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We’ve been covering a lot of techniques to help children learn new skills or sequences of skills in the last few ABACAS Tuesday blogs.
In addition to finding about task analysis, we’ve also learned that there are various starting places to teach skills from. Steps don’t always need to be taught from the first step to last. There are different starting places. However the goal is always to use prompting and reinforcement (praise) along the way to teach new steps.
To finish off the series we’re going to cover off two last techniques – Forward Chaining and Total Task Chaining.
For many parents, this is often the technique of choice – in other words starting at the beginning – and in many cases it makes sense.
In forward chaining, steps are taught in ‘forward order’. The learner starts with the first step of the routine, with the second step in the routine prompted. Forward Chaining is often used when the student already does the first step but cannot sustain whole task with multiple steps.
An example of a Forward Chaining could be a child helping with the laundry. The first step is taking the full basket of clothes to the laundry room. The child is already doing so, then you can prompt the child to put clothes in the machine. You might do this by showing the child or using verbal instructions.
Total Task Chaining
The fourth and the last method of Chaining is the Total Task Chaining (Total/Whole Task Presentation). This method teaches all steps in one learning trial.
The steps that need support are prompted or modelled. You would use Total Task Chaining when when the child obtains multiple steps in the sequence and can independently perform some steps but might still need support with some other steps.
Pulling it all together
Unsure of what method are to use to teach your child a new skill? Start a Task Analysis and do a quick assessment on what skills can the child perform, what skills need support, and what level of support does each skill requires. This will show you where to start.
Once you have an idea of steps and what skills the child can currently do by themselves, then it will become clearer which of the chaining techniques you can use.
You are always very welcome to contact Jenny Lin, Program Manager for help and advice. The best way to reach Jenny is through reception on 9274 7062.