Chaos to Calm: Help for Autism Parents

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Every Child Can Learn. Every Parent Can Teach.


Parents of children with autism are told how important it is to intervene early. Applied Behavior Analysis is the most important and most effective type of intervention, but trained behavior therapists are not available in every town and their services are often out of the financial reach of parents. Even for those families for whom formal ABA therapy is available, this occurs only for a small part of the day. The rest of time, it is up to the parents to do the best they can to teach their child and manage behavior that can be difficult, heart-breaking and exhausting.

In her book, “Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism“, Martha Gabler brings hope and step-by-step descriptions to parents so they can use the scientific principles underlying ABA with their own child at home in both formal and informal learning situations.

You are the expert on your child. Your child can learn. You can teach your child. You can give your child the skills he or she needs to be a little more successful each day. Never give up hope that your child can learn, but don’t just hope – take action!” – Martha Gabler

Build on strengths, instead of focusing on weaknesses

The wonderful thing about the method (called TAGteach) that Martha used to teach her non-verbal son with severe autism, is that it causes parents (and teachers) to focus on the positive. To highlight the things that the child CAN do and to build on successes, however small at first. Every child can learn when he is set up to succeed and every success is recognized and reinforced. Martha shows parents set-by-step how to do this to teach behaviors that increase confidence, provide joy in life, improve family life and school life. Read an article by Martha about how TAGteach turns the sensory liabilities of autism into strengths.

Free TAGteach webinar

If you would like to learn more about TAGteach before investing $10 and 2 hours of your time on this book, we would like to invite you to view a recorded webinar presented by TAGteach cofounder Theresa McKeon that explains the basics of TAGteach. Please click here and use the discount code MARTHATAG. Please note that the discount code comes at the end of the payment process, after entering payment information – but you will not be charged.

Show me the science!

TAGteach has been in development for autism intervention for the past 10 years, but the underlying science has been proven effective over 40 years. TAGteach has been presented at major Behavior Analysis conferences 32 times over the past 10 years, is used at major schools for the treatment of autism and is currently the subject of many graduate student theses. Click here to read more about the science behind TAGteach and autism. The last thing autism parents need is another treatment of dubious merit and so TAGteach founders have spent 10 years proving that it works and developing best practices before putting in the hands of parents who deserve the very best for their children.

“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 ‘normal’ or 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 kid I may have a had an even more successful, less frustrating, anxiety ridden childhood and been a higher achiever than I currently am.”
Katie Scott-Dyer

Effective interventions require thoughtfulness, innovation, and compassion. Gabler’s book provides parents with all three. TAGteach is a robust intervention worthy of the children who need it. I strongly recommend Chaos to Calm for those serious about learning practical uses of TAGteach.”
Rick Kubina, PhD
Professor, Special Education Program, The Pennsylvania State University

More expert opinions about TAGteach for autism and reviews of the book Chaos to Calm

Transfer skills to other caregivers

TAGteach give parents a way to transfer behavior management and teaching protocols that they have developed to other caregivers. Martha was able to send her 17-year old son Douglas to sleep away camp for a week because she knew that camp staff would be able carry on with consistency. Douglas had a great time, camp staff loved him and he is going back this year. Read an article about Doug’s camp adventure. Every parent should be able to leave their child in the care of others knowing that the child will be happy and that the caregivers will manage behavior in a kind and humane way, just like at home.

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.

Find out more about TAGteach

You can find out more about TAGteach and how Martha has used it with her son Douglas by reading the many articles in this blog that explain what she has done. You can also visit the TAGteach website for information about the many other applications of TAGteach. It is not just for autism and special needs teaching, it is used for teaching elite gymnasts, medical students, kindergartners, football players, golfers, management trainees, fishermen in the Bering Sea and many, many other applications.

If you would like to learn more about TAGteach before investing $10 and 2 hours of your time on this book, we would like to invite you to view a recorded webinar presented by TAGteach cofounder Theresa McKeon that explains the basics of TAGteach. Please click here and use the discount code MARTHATAG. Please note that the discount code comes at the end of the payment process, after entering payment information – but you will not be charged.

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