Behavior Basics 41 and 42: End of week wrap-up

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autism, tagteach, applied behavior analysis, behav basics 4141. Click once to reinforce a desired behavior

In previous Behavior Basics we have discussed how a click sound is an excellent conditioned reinforcer because the sound is quick, precise and immediate. The sound “catches” a physical movement by the child at the instant he performs it, so the child gets specific information that he has achieved the goal, i.e., he has achieved success! But, how often to click? This is easy, just once for a desired physical movement. When the child performs the desired action, also referred to as the “tag point,” one click is all that is needed.  As soon as possible after the click, give the child a reinforcer. If the child performs the tag point again, click once at that time.  One click is all it takes!

autism, tagteach, applied behavior analysis, behav basics 4242. Click immediately to reinforce a desired behavior

We know from the ABCs of behavioral science (Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence) that the all-important consequence determines the future course of a behavior. A positive consequence causes a behavior to occur again, and eventually for it to occur for a longer time. The more closely the behavior and positive consequence match up in real time, the more effective the consequence is in strengthening that behavior.  The ideal consequence would occur while the learner is performing the desired action. Reinforcing during the behavior tells the learner, “This is it! This is right!”  It’s a powerful and positive experience for the learner, and cements that action in his consciousness. The only way to time a consequence this precisely is with a quick, sharp sound, like the click sound of a TAGteach tagger. So, watch your learner closely, click immediately to reinforce a desired behavior.  If possible, click while the learning is performing the tag point!


REMINDER:  This concludes the wrap-up of Behavior Basics for the week.  Please remember the schedule: On the release date of each module, the Behavior Basics for that module will be compiled into a PDF ebook available from our blog and Facebook page. Click on this link to download the entire series of 42 Behavior Basics for free:


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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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