I want to use the clicker, but I can’t get started. Part 1

view from plane with door open, ready to parachuteA reader sent me the following question:

Imagine a person who has never parachuted out of an airplane. They stand at the door, but are almost paralyzed with fear. I think many families of children with autism may feel that way. They know they must do something right now, and they have some tools (teaching methods), but they are afraid to take the first step.

How did you feel before you took the first TAG step? What was your first move with your son after you’d learned some concepts and methods? How would you advise families?

Each of these questions is a perfectly natural question to ask, so I will take them in turn.

Common fears

As to being afraid to take the first step, for many families the first step might mean completely different things. The first step may be the decision to use TAGteach, or the decision to buy clickers and treats, or dealing with doubts and questions about this method. Information is the key to addressing these fears.

More information

Let’s talk about the fear of using TAGteach. If you are afraid of hurting or damaging your child in some way, you will not do so if you use TAGteach properly. TAGteach is based on the Science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and relies on the use of positive reinforcement to build desired behaviors, along with an event marker signal. With the marker signal (click) used in TAGteach, you provide specific information to your child that he has done something right; then you provide a treat (reinforcer) as a reward. Providing information and reinforcement to any child is a good thing. It is a scientifically-validated method of building desired behaviors. It will help your child learn and can eventually build up a mutually trusting and interactive relationship.

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