean “abducting” the child! Here is their story:

autism help , tagteach, applied behavior analysis, ABA“Tink has gone from touching and stroking eyebrows to touching food and feeding herself. When professionals tried to teach her this, Tink stopped touching things and didn’t want to be touched. She had built up a negative association with this, as well as with other things, because of the hand-over-hand techniques that were used. Hand-over-hand techniques took away her choice. Building up behaviors by using choice is really important with my daughter. From simply teaching her to touch I had a behavior to build on.

Tink liked her dad’s eyebrows, so that’s where they started

By teaching one small touch I built up to the behavior chain of Tink feeding herself.  When I started off with the eyebrows, I simply captured it by sitting next to her and tagging her every time she touched my eyebrows.  I used her drink for reinforcement at first: so, every time she touched them, I tagged and gave her a bit of her drink. When she started to touch my eyebrows consistently, I introduced a cue for “touch” by adding the cue as soon as she touched; then I tagged and reinforced her again with her drink. I did this a number of times. Then I asked her to  touch, and she did exactly that and touched my eyebrows.  I reinforced this over the period of about two days where I would just sit next to her and ask her to touch.

From touching eyebrows to touching hand – in small steps

Then I started to ask her to touch my hand by placing my hand over my eyebrows. As soon as she touched my hand I tagged and reinforced; I used a stroke on her arm with a soft toy for the reward, as she likes the feel of something soft brushing against her arm or face. Every time I asked her to touch I moved my hand further and further from my face until, eventually, I was holding my hand up in front of her and she was consistently touching my hand. I carried on asking her and tagging her for touching my hand over a number of days, so wherever I moved my hand she would touch it.

From touching hand to touching objects – in small steps

Then I started to hold up objects in front of her face and asked her to touch them. The first couple of times she tried to touch my hand, so I didn’t tag her and just waited, all the while holding up the object (a plastic coin). Eventually she reached out and touched it, so I tagged and reinforced — this time with a little bit of a biscuit. I carried on asking her to touch objects held in front of her for quite some time over probably a couple of weeks. It helped just capturing her actions of touching other things by observing and tagging her when she was about to touch a toy or something on the floor.

From touching objects to holding objects – in small steps

The next time I sat down and did some work with her, my object was to get her to hold the plastic coin. I started off by asking her to touch the coin, which we did a number of times. I tagged each touch, then reinforced with a bit of biscuit. After a short time, I observed that she started to place her finger around the coin, which I thought was a good thing to use to my advantage. So, next time I tagged her a little later than just the touch, and waited until her hands were around the coin. I did this a few more times.  Then, as well as asking for “touch” I added a cue to “hold” as soon as she had her hand around the coin.  Within about 3 goes of this, she was successfully holding the coin herself. For a while I did the same as before, and just through observing her I captured her picking things up, and continued reinforcing the behavior and pairing with the “hold” cue.

Autism help, eating, sensory, TAGteachFrom touching objects to touching food

Then one day I was giving her a biscuit, and she wanted me to put it in her mouth; so, instead I held out the biscuit and simply said “touch.”  She did exactly that, reached out her hand for the biscuit and placed her hand around it! I tagged her when her hand was on it and broke a bit of the biscuit off and rewarded her.  I went to repeat it and asked for a hold, but this time she reached out her hand, grabbed the biscuit and put it straight in her mouth! She’s quick and it caught me by surprise.  I just had time to tag her as the biscuit went into her mouth, so had to give a verbal reward of “Yes, good girl.”

 

From touching food to eating food

I tried this again and put a biscuit on a plate on the floor and asked for touch again; she did exactly the same as the last time, and then did the same again a number of times.  Now she eats quite well using her hands. Right after that I simply put food on a plate so she could pick it up and she would automatically feed herself.  She’s successfully feeding herself from hand to mouth for quite some time now and will even take your crisps or fries if you’re not careful (lol!). She had been able to do this before, but as soon as the professional workers started to use hand-over-hand guiding techniques she reacted negatively and stopped doing it.  This is how I built it up again.”

Review of Tag Points for Each Stage

Touch eyebrows

Touch hand

Touch hand (held in different positions)

Touch coin

Touch toys

Hold coin

Touch biscuit (cookie)

Hold biscuit (cookie)

Eat biscuit

Eat biscuit/food from plate

Helps herself to food from her parents’ plates

Brilliant Example of Shaping A Behavior

This TAGteach tale is a textbook example of brilliant behavior shaping. Tink’s dad started at the “point of success,” i.e., a behavior that she was already doing. He looked at an action that might not seem very productive (Tink’s touching eyebrows) and reinforced it. Then he gently reinforced similar touching behaviors, expanded the range of those behaviors (from face to hand to toys to food) and reached his goal of Tink feeding herself. Tink experienced success and reinforcement at every step, and experienced no coercion. This shaping process gave her the choice of what, when and how long to touch different items. Also, I was interested to see that the early stages took some time, but by respecting Tink’s progress, the last part of the procedure went very quickly! Tink surprised her dad by grabbing the biscuit and feeding herself. Outstanding work by Tink’s dad, and a great step forward for Tink! Thank you for sharing.

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.

autism help, tagteach, ABA, tag pointCheck out the TAGteach International website 

Join the free TAGteach listserve.

TAGteach taggers are available here.

See Martha’s book about TAGteach for Autism or ask 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 on social media via the vertical gray menu on the far right. Thank you!

 

TAGteach Tale: Turning reading stress into reading success with TAGteach!

autism help, tagteach, direct instruction, reading A friend sent me this uplifting story about one of her students who is learning to read.  She introduced TAGteach in a recent session and her student’s performance soared.

A tired student

“I have been working with a young girl with intellectual disabilities and speech challenges. She is learning to read with the well-known Direct Instruction Corrective Reading Decoding program. Dani (not her real name) came in this week looking tired and dispirited, and struggled with the first few words in the Word Attack practice section.

Using TAGteach for reading practice

This time, instead of cajoling her, I pulled out a tagger and started reinforcing correct and timely responses. For example, we worked on the word “each.” She had to say the sound of the underlined letter combination “ch,” then read the entire word, “each.” After asking her the first question, “what sound?” I sat back and waited for her response. She did not respond so I turned my head slightly away and gazed at a wall. After a pause, I heard a soft “ch” sound. This earned Dani a prompt tag. I asked “what word” and she responded fairly rapidly with “each.”

Direct Instruction So it continued. She earned tags for prompt responses (within 5 seconds of the request), and after working through two or three rows of words, she was responding on cue. I glanced at her and noticed that she was also responding with a stronger tone of voice AND had a smile on her face! We ended up having a terrific reading session. She completed Word Attack in record time with no errors. Her oral reading fluency for the text passage shot up by 23 words per minute from the previous session.

 

Lots of tags = high rate of reinforcement … and joy!

She earned 124 tags in 50 minutes.  This translates into 2.5 experiences of positive reinforcement per minute! In real time, she was being reinforced about every 25 seconds, so that is a very high rate of reinforcement. With her 124 tags she earned 12 tokens (10 tags per token) which she happily exchanged for prizes from our Reward Bin. Way to go, TAGteach!”

TAGteach: Good for academic skills as well as functional behaviors

This remarkable story shows how tagging Dani’s responses transformed this reading session into a successful, joyful learning experience.  Many people are aware that TAGteach is a proven way to increase functional behaviors. It is also a marvelous way to increase academic behaviors.

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.

box clickers (1)Check out the TAGteach International website.

Join the free TAGteach listserve.

TAGteach taggers are available here.

See Martha’s book about TAGteach for Autism or ask 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 on social media via the vertical gray menu on the far right. Thank you!

 

 

How positive are you? Go for the 8 to 1 ratio!

autism, TAGteach, applied behavior analysis, ABA

 

Today we feature some wonderful, enlightening comments from Dr. Mary Lynch Barbera, nurse, autism mom, and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She shares her thoughts on the benefits to the entire family of using positive reinforcement. The magic ratio is 8 positives to 1 negative. Thank you Mary!

 

From Mary Lynch Barbera: Lessons Learned on My Autism Journey

“I have been doing a Keynote presentation for the past several years called ‘Lessons Learned on my Autism Journey.’ One of the lessons, which I’ve discussed a few times in the past month, is perhaps the most important general lesson. The best part of this lesson is that you will most likely benefit no matter how old you are, no matter if you are male or female and no matter if you know anything about autism. This life lesson, in fact, is really not about autism at all.

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Review of the Book “Chaos to Calm” by Dr. Lee A. Wilkinson

3D for blog

 

The demands placed on parents caring for a child with autism can contribute to a high level of parental distress and adversely affect family functioning. Unfortunately, families are often exposed to unsubstantiated, pseudoscientific theories, and related clinical practices that are ineffective and compete with validated treatments. The time, effort, and financial resources spent on ineffective treatments can create an additional burden on families. As a result, parents and caregivers everywhere are eager for credible, research-based information on the most effective treatments for autism. Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism by Martha Gabler describes an evidence-based method that can be used by parents and caregivers to address the everyday challenges associated with autism and improve the quality of life for their children and families.

The book is a personal account of Martha Gabler’s journey from chaos to calm and how she discovered and implemented an effective teaching method for decreasing the challenging behaviors of her non-verbal son Doug, who was diagnosed with severe autism. Gabler shows parents how to use a method called TAGteach to address many of the common and difficult problems of autism. Briefly, the acronym TAG stands for “Teaching with Acoustical Guidance.” The method utilizes an acoustical signal such as a click or a hand clap to “mark” the behavior that will earn positive reinforcement. TAGteach is based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and relies on the use of positive reinforcement, prompting, fading, and shaping to increase desired behaviors. It is a completely positive approach that is relatively easy to learn and implement by parents and other “non-experts.”

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Book Review: So Inspiring to Finally Start Learning My Child

istock photo
istock photo

“My now 12 son was diagnosed with Autism / Mental Retardation / Apraxia at the age of 3. Its has taken me all these years to know my child, to learn what his likes and dislikes are. I have googled a lot, spoken to his related service providers, Specialist, and how to deal with his outbursts, how to calm him down, when to not get too emotionally broken down when nothing seem to work for him. Finally, CHAOS TO CALM came across my desk and I must say it has been so inspiring for me to FINALLY START LEARNING MY CHILD. I can relate to this book because Doug has a lot of the same characteristics my son has, as do a lot of children with Autism. I have began to implement a lot of Martha’s how to in an emergency situation. This book in my opinion is a “HOW TO 101 deal with your Autistic child”. This book has begun to make a difference in my household. Thank you Martha job well done.”
Dionn – Autism Parent

 

 

 

 

 

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, quickly, and intensively. 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.

autism, ABA, positive reinforcementFor 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!