TAGteach for autism parents: An easy, effective and kind method for teaching your child

Okay, TAGteach. I’m a parent. What’s in it for me?

 

Answer: A better life

TAGteach is a way to improve your family’s home life and give you more opportunities to include your child with autism in everyday outings.

TAGteach is a way to teach and communicate with your child.

TAGteach is an easy, effective, low-cost and scientifically-based way for parents to increase their child’s functional skills.

TAGteach is great for parents. Here’s why.

autism, TAGteach, ABA, positive reinforcementYou already know 95% of what you need to know to use TAGteach!

You observe your child every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You know your child.

You know your child’s needs and wants.

You are familiar with his setting.

You know his routines, triggers, limits and sensory profile.

You have a trained eye!

You are the expert on your family.

You know your family’s priorities.

You can apply your family’s values.

You can tailor everything precisely to your unique situation.

You have 95% of the knowledge you need to teach your child the behaviors he needs – the behaviors that will increase your family’s opportunities for a happier home life and participation in the community.

Here’s the remaining 5% you need to know: just 2 facts!

 

FACT 1: “Behavior” is “movement”

As parents, we talk a lot about “behavior.” We hear about “good” behaviors and “bad” behaviors, functional behaviors, dysfunctional behaviors and so forth. There is often a judgmental aspect: “That child has beautiful behaviors. That child has difficult behaviors.” There is often an emotional aspect: we may feel strong emotional reactions to our children’s behaviors.

Have we ever asked ourselves, “What exactly is behavior? Here’s the answer:

Behavior is movement, physical movement of the body. (1)

Let’s repeat that fact:

Behavior is movement, physical movement of the body.

This is a liberating fact!

Once you know that behavior is composed of physical movements of the body, you can forget about all those judgmental, emotional reactions and focus on your child’s physical movements. You can study how your child “behaves” by observing how he “moves” the parts of his body.

You can see that there may be physical movements that are unproductive or disruptive, and physical movements that are productive or functional. You can then think, “Hmmm, how can I help my child perform more of those rare, but functional, physical movements?”

The answer to this question is FACT 2.

FACT 2: Positive Reinforcement Increases Behaviors (physical movements of the body)

Here’s the rule about positive reinforcement:

“Behavior that is already occurring, no matter how sporadically, can always be intensified with positive reinforcement.” (2)

Let’s read that again:

“Behavior that is already occurring, no matter how sporadically, can always be intensified with positive reinforcement.”

What this means for us parents, is that we can increase the sporadic functional behaviors that our child performs. We can do this by providing positive reinforcement to our child whenever he performs a desired physical movement. Since we reinforced it, it will happen again! It will happen more often, and eventually, it will last for a longer time.

Isn’t that great? We parents can increase our children’s productive physical movements by reinforcing them! We can increase our children’s functional behaviors, and we  can teach our children to perform those behaviors for longer periods of time.

How can we do this in an easy effective way? TAGteach provides a simple approach:

Observe your child.

Decide on 2 or 3 physical movements he is already doing that you would like to increase. Work on just one of these at a time in any one teaching session.

  1. Press the tagger when he performs the behavior (physical movement).
  2. Hand over a reinforcer (treat).

The more you “tag” and “treat” (reinforce) a behavior, the more your child will perform it. It’s easy! Just press and hand over, press and hand over.

You can read more about TAGteach on this page and on the blog. You can download a free e-book on Behavior Basics that will explain the basics you need to know about behavioral science and terminology. You can ask questions and get answers.

Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • A happier family.
  • A happier home.
  • The opportunity to go out with your child and participate in the community.
  • An easy, effective, low-cost, scientifically based way to increase your child’s functional behaviors.
  • A model for observing your child and figuring out which behaviors you would like to increase.
  • A means by which you can truly communicate with your child and allow your child to have unprecedented control over his own learning. You and your child can become true partners in the teaching and learning process without coercion or force.
  • Almost no financial cost! Taggers are inexpensive. Don’t have one? Use a spoon to tap, a ballpoint pen, or a flashlight. Reinforcers are treats you probably already have around the house.

You can start right now, tagging and reinforcing your child whenever he or she performs a behavior you like! Then sit back and watch your child learn and grow.

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 (and adults) can learn many new skills with TAGteach — at their own pace.

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

Join the  TAGteach Yahoo group.

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!

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(1) From Dr. Martin Kozloff, Educating Children with Learning and Behavior Problems 
(2) From Karen Pryor, Don't Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training.

Martha Gabler

Autism parent. Director, Kids' Learning Workshop LLC. Author of Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism.

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