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O. IvcrrLovcrcts,Ph.D.
Departmentof PsychologY
Universityof California, Los Angeles

AndrecrAckermqn, Ph.D.,
Deqn Alexander, Ph.D.,
Pcula Firestone, M.4.,
Mcrrlyn Perkins, Ph.D., and
DouglcrsB. Young, Ph.D.
and with contributions bY
Edwcrd G. Ccrr, Ph.D. and
Crighton Newsom, Ph.D.
o 1981by PRO-ED,
Copyright Inc.

No part of this bookmaybe reprodrcad
in any form or by any meailr wi$flt &t
prior written permission of the pr$Hrr"

Al,thoughthic book i* iafirndrdilrldlhprrcnts of developmentdly

diaabled children, thc rdlmr d|lffir llb to emphaeize that the
training prograrnr rlh0 b rdr tmr contained hereh rhould
bc rradrrdr

in theLffilSmdffi

Ubrary o{ CqqnffifhbHcrtiro Data

Lova6, O" ltff-
1"Dndmm*ffiffi-{.med $tates-Addresses;
a D$dm*#ril{ffin. 3. Developmentally
dftin-hrdfi tiftffi--rro,essays,lectures.4.Children-Manage.
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16 l? ll ril.ililil ,&:ili !f 01 03 02 0l 00 99 98



Co-AuthorsandContributors... vii


CHAPTER 1 How To Do It . 11
C H A P T E R2 P h y s t c a l P u n l s h m e n t . . . . .... 29
CHAPTER 3 Behavlor Charactertstlcs of Developmentally
Dlsabled Chtldren 29
CHAPTER 4 Recordlng Behavtor . . 37
References 47
RecommendedReadings .;.... 41


CHAPTER 5 ProperSttttng .. 45
CHAPTER 6 DlrectlngandMalntalnlngtheChlld'sAttentlon . . . 49
CHAPTER 7 EllmlnatlngMtldlyDlsrupttveBehavtors ... . 53
RecommendedReadings ..57


C H A P T E R8 I m l t a t t o n o fS l m p l e A c t l o n s ........ 61
C H A P T E R9 MatchtngVtcualSttmult ..... 77
CHAPTER10 FollowlngVerballnetructlone .. . .. . 81
CHAPTER11 Verbal Imltatlon
Imitationof SoundsandWords . . . 89
C H A P T E R 1 2A p p r o p r l a t e P l a y S k l l l;s. . ...... 99
CHAPTER13 GenerallzatlonandMalntenance . . . . . . . . . .109
References ......114
Recommended . .lt4


C H A P T E R 1E 4attng..i... ..II7
CHAPTER15 DayttmeTolletTralnlng... ...119
C H A P T E R 1 6D r e e s l n s ......L23
CHAPTER17 BrushlngorComblngHalr.. ..127
CHAPTERlS ToothBruchlng .......L29
References ......132
Readings . .132
CHAPTER19 ReceptiveObJectLabellng' 139
Cnepfgn ZO Expresslve Oblectlabeltng '
Cflnpfen Zf ReceptlveActlonlnb-ellr.ts
Cnnpfgn ZZ ExpresslveActlon Labellng '
CHAPTER23 Stopplng Echolalta and Psychottc
CHAPTER24 Slgn Language 153
References 161

.. 163
Slze,Color,andShaPe " " " '165
CHAPTER25 ""'169
CHAPTER26 Preposlttons'."
' " " '173
CHAPTER27 Pronouns
CHAPTER28 Tlme ConcePts .
' ' " " :'r'.
L' '
CHAPTER29 Yes/NoTralnlng
" 181
CHAPTER30 TeachlngPhrasesand Sentences
Reference 184
RecommendedReadings '
' ' 185
C H A P T E R 3 2 T e a c h l n g A b o u t F e e l i n g" "s" .' r'9.9. ' 1 9 1
C H A P T E R 3 3i i " J " a i " s a n d l m a g l n l n s " ' "203
CHAPTER34 Observattonallearnlng "
CHAPTER35 Bulldtng Spontanelty "" '209
ControlltngBehavlor '
" "215
CHAPTER36 PrepartngtheChtldforSchool
CHAPTER37 School 223
by Crighton Neu''som 235
CHAPTER38 io-Lot hoblems and hecautlons
References ' .2M
R e c o m m e n d e dR e a d i n g s

l n d e x.

Andrea Ackerman, Ph.D.
Departmentof Psychology
Unlversltyof Californiaat Los Angeles
Los Angeles,California90024

Dean D. Nexander, Ph.D.

Departmentof Psychology

Edward G. Cart, Ph.D.

StateUnlversip of New York at Stony Brook
Suffolk Child DevelopmentCenter
Stony Brook, New York LL794

Paula Flrcrtone, M.A.

Departmentof Psychology
Unlversltyof Californiaat Los Angeles
Los Angeles,California90024

Crlghton Newcom, Ph.D.

SuffolkChlld DevelopmentCenter
StateUniversityof New York at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, New York L1794

Marlyn Pcrklna, Ph.D.

Departmentof Education
Unlversityof Californlaat Santa Barbara

Douglar B. Young, Ph.D.

Los AngelesPsychosocialCenter
6331 HollywoodBoulevard
Los Angeles,California90024

This book containsa set of programs that were startedmany yearsago in an attempt to
provide help for parents and teachers in dealing with their developmentally disabled
children. One of the parents called these programs the "Me Book," for this is really a
book for the child. As a result of following the programs presented in this book, the
child does become more of a person, an individual,more of a "me." So, we adopted
the subtitle The Me Book.
The book evolved and developed out of our experiencesin working with
developmentallydisabledchildren. A descriptionof these experienceswill clarify our
approach,for they formed the basisof our teachingphilosophy.We hope that this ex-
planationof our teachingphilosophywill help clarifyour position,so that it will seem
less arbitrary and perhaps be less objectionable to those persons holding different
views. Let us begin by relating the mistakeswe made, becausesometimesone can
learn a great deal from mistakes.
. In !964, we institutionalized a group of childrenwith severedevelopmental
disabilitiesand began to formulate teachingprograms designedto help them overcome
atavisticand tantrum behaviors, to help them develop language,to improve their play
and socialinteractions,and to build the other kinds of behavioralskillsthat thesechil-
dren neededin order to function betterin lessrestrictiveenvironments.This book con-
tains revisionsof many of the teaching programs which were initiated at that time'
A more completesummaryof our earlytreatmentsuccesses and failureshave
b e e np r e s e n t e de l s e w h e r e( L o v a a s ,O ' I . , K o e g e l ,R . L . , S i m m o n s , ' Q ' , a n d L o n g ,
J. S. Some generalization and follow-upmeasureson autisticchildrenin behaviorther-
a p y . J o u r n a l o t ' A p p l i e d B e h a v i o r A n o l y s1i s9 ,7 3 , 6 , 1 3 1 - 1 6 5 ) . T h e m a i n f i n d i n g s a n d
implicationsare summarized below.
Certain positive aspects of our teaching programs became apparent quite
soon. For example,we could help the childrenquickly overcomemany of their unde-
sirableand interferingbehaviors, such as their tantrums, their blzarreritualisticbehav-
iors, and their self-injuriousbehaviors.We were also able to teach them some very
prove too diffi-
complex behaviors,such as language, which many had thought would
cult ior these childrento grasp. The procedureswere very time-consuming,but they
were effective,for all the childrendid learn, althoughsome learnedmore than others.
The first serious mistake we made in this program was to treat the children
within an institutional (hospital or clinic) environment. The changeswe created in
child's behaviorsdid not generalize,or transfer, to the rest of the child's environment,
such as his home or school. However, we were successfulwhen we made special
forts to bring about generalization.These specialefforts involved working out the treat-
ment and educationalprogramming in these other environments, which brought us
questionthe necessityor desirabilityof using a hospital as a teaching and learning envi-
ronment. Our goal was to help these children to live and function in the real world, and
not in an artificialsetting, such as an institution.
We had hospitalizedthe children in the first place becausewe still held the old
"ill" due
view we had been taught that children like those with whom we worked were
was thought that they had experi-
to either psychologicaior organic reasons.That is, it
from some organic brain damage' It
enced either inadequateparenting or had suffered
"ill" they needed "treatment," ideally in a
seemedto follow, then, that sincethey were
at the time; it was an easy mistake to
"hospital." Given our background, it made sense
institution to the
make. We decided, then, io change the place of heatment from the f,ii
to treat him in his home and school'
child's natural environment; that is, we began

The second major mistake we made was to isolate the parents from their
child's treatment.We thought it quite appropriatethat professionalpersonssuch as
ourselvesshouldplay the major role in the treatmentprogram,with a smallerrole being
assignedto the parentsand the child's teachers.The children'sproblemswere very
complex,we felt, and only the most educatedpersonscould help. The childrenneeded
professional intervention.There were severalmajor problemsassociated with this deci-
sion. First,the childrenneededa great deal of treatment time in order to show improve-
ment and there were so many such children that there were simply not enough profes-
sional personsavailableto meet the treatment needs. Second, if the parents didn't
know exactlywhat their child'streatment program consisted of , what we were doing,
why we were doing it, and what the final goalswere, then they wouldn't be ableto help
their chitdmaintainthe gainsmade in therapy,and the childwould regress.We realized
our errors,and changedour approachto teachingthe child'sparentsand teachersex-
actlyhow we had taughtthe children.The child'streatmentwas placedin the handsof
the adultsin his natural.everydaycommunity. The parentsand teachersbecamethe
c h i l d ' sp r i m a r yt h e r a p i s t sa. n d w e b e c a m et h e i r c o n s u l t a n t s '
In retrospect.this new developmentmade good sense.If a child'sbehavioris
influencedby the environmentin which he livesand learns,and sincea child'senviron-
ment is composedof severaldifferentsettings(suchas school, home, and neighbor-
hood) then it followsthat the child'stofol environmentshould be arrangedto become
t h e r a p e u t i ca n d e d u c a t i o n a li.f t h e c h i l d i s t o m a k e m a x i m a lg a i n si n t r e a t m e n t .
A third major mistakewas to expecta "breakthrough."We were expectinga
sudden step forward. that possiblysomehow we would hit upon some cenhal cogni-
tive, emotional.or socialevent insidethe child'smind that would help him make a sud-
den and major leap ahead.Traditionalconceptionsare filledwith suchpromises.Such
a leap would have been so gratifying,and it would have made our work so much neverhappened.Instead,progressfollowed a slow, step-by-step upward pro-
gression.rvirhonly a few and minor spurtsahead. We learned to settle down for hard
work. Personswho work with developmentallydisabled children may take some com-
forts in CharlesDarwin's basichypothesis:Nofuro non t'ocit soltum (Nature does not
make leaps). (Actually, anyone who has been a parent also may become impressed
with ho\,.'slow normoi childrendevelop: it takes9 monthsto be born, a whole year to
learn how to walk. and a full 2 yearsbeforeeven minimalspeechis occurring.And the
infantis pracricingliterally12 to 74 hours a day, 7 daysa week, and takesno vacation!)
There were severalother developmentsthat emerged as we moved away
from the raditional diseasemodel of servicedelivery.We broke down the largehypo-
thetiCalconstructsof "autism," "aphasia," "retardation," etc. into more manageable
componentsor behaviors.We didn't of.fertreatmenffor autism or schizophrenia;in-
steadwe were teochrnqthe childrenspecificbehaviorssuch as language,play, and af-
fection.Theseteachingprogramswere "interchangeable"acrossdiagnosticcategories
in the seirsethar whar we had learned about teachinglanguageto retarded children
could just as easilybe appliedto teachinglanguageto aphasicor autisticchildren.The
whole diagnosticenterpris€became increasinglyirrelevant.
One of the mosr gratifyingaspectsof our projectcenteredaround the devel-
opment of specificinrerventiontechniques.For years,many professionals had felt ex-
tremely uncomfortablewhen confrontedwith questionsfrom parents or teachers con-
cerninghow to deal with specificbehavioralproblems:How do you toilettrain? How do
you help the mute child speak?How do you help an aggressivechild become more
iriendtyi At last,we had found some concreteanswersto thosequestions.Perhapsthe
formei lack of answersto these questionswas the reason for postulatinginternal prob-
lemsas the causefor the child'sproblemsin the firstplace.If the problemswere internal

and hidden, then no one, except trained professionals,could work on them. Perhaps
such isolation helped prolong our ignorance.
Rather than viewing the child as ill or diseased,we came to view him as "dif-
ferent"-different in the sensethat the averageor common environment, which does
so well for the averagechild, does not fit the needs nor provide the shucture necessary
to be a good teaching/learning environment for these exceptional children. Our task
was, then, to construct a special environment, one in which the disabled child could
learn. We chose to deviate from the average environment only as much as was abso-
lutely necessaryto make it a suitablelearning environment for our children. We did this
for two reasons:first, it would make it easierto return the child to his community later
on, and second, the common environment has been developingover thousandsof
years, and it does possesssome educational wisdom, even though this is not always
apparent.We chose, therefore,to teach the children, whenever possible,as normal
parents teach their normal children.
To summarize and state some implications:

1. The place of interventionwas changed from the institutionto the child'snatural,

2. The locus of interventionwas changedfrom treatmentto teaching'
3. Teachingwas placed in the hands of the child'steachersand parents.
4. Autism, retardation,brain damage, and other diagnosticcategorieswere broken
down into smallerand more manageableunitsof behaviorsuch as language,play,
and self-help skills. These behaviors cut acrossdiagnosticcategories.
5. Diagnostictesting became de-emphasized.

Thesewere the main developments.There were severalothers,and many of theseoc-

cuned in other parts of the country, sometimesindependent of theoreticalorientation.
For example, institutionalizationbecame de-emphasizedby almost all professionals.
Gestaltistsand existentialistsalso rejectedthe diseasemodel and associateddiagnosis.
Some developmentswere quite independent of theoreticalorientations-for example,
the more new knowledge we gained, the more democratic the processbecame. That
is, the consumers,or the parents, had a greaterpart in determiningthe kinds of services
to be delivered. It would be interestingto speculateon all that has happened, but space
does not permit.
The most important stepsin behavioralteachingcenteredon breakingdown
the largeand rather generalproblem of "disability" into more manageableand separate
behavLral units, and to relate these behaviors to more manipulable environmental
variables.Such analysisand systematicmanipulation appearsto have greatlyfacilitated
scientificinquiry, which is a key to progressin education and psychology' We can see
the beginning of cumulatiueknowledge. Since such an analysisis still in its beginning
stages,this rnanualcan best serveto establishboth a helping and a working relationship
betlweenstudents and persons with developmental disabilities,where much more has
to be investigatedand learned in order for us to become truly successfulteachers.
When we dofind out how to successfullyteach, we will then have the tools and skills
necessaryto help developmentally disabled persons become functioning members of
society; there will be no rnore retarded persons.
This short history may seem rather arbitraryand unfair to those who are hying
to understand and help developmentally"disabledpersons from the point of view of
dealingwith internal dysfunction or damage, the related diagnosis,and the subsequent
treatment. Perhapsthe issueof "Who is right?" can be clarified"lfwe examine two differ-
ent strategiesfor gathering inforrnation. One can characterizeresearchefforts as being
largely deductive or largeiy inductive. Some investigatorsmake generalizations

encesabout underlyingdysfunction)after examiningrelativelyfew data, while others
preferto accumulatemuch more informationor data beforethey feel they can justifya
generaltheoreticalstatement.A former teacherof mine (Pro{essorBen McKeeverat
the Universityof Washington)divided researchersinto two groups, shoTtsinkersand
pyramid builders.A shaftsinkerworks in relativeisolation,he movesfrom one areato
another, sinkingshaftsand hoping that he will strikea well of knowledge.When he
does, a greatnumberof problemswill be solvedat the sametime. On the other hand, a
pyramid builderfeelsthat knowledgecan best be gained by severalpersonsworking
together,where each pieceof informationis soughtto complimentor strengthenother
piecesof information,where higher levelsare built after lower levelsare secured,and
so on. He may not know exactlyhow the pyramid will look when it is finished,but he
may have somegeneralidea when he starts.Personalitytheorists,psychopathologists,
and the like would be shaftsinkers,behavioristswould be pyramid builders.So far, the
shaft sinkershaven't struck oil yet. The behavioristshave more going for them; the
foundation of a pyramid under constructionis more substantialand more reassuring
than a dry well. ln the future, perhaps,therewill be a successful
shaftsinker.The defini-
tion of a geniusis one who finds the well with relativelylittle prior knowledge. And
many a pyramidbuildermay just be a pebblepiler in disguise.In any case, there is no o
priori right or wrong way of making hypothesesabout nature.My apologyto all poten-
tial shaft sinkers.
Let us expressour gratitudeto the largenumber of studentswho have helped
developthe programspresentedin this book. Thesewere studentsat UCLA who were
enrolledin Psychology170 A "lntroductionto BehaviorModification,"and Psychol-
ogy 170 B "Behavior ModificationLaboratory." They were dedicatedto helping the
lessfortunate, they were flexibleand open-minded, intelligentand creative,and, in
general,all the good thingsone associates with the kinds of personswe all would liketo
work with. Many thanksto our colleaguesin the Departmentof Psychologyat UCLA,
for their willingnessto overlooksome problemsand reinforcethe main efforts.We also
want to thank the Staff at CamarilloState Hospital in Camarillo,California,for their
help in facilitatingthe researchwhich underliesmany of the teachingprogramsin this
book. Thanks alsoto Drs. BarbaraAndersenand Crighton Newsom for their editorial
comments. Very specialthanks for the support of the National Instituteof Mental
Health (GrantsMH 32803 and MH 1140) and particularlyto Dr. MorrisParlofffor his
kind guidance.Finally,we want to thank KristenHannum for guidingand organizihg
the preparationof this manuscript,a very difficultjob at times.

xll Prelace
To Beth,Mke andMarty,Rtck,Pom,Billy,Chuck,Blll,Dean,Jlmmy,Leslie,Bruce,
Erlc,Scott,andallthe otherchildrenwholollowedthem,andthelrdearparents,
lor allthelrhelp andguldance.
Thisbook is intendedfor teachersand parentsto help
INTRODUCTION developmentallydisabledpersonslearn to live more
meaningful lives. It should be helpful for persons
retardedin behavioraldevelopment,be it as a result
of mentalretardation,brain damage, autism,severe
aphasia, severe emotional disorder, childhood
schizophrenia, or any other of a numberof disorders'
Although most of the programswere developedwith
childrenand youth, they can be used for personsof
any age.
Developmentally disabled persons often
share a number of common characteristics.They
typically score within the retarded range of intellec-
tual functioningon IQ tests.Developmentallydisabledpersonsoften need to learn some of the most
basicaspectsof living,includingeating,toileting,and dressing.Some personsdo not know how to play,
and othersneed to learnto get alongwith peersand to developfriendships.They often need help in de-
velopingtheir language.Some individualsare mute, while others can talk but cannot expressthem-
selveswell. Almost all developmentallydisabledpersonsneed help with school.Older personswith de-
velopmental disabilitiesneed to learn to spend their leisuretime more eflectively.This book presentsa
set of teaching programs designed to help persons lessenor overcome these behavioral deficiencies.
In addition to needing help with acquiring new behaviors, many developmentally disabled
personsalso need to unlearn certain maladaptivebehaviors,such as throwing tantrums when frushated
and spending hours alone in seemingly meaninglessritualisticplay. Our programs help parents and
teachersbetter understand these problem behaviorsand teach children and studentsto better manage
their behaviors.Through this help studentsshould become easierto handle at school and able to fit in
their community. They should become happierpersons.
Throughout this book we refer to developmentallydisabledor behaviorallyretarded (delayed)
personsas studentsor children. We often use the term child in refening to the students even though
some of the "children" we worked with were actuallyadults.Perhaps child'likewould have been a better
term. Caregivers,such as parents,teachers,speechtherapists,psychiatrictechnicians,nurses' and psy-
chologists,who work with developmentallydisabledpersonsare called parentsor teachers.When pro-
nouns are needed in our discussionof developmentallydisabledpersons,we have selectedthe rnascu-
andto reflectthe factmostof thesestudents
lineform to avoidawkwarddoublepronounconshuctions
are male.


We createda specialteachingenvironmentthat resembledthe normalor averageenvironmentasmuch

as possible.The following generalstatementsunderlieour teachingphilosophy:
1. All living organismsshow variabilityin their behaviors.CharlesDarwin was the first to recognizethe
importance of such variabilityfor the purpose of survival of the species.We can regard develop-
mentally disabledpersons as instancesof such variability. Behavioral variability (deviance)is not
consideredto be symptomatic of underlying mental illnessor disease,and therefore requiring its
own unique form of beatment. Although many developmentallydisabledindividuals suffer from
seriousorganicbrain damage, it has not been to the educationaladvantageof developmentallydis-
abled individuals to be ffeated as mentally ill. Laws of learning apply to individuals with deviant
organic structure as they do to individuals with less deviant structure.
2. The averageenvironment heats the ouerageperson best,apparentlybecausethe averageenviron-
ment was selected and/or shaped by the averageperson. Personsat either extreme do not learn
well from the averageenvironmentbecausethat environmenthas not been constructedfor them.
3. Specialeducationand psychologymay help those who deviatefrom the averageby creatingand
constructingspecialteachingenvironmentsin which the deviant may learn.
4. This specialenvironment should differ as little as possiblefrom the average environment because
1) the appropriatenessof the average environment, implicit in the process of "natural selection"
and its developmentover thousandsof years, is not to be lightly dismissed,and 2) one of the
primary goals of education for developmentally disabled persons is to help them function more
adequatelyin their naturalenvironment. The smallerthe differencebetween the specialtherapeu-
ticleducationalenvironmentconshuctedfor the child and the averageenvironmentto which, it is
hoped, he will return, the easierthe transition.

We employed rewards and punishment analogousto those used with normal children in
creatingthe specialteachingenvironment.We taught the childrenat home, not in hospitalsor clinics,
becausechildrenlive and learn in homes. Parentsand teacherswere taughtthe programsbecausethey
care for and teach children. Our programs present a set of teaching steps, very similar to those em-
ployed with normal children, but certainfeaturesare temporarily exaggeratedand the teachingprocess
is sloweddown. Our procedurescan be taught to and used by anyone.
In this book we share our experiencesof the last 18 yearsin helping developmentallydisabled
personslearn to behave in a more normal way. The book is written with as few technicaltermsaspossi-
ble. It is intended to help parentsand teacherswho have little or no background in modern learningthe-
ory or behavior modification, which is the basicconceptualsystemunderlying our teachingpro$ams.
Although the teachingstepsare presentedin everydaylanguage,and parents and teacherslearn about
behavior modificationby carrying out the various programs, we recommend certain inhoductory texts
on learning theory and behavior modification that present more theoreticaland researchinformation'
(See the recommended reading list at the end of Unit I.) A better understandingof the foundations of
our programs can be gained by reading one or more of these texts along with this teaching manual'
Undlrstanding the basictheory helps teachersand parents become more creative in developing their

own programs.Thereare even severalpublishedteachingmanualsthat dealwith problemssimilarto
in thismanual.Bernal's(1978)reviewof thesemanualscanhelpyou selecttheap-


Some words of caution about our treatment,/teachingphilosophy are in order before we describeour
teachingprograms. First, no one approach will solve all the problems of developmentallydisabledper-
sons.Rather,the personswho hy to help theseindividualsneed to draw upon a varietyof conceptsand
teachingtechniques.For example, each client will have somewhat different needs and the context
within which he functionswillbe different.Proceduresthat work particularlywellfor an affectionateand
frightenedblind child may be somewhat differentfrom those that work for an aggressive,autisticchild.
What works wellin heating a child in his family in his naturalcommunitymay not work equallywellfor
an institutionalizedadult. The "teacher-therapist-parent"hasto be flexible,innovative, and ableto draw
upon a varietyof techniquesand procedures.
We do know now that certain basicprocesseswork for all personsand that a working knowl-
edge of theseprocessesis essentialfor providing effectivehelp. One such procedure, or principle, used
for providing help is the pleosure-painprinciple, which is infinitely better understood today than when
first proposed by the Greeks.This principle was renamed learningby trialand error, and later calledThe
Law ol Elfecf and insfrumental learning.Today most personsrefer to this principle asoperant condition-
ing and the applicationof that principleas behauiormodit'icationor appliedbehauioronolysis,In psy-
chologyand education,operant conditioningmay well be like the principleof gravityin physics.We all
know about gravity, but you need to know it in detail to transport a person to the moon. Likewise,with
operant learning, we observeit and use it every day, but to work the principle ellectivelywith develop-
mentally disabled persons requires more than superficial knowledge. It is hoped that this teaching
manual will help you learn to use the principle of operant learning more effectively,but keep in mind
that, just as a physicistneedsto know more than the laws of gravityto transporta personto the moon,
you need to know more than the laws of operantbehaviorto move a person to more adequatefunc-
We have limitedourselvesto the useof operantlearningin devisingour programsfor teaching
developmentallydisabledpersons. We recognizethe considerableinvestmentthat other professionals
have made in other approachesand hope that no one is upsetor angeredby the focus of this book.


To help you in implementing our teachingprograms, six guiding principles,which transcendthe specific
techniquesinvolved in the programs, have been identified.
1. AII personsurho consistently interact with deuelopmentallydisabledpersons haue to learn to be
teachers. To keep your child in his naturalcommunityaslong aspossibleyou must becomean ef-
fective teacher. Primarily, this is for his own protection since living in an environment that is the
leastrestrictive,most natural one will optimize his learningexperiences.But it also servesto protect
you, as a parent or teacher, againstthe hurt of separationor againstthe trauma of giving up your
child to persons or processesyou don't understand or over which you have limited confrol. By

can offer
learningour teachingproceduresyou will be exposedto the best help that professionals
you unJ your child at the presenttime. When you havethe bestinformation,you can make the best
decisions;othersdon't have to make decisionsfor you'
Set smollgoolsin the beginntngso that bothyou and your child willbe rewarded.
goals,ratherthan hoping
smollstepsJorward. Ytu shouldbe pleasedat reachinga set of smaller
overall excellence'
and strugglingfor some often unattainableand absoluteideal of normalcy or
goals.You stillcan anticipate
This book teachesyou to identifyand reachsmaller,quite attainable
all. This doesnot meanthat
normalcyand excellencein some areas,but you should not expectit in
who curbtheir
you will becomean unhappy parentor teacher.Often the happiestpeople are those
be attainedwithin a
ambitionsa bit, those individualswho work for a set of smallergoalsthat can
be more to learn,so
reasonableamount of time. Remember,excellenceis relative;there will always
it is importantto find pleasurein reachablegoals'
o "teachingteom'" If
3. Be preporedt'ormuch hord work. Protectyourselt'lromburn-outbylorming
you may burn out
you take your teachingseriously,if you do all the one-to-oneteachingyourself,
personsoften have to be
after 1 or Z years.Be preparedfor hard work; developmentallydisabled
and you haveto be
taughteverythingin the smallestdetail.Many do not respondin the beginning,
extremelypatient.Get some help to preventburn-out. Hire assistants and form a "teachingteam'"
people, each working about
The ideal teachingteam probably numbersbetweenfour and eight
four to eight hours per week. If your child gets from 20 to 60 hours of one-on-one
that teachingbe canied
week, he will probablyget as much instructionas he can handle. It is critical
possible'Everybodyhas to teach'
out everywhere-at home, at school, as many hours a day as
and everybodyhas to teach in a consistentmanner, at leastin the beginning'
your as-
This manualshould help you becomea good teacherand showsyou how to use
sistantseffectively.After only 2 or 3 hours of inshuction,your assistants should be of help to you'
work with your
They learnwhat you have learnedfrom the program, and then they do most of the
child. you are the expert; you are the consultant.Assistants can be parents,teachers,normalsib-
good high schoolandcollege
lings,or high schooland collegestudents.(Therearesomeamazingly
studentswho will work for littlemoney, if not for free')
Choose your assistants through "job interviews."That is, have the prospectiveassistant
and if he seemseasyto
interactwith your child. If you like the way he handleshimself"on the spot,"
to stay on the job for 6
instrucr,you probably will have a good worker. Expect your assistants
you have a largegroup of assis-
monthsto a coupleof years;they come and go, you haveto stay' If
tants,assignspecificresponsibilities (and authorities)to differentpersons.For example,one person
of language,anotherperson
becomesrhe expertat constructingprogramsfor buildingsome aspect
and self-help'one is the liaisonbe-
leadsthe group in building play skills,one works on dressing
in every program, but eachpro-
tweenthe parentsand the teacher,and so on. Eachpersonworks
gram has only one person in charge.You are in chargeof the entire
in the pastweek
Have a *eekly "staff meeting"for t hour to discusswhat hasbeen done
with the child in front of everyone
and to lay plansfor the followingweek. Eachpersonshouldwork
regardingteachingmethods' Such
elseduring staffmeetingsto geifeedback,positiveor negative,
it perhaps is bestto have assistants
weekly supervisionis important. During the first 2 or 3 months,
and note superior procedures' If
work in pairs so that they can befter identify each other's mistakes
that he wantsto do it his
a team memberdoesn'tagreeto this and feelsso "senior"and experienced
that person go beforehe hurtSyour
own way, or so sensitivethat he can't standcriticism,then let

program. If you are a teacher, hope that the child's parentswill be open to feedbackas you are. If
you are a parent, hope that you are welcomedto the child'sschool.If the teacherdoesnot welcome
you to the child'sclass,consultwith the schoolprincipaland perhapsconsiderchangingteachersor
4 . Haue your child work for what he wants; make him responsible. Developmentallydisabledper-
sonshave to work particularly hard. Their work is to learn, your job is to teach. The responsibilityis
shared. With responsibility,the developmentallydisabled individual takes on dignity and
"acquires" certain basicrights as a person. No one has the right to be taken care of , no matter how
retardedhe is. So, put your child to work; his work is to learn.
5 . Try not to be frightened or t'eelguilty by the child'semotional outburstsor withdrawal. You are the
boss, you make the decisions. Almost all persons,including the retarded and especiallythe
autisticand emotionallydisturbed,want it differently.Sometimesthey will becomeso angry that
they act out aggressivelyagainstthemselves,the furniture, or you. They scareyou. Or they will
withdraw and make you feel guilty. They may try to frightenyou into quitting. Don't let them do
that becauseit will hurt themin the long run. They have no right to act bizarrely,many professional
opinionsnotwithstanding.On the contrary,you have a right to expect decentbehaviorfrom your
children.If you work hard for your child, he should be grateful,work hard, and show affectionto
you in return. You have to teach him that, and the programsin this book help you do so.
Keep in mind that sometimesit is the child who is particularlyaggressiveor who looks
very bizarrewhen you make demandsof him who willprogresswell in the program; he is respond-
ing. The child who is not botheredby demandsoften moves more slowly in our programs.Your
child'sbasichumanity is showingwhen he screamsand slapshimselfor strikesout at you. But you
have to stop that behavior and teach him better ways to cope with his frustrations.
6 . Begin by making the child'sappearanceas normol os possible. Before you begin teaching, make
your child look as normal as possible.For example,don't let him gettoo fat. Many disabledpersons
look like big balloonsand just the sightof them invitesridiculeand isolation.You may want to con-
sult a dieticianfor help. Similarly,dressyour child nicelyin clothesthat fit and look like clotheshis
peersare wearing. (Have his siblingspick out his clothes,if you don't know what is "in.") Don't let
him wear peculiarclothing. Help him wash his face, like his normalpeersdo, to reduceskin prob-
lems.Give him a nice haircut;have his hair styledif you can affordit. Alltoo often retardedpersons
becomesociallyexcludedimmediatelyon the basisof their appearance.


Unit I introduces certain basic teaching principles that center on how to present instructions, how to ri
break down teachingmaterialto manageablecomponents,how to selectrewards and punishments,
how to use them in teaching, etc. Problem behaviorsof developmentallydisabledpersons,how to
record them, and what to do about them are also discussed. u
Unit II presentsvarious programsfor helping the child get ready to learn. Theseprogramsstart
out with the most simple tasks,such as how to teach a child to sit in a chair, how to help him attend to his
teacher,and how to better manage disruptivebehaviors.Stepsfor helping to generalizelearningare also

Unit III teachesthe beginningsof language,such asteachingthe child to follow simpleinstuc-
tions and commands,how to identifysimilarities(matching),and the earlystepsin helpingthe child to
imitatethe behaviorsof others. This unit also inhoducesteachingprogramsfor early play skills,
Unit IV presentsprogramsfor buildingself-helpskills,such as appropriateeating,dressing,
and toileting.
Unit V dealswith intermediatelanguage,includingteachingthe child to follow more compli-
cated instructions,to verbally describecertain basic aspectsof his environment, and to ask for things.
This unit alsopresentsa program for teachingsigning(manualcommunication)to thosepersonswho
have problemswith learningverballanguage.It alsocontainsa programfor helpingpersonsovercome
echolalicand psychotic(inappropriate)language.
Unit VI dealswith advancedlanguage,includingthe buildingof elementarysentences,and
presentsprogramsfor teachingabstractlanguage(prepositions,pronouns, color, form, etc.).
Unit VII presentsprogramson how to help developmentallydisabledpersonsadjustto the
community, such as going to a restaurantor a supermarket.There is a chapter on how to teach a
developmentallydisabledperson to leam by obeervingotherslearn, which dealswith his understanding
of feelingsand emotions.There are programson how to teachhim to becomemore spontaneousand to
develophisimagination.Other chaptersincludeadviceto teacherswho work in classroomsettings,and
review some common mistakesin behavioralteachingand presentcertainprecautions.
The book is ananged from the easy to the complex. Certain sectionsof this book will be diffl-
cult to understand,but other partswill be easy.The beginningis alwaysthe hardest.Once you are half-
way through this book, having taught yrourchild or studentthe first dozenprograms,you willbegin to
feel like an expert,a personwith confidence.But have patiencein the beginningwith both yourselfand
your child. The programsare lairi out in a developmentalsequence,such that the early programs
should be startedbeforethe laterones. Once a programis started,and the child showssome beginning
mastery,subsequentprogranrsmay be intoduced so that they overlapwith the earlierones.Mostof the
programsare continuous (that is, they have no meaningfulending point). Thus, in the beginning,a
child may be on three or four prograrns(for example, during the first months he may be on programsfor
reducing tantrums, sitting properly, establishingeye-to-facecontact, and developing nonverbal imita-
tion), while a year later he may be on 30 or 40 concunent programs.
The early programs are hid out in considerablestep-by-stepdetail. Such great detail may
seem redundant in some places, but we judged it best to be careful and safe. Later programs, such as
thosein Unit Vil, are pres€ntedwith minimalproceduraldetail,and requirefamiliaritywith the teaching
stepsoutiinedin earlierchaptersto be administered.
The parent or teachershould become familiarwith the whole book in order to selecta particu-
lar combinationof programsfor a particularchild. For example, there are programs in Unit VII that may
be applicableeven early in teaching.We recommend startingwith the programsin Unit II, and establish-
ing a solid base before going on to subsequentprograms.
After working through most of the programs in this book, a teacher should have a "Ieel" for
how to teach usingbehavioralprocedures,and should be ableto conshuctteachingprograms.The pro-
grams we describecan serve as a basisfor insbuctinga developmentallydisabledperson in everything
that he needsto learn.
The book is supplemented by videotapes depicting examples of most of the programs we
describe. (For information on how to obtain these tapes, pleasewrite to University Park Press.)The
book and the tapes should be used jointly, for the best results. The tapes show how the lessonsare
paced, the close interacflonbetween adult and child, the way in which rewards are given, the subtleties

of certaininshuctions,
and manyotherdetailsthatcanonlybeshownvisually.We stongly recommend
that you view thesevideotapes.Eachtape is about20 minuteslong. They are organizedas follows:
Tape 1: GettingReadyto Learn-covers earlyconhol (asin teachingthe child to eat, look, confrol
tantrums,and pay attention),examplesof how to build nonverbalimitation,match-to-
sample,andbeginnings of receptive language. Tape1 dealswith materialcovered in UnitsI
and II and partsof Unit III in the book.
Tape 2: EarlyLanguoge-showsstepsin teachingverbalimitationand how to teachthe childto iden-
tifyobjectsandbehaviors, to labelobjects andbodyparts,andto makeverbaldemands. Tape
2 corresponds to the lastpart of Unit III and mostof Unit V in the book.
Tape 3: BasicSelf-HelpSki/ls-showsexamplesof programsfor bedmaking,tooth-brushing, shav-
ing, puttingon cosmetics,and otherpersonal./homemaking skills.Certainhouseholdchores
are also depicted,such as vacuuming,settingthe table,and preparingfood. Tape 3 cor-
respondsto Unit IV in the book.
Tape4: AduancedLanguage-corresponds to Unit VI in the book. It dealswith teachingabshactlan-
guage,suchaspronouns,prepositions, shapes,andtime,andcertain"cognitive"taskssuch
as seekinginformationand becomingmorespontaneous.
Tape 5: ExpandingWorld-conesponds to Unit VII in the book and showsprogramson formal
school-type tasks,causeand effectrelationships, feelings,pretendingand imagining,andob-
servationallearning.It alsoreviewssomeof the morecommonmistakesin behavioralteach-

Good luck!


Bernal,M.E.,&North,J.A.Asurveyof p a r e n t t r a i n i n g m a n u a l s . J o u r n a l oAfp p l i e d B e h a v i o r A n o l y s i s1 ,9 7 8 ,


Unif I is an introduction,and in a sensea summary,
of how to teach. Chapter 1 inhoducesseveraltech-
niquesfor increasingand decreasingdifferent aspects
of your child's behavior. You want to teach your
child to listen more, to talk more, and to take more
care of his personalneeds. We define certaintech-
niques, like rewards, that will increasesome of your
child's behaviorsif used correctly. There are other
thingsyou will wish your child would do less,or not
at all, suchas wettinghis bed, beingphysicallytoo ac-
tive, or gettingtoo angry. We introduce and define
certain procedures, like ignoring or punishing, in
order to deoease such behaviors.
Keep in mind that when we introduceand defineterms,such as rewardsand punishmenfsin
Chapter 1, it is just an introduction.Theseterms are used againand againthroughoutthe book. If you
don't seeexactlyhow they are appliedafterreadingChapter 1, don't worry. You will have a much bet-
ter understandingof these terms and concepts after you have worked through the first three or four
chapters,and you will understandthem like an expert after you have finishedthe book,
Chapter 2 discusses the use of physicalpunishment.It is a controversialprocess,capableof
causingmuch harm if used incorrectly,but having benefitswhen properly used.
Chapter 3 presentssome of the behavior characteristicsof developmentallydisabledpersons.
You need to recognizeand try to understandtheseproblem behaviorsif you are to work with thesepeo-
ple effectively.Not all developmentallydisabledpersonsshow theseproblems,but many do. For exam-
ple, we discusshow developmentallydisabledpersonscan becomevery angry and hard to manageat
times,or that they can be very inattentive.We presentcertaintechniquesto help overcometheseprob-
lemsor to work around them. Chapter4 describesmethodsof recordingbehavior.Unit I, then, consists
of an introductionof teachingtechniquesand problemsto overcome.
This chapter examines the basic processesinvolved
HOIATTODOIT in teachingyour child new behaviorsand in shaping,
or changing, existing behaviors. Many terms and
conceptsused in our teaching programs are defined,
discussed, and explained by everyday examples'
Rewards, punishments, overcorrection, shaping,
and prompting are only a few of the concepts that
must be understood before you can teach the pro-
grams to your child. These terms and others are
defined in more detail within the context of the actual
teachingprogramsbut are presentedhere so that you
can beginto becomefamiliar with them.


Positive Rewards
Usually, when a child does something correct, you rewardhim. You say, "Here's 25C for a candybar,"
"You can stay up later tonight," "Have a bite of ice cream," or something similar to these statements.
That is, you give him something he wants. Adults reward children, particularlywhen they are young, in
this direct, positive way. In the beginning, the rewards may be quite noticeableand concrete, like ice
cream and kisses.As the child develops, the rewards usually become more subtle, as when they are
conveyed by just a glance or some other minimal recognition of the person's behavior' Many teachers
feelthat certainbehaviorsmay themselvesbecome rewarding, and that extrinsicrewards, like food and
socialpraise,are not necessaryto maintain the behavior. But, in the beginning, it pays to exaggeratethe
rewardsfor a particular behavior, just to be on the safe side. These rewards are called positiues'
When you reward developmentallydisabledpersonsbe very emphatic and loud-exclaim a
very loud "Good," "Fine," or "You're great." If there is an audience, have them clap or give lots of
hugs, kisses,and shokes. We typically use food rewardsin addition to the words of encouragementand
pruir". For example, you can create hundreds of rewards for good behavior by cutting a child's meal

into many small pieces (i.e., portions about the sizeof half a sugar cube, one very small swallowof
liquid, one quick lick off a caramelsucker,etc.). Mealtimebecomesa good time to begin to teach.
The more familiaryou becomewith the personyou areto teach,the more you willlearn about
the kindsof rewardsthat will work for that individual.For example,somepersonsare very responsive
verbalapproval(suchas"Good" and "Fine"), whileothersare indifferentto suchstatements ' A few per-
"Good," and they stop
sons may even seem bothered or punishedby socialapproval (you tell them
what works
behaving,as if they were punished).You have to try differentkinds of approval and see
to exista need
best.We have found that ocfiuifyis quite rewardingfor all of our students.There seems
move around, run, jiggle
for activity,just asthereis a need for food and water.Noticehow peoplelike to
and yellfor 10 minutes'
theirfeet,and so on. Childrenlove recessin school,wherethey can run around
try to "program" different
In fact,for mostchildrenrecessis the besttime they have all day. We therefore
your child get out of
kindsof activityas a rewardfor correctbehavior.For may want to let
if you want to teach
the chairfor 5 secondsas a rewardfor sittingquietlyand working well. Incidentally,
your child to sit properly in a chair, don't let him get out of the chair if he behaves
behavior' Many'children
becausethis permissionto get up may function as a reward for inappropriate
a doll While you are teaching
have favoriteobjectsthey aie attachedto, such as a blanket.a stick.or
it to the childto hold (for
you may want to usethe oUiectas a rewardby takingit away and then returning
your child wants-be it food' ver-
5 seconds)after he has behavedin a desirableway. Almost anything
the more rewardsyou haveto
bal approval,activity,or favoriteobjects-can be used as a reward' and
offer your child, the more effectiveyou will be as a teacher
Some of the more basicrewardsthat you can considerusing include:
Tastesor small bites of different kinds of food
Small sipsof liquid
Verbal approvallike "Good," "Swell," and "Great"
Activitieslike jumping, running, stretching,rolling, laughing
Listeningto music
Colorful and varied visual displays
don't give him a
Reward your child a little each time in order to avoid early satiation.For example,
give him one small swallowof
whole caramelsucker,but ratherjust a l-second lick on that sucker,or
juice, 3 to 4 secondsof kissingor music,5 secondsof jumping up and down ' etc By beingso stingy
for them for severalhoursa
can make your rewardswork for a long time so that your child will work hard
remember,a varietyof
day. A rewardneedsto lastfor only a few (3 to 5) secondsin the beginning.And
"positives," as we sometimescall
rewardsis important in order to avoid satiation.Positiverewards,or
We use these terms inter-
them, are referredto as "positive reinforcers"in the technicalliterature.

EscoPing Negcrtives
will feelanxiousaboutfail-
Anotherkind of reward isto escapefro^ n"gitir"s. Typically,a normal child
ure; hisbeingcorrectreduceshisanxietyor discomfort.However,some developmentally
content and happy
dren do not feel such anxiety and tensionabout being wrong. They often appear
behind their peersand may
with themselvesand the world as it is, even though they are considerably,
somedavfaceinstitutionalization.In suchcasesa teachermay try to make them a littleupsetand uneasy


about being wrong by either withholding positive rewards or disapproving of their behavior by, for ex-
ample, loudly exclaiming "No!" This is done to increasethe children's motivation to learn and, there-
fore, to help them reducefuture problems.When a child is uneasyaboutbeingwrong and then is finally
right, it can mean to him: "Relax, I am doing allright." Beingright is rewardingbecauseit reducesappre-
hension and other negatives.In the technical literature,this kind of rewarding processis referredto as
"negativereinforcement,"sincea behavioris reinforced(thatis, shengthened)by the removalof some-
thing negative.
By becomingfirm with your child, and perhapsmakinghim a littleupsetor scaredby yellingat
him or hittinghis bottom, your socialrewards(saying"Good" and your kissesand hugs)becomealmost
immediatelymore important and effectivefor him. It is as if he appreciatesyou more, once you have
shown him that you also can be angry with him.

Contrqst Between Posltives cnd Negctives

It is criticalthat the conhast between positivesand negativesbe as strong as possible,particularlyin the
earlystagesof teaching.If your "Good" soundslike your "No," or if your "happy" facelooks like your
"angry" face, you probablywon't be ableto teach much to developmentallyretardedchildren.Later,
they will learn the informationalvalue of "Good" and "No," and you won't have to be so loud.
Typically,we use positives(likefood and kisses)when we work to teachthe child something
new, We use escapefrom negativesto help maintainwhat the child alreadyhas learned.That is, if we
are surethat he knows what we are askinghim to do (becausehe doesit when he is hungry and we feed
him for being conect), then we are very disapproving and stern with him if he does not act correctly
when askedat another time. His reward, then, becomesescapingour disapproval.
Some childrenare quite anxiousat the beginningof trainingand they are botheredwhen they
are wrong. We have found that suchchildrenare easierto work with. Much of their reward is to learnto
mastertheir anxiety.Such childrenare more motivatedthan the placidones and are easierto teach.A
mild disapprovalcan be of major impact and you therefore must be careful. It might serve to motivate
the child to exaggeratethe differencesbetweenpositiverewardsfor appropriatebehavior and firm repri-
mands for mistakes;this is perhaps the main way of teachingthe child the differencesbetweenthe two
kinds of consequences.

Bewcrrd Schedulee
In additionto the two basickinds of rewards(gettingpositives,escapingnegatives),you need to keep in
mind that the rewards have to be immediafe. As soon as the correct behavior occurs, within a second
the child should be rewarded.His behaviorand your rewardshould occur almostconcurrently.As you
progresswith the programs, you may be able to delay your reward.
You will get maximum use of your rewardsif you use them economically.In the beginning,
when the child doesn'tknow what to do and you haveto teachhim everything,you may haveto reward
him every time he is correct. Later, as he showssome masteryand you are more interestedin maintain-
ing or preservingwhat he has already learned, shift away from continuous rewarding to partialreward-
ing. Only reward him once in a while. Technically,this is refened to as placingthe child on a partiol
scheduleof reward, and the operation is called thinning the schedule. How "thin" you can make the
reward scheduledepends on many variables,and differsbetweenchildren and tasks.Thin the schedule
and look for schedulesfroin;if his behaviorfallsapart or beginsto fluctuate widely, "thicken" the sched-
ule, that is, reward him more often. Once you have recovered his behavior, start thinning again.

How To Do lt t3
Another important point to remember is that as soon as possible,shift away from food rewards
to rewardsthat are as normal and naturalas possible,such as socialrewards,like "Good" or "Right."
The child will let you know when to shift;if you discontinuefood rewardsand the child'sbehaviorbegins
to fall apart, go back to food, recover his behavior,and then start shiftingagain.

Individual Differences in Rewcnds

When you begin to learn more about a child, you will find a largerange of unexpected and idiosyncratic
eventsthat give him greatpleasureand that can be usedasrewards.Parentsusuallyknow thesespecific
eventsand can save a teachermonths of hard work by sharingtheir knowledgewith the teacher.For
example,childrenwho are very fond of musicmay be rewardedfor correctbehaviorby beingallowedto
listento a favoritepieceof musicfor a few seconds.Childrencan be rewardedby holding a favoriteob-
ject for a few seconds.Children who like to be alone can be left alone as a reward. The list goeson as
rewardsfor behaviorsvary for each child.
A hug and a kisson the cheek may be very rewardingto one child but may be "punishing"to
another (theymight even whine and grimacewhen you kissthem). So, if you kissand hug a child who
doesn'twant it, it probablydoesn'thelp him learn. On the other hand, almosteverychild likesto eat, so
you can be more sure about what you are doing when you usefood rewards.(A few childrendon't like
to eat when you feed them, particularlynot when you feed them as a reward for their being conect.
Perhapsthey don't like to give you that much conhol over them, or they don't like to give you the plea-
sureof rewardingthem. You may have to "work through" this resistan ce, to ieed and reward him any-
way, becausemostchildrenwill eventuallyacceptyour rewards(and your beingthe boss)if you persist.)
It is also surprisingto find a few children who are quite rewarded by your being angry and say-
ing, "No." They smileand seemto work hard to get you upset.Be carefulthatyou are not rewardinga
child when you get angry and say "No." We will say more about that later.


Extrinsicrewardsare conholled by others. It is wise to use such rewards in the early stagesof learning,
becauseyou obtain more conhol over the learningprocessand most children can be motivated to learn
by such exFinsicrewards. There is another set of rewards, intrinsicrewards, which arevery significant,
probably crucial for a really successfuloutcome. These are the rewards that the child experiencesas
intrinsicto performing the task. Some children show that the task is rewarding for them from the begin-
ning, othen leam to find intrinsicrewards after exposureto the task, and still others never find the task
rewarding by its€H,but need to rely on exhinsic rewards. We shalltalk more about inhinsic rewards in
later chaptersbut one example will help to illushatethe meaningof intrinsicrewards,Some children
don't talk at all. they are mute in the beginning,and to teach them to talk you may need extrinsic
rewards,such as food and approval. When the child vocalizes,he getsfood. Now what will happenis
that some previously mute children, a few months or a year into such an exhinsicallymotivated
"talking" prog;ram(such as verbal imitation training discussedin Chapter 10), will start to talk without
apparent exbinsicreinforcement. They become echolallc,that is, they willbegin to echo whatever you
say, much the same as young, normal children do for a while, whether you reward them or not. In this
program, matching (when the child sounds like an adult) apparently becomesthe reward for talking.
The child is matching and apparently matching is rewarding to him. The teacher can drop the exbinsic
(food or praise) reward"

l{ Bcslc lnlorncrtlon
Intinsicrewardstakeoverwhenthe teachinggoesright,but in the beginningyou may useex-
binsicrewards,to getyour childgoing.Somechildrenmaynot liketo talk,evenafterconsiderable hain-
ing on your part. For suchchildren,specificexhinsicrewards,likefood and activities,may haveto be
programmedcontingenton their talking"forever,"which,of course,makesthe verballanguagepro-
gram cumbersomeand rather impractical.We discussthis hansitionbetweenexhinsicand inhinsic
rewardsat severalplacesin this book.

Summcry C.ommentscbout Rewcn&

We havemadethe followingpointsso far:
1. Gettingpositlues g negatiues
and escopin areboth rewards.A rewardis any eventthat, afterbeing
givencontingenton behavior,servesto increasethat behavior.
2. Food and activityare biologicalor primaryrewards.Praiseand approvalare socialrewards.
3. Exfrinsicrewardsare controlledby othersin the child'senvironment.Infrinsicrewardsare those
aspectsof a certaintask or behaviorthat the child finds enjoyable.The child controlsintrinsic
4. It is importanttorewardimmediately; thatis, as soonasthe childdoesthe desiredbehavior,you
shouldrewardhim at once.
5. Therearelargeindiuidualdit't'erencesamongchildrenasto whattheyfind rewarding.It is important
to determine for eachchildrewardshe findspleasingand rewardshe doesnot.
6. Partialrewordschedules arenecessary in orderto maintainbehaviorthat hasbeenacquiredand in
orderto avoidsatiationon rewards.


When your child is gettingrewardsfor his behaviorand he is learning,he is on acquisitionand his

desiredbehaviorshouldbe gettingstronger.Supposeyou suddenlydecidednot to rewardhim any-
more.He behavesasbefore,but you actasif you did not noticethe behavior,asif hisbehaviorhad no
noticeable effecton you. Thisis calledplacingthe behavioronextinction.For example,you havestren-
uously taught the child somedesirablebehaviorby usingseveralexplicitrewards.You now sendthe
childhome (or to schoolas the casemay be) and he receivesno explicitreward.The behavioryou so
carefullybuiltis now "on extinction";it willgo awaybecauseit is no longerbeingrewarded."Working
through"a tantrumis a good exampleof extinction.Your childmay screamand kick,but you go about
your business as if the behavioris not occurring.Almostcertainly,the tantrumwill disappear.Extinc-
tion, then,is a powerful,althoughtime-consuming and demanding,methodto getrid of a behavior.
Extinction is described more in the next chapter.


Punishment is used to stop or decreasebehavior. Parents of normal children often use punishment,
probablybecauseit sometimeshelps them deal with their children. If you are going to use punishment,
let therebe no uncertaintyin the child'smind that you meanbusiness.Some of the kindsof punishment
you can use are discussedbelow.

How To Do It ls
One method of punishment is to do something to the child that "hurts", for example, a swat on the
behind, or a loud, sharp "No!" These punishmentsare called auersiues.For some children "No" is all
you have to say; they stop whatever it is they are doing. For other children a verbal reprimand just will
not work; but a swat on the behind is almost always etfeclive,if it is hard enough so it "smarts" (practice
on your friendsto get some idea of how hard you hit) . The advantageof swatsthat are strong and given
correctlyisthat you don't have to usetoo many. If you only verballydisapprove,you may end up yelling
a lot, which is unpleasantfor everyone and givesyou lessopportunity to show affection.Sometimesyou
can get caughtin a real "fight" with a child when you escalateaversives.You hit harder,but the childjust
becomesmore and more stubborn.If that happens,immediatelyback off, and try somethingelse.Just
as adults arecleverin finding differentthingsthat are rewardingto a child, a good adult willfind formsof
disciplinethat are lessdramaticthan physicalpunishment.Try somethingthe child doesnot like to do as
punishment.For example,some childrendislikeathletics,so you can program athletics(likesit-upsor
running around the block) contingenton the undesirablebehavior. Washing dishesis punishingfor
some, as is being lifted off the floor.
When you work in schoolsor hospitals,or when your child is an adult, physicalpunishment
may be inappropriateor illegal.But you willprobablyfind out that to be maximallyeffectiveasa teacher,
you haveto be quite firm at times,and this may even includephysicalpunishment.We discussthisissue
in some detail at the end of this chapterand in severalother parts of the book.

Time-Out: Tohing A*cty Positives

In additionto, and sometimesinsteadof, usingaversiveslike a swat, or loudly yelling"No!" adultswill
punish a child by taking somethingaway from him. Often this "taking away" can be simply accom-
plishedby the teacherturning her face away from the child, or, a littlemore extensively,by placingthe
child in the corner of the room, and perhapsescalatingto placinghim in an "isolationroom," that is, a
quiet uninterestingroom away from other activities.A common factor of these operations is that they
signalto the child that there is a certainamount of time when he will not get positives.Therefore,these
procedureshavebeencalledtime-out (from positiverewards).The child may be placedin time-outfor 3
to 5 minutes,the last30 secondsof which he hasto be quiet. If you take him out of time-outwhen he is
throwinga tantrum, you may inadvertentlybe rewardinghim for tantrums.Be careful,also,notto keep
the child in time-outfor more than 5 minutesat a time. On occasion,you may feelthatyou haveto place
him in time-outfor longer periods,but the longer the periods,the less etfectle the procedureis as an
educationaltool becausechildren need to be with you and to be taught appropriatebehavior.
Thereare at leasttwo problemsassociated with time-out. First,somechildrendo not find time-
out punishing.That is, they would ratherbe in time-outthan with others;beingwith peopleand learning
are not important to them. Placinga child in time-out under such circumstanceswill only make him
worse.Second,time-outrequirestime away from the learningsituation,which meansthat the child has
lessopportunityto learn new material.
There are no good data on which method of punishment work best, time-out or aversives,
and there are also no good data on which has the most undesirableside effects.Perhapsphysicalaver-
sivesprimarilyproduce anxiety, while time-out producesguilt. Some people would rather ty to cope
with anxiety than with guilt.

Bules lor Using Punishment

Questionsare often raised about how strict one should be, how much time-out to use, how long it
shouldlast,or whereto put the child in time-out.Similarquestionsare made regardingphysicalpunish-

l6 Bqsic Inlormcrtlon
ment, how hard to hit, how long, etc. Here are some generalrulesregardingpunishment,which will be
elaboratedin later sections:
1. If strong discipline, such as time-out and physical aversives,is going to work, its effectiveness
should be evident almost immediately, sometimesafter one minute, and certainlyby the end of the
day. You have to keep arecord when you use strong disciplineto make sure that the behavior you
punish is decreasing.That is the only justificationfor using aversives.
2. The strengthof the punishmentthat you use dependson the child'sbehaviorand how that behav-
ior is affectedby punishment.If the behaviordecreases with weak punishment,there is no needfor
shonger measures.
3, Our experiencehas shown that time-out exceeding20 minutesis not helpful. Most of the time, iso-
lationof about5 minutesis ample.Rememberto wait for the child to quiet down beforeyou remove
him from time-out,or to wait at leastuntilhe beginsto quiet down. This is to ensurethat you arere-
warding and reinforcingquiet behavior.
We have heard of personswho have used time-out lastingfor severalhours or even all
day, It is difficultto see how that could be of any benefitto the child.
4. As for spankingsand swats,only use as much force as is necessaryto hurt a littlebit and to cause
some apprehensionin the child. Practiceon your friendsso that you can be told how much is just
"hard enough." Also have someonewatch you when you punish your child to monitor you and to
give you objectivefeedback.
We have heard aboutchildrenwho havebeenhit or pinchedso hard that their skinis dra-
maticallydiscolored. It seems quite unnecessaryto use such strong physical aversives.
5. Throughoutyour taining and teachingprogramsrememberto keep an accuraterecord (i.e., col-
lectdata).This will ensurethat you will be ableto telljustwhat effectsyou have had on your child's
behavior.One can only use thesekinds of disciplinaryactionsif they work. Recordkeepingis dis-
cussedin Chapter 4.

Rewardsincludegettingpositivesand losingnegatives.Punishmentis the opposite-getting

negativesand losingpositives.Another relativelynew procedurecalledo,tercorrectionhasbeen devel-
oped as a meaningfulalternativeto physicalpunishment,which is sucha conhoversialissueat thistime.
Overcorrectionis discussedbelow.

Overcorrectionis a procedure developed Foxx and Azrin (I973) to help reduce aggressive,disrup-
tive, and inappropriatebehaviorsin developmentallydisabledpersons.Overcorrectionwas developed
as an alternativeto punishment.Its successhas been judged not only in terms of its effectiveness, but
also in its minimizationof the "negativeproperties"of punishment.
Perhapsit is easiestto introduce ouercorrectionby giving some examples of its use. Suppose
your child repeatedlyspillsmilk on the floor. To stop that from happening in the future, you might have
you could have
fiim not only clean up the messby himselfbut also mop most of the kitchen floor. Then
to be cleaned up "extra neat." Or,
him practicecarrying glassesof milk around. Any spillswould have
parent you might
supposeyour child deflated the tires on a neighbor'scar as a Halloween prank. As a
have the
have your child re-inflateyour neighbor'stires using a bicyclePumP, and, for good measure,
is empha-
child spend the rest of the day pumping up tires. One of the main points in these examples
behavior, and
sizethat the person has to do something unpleasantas a consequencefor the undesirable
this unpleasantnessdoes not involve physical punishment'

How To Do It 11
Overcorrectionsometimeshas a component called restitution,which requiresthat the individ-
ual also restoresthe environment to an improved state. Examples of restitution are: requiring a child
who tearsa book to glue not only the pagesof that book but many other books as well, and demanding
that a child who throws objectspick up not only those objectsbut many other objectsalso. Sometimesa
secondcomponent calledposftiue practiceis added to overcorrection.Positivepracticeoccurswhen the
offender practicesthe appropriate behavior. The child who writes on walls would practice writing on
paper, the child who tears books might be required to read books, and the child who throws objects
might be taught a more appropriateway to displayangeror might be taught to show a greatdealof affec-
tion and concernfor others.
Overcorrectionis a procedure that combinesmany principlesof behavior modification. Over-
correctioninvolves time-out, which occurs when the student is removed from any opportunity to
engagein reinforcing activitiesbecausehe is restoringthe environment and practicingthe appropriate
behavior.The procedure also involves respansecost, where the student has to remove the original
sourceof reinforcement,such as the markson the wall" Punishmentappearsto be anothercomponent
of overcorrection.For example, when used for toilet training, the child is given a shower when soiled.
He may not like to shower (particularlynot in the middle of the night, if he soiled at that time) or he may
not like a lukewarm or cool shower. Essentially,he is forced to do something he doesn't like. Another
teachingprincipleemployed in overcorrectionis the establishmentof appropriatesfimulusconhol. That
is, the child is required to perform the appropriatebehaviorswhile in the presenceof appropriatecues.
For example, the child who tears books may be taught mor€ appropriate behaviors in the presenceof
books, such as reading them, looking at the pir:tur6, or taking care of them. Therefore, the successof
ovg-rconectionmight be in the combined use of severalsuccessfultechniques.
The followingguidelinesshould followed when usingoverconection:
l. The conection procedure should be related to the inappropriatebehavior. For example, if the stu-
dent has been tearingpaper, then he may be taught to glue and fix paper. If he has been spilling
food on the floor, then he ls taught to clean t.hefloor. The consequencesomehow relatesto the
2. A correctionprocedure should be applied imrnediately,that is, within secondsafter the undesiriible
behaviorhas occuned.
3. Overconection should signatra tirne-out from all reinforcement. During the overcorrectionproce-
dure, show him no affection.don't give elaborateexplanations,and don't let him eat or have the
company of fnends.
4. The offender should be the only person involved in the conection procedure. Don't make it a
game, and don't ka othersdo the work for him.
5. The environment shouH be completely restored to its original state.
6. Guidance should only b€ given if the child is unable or unwilling to do the overcorrectionon his
own. If he resists,you persist,and "push him" (physicallymove his hands and limbs) through the
behavior. Use as much physir:alforce as is necessaryto make him complete the task.
7. An extended pqiod of 6me (suchas 20 minutesrather than 5) should be used for overcorrection.
The longer the period the better.
8. An appropriate ahemative behavior must be taught.

Overconection has in a short time become a very effectiveprocedure for decreasinginappro-

priate behaviors,and you should be familiar with how it works. Note that it does consume a good deal of
time, which may be better spent learning new behaviors. Notice, also, that when you have to move

l8 Bcrlc lulormqtlor
(prompt)the childphysically
in an act,you may haveto exertconsiderablephysicalforceto helphim
comply.You mayat suchtimesrun the riskof bruisingor physically
hurtingthe child,or thechildyou
areworkingwithmaybephysically so bigthatyoucan'tbudgehim.Thisisa seriousdrawback of certain
formsof overconection.

Summcny C,ommentsqbout punlshment

We havemadethe followingpointsso far:
1' Gettingauersiuesand losingpositiues (time-out)are methodsof punishment.punishmentis any
eventthat,whenit is givencontingent on somebehavior,servesto reducethe occurrence of that
2. Thereareindividualdifferences amongchildrenin theirresponsesto differentkindsof punishment.
3. Overcorrection
isa procedureusedto decrease theoccurrenceof behaviorby havingthepersondo
thingshe doesnot liketo do. It hascomponents addedsuchas restitution and positivepractice.


Selecting Tcrrget Behqviors

Once you have decidedon the rewardsand punishmentyou want to use,the next issuedealswith what
kinds of behaviorsto teach, and how to teachthem. The rule is to startwith somethingsimplebecause
you want to be a successfulteacherand you want your child to be a successfullearner. Selectsome
behaviorgoal for the child, which is calleda targetbehauioror targetresponse.The behaviorsare then
broken down into small units, or sections,each beingtaught separately.That way he may masterthe
smallerunitsfirst, and then you help him put them togetherin a largeror more complex packagelater.
The targetbehaviorfor the followingexampleis teachingyour child to go to the toilet,a com-
plex actthat you breakdown into unitsof takingoff the pants,sittingon the toilet, and eliminating.Each
of theseunitsmay alsobe broken down into smallerunits.For example, "takingoff the pants," is a com-
plex act itselfthat involvesunbuttoning,unzipping,pulling down, etc. The point is to start with those
elementsof behaviorwith which he will be successful, so that you can reward him, for without rewards
thereis no learning.A good learningsituation,then, is a situationwherethe teacherhasbroken down a
complex behaviorinto units so simple that the child can be rewarded and can learn. If behaviorsare
rewarded,they will becomestronger.That is why you have to simplifythe task. If you give your child a
taskthat is too difficult,he will not be receivingrewards,and he will not learn. Remember.also.that not
only is a child who is rewardedlearningnew behaviors,but he is also happy. Rewardselicithappiness.
Learningand happinessshould go hand in hand. In summary,then, the firstthing you do is pick a target
behavior, then you break that behavior down into manageablecomponents. The programs in this
manual give step-by-stepinstructionson how to break complex behaviordown into easierelements.
When the separateunits are mastered,they are put together to form a complex response.The
processwhereby you "form" behaviorsis called shaping.As the term shaping implies, you start with an
approximationof the final target behavior (as when you have broken the targetbehaviorinto smaller
elements).You rewardtheseapproximationsto the targetbehaviorand you slowlysh/t your rewardsto
only thosebehaviorsthat are closeto the targetbehavior.That is, you only reward a behaviorwhen it is
a closerapproximationto the target behaviorthan the previous behavior. Consider as an example
teachingyour child to say "mama." You may beginby breakingthis word down into two soundssepa-
rated by a pause. You may further break down the two soundsinto their component parts, teaching

How To Do It r9
your child to firstsay "mm" and then "ah." The sound "mm" can alsobe broken down into two behav-
iors: pressingyour lipstogetherand vocalizingwhile your lipsare together.You may initiallyrewardthe
child for an approximationof the sound "mm"; that is, rewardhim when he closeshis lipsin preparation
for makingthe sound, even if he does not yet vocalize(his"mm" is voiceless.)Once he is to the point
that he closeshis lips readily (perhapsin imitationof your closingyour lips), you begin working on the
secondpart of the behavior,that is, vocalizing.Perhapsit willbe necessary to "prompt" him (seebelow).
In any event,you reward him only afterhe closeshis lipsand vocalizes.Once he hasthat behavior,start
rewardinghim for saying"ah." Then put the two soundstogether;"mah." When he can say "mah,"
then insistthat he saythe sound twicebeforehe is rewarded;in thisway you have built or shopedthe be-
havior (saying"mama") using the techniqueof rewardingsuccessiveapproximationsof the targetbe-
havior. (Languagetrainingprogramsare presentedin detailin UnitsIII, V, and VI.) Shapingbehavioris
a bit like an art, which means that every step cannot be specifiedin advance. However, it can be
learned,so that at the end of the "shapingexercises"given in this book you can expect to becomea
creativeshaper.Some membersof your.teachingteam will be bettershapersthan others;some have a
knack for shaping.Watch them closelyto see how they do it.

hompts cnd PromPt Foding

When you teachyou will find yourself"prompting" the child to help him exhibitthe conect behaviors.In
other words, you don't want to wait all day for the proper behaviorto occur, so you prompt the behav-
ior, that is, you manuallyor physicallyguidethe child throughthe action.For example,you can'twait all
day for your child to sit on the toilet, so you prompt him by pickinghim up and sittinghim down on the
toilet.You can't wait all day for him to urinate,so you prompt by givinghim lotsof thingsto drink during
the day. You can't wait forever for the opportunityto reward him for vocalizing,so you tickle him to
prompt his vocalization.Your child may neverplay patty-cake,so you prompt that behaviorby moving
his arms and hands through the motions, and then reward him. He may not like it, but you do it any-
way. If he resistsyou too much, try another kind of prompt, and if he stillstrugglesagainstyou, voice
your disapprovalover his resistance,and give him ample rewardsfor compliance.
A good teacheris a personwho is good at promptingthe right responsesand anangingthe sit-
uation so that the child puts out "winning behaviors."There are a million ways to prompt a millionbe-
haviors,and if you are good at prompting, your child is on his way. He'll be learningbecauseyou and
otherswill be ableto reward him. Take a smile,for example:A child is doubly nice when he smiles.So
you touch his belly button, or kiss his ear, or do whateveryou do to get him to smile, and when he
smiles,you reward him: "See everybody,how nice he smiles,"applaud him, and give him food' "Have
a sip of orangejuice" (he drinks);"He is gorgeous,isn'the?" (you touch the child and he smilesagain).
"One more smile.Heavens,we are lucky today, would you like a piece of toast?"Loosen up a bit, and
learnto do theseinteractionswithout a script.You haveto becomea "ham" in a way, which is not really
all that is often the spontaneousinteractionsthat prompt the best behavior.
Once you can easilyprompt a behavior,and you have had the opportunityto strengthenthe
behaviorby rewardingit (saytwo to ten rewardedoccurrencesof the behavior),start/odingthe prompt
in small,gradualsteps.For example,if you haveprompteda smileby ticklingthe child and have had the
opportunityto reward the smile, graduallydecreasethe ticklingso that he comes to smile more and
more on his own, without too much promptingfrom you. But keep rewardinghim for smiling'The rule
is that you want him to exhibitthe behavior,so you assisthim through prompts. You also want him to
startbehavingon his own, so you fadethe promptsby graduallyremovingyour assistance, whilecontin-

20 Bcstc Inlormqtlon
uing the rewards.It is particularlyimportantto shift your rewardsfrom prompted behaviorto un'

Giving Instructions
Inshuctionsshouldbe explicitandclear.Thatis,dropalltheexcess verbiage or "noise"in an instruction
and getit down to essentials.
If you want your childto sitdown, don'tsay"Chris,dear,listento me,
whatI am askingyou is to pleasebe a goodboyandsitdownon thechairfor me." Justsay"Sit."Sayit
loudlyand clearly.Your childwould neverunderstand in our firstsentence
the inshuctions because
thereisjusttoo muchnoisein it. If you areteachinghimto identify(bypointing)red versusbluecolors,
don'tsay"Chris,lookhere,pointto thebluecolorpaper." Justsay"Red"or "Blue." It is "red"or "blue"
that he hasto attendto. The restof the wordsin the sentence are unnecessary, and couldserveto
obscurethe relevantword.

A hialcan be thought of as a singleteaching unit. It startswith the teacher'sinstructionsand ends with
the child'sresponse,or failureto respond.Failureto respondmay be definedas no responsewithin 3 to
5 secondsfollowing the teacher'sinstructions.Rewardsas well as prompts may be includedin a trial.
The time that elapsesafter the conclusionof one trial and the start of another (the between trial interval)
may lastanywherefrom one-halfsecondto severalseconds.Dependingon how elaboratethe instruc-
tionsare, how time-consumingthe prompt is (if there are prompts), how long the responseis and how
long the reward takes (if there is one), a teachermay run anywherefrom 1 to 20 or more trialsper
The instructionsfor the trials have to be paced or timed correctly.Koegel, Russo,and Rin-
cover (1977) referred to this aspectof training as the disuete trial procedure. The intent is to present
your instructionsand the training materialclearly,concisely,and discriminably,that is, in a neat little
packagewith a definitestartand a definiteconclusion.Supposeyou want your child to learnthe recep-
iive meaningof the word "doll." A poor approachto thisteachingtaskwould be to have the doll on the
tablewhilepresentingyour child with the confusinginshuctions,"Point to the doll, please,"and repeat-
ing the instructionswhile your child is looking someplaceelseand isn't attendingto you or the instruc-
tions or the doll. Instead,you should first get his attention.(Gettingthe child'sattentionis explained
Chapter6.) Once you have his attention,immediatelyplacethe dollon the table,while at the same
vision while saying "doll" helps
saying,"Doll." Placingthe doll, the stimulusdisplay,clearlyin hisfield of
him attendto the instructionsbeinggiven. You may want to wait 2 to 3 secondsbetweeneachtime
presenthim with the instructionsand the stimulusdisplay.Sometimes2 secondsare too short;in other
(open and attendingto the
situations,they are too long. Some childrenon some tasksare "available"
teacher)when the teacherpresentsthe instructionsin relatively quick succession' At other times the
prompt him to attend to
child "drifts off' and you have to wait until he "comes back," or you have to
you. pacing of the presentationof your inshuctionsis criticalto learning (becauseit facilitates
such pacing and
thild', attention), yet little systematicinformation is availableto the teacher about
attention-building techniquesat this time. One learnssuchpacingthrough experiencein working
Remembernot to overworkthe child. If he hasbeen "in the chair" receivingformal
A five to one ratio of
for 5 minutes,he should probablyget up and move around to play for 1 minute.
your day in alternating
work to play may be ideal during a teachingsession.You may want to arrange

How To Do It
and "free"playperiods(thisfreeplayshouldalsobe educational).
2-hourblocksof teachingsessions
Thiswouldmeanthatthechildwouldgetasmuchas6 hoursof formal,in thechair,one-on-one teach-
ing per day.You may wantto increasethe workloadwith olderchildren.


It may be helpfulto summarizewhat hasbeen saidso far aboutthe importantelementsin a teachingsit-

uation. Remember,the termsin the followinglistwill appearrepeatedlythroughoutthe book, and they
will alsobe further defined as they come up againin differentcontexts.These ate very abstractterms;
their full meaningwill becomemore apparentas you gain more experiencein working with your child'
1, Getting positiuesis rewarding. Positivesmay be food, activity, sensorystimulation,or
socialpraiseand approval.
2. Escapingnegatiuesis also rewarding.The feelingof anxietyor fear is usuallyan unplea-
sant experiencefor a person;anythingwhich would lead to a reductionin anxietywould
be rewarding.Disapprovalis an example of a socialnegative.
3. Immediatedelivery
4. Reward schedules
5 Individualdifferences
6. Exhinsicand inhinsicrewards
Acquisitionand Extinction
1. Gettingnegatiues is punishing,A negativemay be a physicalaversive,like a spanking,or
it may be the performanceof a task that the person doesn't like to do, such as washing
dishesor doing sit-ups.
2. Losingpositiuesis alsopunishing.Not beingallowedto watch a favoritetelevisionshow,
or nor gettinga candy bar are examplesof losingpositives.Time-out is anotherexample
o{ this klnd of punishment,for the personis isolatedfrom the environment,and is there-
fore not receivingany rewardsat all. Ouercorrectionmay be anotherform of punishment.
3. Note that points 4, 5, and 6 from Rewardsalso apply to punishment.
l. Select target behouiors.Break down the target response into its component parts.
Reward approximationsto the targetresponse.
2. hompting and Prompt Fading
a Help rhe behavioroccur (asin physicallyguiding the child through the behavior).
b Graduallyremove (fade)such assistance.
3. lnstrucrions
a. Make the instructionsclearand concise.
b. Pacethem well; presentthem when the child is attending'
c. Use the discretetrial procedure.
4. Tnols start with the teacher'sinstructions,including any prompts, followed by the child's
respons€or failureto respond, and the teacher'sreward or punishment (if any)'

22 Baglc Intornqtlon
PHYSICAL Punishmenfis a controversialinterventionthat has
given rise to much debateand misinformation.One
PUNISHMENT could write at lengthabout the issuesinvolved, but it
is most appropriatefor this book to limit the discus-
sion of punishment to certain points that are of
specialsignificanceto the developmentallydisabled.
Punishmentoften meansrevenge("an eye
for an eye" attitude),which is inappropriatefor any
society, and particularlyout of place when dealing
with children.Punishmentmay also mean displaced
aggression.Many parents will punish a child, not
becauseof the child'sbehavior,but as an expression
of their own anxietyover theirfailureto cope. That is,
parentsprojecttheir failuresonto their children,and punishthem. On a larger,socialscale,punishment
meansoppression.Historyshowsthat everyform of politicaltyrannyhas usedmassiveaversiveconhol,
such as physicalpunishment.History alsoshowsthat peopleriseagainstsuch tyrantsto rid themselves
of punishmentand oppression.Psychologicaltheoristsfrom Freud to Skinner speak stronglyagainst
punishment,claimingthe effectsof punishmentare too detrimentalto warrant its use.
On the other hand, if one asksparentsof normalchildrenif they usephysicalpunishment,and
if it helpsthem in handlingtheir children,the greatmajoritywill answer"Yes" to both questions.Fur-
thermore, researchdata from carefullycontrolled studiespoint to punishment as an effectiveand practi-
cal way of stoppingundesirablebehavior,and alsosuggestthe sideeffectsof punishmentto be lessun-
desirablethan expected,often, in fact, to be desirable.There are several,quite thorough and objective
reviewsof punishment.We suggesta review articleby Harris and Ersner-Hershfield(I978), "Behav-
ioralsuppressionof seriouslydisruptivebehaviorin psychoticand retardedpatients:A reviewof punish-
ment and its alternatives."A good book on the subject of punishment is Punishment: lts Effects on
Human Behauior (Axelrod and Apsche, 1980). You may also want to refer to the chapter on punish-
ment by Azrin and Holz in Operant Behauior: Areasof Researchand Application (1966),
It will seemtotallyinappropriateto many people to even suggestthe use of physicalpunish-
ment with developmentallydisabledpersons,How can it even be suggestedthat an adult punish a men'

tally ill or retardedchild? Even if punishmenthelps to raisea normal child, a sick and retardedchild
seemsso helplessand vulnerable,so unableto benefitfrom the consequencesof his behaviors.
Therefore,it may seemsurprisingthat punishmenthasbeen usedwith some developmentally
disabledchildrenunder certaincircumstances and that when used carefullyand correctly,it has been
shownto help suchchildren.BeIorewe proceedfurtherin this discussion,it may be helpfulif we define
the term punishmentas it is usedin the contextof this book and give some examplesof the behaviorsof
developmentallydisabledpersonsthat respondfavorablyto punishment. Keep in mind, also,that the
useof punishmentcan only be maintainedin an environmentwhere one recordsdataon itseffects.That
is, the questionof whetheror not to usepunishmentshouldbe made on the basisof empiricaldata,that
is, on the factsabout its usefulnessand failures.
Most often in the psychologicallearningliterature,punishmentis definedas an event,accom-
panying a behavior,that servesto decreasethat behavior.At leasttwo kinds of eventsservethat pur-
pose: 1) the presentationof a physicallyaversiveevent,which may rangeanywherefrom a spankingor
a slap, to a stressfulbehavior, like hard physicalexercises;and 2) the removal of a rewardingevent,
which may rangeanywherefrom an adult turningher faceaway from a child, to placingthe child in iso-
lation (time-out).In both instancesit is criticalthatthe eventbe shown to decreasebehavior.Some per-
sons may find some or all of theseeventsneutral or rewardingand, therefore,not punishing.


It is important to considersome problemsthat are particularlyhandicappingfor the disabledchild in

order to formulate rules about whether or not to punish. One of the problemsthat facesparentsand
teachersof developmentallydisabledchildrencenterson what behaviorsare so seriouslymaladaptive
that they warrantthe useof physicalaversives. Self-destructiveness
is one suchbehavior.To usean ex-
heme example, we were recently asked to advise on the treatment of a severelyself-destructive
1O-year-oldboy, who had been self-destructive sincehe was 2 yearsold. He has been institutionalized
for most of his life becausehe could not be managedby his parents. He was retarded and he had
"autisticfeatures."A varietyof interventionshad beentried, includingchanginghospitals,usingdrugsin
variousamounts,psychotherapy,and prolongedperiodsin physicalrestraints, among others.His head
and facewere f ull of scartissuefrom self-inflictedwounds, his earswere swollento the sizeof tennisballs
and filledwith blood, he had broken his nose,he often damagedhis kneesby knockingthem againsthis
head, and he had lately been hitting his elbowsagainsthis sidesand lower back so as to rupture his
kidneys.If this behaviorcontinuedhe would die.
Other children have certainproblem behaviorsthat, although not life endangering,like self-
destructivebehavior, neverthelessseriouslyinterferewith their own learning.These behaviors,too,
may require extremeinterventionmeasures,such as physicalaversives.For example, many retarded
and psychoticchildrenwill try fecessmearing.In fact, most normal childrentry fecessmearingat one
time or another,but give it up. Some developmentallyretardedpersons,however, continueto smear
their fecesinto adulthood. It is a horriblesightto seeaZ5-year-oldadult smearinghis own feceson his
body. in his hair, and in his mouth. He will not die from fecessmearing,but suchbehaviorin mostcases
preventsthe personfrom remainingat home with his parents.One can alsobe virtuallycertainthat this
person will not be very popular among the teachingpersonnelin an institutionand will probablybe
rnovedto a lessoptimalward. Yet, in alllikelihood,aversivescan be usedto stop him from fecessmear-
MlE.Jrls as they can be used to stop self-injuriousbehaviors.

&r Bcsic Inlornqtlon

Some children are so aggressivethat they pose a danger to other children. Particularlyserious
is the situationin which the life of a younger siblingis threatened.Few people know what tyrantssome
retardedor psychoticchildrencan be or how their tyrannicalbehaviorisolatesthem from normal envir-
onments.Teachersdo not toleratea greatdealof aggressive behaviorin their classrooms.If a childis too
aggressive in publicschool,he may be dismissedfrom that school.Failureto keep a child in localschools
can be disastrous.State hospitalsare full of children who could have made it on the outside had it not
been for the fact that they were allowed to develop self-defeatingbehaviors such as excessiveaggres-
sion. Often, parents of such children have been aided by some well meaning, but probably misin-
formed, professionalwho was more concerned with defending abshactidealsabout the perfect society
(whereno aversivesexist),rather than helpingpersonscope with mundane, everydaypracticalprob-
lems of how to live with an angry, retardedindividual.
The behaviorsmentioned above-self-injuriousbehaviors,aggressiveattackson others,and
other behaviorssuch as fecessmearing,eatingelectricalcords, and running out in front of oncoming
cars-are all behaviorsthat pose an immediatethreat to the child's survivaland most people would
agree that, if necessary,aversivesshould be used to stop them.
For other setsof behaviors,the decisionof whether or not to use physicalpunishmentmay
seemlessclear-cut,althoughthesebehaviorsmay be just asdamagingto the child. For example,thereis
a group of behaviors,such as endlessrocking, spinning,eye rolling, arm flapping, gazing,etc., that
seem quite "addictive"to many children. Such behaviorsare calledself-stimulafory and seriouslylimit
the child'sresponse to what the teacher saysand does. The child is "out of it" when he self-stimulates.
You may attemptto suppresssuchbehaviorsby usingpunishment.Thesebehaviorsare discussedin the
next chapter.
Disruptiveor aberrantbehaviorscan alsointerferewith a child'sdevelopment.For example,it
is niceto go out to dinner once in a while as a family. In mostrestaurants,one is expectedto behaverea-
fr sonablywell, sittingquietlyand waitingto be served.Actingbizarrely,screaming,and so on, are usually

not allowed. Such seriouslydisruptivebehaviormay necessitate
parent, such as a strongreprimand. The child will benefitfrom
strictdisciplinarymeasuresfrom the
joining the family in eatingout, going
fr shopping,traveling,etc., and such disciplinemay be the most appropriateway to correctthe child's


If an adultcontemplatesthe useof aversives,importantrulesshouldbe followed.Theserulesarespelled

out in detailin later chaptersand summarizedbelow.
Explore alternatiues. Make sure that alternativeshave been tested as to their effectiveness.
This is a difficult criterion to satisfy,but if one has tried to stop the undesirablebehavior by other means
for severalweeks or months without an appreciabledecreasein the disruptivebehavior, then one
should considerphysicalaversives.Alternativesmight include: 1) giving him a differentenvironment,
such as placinghim in another classroom,or having differentadultsor peerspresent,or 2) givinghim
more behavioralskills, such asteachinghim alternativewaysof expressinghis wishesthroughbetterlan-
guagein an enrichedschool curriculum,etc.
Build alternatiuebehauiors. Never punish unlessyou can also teach the child some better
way to expresshimself after you have stopped his disruptivebehavior. Otherwise, the undesirablebe-
havior will return shortly after you have stoppedthe activepunishment.Think of punishmentin this

Phystccl Punishment 25
way: It servesto stop some disruptivebehaviorlong enoughso that the teacheror parentcan buildsome
constructive behavior to replace the interfering behavior. Technically speaking, the punishment
prompts a pausein some disruptivebehavior, and behaviorduring that pause (suchas not behavingdis-
ruptively)is then rewarded.
Try nonphysicolpunishment t'irst. That is, firsttry extinction, (not paying any attentionto the
behavior).Then try time-out (placinghim in isolationcontingenton the undesirablebehavior), ouercor-
rection, or other kinds of nonphysicalaversives.Be exha carefulthat the child's disruptivebehavior
doesnot get some unintendedpayoff, like attention,sympathy,or gettingout of work. Childrenare not
born with problem behaviors;they learn them. The child with the damaged kidneys in the example
above had been carefully (and inadvertently)shaped by poorly informed but well meaning personsto
injure himself, eventuallyending up with kidney damage and possibledeath. These problemsare
describedin more detail in later chapters.
Try the leastauersiueprocedure first, For example,you may want to startwith a loud "No!"
and then useproceduresthat the child does not like but that appearrelatively"innocent," suchas 10 or
20 sit-ups,or 5 minutesof joggingaround the block, or holding a telephonebook for one minute with
outstretchedarms, contingenton the undesirablebehavior.Or, if a child is very afraid of dogs, briefly
showing him a picture of a dog when he acts up particularlybadly may be enough of an aversive.
Another child might hateto throw smallbeanbagsbackand forth betweenhimselfand the teacher,and
a shortbeanbag sessionwould be sufficientlyaversiveto help him stopsome undesirablebehavior.Just
asa good teachercan find many waysto rewardher child, so shecan find many sociallyacceptable ways
to disciplinehim. If the milder aversivesdon't work, fty a swaton the rear. At the other extreme,painful
electricshockhassometimesbeen used,but we adviseagainstthisprocedureexceptin caseswherethe
child'slife is in danger. Do not use it without professionalsupervision.
Use auersiuesthqt other parents in the community entploy. To facilitatea generalization
(transfer)of the learningbackinto the community,try to find formsof disciplinethat the communityuses
and to which community memberswill not object.
Auoid prolonged use. A child may adapt to aversivesand they will losetheir effectiveness.
Also, prolongeduse probablyleadsto responsesubstitution,such as the emergenceof self-stimulatory
behaviors(seethe next chapter)which the child may useto block the effectof the aversives.If aversives
are going to work, they will be effectivealmost immediately,which means the undesirablebehavior
shouldhave been essentiallystoppedafterfive to 10 applicationsand should have almostdisappeared
after the first day of use.
Toke one behauiorat a time ond ocrossenuironments. If you decideto punish severalbe-
haviors,selectone behavior and suppressthat behavioracrossall environments(clinic,home, and
school)and acrossall peoplewho interactwith the child in orderto avoid discrimination.Avoid situation
specificitythat occurswhen the child suppresses a behaviorin the presenceof those who punish, but
maintainsa high (or higher) rate with those who do not punish.
Punisheorly behauiors. If you are going to punish, try to punish early manifestations of the
behavior, instead of waiting for a full-blown episode. Early manifestationsare weaker than the later
ones,and it is easierto stop weak behaviorsthan strongones. For example,a tantrum usuallybuildsup
over severalsecondsor minutes.interveneearly.
Keep records. In all of theseproceduresit is very important to "collectdata." That means
you shouldtry to get some objectiveestimateon how often the child engagesin the unwantedbehavior.
For example,count how many times he hits himselfin a morning, or how many times he smearsper
day, or how many timeshe attacksyou in a week.Over a week, a month, or more, doesit stayaboutthe

26 Bqslc lnformqtlon
same,is he gettingbetteror worse?That'syour "baseline,"and it willtell you whetheror not your inter-
vention works. Your heatment has to produce a change in that baseline;if it doesn't, don't continue.
The effec* ot' auersiueshaue to be documented. Record keeping is discussedin Chapter 4.
Get somet'eedback. This includes a "peer review" by other professionalswho have experi-
ence with aversives.If you can't tolerate the criticismthat may be part of honest feedback, don't use
aversives.There is always a real possibilitythat you may be making mistakeswhen you use aversives,
and such mistakescould be costly.Peerreview does not eliminatethose mistakes,but it reducesthem.
Personswho are not responsiveto their professionalcolleaguesshould not use aversives.If you are a
teacher,do not punish unlessthe parentis presentand agreesto alsopunish. If you are a parent,never
let a teacherpunish unlessyou can see what is going on.
This introduction to aversivesmay give rise to considerableconcern, even distastein some
people.We recommendthat you avoid beingtrappedin somesentimentalandpopulartheory thatpre-
cludesrationalinvestigationof alternatives. Such may havebeenthe statusof punishmentwith develop-
mentallyretardedpersons.Probablyin the long run, if aversivescan be documented to be effectiVethey
will becomeaccepted,independentof the public sentimentsat the time.
A personmay ask whetherone can be a usefulteacheror parentto developmentallydisabled
childrenwithoutusingphysicalaversives,like spanking.Without a doubt, the answeris yes. Some chil-
dren are so responsiveto negativefeedbackthat even a minor conection like saying "No" has a major
effect. Recent research (Ackerman, 1979) also suggeststhat developmentally disabled children will
learn new tasksin a teaching program that usescontingent positive rewards only. However, in such a
program the teacher may not observe a substantialreduction in ritualistic,repetitive (self-stimulatory)
behaviors,or behaviorslike tanhums and noncompliance,unlesscontingent aversivesare also used. [n
other words, in order to be a maximally effective teacher or parent, you may have to use physical
Aversivesactuallyplay a very minor role in our programs. We use them to help the child stop
or diminish certainbehaviorsso he can be placed in a teachingsituation.The aversivesare generallynot
used after the first week or month. Aversivesconstitutelessthan 1% of our interactions.This book is
really about teachingand growth; it is about how to free your child and help him stay free. Tomorrow we
will know more about how to raise children, and we will not need to rely on aversivecontrol at all.

Phystccl Punlshnent n
This chapterexaminessome of the problemsdevel-
BEHAVIOR opmentally disabled children have in adapting to
CHARACTERISTICS education,whether it occurs at home disabled
or at school.
Specialbehaviorsof developmentally
OF dren, such as tantrums, excessiveritualisticand
DEVELOPMENTALLY stereotyped mannerisms, poor motivation to
achieve, and lack of appropriate focus in attention,
DISABTED are closelyexamined.
When studyingthe idiosyncrasies of devel-
CHILDREN opmentallydisabledchildren,wewere remindedthat
such children are perhaps more different than they
are alike. The characteristicsdiscussedin this chap-
ter, particularlyin regard to aggressionand tantrum-
like behavior, may therefore not be true or typical of your child. Many or most disabledchildren are very
vulnerableand nonaggressive;therefore, the section on the management of aggressiveand tantrum-
like behavior may not apply to your child. However, the sectionson motivationaldeficitsor attentional
problems may apply.


Developmentallydisabledchildren often throw tanhums when demands are placed on them. Their tan-
hums may interfereseriouslywith their learning of more appropriate behaviors. Your child's tantrums
may be minor, such as screaming,or they may be major, such as hitting, scratching,or biting adults or
other children, throwing himself on the floor, overturning furniture, breaking glass,or injuring himself
by biting himself, banging his head againstthe wall, etc. Sometimesthe tantrum is short-lived and lasts
for only a few secondsor minutes. In other casesit can go on for hours on a nearly daily basisfor literally
years, which sometimesnecessitatesphysical restraintsor sedativemedication. The tantrums become
particularly difficult to control as the child gets older or physically shonger and he can become dan-
gerous to the caregivers.Sometimes a child may be quite unapproachablewhen he throws a tantum.
only to appearperfectlycalm and in total control when the tantrum is over. This has led some people to

believe that the tantrum is "manipulative" rather than an expressionof a deep-seatedemotional
Let us briefly summarize what we know about tanhums.
1. The tantrum is usuallythe child'sresponseto frustration,such asthe lossof a customaryreward or a
changein routine,
2. The tantrumsbecomestrongerif you give in (removedemands)or make a lot of fussabout them.
Thereis compellingevidencethat by givingthe child attentionand concern,contingenton tantrums
and self-destructive behaviors,one can shape up and increasesuch behaviors (place them on
3. The tantrumswill probablygo away if you ignorethem. If you can put up with all the screamingand
commotion and if the child doesn'thurt himselfor you too much, hy "working through" the tan-
trum, acting as if it didn't exist. This is known as extinction. Extinction is sometimes hard on the
adult and the child becausethe child will continueto aggress,often showinga peak (an "extinction
burst")beforethe behaviorgraduallydecreases. Time-out (turningaway or placingthe child in iso-
lation) is sometimesan easyway to handle the tantrums (in that the teacherdoes not have to put up
with allthe commotion).Remember,though, that for somechildrenbeingin time-outis a reward (if
the child doesn'tlike to be in class,he may prefer time-out),so it won't work.
.At . Spankingis sometimesa remarkablyeffectiveway to stop a tantrum (eventhough the child may
hurt himselfmuch more during the tantrum than you can by spankinghim). It is a good idea to
catchthe tanhum early; once it is full blown, it is harder to control.
5 . If the tantrums are initially higgered by frushation, then one may be able to reduce the tantrumsby
avoidingfrustratingsituations.On the other hand, by removing frustratingsituationsaltogether,it is
unlikelythat the child will learn very much. Also, the child eventuallyhasto learnto cope with frus-
trationwithout engagingin severetantrums.In any case,keeptryingto reduce"unduly" high levels
of frustration.

It is exhemelyimportantin controllingtantrums,no matterwhat procedureis employed,that

you be on guard so as to not inadvertentlyrewardthe child for the undesirablebehavior.For example,
self-destructive behaviorappearsto be sociallyshapedin the firstplaceby personswho did not intendto
worsenthe behavior,and unlessone can now withhold some of those unintendedand perhapssubtle
rewards,any attemptto stop self-destruction will fail. It is a sadstorythat the very samepersonswho in-
tended to help the self-destructive child probablydid him more harm than good. Their affectionand
concern,given contingenton the self-destructive behavior,enslavedhim.
It is often the casethat, as you startthe first lesson(tellinghim that he has to sit still in order for
the lessonto begin) the child will throw a tantrum, perhapsto make you back off and remove your
demands.Children are often mastersat conhollingtheir parentsand other adultsthrough such strong
and primitivebehavior.In effectthey decideon how their dailyroutineshouldbe arrangedand what the
rules should be. Obviously,you have to reversethose rules.
In the children'sdefenseit must be saidthat they probablythrow tantrumsbecausethey havea
difficulttime understandingwhat is going on. The tantrumsand aggressioncan be a responseto their
frustabon at not understanding;it is their way of communicatingwhat they want. But that shouldbe no
excusefor you to let them continue with their tantrums.We all experiencefrustrationover not under-
standing.One cannot educatea child who scareshis teacheror has to be drugged and reshainedto
qui,etthe tantrum-likebehavior. Hence the need for you to take conhol of the situation.You have to
teach him more appropriateways to deal with your demands.

s Bcsic Inlormation
Remember,as soon as he hasbeenquiet for 2 or 3 seconds,rewardhim for behaving
(,,That'sgood sitting")and immediatelyresumethe teaching(if you delay presentinghim with the
demands,thatdelaymaybe hisrewardfor thetantrumandwill keepthetantrumshong).
creasethe time intervalrequiredfor him to be quiet,that is, not throwinga tantrum'
As far as we can tell, thereis nothing"insane,""crazy,"or "psychotic"aboutthe
asto mutilate themselves, biting
eventhoughtheylook verygrotesqueat times.Somechildrengo sofar
(Lovaas& Simmons,1969)show
their handi and bangingttieir heads.Muchto our surprise,the data
thatthetantrumsand self-abuse areveryeffectiveandpracticalasa meansfor the childto communicate
botheringhim, to stop
to you that eitherhe wantsaffectionand attentionor that he wantsyou to stop
pt*rg demandson him. In fact,our studieson tantrumsshowhow rationalsuch
A mainpointabouthandlingthetantrumsisthis: don'tletthisbehauior frightenyou. Staycool
probablyis tryingto getcontrolover
and rational.The childmay look likehe is insane,but he is not. He
He is admirablygoodat it'
you, andwhetheror not he is consciousof thatintentdoesnot reallymatter.
he willget' In fact'individuals
The moreinsanehe looks,the morehe will{rightenyou, andthe worse
with thisbehaviorhavebaf{ledpsychiahists for years.Like otherpeople,your child
and psychologists
prefersto be in chargeand controlthe situation.Don't let him; you takecharge'
Manyteachersandparentsrealizehow a child'saggressive andtantrum-likebehaviorwillkeep
learn' All a child hasto do is to hit
him out of his own home and out of good schoolswherehe could
otherchildren.He is thensentto a
himselfon the heador bitehimselfand he frightensmanyadultsand
drugs' It is sometimesa very fine
more primitiveand regressedplaceand p"rhup, he is placedon
he can learn' and goingsomeplace
balancebetweenhis stayingat home, or in the communitywhere
peoplerealizethatbeingfirm at the
like a statehospitalwherehe may vegetatethe restof his rife.Few
him learning,and keep him out of
righttime will settlethe child down, keep him "civilized,"keep


mannerisms suchas
Manydevelopmentally disabledchildrenhavea varietyo{ repetitive,stereotyped
eyerolling,andsquinting'We callthiskindof
rocking,spinning,twirling,armflapping,gazing,tapping, use it to
behavior self-stimulotion (shortfor sef-stimutitory behauiorlbecausethe childrenseemto
the behaviorisrepeti-
,,stimulate,, themselves. The stimulationcanbevisual,auditory,or tactile'Usually
The followingis a summaryof whatis presently
tive and monotonousand it may occurauityfo, years.
known aboutsel{-stimulation :
of other, moresocially
1. Self-stimulatory behavioris inverselyrelatedto the numberand frequency
behavioris low' Apparently
acceptable behaviors,when otherbehaviorsarehigh,self-stimulatory
,.needs,,stimulation,and if he can't get this through behavingappropriately'he will
the child
perhapsto keepthe ner-
engagein self-stimulation. It appearsthatthereis a needfor stimulation,
be likefood to the nervoussystem;with-
voussystemalive.The rocking,gazing,and twirlingmay self-stimulatory
out it, thechild'snervoussystemmighideteriorate andatrophy'In thissense'-then'
to offerhim'
behaviorsarenecessary for the ctriti. r you do not havea more appropriatebehavior
considerlettinghim continueto self-stimulate'
as a rewardfor
2. Self-stimulatory behaviorcanbe usedas a reward.we have usedself-stimulation
childself-stimulatefor 3 to 5 secondsas
thechild,muchlikefood and water.Thatis, we mayletthe
part of his rewardfor havingdone somethingcorrectly'

Behcvior Characteristics
J. Self-stimulationdecreasesor blocks responsivenessto outside stimulation. That is, if the child is
self-stimulatingduring his lesson,it is unlikelythat he will pay any attentionto his teacher.The
rewards derived from self-stimulationare often shonger than the rewards the teacher can offer.
Self-stimulationis like drugs:both are difficultto competewith. What we have had to do, then, and
what we recommend,is that the teacheractivelysuppressthe child'sself-stimulating behaviorwhen
she hies to teach. This means that if the child self-stimulates when the teacheris talking to him
(whenshe wantshim to pay attentionto her), she may physicallyreshainhim, or she may givehim
a loud "No" and perhapssome other aversiveto stop the self-stimulation.(Thereis a problem in
physicallyrestrainingthe child during self-stimulation, such as holding his hands still,becausethe
contactprovided by the teachermay be a reward for the self-stimulation.That is, the child may
learnto self-stimulate to get his teacherto touch him.) As soon as he stopsthe self-stimulation,
teacherrewardshim for it ("Good looking" or "Good listening")and giveshim his inshuction.The
teachermay let the child self-stimulate afterhe hasbehavedcorrectly,as a rewardfor beingconect.
4. The suppressionof one form of self-stimulatorybehavior may lead to the increasein another, less
dominant form of self-stimulation.For example, if the child rocks a great deal, and such rocking is
suppressed,visualgazingmay replacerocking. If gazingis suppressed,vocalizingand humming
may replacegazing.The taskin this caseis to help the child developa form of self-stimulation that
interferesminimallywith learningand that appearssociallymore acceptablethan some other form
of self-stimulation.For example,humming and vocalizing,like gazing,are sociallylessstigmatizing
than jumping up and down while flappingarmsand hands.The need for self-stimulatory behaviors
may also provide an ideal basisfor buildingplay and athletics.This possibilityis discussedlaterin


Developmentallydisabledchildren are often not motivatedto learn school-likesubjects.It may be that

this lack of motivationis causedby the failuresand frustrationsthey alreadyhave experiencedin such
learning,or it may be that their poor motivationis a major reasonwhy they are behindin academicand
socialskills.In any case,"being correct"is often not rewardingenough. Conversely,"beingincorrect"is
often not adequatelyaversive. (However, there are some noticeableexceptionsto that inference.)
Many of the other nuancesand fine pointsassociated with succeedingand not succeedingoften passby
the retardedchild. Insteadof relying on "natural" or "inhinsic" motivation,the teacherneedsto con-
structan explicitreward,/punishmentsystem,usuallyin the form of food and exaggeratedsocialpraise,
on the one hand, and loud "No"s or physicalaversives,on the other. It is a sign of a good teacherthat
she can find waysto motivatea slow studentto learnin as normal a way as possible.The use of rewards
and punishmenthas been discussedin Chapter 1, but let us brieflysummarizehere:
1. The generalrule is this:let the childdo whateverhe likesto do (eat,self-stimulate,
be approvedof)
ofterhe hasdone what you want him to do. The rewardshouldconsumeminimaltime,say 1 to 5
2. Use exaggeratedpositiverewardsin the beginning,while he is learninga task. At'teryouknow that
he has masteredthe task,thin the rewardsand eventuallyexpecthim to show you how well he can
do, without the positrverewards.Thin the rewardsslowlyfor newly learnedbehaviors,otherwise
the behaviorswill not be maintained.This is important, becauseyou want to save the positive
rewardsf.ornew learning,rather than just maintainsome previouslylearnedbehavior.

32 BcrsicInlormction
3 . Rememberwhatwe saidaboutconhollingor minimizingextraneousmotivation:don't let him self-
stimulatewhileyou teachhim. This is so becausehis self-stimulation and driftingoff feeltoo good
for him. Don'texpectthat you cancompeteagainstit, at leastnot in the beginning.Therefore,sup-
pressthe self-stimulation. If he is to self-stimulate,
it hasto be asa rewardfor firsthavingdonewhat
you wantedhim to do.
4. If a childalreadyisanxiousaboutfailure,don'tpunishhimfor failure.He ispunishinghimself . You
willsoondiscoverthat a childwho is anxiousto startwith is an easychildto teach.He hasplentyof
motivation.All you haveto do isto teachhim thosebehaviorsthatgivehim a "handle"on hisanxi-
ety, the behaviorsthat help him reduceit.
5. Althoughyou may have to use artificialand exaggerated motivatorsin the beginning,a good
teacherwillgradually"fade" out thesemotivatorsto makethe teachingsituationlook asnormalas
soonas possible."Normalizing"the motivationalstructureis essential in orderto transferlearning
acrossenvironmentsand to preventrelapse.
6. Tokenshave often been used with slow children.Tokens (suchas poker chips) are used as
"money" for the child to "buy" exhas,suchas ice cream,specialfavors,or watchinga TV show.
The valueof tokensis established in the earlystepsby givingthe childsomethinghe wants,suchas
a biteof food, providedhe hasgivenyou a token first.You may beginby havinghim giveyou a
tokenfor a biteof food. Oncethe valueof tokensisestablished, you givehim tokensasa rewardfor
somebehavioryou are tying to teachhim. In other words, he may earn lhesetokens,one at a
time, by actingappropriately.The tokenscan laterbe cashedin for food, freetime, TV viewing,
etc. The advantageof the token is that it is an explicitand concreterewardthat can sometimes
simplifythe teachingsituation.
It is, of course,possibleto usetokensfor disciplineas well.The childcan losetokenshe
haspreviouslyearnedif he misbehaves. Remember,however,thattokens,likefood, are"artificial"
rewardsand shouldbe removedassoonaspossible.In thisway the child'slearningis asnaturalas
possiblewhich helpslearningtransferto outside,nontokenenvironments.
7. Keepin mind that the more unusual(or less"natural")your rewardsare, the lessyour childwill
tansfer what you teachhim to outsidesituations.That is, generalization (transfer)of learnedbe-
haviorfrom one situationto anotheris relatedto the degreethat the two situationshavecommon
rewards.For example,if you usefood rewardsin one situation,then the behavioryou buildwith
theserewardsmay not transferto anothersituationwherefood rewardsarenot used,Or, the child
may behavewell when he is hungry (andwantsfood rewards)and thereforepoorly when he is
satiated.Again, good teachingtransfersthe child from artificialrewardsto more naturalones,to
helpgeneralization of learnedbehaviors.


Anothermajorproblemthatinterferes withthe learningof slowchildrenistheirdifficultyin payingatten-

tion. It is possiblethat this is the main causeof their retardeddevelopment.Their attentionalproblem
seemsworsewhenthey self-stimulate, whenthey oftenseemnot to pay attentionat all. Poorattention
may atsobe relatedto poor motivation.If they arenot motivatedto learn,they probablywill not attend
to theirteacher.The relationshipbetweenattentionand motivation,however,is difficultto pinpoint'
We havesometimes triedto makethe chitdrenueryhungry andueryanxious.Stillthey showsomeof
the sameattentionaldeficiencies. Perhapstheyhaveseveralkinds of attentionalproblems,somerelated

Behcvlor Chqrqcterlsiics
to motivation,some not. Be that as it may, we can now describesome of theseproblemsin more detail
than beforeand suggestways to work around or reduce them.
The children'sattentionalproblemsmay lie in an overlynarrow attentionto externalcues.The
childrenoften focuson smalldetailsand are unableto seethe whole picture.They have overfocusedor
ouerselected their attention.The followingexamplesillustrateoverselection.Supposeyou show a pic-
ture of a man to a normal two- or three-year-oldchild; that child will labelthe picture "man." When
shown the samepicture,a developmentallyretardedindividualmay respond"button," in responseto a
tiny detailof the person'sclothing.We taughtdevelopmentallydisabled(autistic)childrento tellthe dif-
f.erencebetween a girl and a boy. When we took the shoes off the figures (or for some children, other
piecesof clothing),the childrensomehow could not tell the figuresapart anymore. It seemedthat they
had learnedto tell the boy from the girl by looking at the shoes(or some equallyinsignificantpart) and
ignoringthe rest of the figure.
Other examplesof such overselectionrelateto the use of prompts. When childrenare taught
to imitatesounds,the teachermay want to use soundsthat have distinctvisualcues in additionto the
auditoryones. In a sense,the visualcues help or guide (prompt)the correctresponse,as in the mouth
movement for producingthe sound "ah" or the lip movement in saying"mm." Supposethe children
learnto imitatethesesounds.Now, when the teachercoversher mouth so the childrencan't seeit, they
suddenlygo mute; they don't speakany more. They overselectedthe visualcuesand did not attendto
the auditoryones. Consideranotherexampleillustratinghow overselective attentionmay interferewith
transfer(generalization) of learningacrosssituations.A particularteachertaughther childrento identify
partsof the body, which is a common preschooltask.The childrenlearnedto point to their ear when the
teachersaid "ear," point to their foot when the teachersaid "foot," and so on. One day a substitute
teachertook over the class,and discoveredthat many of the childrenwere unableto do the task,even
though the children seemed cooperativeand motivated. When this situation was examined more
closely,it turnedout that the firstteacher,when sheaskedthe childrento perform, alsomade a slightbut
distinctivegesturewith her hand or eyeswhich the secondteacherdid not do. Apparently, it was the
lackof thisgesturethat had confusedthe children.When the secondteacheralsobeganto gesturein the
sameway as the firstteacher,all of the childrenperformedwell. The childrenhad overselectedcertain
detailsof the teachingsituationand this interferedwith their transferor generalization
of that learningto
new situations.
We do know that such overselectiveattentionoccurs"betweenthe senses,"such that if the
child seeswhat the teacheris doing, he may not heor the teacher'svoice. He may focuson one channel
of input (saythe visualcue) while ignoringthe other channel(the auditorycue). But he may alsoover-
a stimulusdimension.For example,with visualcues,which may have shape,size,and col-
or, he may pay aftentionto only one or two of thesedimensions,but not all three. The sameproblem
showsup with auditorycues. For example,in order to learnlanguagethe child should pay attentionto
severalcuesin your voice, such as the loudness,pitch, and form of a verbal utterance.But again,'he
may overselectand missout on what is reallybeingsaidby just attendingto one of thesecues,like the
loudness.A child will not understandmuch languageunlesshe can focuson severalauditorycuesgiven
Apparently, overselectiveattentionis correlatedwith the mental age of the child. Children
with a very low mental age (the more retardedones)show more overselectiveattentionthan children
with higher mental ages.
In summary,then, the perceptualproblemsassociatedwith stimulusoverselectivity centeron
1) problems in shifting from prompts to other stimuli, 2) limited generalization(transfer)of learned be-

3{ Basic Informction
haviorto new environments,and 3) limitedlearningor useof environmentalcuesin general.The ques-
tion is, what can be done about it? We offer the followingsuggestions:
1. Try to minimizethe extracuesin the teachingsituation.For example,if the child is taughtto imitate
sounds,try to make the visualcues (sightof the teacher'smouth, etc.) unreliableso he doesnot get
"hooked" on such extra cues that fall on the same cue dimensionas the teachingcues. For in-
stance,if you are going to teach the child the differencebetweenlarge and small, startwith an extra
largeobject(likea ball, two feet in diameter)comparedto a very smallball (one inch in diameter).
Later "fade" out this extreme differenceto one of more appropriatesize.Apparently, it is easierto
transferfrom prompt cues to trainingcues when the discriminationis easy.
2. Don't reward the child when he getsthe right answerwith prompts present,Withhold reward for
promptedanswers.If you don't, the child will learnto pay more and more attentionto the prompt,
which makesit that much more difficultto fade. For example,supposeyou are going to teachthe
child the differencebetweena circleand a square(or any other visualcue).Supposeyou placetwo
cards,one cue on eachcard, on the tablein front of him. You then sayto him, "circle," and prompt
the right answerfor him by pointing your finger to the card with the circle. He respondsto your
prompt and he pointsto the circle.Now, if you do reward him, you may merelybe strengthening
the bond betweenyour finger-promptcue and his pointing, He may not haue seen the circle, and
he didn't have to look at it in order to be rewarded.Your fingerprompt may have overshadowed
(or blocked)his responseto the teachingcue (the circle).Incidentally,the more you fade your
fingerprompt, the more unreliableand minimalyou make that prompt, the more he will be forced
to attendto the finger prompt, and the lesshe will seeof the teachingcues. Therefore,as soon as
possible,withhold rewards when he gets the right answeron prompted trials. Only reward him
when he getsthe right answerwithoutprompts.One way to help thisalong is for you nof to prompt,
to be economicalwiththe prompts, to wait with the prompt, and so on, so as to "force" him to re-
spond without the prompt, hoping he will startsearchingfor the correctcue. Once the child misses
out on rewards,which he will if you don't reward him on prompted trials, he will begin to "look
around" and to searchfor other cues. (Thereis some evidencethat unrewardedtrialsleadthe child
to overcomesome of his overselectiveresponding.)
3. Be on the lookout for accidentalprompts. Children are very good at discoveringunintended
prompts.They will even detectsmallmovementsof your eyeswhen you are visuallyfixatingon the
right answer.
4. Start with easy learning first. For example, start by teachingthe child the differencebetween black
and white, insteadof some color or form cues,like squareand circle.There is some evidencethat
the child will be able to use a prompt, and later drop it (that is, to transferfrom a prompt cue to a
teachingcue), if you start with an easy difference,like black and white.
5. Rememberthat the children euentuallylearn to use prompts and to "drop" them (that is, to
hansfer).They can learn to pay attentionto more and more cues. They have to learn to do so if
they are going to survive. But it takestime.

Behcvior Chcrccierislics 35
Recording behauiormay be the only way in which
RECORDING you can learn whether or not a particulartreatment
BEHAVIOR works.The differenttypesof behaviorusuallyrequire
differentmethodsof measurement.Two typesof be-
havior (self-destructiveand self-stimulatory) and
how they should be recorded are discussedin this


The most common way to record self-destructive be-

havior is to record the t'requency of the behavior
becauseeach self-destructive act is usuallydistinctand succinct,and, therefore,easy to count. Each
act is calledan eventand the processis calledeuentrecording;that is, eachtime the child
hitshis head againstan object,biteshimself, or commitssomeself-destructive act, one eventis counted.
Eventsmay occur rapidly, for example,twice every second, or more slowly, like once every minute.

How Long Should You Record?

The lengthof recordingtime dependson severalfactors,includinghow often the child damageshimself,
and how much his behavior variesacrosssettings.For example, the child may injure himselffrequently
in class,but only rarelyat the dinner table.In any case,you may want to somplehis self-destructive be-
part of the time, perhaps
havior. Samplingmeansthat you do not need to record allthe time, but only
for 10 minutesevery hour. Sometimes you may have to record for 10 minutesevery hour throughout
the day. At other times, it may be sufficientto record for only 10 minutesat a specifichour during
your data
day. How much you need to record dependson a numberof conditions,such as how reliable
provide a reliable
are. and how much the clients'behaviorfluctuatesover time. Samplerecordingscan
estimateof how your heatment procedureis working. When you first startout, or on the firstday,
sessions, so that
may want to record all instancesof self-destructionthat occur in 10-minute observation
you will have a measureto serveas a basisof comparisonfor later samplingsto assesshow the treatment
is working.

How to Record
You need a counter that can be reset (like those used to keep golf scores),a good watch, and a data
chart to recordbehavior.Set up a chart (seeTable4- 1) that shows 1g-minutetime periods,and record
the frequencyof the behaviorand make any notes.

How Long to Record belore Treqtment Begins?

Treatment must startright away if the problem behaviorsare so acutethat they endangerthe child'slife.
Otherwise,we have usually measuredbehaviorfor 14 days before intervening.If the behavioris de-
creasing,we withhold heatment until the behaviordecreasessufficientlyto no longer be a problem,or
until it stabilizes
at a differentIevel.If the behaviorstaysthe same,or risesduring the 74 daysof record-
ing, we begintreatment.The daysthat are usedto determinea rate againstwhich to measurethe effec-
tivenessof the treatmentare calleda baseline:in other words, we often employ a 14-day baseline.

How Soon Ccru Chqnges Be Expected?

Changedependson many factors.varyingso much acrosschildrenthat no definiterulesaboutwhen to
expectchangecan be made. In general.phyrsicalaversivesshouldwork much more quicklythan extinc-
tion or time-out,and you should seesubetantial
decreases in the behaviorwithin the firsthour. If the be-
havior may increaseduring the firsthour or day and then slowly decreaseover
the next severaldays. Sometimesa behavior has all but disappearedafter a week; other times it may
take an entire month beforethe behavioris controlled.


In many casesit is not possibleto measureself-stimulatory behaviorin terms of its frequency,because

self-stimulatorybehavior is uzually continuous, without discreteonset or offset points. In other words,
we can't readilyus€ event we did with self-destructivebehavior,but may insteadneed to
employ a time somplingprxedure. In time sampling,you divide a certaininterval of time (suchas a

Toble {-1. Cbqrt {or rlI-dortrustlve behsvlor

Child's Name:
Kind o{ Behavior

Time Freguency Notes

9 ; 0 0 -9 :l 0 a . m .
1 2 : 0 0 - 1 2 :p1.0m .
l : 0 0 -l : l 0
2:0Q2 - :10
3 : 0 0 -3 : 1 0
4 : 0 0 -4 : 1 0
5 : 0 0 -5 : 1 0

38 Bqslc Inlormqtlon
10-minuteobservation period)into smallersections(suchas40 15-secondintervals).These15-second
intervalsare then dividedinto a periodfor observation(say,10 seconds)and a periodfor recording
(say,fiveseconds). Thatis, you watchthe childfor 10 seconds, thenyou usethe nextfiveseconds to
recordwhathe did, then watchhim againfor 10 seconds,recordfor five, etc. In thisway you will have
four opportunitiesevery minute to record whethera behavioroccurredor 40 opportunitiesif you
observethe child for 10 minutes.A sampledatasheetis shownin Table4-2.
If you put a checkmarkin the yescolumnwheneverhe isself-stimulating, a recordof stength
of hisself-stimulatory behaviorscanbe obtainedby simplysummingthosecheckmarksfor a 10-minute
interval.Thesedatacanthenbeaveragedoverthe day,or week,aswanted.You mayalsowantto usea
tablelike the one describedearlierin our discussion of the graphingof self-destructive behavior(see
One easyand inexpensive "aid" in makingthiskind of observation
is to dictatethe timeinter-
valsinto a taperecorder,and to play it backto yourselfduringthe observations throughan earphone.
The tapemay say,at zero-time,"Line 1 observe,"at 10 seconds,"Record,"at 15 seconds,"Line 2
observe," at 25 seconds, "Record,"etc.Thiswillsimplify yourrecording andyou won'thaveto keepan
eye on a stopwatch

Table {-2. Chart lor recordlng self-rtlmulctory

Child's name:
Date: Time of recording:
Kind of behavior:

Minute Seconds Yes No

I 0 -l 0
2. l5-25
? 30-40
4. 45-55
5. 60-10
b. 15-25
7. 30-40
8. 45-55
9. 60-10
10. t5-25
ll. 30-40
t2. 45-55
IJ. 60-r0
r+. l5-25
15. 30-40
16. 45-5s
17. 60-10
t8. l5-25
19. 30-40
20. 45-55

Becordlng Behcvior 39

Somebehaviors,liketantrums,arebestrecordedin termsof their duration.The durationof thistypeof

behavior,not the frequency,is the criticalfactor.A chitdmayonly throw a tantrumonceor twicea day,
butthetanhummay lastfor hours.Whatyou needto do, then,is to recordon any one day whethera
tanhumoccurred,and how longit lasted.You maywantto usea stopwatchto simplifyyour recordings.
A sampledatasheetfor durationrecordingisshownin Table4-3. You needto hansferthesedataontoa
graphsothatyou canbetterseewhatishappening.Recorddaysalongthe horizontalline(abscissa), and
plot the percentage of time (minutesspentin tantrumsoverthe totaltimehe wasobserved)on the ver-
ticalline (ordinate).


In any recordingprocedure, it is important to note whether any two personsagreeon the observations,
that is, if the recordings are reliable. You can test the reliabilityof the observer'srecording by having a
second observerindependently record his observationof the same behavior concurrently with the first
observer.The data from the first observerare then compared with the data from the second observer.
Ideally, a second observermakes "spot checks" on the first observer,to check on agreementor reliabil-
ity, That is, you don't need to have a secondobserverpresentallthe time, but to check 7O%-20% of
the time. The observationsare said to be unreliableif observersdisagreeso much that two quite different
conclusionscan be drawn from their data. In generalthere will be considerableagreementin recording
self-destructivebehavior and lessagreementon recordingsof self-stimulatorybehavior. If there is shong
disagreement,hy to define the behavior more concretely,and leave out the more ambiguouskinds' If in
doubt, don't score.
Recording procedures have become relatively complex and represent a rather sophisticated
area of research.Hall (I972)has written a usefulbooklet on how to record behavior. You may want to
consultan expert on behavioralmeasurementsfrom the Department of Psychologyor Schoolof Educa-
tion at your local college.

Tcblc l-3. Durqtton recordlng-Scmple dctc

Child's name:
Kinds of behavior:

Date Time of onset Duration Comment

Ian. 4 9:10a.m. 15minutes

Jan. 4 5:20p.m. l5 minutes
Jan. 8:00 a.m. 20 minutes

s Bqsic Inlormctlon
REFERENCES systematicguide.Cambridge, Mass.;Winthroppub.
Ackerman,A. The role of punishmentin the heatment Patterson,G. R. Liuing with children (Rev. ed.).
of preschoolagedautisticchildren:Effectsand side Champaign,IIl.: ResearchPress,1976.
effects.Unpublisheddoctoraldissertation,Univer- Redd,W. H., Porterfield,A. L., & Anderson,B. L.
sity of California,Los Angeles,1979. Behauiormodification:Behavioral approochesto
Axelrod,S., & Apsche,J. (Eds.).Punishment:It's human problems.New York: Random House,
effectson humanbehauior.Lawrence,Kan.: H & H 7979.
Enterprises, 1980. Sulzer-Azaroff,
B., & Mayer,G. R. Applyingbehauior
Azrin,N. H., & Holz,W. C. In W. K. Honig(Ed.), onolysis procedureswlth childrenond youlh. New
Operantbehauior:Areasof researchond applica- York: Rinehart& Winston,7977.
tion.New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1966.
Foxx,R. M., & Azrin,N. H. The ehmination of autistic Speciclty Books
self-stimulatory behaviorby overconeclion.J ournal Baker,B. L., et al. Stepsto independence: A skills
of Applied BehauiorAnolysis,1973,6, 7-74. trainingserieslor childrenwithspecialneeds.Cham-
Hall, R. V. Behauiormanagementseries.Lawrence, paign,Ill.: Research Press,\977.
Kan.: H & H Enterprises,7972. Foxx, R. M., & Azrin, N. H. Toilettrainingthe re-
Harris,S. L., & Ersner-Hershfield, R. Behavioral sup- tarded:A programlor day and nighttimeindepen-
pressionof seriouslydisruptivebehaviorin psychotic dent toileting.Champaign,Ill.: ResearchPress,
and retardedpatients:A reviewof punishment and 1977.
its alternatives.Psychological Bulletin, 7978, 85, Fredericks, H. D. B., Baldwin,V. L., & Grove,D. N.
1352-7375. A data-based c/ossroom t'or the moderatelyand se-
Koegel,R. L., Russo,D. C., & Rincover, A. Assessing uerelyhondicapped. Monmouth,Ore.: Inshuctional
and trainingthe generalized useof behaviormodifi- Development Corporation,7977.
cationwith autisticchildren.Journalof AppliedBe- Henderson,S., & McDonald,M. Step-by-step dress-
hauiorAnolysis,1977, 70, I97-205. ing. Bellevue,Wash.:EdmarkAssociates, 1976.
Lovaas,O. I., & Simmons,J. Q. Manipulation of self- Huffman,J. Talk withme. Bellevue,Wash,:Edmark
destructionin three retardedchildren. JournaloJ Associates, 1976.
AppliedBehauiorAno/ysis,7969,2, 143-757. Kozoloff,M. A. Educotingchildrenwith leorningand
behauior problems.New York: Wiley,1974.
Lovaas,O. l. The outr'stfcchild: Longuagedevelop-
RECOMMENDEDNEADINGS ment through behauiormodification New York:
IrvingtonPublishers, 1977.
Bqslc Leqrnlng Theory
Bijou,S. W., & Baer,D. M. Chi/dDeuelopmenf (Vol. Iourncrls
1). NewYork: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1961. Anolysisand Interuention in Deuelopmental Disabili-
Navarick,D. J. Principles of leorning:From laboratory fies.Elmsford,N.Y.: PergamonPress.
to field.Reading,Mass.:Addison-Wesley, 7979. BehauiorModification.BeverlyHills,Calif.: SagePub-
Whafey,D. L., & Malott,R. W . Elementaryprinciples lications.
of behouior.New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, ChildBehauiorTheropy.New York: HaworthPress.
r971. Educotion ond Treatmentof Children. Pittsburgh:
Behqvlor Modillcqtton Journalol AppliedBehoviorAnolysis.Lawrence:Uni-
Martin, G., & Pear, J. Behauior modification:What it versityof Kansas,Departmentof Human Develop-
is and how to do it. EnglewoodCliffs,N.J. : Prentice- ment.
Hall, 1978. TASH Reuiew.Seattle:The Association for the Se-
Monis, R. J. Behauior modilication with children: A verelyHandicapped.

Recording Behcvior {l

Unit ll outlines a "getting ready to learn" program.
Chapters 5 and 6 provide step-by-stepprocedures
for teaching proper sitting and directed attention.
Once these preparatory behaviors are taught, inter-
fering behaviorsneed to be eliminatedso that your
child is ready to learn. Chapter 7 providesusefulin-
formation on how to help children overcome their
tantrumsand reduceother disruptivebehavior.(You
may find Chapter 7 redundant with Chapters1 and
2. We recognizethis redundancy, but judged it ap-

# propriate in an attempt to ensure effectivemanage-

ment of disruptivebehaviors.)
W When you begin the actual teaching it is
bestto startwith something simple, both for your sakeand for your child's. We decided to startwith the
most elementarytask, teachingthe child to sit in a chair when you give him the inshuction"Sit down"
(Chapter5). This simpletaskis excellentpracticebecauseit containsall the elementsof a teachingsitua-
tion: instructions,prompts, identifyingconect responses,and rewardsand punishment.
We usually start our teaching program with the child and the "teacher" in the middle of the
room and the parentsand membersof the "teachingteam" surroundingthem to watch the inshuction.
After a beginninghasbeen made (the"teacher"hastaughtthe child to sit on command), all adultspres-
,s, ent should be given an opportunity to practiceteachingthe behavior. Although parentswill have a slight
edge over team members who have had no experiencein teaching developmentallydisabledpersons,
no one should feel embarassedor awkward about learningour teaching methods. When beginningthe
$ actualteaching,alladultsshouldteachin the samemanner.It is importantto keep inshuctionsuniform.
Later in the programs you can afford to be more "flexible" and varied, and your child will need that in
order to better prepare himself for the outside world. But in the beginning it is best for all adults who
teach to use consistentand uniform teaching methods.
You may want to work on two or three inshuctions ("Sit down," "Hands quiet," "Look at
me") during the first session.Don't teach too much in the beginning, however; it is better to establish
good conhol over the basics("Sit down," "Look at me") before you go on. Some children can perform

odequatelyin responseto thesecornmandsin lessthan one hour (or such basiccommandsmay be
C@€d ahogether); otherswill needa monthor moreof teaching.Otherchildrenwill objectto your ef-
forr to teachthem. In general,your child will "establlsh"whereand how inshuctionneedsto begin.

{n GcttlngBccdy to Lrcru
SITTING It may sound surprising, but for certain children,
learning to sit correctly in a chair is their first learning
experience.It can be a very gratifyingstep for every'
one. Work to get this kind of control before you go on
to other programs. Also, remember that since this
task is easyto teach, both for the child and the adult
who trains him, successis maximized for both. It is
exhemely important, particularly in the beginning,
that both teacher and child be successful.It is gratify-
ing to the child because he has learned something
definite, and also because most children like some
form of limits. It is gratifyingto the adults, and builds
their confidence as teachers,becausethe task is sim-
ple enough for them to teach. For some parents, this may be the first time they have had explicitcontrol
over their child.
Three commands are extremely usefulfor helping the child to sit correctly during the teaching
sessions:"Sit down"; "Sit up straight";and "Hands quiet."


Thefirstcommand,"Sit down," doesnot alwaysneedto betaught.However,if the childdoesnot know

how to sit in a chair, the followingprocedureis recommended.
Step 1: Choosea chairthat is suitablefor the child'ssize.Placethe chairdirectlybehindthe child.
Step 2: Givethe command"sit down," and then helpthe child (pushhim or otherwiseprompthim
by physicallyplacinghim) onto the chair.
Step 3: Rewardthe child with praiseor food as soonas he is seated'
Step 4: Havethe childstandup (physically raisehim up if necessary)and then repeatSteps2 and 3.
Step 5: Eachtime you tellthe childto sitdown, give him lessand lesshelp. Thatis,graduallyfadethe
physicalprompt (assistance) so that he is doingmore of the act of sittingdown on hisown.
Rewardsshould be given each time the child sits in the chair. Also, in smallsteps, slowly in-
creasethe distancebetween the child and the chair.
Step 6: If he gets up before you want him to, forcefully (perhapswith aversives)place him back in the
seatso that he will become apprehensiveabout getting out of the chair without your permis-
sion to do so.
Step 7: Now inhoduce the command "Stand up," and prompt him to get up if necessary.Getting up
out of the chair may be reward enough. Remember,you decidewhen he shallsitdown and
when he shall stand up during teachingsessions.

As the child becomes more expert at getting himself into the chair on your command and is
able to meet your initial requirement of sittingfor approximately5 seconds,he should soon be required
to sit in the chair for increasinglylonger periods of time (for some children it may only be 5 minutesat a
time, even after a month of training).
While working on other tasks (inhoduced below) praise the child occasionallyfor "good
sitting" so as to maintain his sitting.


Childrencan often be seatedin a chairbut will slumpover or slidedown in it. When the child doesthishe
is not sittingproperly and is generally not attending. The instruction "Sit up staight" helps to get the
child's squirming and sliding under good conhol. The following steps are recommended to teach this
Step 1: When the child begins to slouch or slide down in the chair, give the command, "Sit up
staight!" Be forceful!Let the child know you mean business.
Step 2: Immediately show the child what you mean by sittingup straightby correctingthe way he is
sitting. This may require pushing his shoulders back or pulling him up in the chair
Step 3: Reward the child for sitting conectly.
Step 4: After severalinstancesof prompting him into the proper sittingposition, you should wait for a
few secondsafter giving the instructionto give him a chance to do it on his own.
Step 5: If the child does not sit up shaight within two or three secondsand you sensethat he is being
lazyor stubborn, force him to sit up. You should make it so the child would rather get himself
sittingproperly than have you do it for him!
Step 6: Be sure to praise warmly whenever the child sits up conectly on command. Be carefulthat
what you do (by expressingconcern and attention)does not in fact reward him for slouching.
Be mildly aversiveas soon as he slouches.


The third important command is "Hands quiet." Allchildren fidget, but excessivefidgetingor self-stimu'
Ladtmwith the hands is often the causeof a child not paying attention. The child may be sittingperfectly
and looking right at you, but if he is fidgetingwith his hands or flapping his arms (moving them about) he
rrray no( hear a word you say.

T Getting Recdy to Lecrn

"Handsquiet"can meanone of severalthings:1) handsarestilland armsarehangingat the
child'ssides,2) handsareflat,palmsdown,on thechild'slegs,or 3) handsarefoldedin thechild'slap.
Choosethe positionthat is mostnaturalfor the childand mosthelplulfor you. Childrenwho fidgetwith
theirthumbandforefingershouldbetaughtposition2. Withpalmsdown andfingersspreadon legs,the
temptationto fidgetis minimized.For childrenwho don't fidgetwith their fingersbut who flap their
handsor arms,position1 or 3 is appropriate.
Step 1: Whenthechildfidgets,givethecommand"Handsquiet,"andthenforcethechild'shandsin-
to the desiredposition.
Step 2: Be forceful.The child mustlearnthat it is morepleasantfor him if he doesit himselfthan if
you do it for him.
Step 3: Alwaysreward(withfood and approval)the childfor followingyour inshuction,evenin the
initialstageswhen you are helpinghim.
Step 4: Graduallydecreasethe amountof assistance you givethe child in gettinghis handsinto
properposition on command.Allowthechildtimeto respondto thecommandandhelphim
onlywhenit is necessary. As thechildlearnstheexpected behavior,fewerpromptswillbere-
a. Say,"Do this," whileyou performthe desiredbehavior.
b. If necessary, helpthe child (prompthim) to imitateyou.
c. Rewardhim for imitatingyou.
d. Graduallyperform lessand lessof the actionyourselfafter you have given the com-
(Eventuallyyou willbarelyhaveto moveyourhandsat allforhim to remember whatthe
Step 5: As he is catchingon to whatyou want,gradually"thin out" thefood asreward,maintaining
hisconectbehaviorwith socialapprovalonly. For example,insteadof rewardingeverycor-
rect responsewith food, rewardthe child for everythird conect response,then for every
tenthresponse,etc. Finally,"thin out" the socialapproval,also,so that the childlearnsthat
he is expectedto sit correctlyas a matterof routine.


Afterthe childis taughtto sit correctlyin one chair,with one adultin one room, generalize
to other placeswith other people. Have him sit on chairs,on your command,in the living room,
kitchen,bedroom,bathroom,etc. Havea varietyof adultswork asteachersand usea varietyof chairs.
Mostlikely,tantrumsand fussingwilltakeplaceasyou beginto establish controland demand
the child'scompliancewith your requests,howeversimpleand reasonableyour requestsmay be.
Chapter6 dealswith techniquesfor eliminatingtheseinterferingbehaviors.

Proper Stttlng 17
DIRECTINGAND Thissectionof the "gettingreadyto learn" program
includestwo procedures.The first is teachingthe
MAINTAININGTHE childto visuallyattendto your face(establishing
contact).The secondis a generalprocedurefor
CHIID'SATTENTION teachingthe childbasicbehaviorssuchasvisuallyat-
tendingto objectsin the environmentto which you
wishto directhis attention.

Use the command "Look at me" to establisheye con-

tact. It is generally best to be sure the child has
learned to sit properly and to be attentive before you start to teach this procedure.
Step 1: Have the child sit in a chair facing you.
Step 2: Give the command "Look at me" every 5 to 10 seconds.
Step 3: Reward the child with.praise and food for conectly looking at your face. In the beginning a
correct response occurs when the child looks in your eyes for at least 1 second and looks
within 2 secondsafter the command is given. That is, it is clear to you that he has looked at
you and his response has been sufficiently distinct so that he "knows" what he is being
rewarded for. In general, if you have a clear idea of what you are rewarding, he will catch on.
Say, "Good looking," and simultaneouslyfeed him.
Step 4: If the child does not visually attend to your face within the 2-second interval, look away for
about 5 secondsand then give the command again.
Step 5: Some children will not look at you when you say, "Look at me." Therefore, you have to
prompt the response.You can prompt eye contact by holding a piece of food (or something
elsethe child will look at) directly in the line of vision betweenyour eyesand the child'seyesat
the same time as you give the command. Therefore, repeatthe command ("Look at me")
and simultaneouslypresent the prompt (move the piece of food into his line of vision, and
level with your eyes).
Step 6: When eye contact occurs within the 2-secondinterval on 10 consecutivecommands, grad-
ually and systematicallyfade the prompt by increasinglyhiding it in your hand and by grad-
ually minimizingthe movement of your hand over successive commands.
Step 7: To increasethe duration of the child's eye contact, graduallydelay giving the food while
maintainingeye contactwith praise.That is, increasethe length of time that the child must
look beforehe is given food. Count silentlyto two beforeyou reward him, then to three, and
on to five or more, so that he slowly learnsto look at you for increasinglylonger periodsof

Noticesomethingvery importantin thiswork: You have established a very clearidea of what is

the correctresponse, and you have a clearidea of what is an incorrec, That is criticalbecause
you now know when to reward and when not to reward. You can be consistent.You know what you
want, and you won't hesitateor becomeobsessedwith detailsthat are extraneousto the accomplish-
ment of the final goal. This is very importantwhen you teachslow children.They don't "forgive" your
mistakesthe way normal chlldrendo.
It is bestto starrteachingeye contactwhilethe child is sittingin the chairbecausethe chairpro-
videsa simpleteachingsituabonwith littledislraction,It is easierfor you to get control under thesecir-
cumstances.However, if the child only learnsto look at you while he is sittingin the chair, his new
behaviorwill b€ of limited value. Therefore, it is necessaryto beginto generalizethis first learning
did with his sittingin diflerent chairs).After he has masteredlooking at you in the chair, have him look at
you when he standsup, when he is in other rooms, etc., and rewardhim for doing so. Reinforcehim for
increasinglylongerperiodsof eye-to-facecontact,startingwith 1-seconddurations,and slowlyincreas-
ing the demand for longer looks of 2, then 3 or more secondsbefore you reward him.


Thestep-by-step proceduresfor teaching"sit down"and"Handsquiet"(Chapter5) and"Look at me"

(above)haveprovidedyou with a generatformatfor now teachingthe childto visuallyattendto selected
objectsin the environmentas well asfor teachingotherbasicbehaviors.You may wantto try someof
theseon yourown. For example,oneof the earlybehaviorswe teachthe childis to givethe adulta hug
when the adultsays,"Hug me." You could arrangethe teachingof thisbehavioralongthe following
Step 1: Say, "Hug me," and prompt (e.g.,physicallymove)the child so that his cheekmakes
momentarycontactwith yours.Rewardhim with food the momenthischeekmakescontact.
Step 2: Graduallyfadethe prompt while keepingthe instuction ("Hug me") loud and clear.
Step 3: Graduallywithholdthe rewardcontingenton longerand longerhugs.Move in slow steps
from a 1-secondhug to one lasting5 to 10 seconds.At the sametime, requirea morecom-
pletehug suchashisplacinghisarmsaroundyour neck,squeezing harder,etc.Promptthese
additionalbehaviorsif necessary.
learningto manyenvironments
Step 4: Generalizethis andmanypersons.Graduallythin thereward
scheduleso that you get more and more hugsfor lessand lessrewards.

50 Gettlng Recldy to Lecra


Expectthatwhileyou areteachingyour childto visuallyattendhe mayhy to getout of hischairor may

startto throwtanhums.Be firm and requirepropersittingand no disruptivebehaviorwhen you teach.
Otherwise, the teachingsituationwill be purechaos.
Thereare manythingsthat can go wrongeveniinthesebeginningsteps.If the childdoesnot
seemto learnor startsto losewhat he alreadyhaslearnrzd, watchfor mistakesmadeby the teacher.
Generally,it is the teacherwho is not performingthe tearching sequenceproperty.Here is wherethe
"staffmeeting"comesin handy,to helpspotteachingmistakes. One of the mostcommonmistakesoc-
curswhen"no" startssoundinglike"good."Theteacherlismomentarily "burnedout" and needsto be
recharged.The "No" hasto soundlikehell'sfury (sometinnes) and the "Good" hasto be givenwith lots
of smiles,kisses,and hugs.Ham it up, becomean actor,andreallyexaggerate your expression(aslong
as the childdoesnot thinkyou areactingand knowsyou meanbusiness).
A secondreasonfor lack of maintenanceis motivationalin origin. If you are usingfood
rewards,don'tstartthe teachingsessionaftera meal.As a rulethe childwon't eatverymuchif he isfull.
Don'tusebigbites(likespoonfuls) or thechildwillsoonbecomesatiated. Instead,duringthisearlylearn-
ing,be surethe childis hungry(workwith him duringmealtime,havehim skipa meal,givehimsmoll
bites,etc.).Thismay soundcruel,but it reallyisn'taslong ashe is now goingto beginlearningand the
useof food rewardsis temporary.
The mainproblemencounteredin "gettingread5lto learn,"however,centerson tantrumcon-
tol. Eliminatingdisruptivebehaviorsis discussed in the nrextchapter.

Dtrecttng and Mqlntqinlng Attentlon sl

ELIMINATING This chapter contains procedures that have been
designedto eliminatebehaviorsthat the child usesto
MILDL.'T avoid working or that interferewith teaching.Some
children have severe, disruptivebehaviors,such as
DISRUPTIVE self-mutilation,that are dangerous to their safety.

BEHATTIORS Such behaviorsshouldperhapsbe eliminatedby pro-

ceduresother than those describedin this chapter,
through consultationwith professionals,before the
child is placedin a teachingsituation.If the child'slife
is not in danger through self-injury,it is advisableto
proceedwith our programs.
Before using any procedure to eliminate
disruptive or off-task behaviors, it is important to
determinewhat the child hopes to gain by engagingin the disruptivebehavior.There are probablytwo
generalcausesfor the behavior.First,the child may be trying to avoid doing the task. He throws tan-
trums in order to make you stop and to make you back down. Second, he may simply want more at-
tention from the adult than he is gettingat the moment. His fussing,crying, screaming,throwing task
materials,upsettingfurniture, throwing himselfon the floor, arching his back violently, and biting you or
himselfare allbehaviorsthat can be attemptsto escapedemandsor get attention and make you anxious
or uneasy.


Strclght Extinction
Straightextinctionis the most effectiveand leastcomplicatedprocedurefor eliminatingdisruptive
behaviors. You shouldactasif nothinghashappened.Payabsolutely no attentionto the childwhenhe
is disruptiveand showthat hisdisruptivebehaviorhasno effecton you. look
Thatis, don'tinadvertently
at him whenhe is disruptiveand don't postponeyour instructionbecauseof his disruptions.The child
will stopengagingin disruptivebehaviorwhen he learnsthat it bringshim nothingin return.

Children seemvery clever, sometimes,at knowing when and how to get through to you. Your
wincing, hesitating, postponing a hial, or blushing may be all the child needs to keep up with the
Straightextinction, however, can usuallyonly be carried out with mildly disruptivebehaviors.
It is impossibleto ignore a child when he bitesyou or breaksfurniture. It may be necessaryto usepunish-
ment and time-outto reducethe magnitudeof such severetantrums,but it is importantto rememberto
return to shaightextinctionwhen the tanhums are reduced.

Tlme-Out lrom Attention

Time-outis anotherprocedurethat can be usedto eliminatemildly disruptivebehaviors.When the child
beginsto be disruptive,turn your body away from the child and make sure your face is averteduntil he
stops.Say nothing and remain calm. If this is not enough to stop the disruptivebehavior,remove the
child from other sourcesof attentionin the room. Facethe child toward a blank wall, or positionhim so
that he cannotlook at you or others,until he is quietenoughto continueworking. Don't scoldhim while
he is quietingdown.
Do not attendto your child while he is in time-out. There is no absoluterule on how long he
hasto be without your attention,but 5 minutesgenerallyseemsto be effective.Time-outsexceeding20
minutesare not recommendedbecausetoo much teachingtime is beinglost. Isolatingthe child until he
has been quiet for 5 to 10 secondscan be adequate.Once he is quiet enough to beginworking again,
praisehim for being quiet and calmly reintroducethe task. lf the child becomesdisruptiveimmediately
after you reintroducethe task, repeatthe procedure.Let the child know that he receivesno attention
from you for behavingbadly and that he must continuegoing back to task.
Time-out should not be used if your child self-stimulates
frequently.In this case, your child
may find time-outas enjoyable(reinforcing)as your attentionbecausehe can self-stimulate freelywhile
you ignorehiin. Time-out will alsofail for thosechildrenwho want to escapeor avoid your demands.In
fact, in such casesthe use of time-out worsensthe child'sbehavior.

C;orner Behcrvlor
This procedureis a form of time-out from attentionwith the added featureof physicalrestraint.Some
childrenare very viciouswhen being disruptive,They kick, scratch,bite, or hit to gain attentionand to
avoid working. Corner behaviorshould be used only if your child is aggressive when disruptiveor if he
will not stay stillwhen the time-out procedureis used.
When the child beginsto be disruptive,immediatelyforce him to a nearbycornerof the room.
Make him face the corner with his arms extendedbehind him and away from his body. Presshis arms
flat againstthe two wallsforming the corner. If he kicks,his legsshould alsobe spreadwith as much sur-
faceof the leg touchingthe two adloiningwallsas possible.Hold the child in thispositionuntilhe quiets
down. This is an extremelyuncomfortablepositionand the child will not want to be held that way for
very long.
As soon as the child has quieted down and is no longer shugglingto kick, scratch,or hit,
releasehim, praisehim, and return to working on the task.The child may beginto strikeout assoon as
he is released,or shortlyafterward.Restrainhim in the corner immediately.Repeatthis procedureas
often as necessary,Let him know that hying to injureothersis definitelynot allowed and that your en-
duranceis greaterthan his on thisissue!As always,returnto the taskand continueworkinguntilyou feel
it is completedto your satisfaction,not his.

54 Getting Recdy to Leqrn

Worklng Through the Ttrsk Whtle Ustng "Nol"
If extinction impossibleto carryout, and if time-outdoesn'twork or seemsinappropriateto use,try
workingthroughthe taskwhile simultaneously forcefullytellingthe child, "No!".
Whenthe childbeginsto engagein disruptivebehavior,he shouldbe told "No!" immediately
andueryforcefully.Try not to stopthe taskbecause thatmayberewardingto him and counteract the ef-
fectsof "No." Sometimesit is helpfulto pair the "No!" with a loud noisesuchasslappingthe tablehard
or clappingyour handsloudlyin frontof the child'sface.In general,thecommandshouldspecifythe
particularbehavior,suchas"No screaming!" or "No laughing!"In thiswaythe childhearsexactlywhatit
is you want him to stopdoing. Keepthe commandshort,however.In certaincases,suchasthrowing
taskmaterialsoff the table,wherea completeverbaldescriptionof the unwantedbehaviorwould be
cumbersome andperhapsconfusingto thechild,it isbestto leavethe commandshortandjustuse"No!"
The child may respondto your "No" in one of threeways:
1. Thechildmaystophisdisruptive behavior.If thishappens, praisehim for stopping("Goodquiet,"
or "Good sitting")and proceedwith the task.
2. Thechildmay becomemoredisruptive.He mayfussto suchan extentthatthe taskcannotbecon-
tinued(e.g.,he maythrowmaterials involvedin thetaskon thefloor). In thiscase,you maywantto
escalatethe aversivenessof "No!" (e.g., becominglouder,slappinghim once,etc.).Makeyour
commandso aversiveand persistent that he would preferto haveyou stopgivingyour command
thanto continuebeingdisruptive.
3. Thechildmaybecomelessdisruptive, at a levellow enoughto allowthetaskto continue.For ex-
ample,the childmay stopa loudtantrumbut continueto whine.In thistypeof situation,proceed
withthe taskasthoughthe childwerenot disruptiveat all. Thatis, hy straightextinction.Whenthe
childrespondsconectly,praisehim especially warmly.You will thusbe praising(reinforcing)the
behavioryou desireand ignoring(extinguishing) the unwanted,disruptivebehavior.

The childmay oftenstartbeingdisruptiveassoonas,or shortlyafter,the taskis reinhoduced.

Repeatthe procedure.Letthe childknow he mustcompletethe taskand that his beingdisruptivewill
not gethim out of completinghisassignment. With mostsmallchildren,a loud "Nol" issufficientlyaver-
siveto stopthe disruption.In somecasesa sharpslapto thethighisrecommendedwhilesaying"No!" A
stong slapon the rearwill usuallystopa tantrumif otherprocedures havefailed.The aversives aresure
to stopthe tanhum quickly(soyou canproceedwith teaching).
Sometimes,however,it will not work that easily.This will be the casewhen the childis ex-
temety negativistic and is actuallyrewardedby your beingangryand punishinghim. The more you
punishhim, the morehe will becomedisruptive.Usually,in suchcases,if you getreallyangryandhard,
you canstophim. But it may takeweeksor months,a timethat willbe very taxingon your mentaland
physicalhealth.You may haveto fallbackon extinction,workingthroughthe tanhums.Or you mayhy
someform of overcorrection, as discussedin Chapter1.
Finally,shouldyour commandsandthe child'sdisruptionescalate into longshoutingmatches
and if you havetoo manyreservations aboutspanking, then you should probably useplainextinctionor
combinethe "No!" withthe time-outprocedure.Shoutingmatchesmaybe an indicationthat yourchild
findssomeenjoymentin seeingyou raiseyour voiceand becomeangryso thatthe procedureis not ef-
fective.Also,keepin mindtwo importantpossibilities whenyou useaversives. First,the childmayadapt
to themif you usethemfor any lengthof time.If aversivesareto work, you shouldseetheireffectsafter
Second,the childmaylearnto usea formof self-stimulatory
1.0or 20 applications. behaviorto blockout

Elimtncttng Dleruptive Behcvlors

his externalenvironmentto shieldhim from surroundingstimuli.This is more likelyto occurwith the
prolongeduseof aversives.


How longdoesit taketo accomplishUnit II? For example,how long doesit takefor a childto stophis
tanhums,or to learnto sit in a chair,with handson his lap, lookingat you? Somechildrenhavemas-
teredUnit II in one hour; othershaveneededa wholemonth.Evenaftera month,somechildrenthrow
tanhums,but the tantrumsmay be so weakthatone canmoveforwardto Unit III. In any case,children
vary enormouslyin theirrateof learning,evenwithina groupthat hasscoredwithinthe samerangeon
IQ tests.Of course,it will alsodependon how goodyou areasa teacher,how muchcontrolyouhaveof
eflectivepositivereinforcersto shapealternativebehaviors,how forcefulyou are, how much help you
have,and so on. In any case,you needto completethisunit on preparationfor teachingand getsome
controloverthe will maketeachlngotherprogramsmucheasier.
Onceyou.havemasteredUnit II, the confidencethatit givesyou will go a longway. Probably
more thingshavehappenedto your childthanjust his sittingstill.Someof thesethingsare hardto
measure,Havinga more specificrole than before,he may startto feelmoretrustand affectiontoward
you as you becomecapableof doingmorethingsfor him. You takeon morestaturein his eyes.

finir t5 Gettlng Recdy to Learn
NECOMMENDED Koegel,R. L., & Couvert,R. fhe relatlonshlpof self-
READINGS stfmulationto learningin autlstlcchildren. Journalol
ApplledBehauior Anolysis,!972, 5,381-387.
Can, E. G., Newsom,C. D., &Blnkoff,J. A. Stimulus Plummer,S., Baer,D. M., & LeBlanc,J. M. Func-
conhol of self-deshuctlvebehavlor ln a psychotic tlonalconsideratlons in the useof proceduraltime-
chlld. JournoI of Abnormal Chtld Psycholo gy, L976, out and an effectlvealternatlve.Journalof Applled
4 , 1 3 9 - 1 53 . BehaulorAnolysls,L977, 70, 689-7A5.
Can,E.G.,Newsom, C. D.,& Binkoff, J. A. Escape Rincover,A., Newsom,C. D., Lovaas,O. I., & Koe-
asa factorln the aggresslve behavlorof two retarded gel, R. L. Some motlvatlonalpropertlesof sensory
chfldren. Journal ol Applled Behaulor Anolysis, stlmulationin psychotlcchildren. Journalol Experl-
L 9 7 8 , 7 3 ,1 0 1 -1 1 7 . mentalChtld Psychology,L977, 24, 312-323.

Eltmlncttng Dlrruptlvr Bchavlorr n

The programs in Unit III should make the job of
teachingyour child much more interesting.Chapter
8 describesways of teaching your child to imitate
your movements.You teachhim to raisehis arms,to
touch his nose, to clap his hands, to stand up, to
smile,and so on in imitationof your actions.Once he
can imitateyour actions,you can help him in many
tasks,such as showing him how to play with toys,
how to dress,and how to usefacialexpressions'Imi-
tation is an extremelypowerfulteachingdevice,and
is probably the primary way that normal children
learn from adult society, You must remember that
children learn at different rates. Teaching children
who have littleor no imitationskillswill probablygo slowly, whereasother childrenwillreadily imitate
some of your actionsat times. With such childrenit is more a questionof expandingwhat they already
know and, very importantly,to get control over their imitationsso they can use them at the right time.
Chapter 8 containsan important sectionthat should be read with care. It pertainsto "random rotation"
and to "discriminationlearningproblems."The learningprocessesdiscussedin this sectionare basicto
allthe programsin this book.
The programin Chapter9 teachesthe child to matchone objector a simplevisualform (along
the dimensionsof size,shape,or color) to an identicalor similarobjector visualform. For example,the
teacher places a variety of different objects on a table in front of the child, he is given one object (a
replica), and is taught to identify ("match") that object with the correspondingobject on the table' The
program on matching objectsor forms is very similar to the program on imitating ("matching") move-
ments. There is no magic in the sequenceof teachingmatchingof movementsbefore teachingmatching
of objects;you could just as easilyreversethe order. We run the two programsjust about concurrently,
Chapter 10 describesa program on following verbal instructions (early receptive speech).
Essentially,the program in Chapter 10 enablesthe teacherto obtain uerbalcontrol over the behaviors
that were taughtin Chapter8. For example,insteadof the child merelyraisinghis arms (or clappingor
smiling)in imitation of the teacher, the teachernow beginsto verballyinstructthe child with commands'
such as "Raiseyour arms," "Clap your hands," or "Smile," graduallyfadingout the prompts of manual

movementuntil the child can respondto the verbalinstructionalone. At this point you clearlycan see
how adult societyis beginningto exercisemore and more appropriatecontrol over the child.
Chapter 11 is the most difficultprogram in the book. It describeshow to teach a mute or largely
nonverbalchild to imitate sounds and words so that he can learn to speak. Whereasthe programsin
Chapters8 and 9 deal with imitationor matchingof uisuolcues, verbalimitation obviouslydealswith
matchingof auditorycues.It may be that developmentallydelayedchildrenhave specialproblemswith
perceivingand processingauditory cues (as compared to visual cues). Or, it may be that auditory
matchingas in speechis much more complexthan is visualmatching.In any case,Chapter 11 willtest
your teachingskillsfor sure. If you can teach verbal imitationthen you are an unusuallycompetent
shaper,for it is a very difficultteachingtask.
Once you have taughtthe child someimitativebehavior,you have the basisfor programsper-
tainingto play skills,which is the subjectof Chapter 12.
Finally, Chapter 13 discussesoptimizinglearning, as in maximizinggeneralizationof new
learningto new environmentsand helpingensurethat the new learninglasts.
Unit III is a comprehensivepackage.By thistime you are deeply involvedin the teachingpro-
grams;an idealteachingsituationmay involve 6 to 8 hours of one-to-oneinstructiondaily' Not allset-
tingscan provide for that much teaching,but keep in mind that the more your child is taught,the better
off he willbe.
At this point your child will be learningseveralprogramsconcurrentlybecausethere is no
meaningfulending point for any of the programsinhoduced in Unit III. This allows you to introduce
varlabilityin his schedule,and to make both your and his day more interesting.



ffi s Imitqtiou, Mcrtching, cnd Ecrly Longucge


Children normally acquire complex behavior, in-
IMITATION cludingplay and sports,by observingthe behaviorof
OF others,and in the caseof language,by hearingothers
speak. Thus, children seem to learn the majority of
SIMPTEACTIONS their social,recreational,and languageskillsthrough
imitation. After working with developmentallydis-
abled children,you can observehow thesechildren
failto imitateyour behavior,or that they imitateyou
at the wrong time. Perhapstheir failure to learn im-
portant behaviorsfrom people in their everyday lives
can be attributed to their inability to imitate appro-
Our researchhas demonstratedrathercon-
clusivelythat the child must first learn to imitate the lesscomplex behaviors of his peers and of adults
before he is ableto imitate the more complex skills.The programsin this chapterteach the child the rudi-
ments of generalizedimitation (what some may refer to as the establishmentof imitative tendenciesor
capacities).Specifically,your child is taughtto copy, or imitate,grossmotor behaviors(e.g.,raisingthe
arms, tapping the knees, touching the nose) when you say, "Do this," and perform the activity.This
newly establishedimitative behavior can then be used to teach self-helpskills,appropriate play, sports,
and other acceptablesocialinteractions.Imitation of the behaviorof others can do much to enhancethe
overall socialand intellectualdevelopment of the child. Bear in mind alsothat the basicpurposesof imi-
tation haining are to teach the child to pay more attention to the people around him and to become
more interestedand excited about what others are doin$, and, in general, to enablethe child to behave
more appropriatelyin his environment.
Once the child has learned to sit quietly in a chair for a reasonablelength of time (about 2-5
minutes)without engagingin any disruptivebehavior and can visuallyattend to the teacher'sface, non-
verbal imitation training can begin. lt is important to note that eye contact may develop further after the
child learns severalimitative behaviors. However, if the child frequently engagesin disruptive behav-
iors, such as self-stimulationor excessivetantrums, eye-to'eye contact should be establishedbefore
teachingbegins.If the child is not looking at you, he probablywill not see your instruction, which means
that you may have to continue suppressingtantrums and self-stimulationand continue to reward eye

contact as you are beginning to teach imitation. You may find yourself working hard while the child
just sittingth"rn, rolling his eyes, smiling, flapping his hands, drifting off, or whatever. You should stop
those behaviors.Let the child know that you mean businessand that you will not put up with the
ing, crying, fussing, tantrums, self-stimulation,or any other distractingactions that interfere with
learning, You will no doubt find that your child will come to respect you as you acquire more control
over him.
A record of the child's progress should be kept during the training. You, or an attentive
you are trying to
observer,should record the child's progressby indicatingthe hial number, the behavior
required a prompt'
teach the child to imitate, and whether the child respondedcorrectlyor incorrectlyor
Another method of recording would be having an "impartial" observer watch you and the child
prompts. The child should be
then give you feedbackon your teachingmethods,such as your use of
is improv-
imitatingbehaviorin some way after t hour. By that time you should know whetherthe child
ing or standingstill. If he is standingstill, you probablyneed to improve your teachingskills'You
have to go back and examine aspectsof your teaching method, such as your use of rewards
prompts, and the level of the child'sself-stimulation; you may have to become more strict, or change
your method of teachingin some other way.
we start the imitation training by teaching the easiestbehaviors first, such as Arm ralsing'


Arm Rcising
S t e p 1 : The child is seatedopposite you with hands in lap and is attending to your face.
Step 2: Ihe stimulus.Loudly pre5pplthe verbalcommand, "Do this," while simultaneouslyraising
your arms suaghr up over your head, lf the child does not respond by imitatingyour actions,
you must prompt him so that he respondscorrectly.
Step 3: The promg. Repearthe verbal command, "Do this," while raisingyour arms as in Step 2.
After raising your arnrs. hold the child's forearms and raise his arms over his head and hold
them there for a second. Or, you may have an assistantstand behind the child and prompt
him (raisehls arms for him). Also, verbal commands, such as "Raise arms," can be used as
prompts for some children. When the child responds correctly, reward him with praise for
good arm raising. or give him a bite of food. Try to reward the child whlle he stillhas his arms
S t e p 4 : Fodingthe prompt.lf the child does not respondon the next trial by raisinghis arms directly
over his head wirhout the prompt describedin Step 3, you should prompt him for several
rials and then lessen.or fade, the prompt slightlyover the next several(say 10) hials. For ex-
ample. 5,3y."p11this," and then lift the child's arms up so that they are parallel and directly
over his head and then let go of them, afterwhich you immediatelypositionyour arms over
your head. lf the child keepshis arms up on his own for even a second,immediatelyreward
him. If he does not keep them up, go back to usingthe prompt describedin Step 3'
Step 5: lf the child respondsappropnately on severalconsecutivetrials with the prompt describedin
Step 4, you must fade the prompt evenfurtherin order to arriveat your goal' Give the verbal
command. "Do this," and then take hold of the child'sforearmsand gentlypull his arms up-
ward (don't hold on very long) as you raiseyour arms over your head. If the chtldkeepshis
arms up over his head in imitation of you for even a brief period, reward his actions. If he
doesn'trespond appropriately,go back to the prompt describedin Step 4.

62 Imitction, Mcrtching, clnd Ecrly Lcngucge

Step 6: Eventhoughthe prompt describedin Step5 may enablethe childto respondconectly,you
mustfadethis prompt evenfurther.Insteadof actuallytakinghold of the child'shandsand
pullingthemup asin Step5, simplypushhisarmsup in therightdirectionwith yourfingertips
as you are raisingyour armsover your head.If the childraiseshis armsin imitationof you,
rewardhim immediatelyand hy usingno prompt at all on the next hial.

Assumingthe childrespondscorrectlyon eachsuccessive hial, you shouldgraduallyfadethe

prompt untilthe child eventuallyimitatesyou withoutany promptingwhatsoever.Rememberto fade
the prompt slowly.The child should be successful on severalconsecutivetials at a given level of
promptingbeforethe promptis fadedor reduced.If the childdoesnot respondby imitatingyou when
you usea reducedor morefadedprompt, go backa stepto a more effective or "obvious"prompt;that
is, usea promptthat you know witl enablethe childto respondconectly.However,be surethat a re-
ducedor weakerpromptwould not do justaswell.Manytimesthe childwill not needsuchovertor ex-
tensivepromptsasyou mightthink. He simplymaynot bepayingattentionto the situationat hand.One
commoncharacteristic of manychildrenis thattheywill do aslittleaspossibleof whatyou wantthemto
do, if theyfeeltheycangetawaywith it. Therefore,besternandmatter-of-fact with your childasyou go
throughthesesteps.You shouldmove to the next stepwhen the child can respondconectlywithout
anypromptingon severalconsecutive trials.The childrespondsto criterionwhenhe respondscorrectly
on 9 out of 10, or 18 out of 20, consecutivetrials.
The next behavior you want to teachshouldbe differentfrom the firstbehaviorso that your
childcaneasilytell them apart.We teach"Touchingnose"nextbecauseit is quitedifferentfrom "Rais-
ing arms."

Touching Nose
Step 1: The child is seated opposite you and is visuallyattendingto your face.
Step 2: The stimulus.Say, "Do this," while simultaneouslyraisingone of your hands and touching
your nose with one forefinger.
Step 3: The prompt If the child does not respond by touching his nose, or if he makesthe mistakeof
"raisingarms" (whichis likely),you must begina seriesof promptingprocedures,depending
give the
on how the child responds.For example,if he makesno responseat all, you must
takeone of the child'shands,touch his nose
verbalcommand, "Do this," and simultaneously
your other
with a finger, and hold it there, while also touching your nose with a finger on
hand. Immediatelypraisethe child for "good touching."
If the child respondsby raisinghis arms, you must say "No" loudly and distinctly,
sinceit is clear that child is not yet able to pay closeattentionto what is going on. After
,,No" do not look at the child for 5 seconds,and then beginthe next hial. Say, "Do this" and
prompt him as indicated in this step.
ableto imitate
Step 4: Fadingthe prompt. You should slowly fade all prompts so that the child will be r,j
your touching your nose without any prompting at all. For example, after using the prompt
guide the child's
describedin Step 2 for sevetalhials, fade this prompt so that you merely
on his nosefor even
hand to his noseand then let go beforehe touchesit. If he keepshis hand
it there, use the
a second,praisehim profuselyfor his "good touching." If he does not keep
prompt describedin Step 2. Oncethe child has responded correctly with this faded prompt
at this level of
tr'y fading it even further for a few consecutivetrials. After a few successes
of his lap
piompting, try fading further. For example,you may just pull the child'shand out

Imitcrtion ol SimPle Actions
his nose,praisehim accordinglyand
and in the generaldirectionof his head.If he touches
If he then failsto touch his nose'you
fadethe prlmpt evenfurther,or try no promptat all'
mustgo backa stepand usea "more obvious"and less

Introducing RcrndomRotcrtion
of 10 consecutive hialsor on 18
Whenthe childcan respondto criterion(respJndscorrectlyon 9 out
learnedthusfar-arm raisingand nose touching-
out of 20 consecutive trials)with the two responses
trialsof thesetwo responsesrandomly
beginmixinghials. It is exhemelyimportantthat you intermix
(e.g.,arm raising,thennosetouching,then
because the childmay becomeusedto a givensequence
to imitatebehavior'
arm raising,then nosetouching,etc.) and may not reallybe learning
"discrimination learning"in the
The teachingpro."rrlhat underliestheseprogramsis called
Essentially,it saysthatif a response(A)
technicalliterature.It is a basicprocessand a verypowerfurone.
situation(Y), thensituationX willcause
is rewardedin one situation(X) and not rewardedin another
for responseA to occur)'The impor-
responseA to occur (situationX will "cue" or "set" the occasion
to discriminate the corrector desiredcue
tanceof randomrotationproceduresin helpingthe student
canbe bestillustrated by presenting somecommonteachingproblems,
problem 1. supposethe teacherasksthe "Raisearms,"and the childbehavescorrectly
and the childcontinuesto re-
is rewarded.If the teacherrepeatsthisinstructionseveraltimes
is to perseverate'that is' to
spond conectly,all the child may be learningin that situation
he is learningthat a particular
repeatthe responsethat wasrewardedearlier.ln otherwords,
He may not learnto raise
response,whenrewarded,is a cuefor him to repeatthat response'
hisarmsto the teacher,s cue,"Raisearms."Thiscanbe testedby saying"san Francisco,"
If the child
makeany otherverbalizations, or by justreadyingyourselfto givethe inshuctions'
raiseshis armsundertheseconditions, he hasobviouslynot learnedwhatyou intended-to
respondto the cue,"Raisearms'"
so that every secondinstructionis
Problem 2. If the teacheralternatesbetweentwo instructions,
"TOUChnOSe"'andSOOn)' the
identiCal(e.g., "RaiSeafms," "TOUChnOSe,""Raisearms,"
two responses'That is' he is
child may simply be learning to systematicallyalternatebetween
one trial, then that is the cue for
learningthat, if one response(raisearms) was rewardedon
He may be learning a particular
him to try the other response (touch nose) on the next trial'
You could testthis by givinghim
orderor sequence;heis nof learningto imitateyour action.
,,Touchnose." If you then stay with the fixed alternatingorder of in-
one instruction,such as
correctly' If you place
s'uctions, he should get the first, and then all remaining commands'
responding,that is' he
your instructionsin random rotation, he would fall back to chance
would achieve50% conect,
problem 3. Supposethe teachergivesone instruction("Raisearms") and the child
If the teachernow repeatsher in-
rectly (toucheshis nose, for example)and is not rewarded.
and now is rewarded'what the child
structlons("Raisearms") and the child respondscorrectly
is not rewarded' Withholdingof
may be leaming is to switchrespons€sif a particularresponse
behavior'The studenthiesto solve
the rewardby the teacherbecomesa cue f or him to change
on whetheror not he getsa reward'
the problemnot by attendingto the instructions,but based
rewardsunlessthe child getsthe
one way to reducesucha problemis to (gradually)withhold
problem 4. suppose the teacher"guides" the child by looking to the place of the correct
..Raisearms,'' and looking at
she says,
for example,by looking abovethe child'shead when
may not know that she is pro-
his nose when she says,"Touch nose," The teachermay or

6{ lmitation, Mctching, trnd Ecrly Langucgc

viding such exha assistance.What may well happen in this situationis that the teacher'svisual
gazebecomesthe main cue for the child'sresponding,whereasher verbalinstructionsremain
nonfunctional.Many disabledchildrenhave problemsprocessingmore than one cue simulta-
neously,and may learn visualcues more quickly than auditory cues.

The purposeof inhoducingthesesampleproblems(many more could be added) of how one

may inadvertentlymisdirecta child'slearningis to remind the teacherto carefullymonitor her steps.It is
to everyone'sadvantagewhen the teachersuspectsthat it is her teachingthat underliesthe child'slearn-
ing problems,not the child's.The more you know about discriminationlearning,the more you realize
how easyit is to teachmistakes.Developmentallydisabledpersonslearn,perhapsas quicklyas anyone
else.They do not necessarilylearn what the teacher"intends"that they learn, but they may learn what
she is reinforcingthem for.
This is the reasonfor the emphasison random ("chancy")presentations of the firsttwo actions
(sometimesarm raising,sometimesnosetouching).It may help you to write out a random order before
y o u g i v e t h e c o m m a nsdusc, h a s1 ( a r m r a i s e ) (, 2
t o u c h n o s e ) , 2 , I , 2 , I , I , 2 , 2 , 1 , 2 , 2 , 1 , 2 , 1 . tl hf e
child can respondto criterionwhen trialsof the two responsesare randomly mixed, go on to teachthe
next behavior.If the child cannot respondcorrectlywhen the two actionsare randomly mixed, usethe
random rotationproceduredescribedbelow.
Step 1: Presentthe first action trained (raisearms) to the child while saying,"Do this." If the child
does not imitateyou correctly,prompt the response.The firstprompt should be the weakest
one usedin trainingthe response (e.g.,perhapstappingthe child'shands).If thisprompt fails
to produce a correctresponse,the strengthof the prompt should be increasedon successive
trialsuntil a correctresponseis produced. Once the child is respondingcorrectly,fade the
prompt in the samemanner as in the initialtraining.Presenttrialsuntilthe child respondscor-
rectly, with no prompt, for five consecutivetrials.
Step 2: Reintroducethe second action trained (touch nose). Presenttrials until the child responds
correctlywith no prompt, for five consecutivetrials.
Step 3: Alternate Steps 1 and 2 randomly until little or no prompting is needed the first time that an
action is performed.

The two actionsnow are presentedin a randomizedrotation.Slightprompting may be neces-

saryon the firstfew trials,lf slightpromptingdoesnot resultin correctresponding,repeatthe procedure
until the child respondsto criterion.

Clcpping Hcnds
Step 1: The child is seatedfacing you and attendingto your face'
Step 2: The stimulus.Give the verbal command, "Do this," while simultaneouslyclapping your
hands together severaltimes.
Step 3; The prompfs. If the child does not respond appropriately (that is, makes no responseat all,
respondswith a behavioralreadylearned,or makesan otherwiseincorrectresponse),you
must beginto use a seriesof promptsthat will ensureconect responding.In the caseof hand
clapping,it is easywhen two personsare presentto help the child with prompts. Seatyourself
face-to-facewith the child as you have been doing, and have an assistantkneel or sit behind
the child. As you say, "Do this," while simultaneouslyclappingyour hands, have the assis-
tant graspthe child'sforearmsfrom behind and begin clappingthe child'shands in imitation

Imitation ol Simple Actions 65

of you. Immediatelypraisethe child for "good clapping"and give him a bite of food, if you
are usingfood as a reward for conect responding,
Step 3: Fadingthe prompt Have your assistant fade the prompt slowly. For instance,afteryou pre-
sent the verbal command and clap your hands, have your assistantclap the child'shands
togetheronce or twice, and if the child clapseven once more on his own, praisehim pro-
fusely. On successivetnals the prompt may be faded to only liftingthe child'shands into a
clappingposition.On each trial. provide a prompt that will ensurecorrectresponding.If the
child failsto respondappropriatelyon any giventrial, go backto usinga strongerprompt that
will enablethe child to respondconectly. Rememberto be surethat a weakerprompt would
not do just as well. Be firm with your child and insistthat he attendto you and the actionyou
performor model for him.

Ycriatjon fior Clapping lfands

Here'san alternative promptingmethodif you have no other personaround to help in teachingyour
child to imitateyou in hand clapping:
Step 1: See Step I of "ClappingHands," above.
Step 2: As you say. "Do this," take the outsideof the child'shands in your own hands and actually
clap his handsfor him. In thisway both of you will be clappingat the sametime. After several
hand claps.immediatelypraisehim for "good clapping."
Step 3: Fadingthe prompt Give the verbal command and take the child's hands and clap them
tog€theronce or twice and then clap your own hands severaltimeswhile saying,"Do this."
lmmediatelyrewardthe child for "good clapping."
You must continueto fade the prompts you have been giving. Insteadof actually
clappingthe child'shandsfor him, give the verbalcommand and take the child'shandsand
just place them togetherin a hand-clappingposition. Immediatelyclap your hands several
times. If the chitd respondsby clappinghis hands even once, reward him immediatelyand,
on the next hial, use an even lesserprompt. If the child failsto clap his hands,go backto Step
Step 4: Give the verbalcommand and beginclappingyour hands. If the child does not imitateyou,
usea prompt such as liftinghis handsoff hislap. Then continueclappingyour own handsand
saying,"Do this," once or twice. If the child failsto respondappropriately,you must go back
a stepand usea more obviousprompt. In thisway, you shouldbe ableto effectivelyteachthe
child to clap his hands in imitationof you without your assistance.

When the child can respondto criterionby conectlyimitatingyou, startmixing trialswith the
three behaviorslearnedthus far-arm raising,nose touching, and hand clapping-using the random
rotationprocedure.Rememberthat the child must correctlyimitate the random presentationsof the
behaviors.Otherwise,he may startrespondingto the particularorder, or sequence,that you haveinad-
vertentlydevelopedin choosingthe responsesyou want imitated.Therefore,your taskis twofold if the
child has problemsimitatingthesethree responses.First,you must requirethe child to pay strictatten-
tion to you. Second, you must monitor your order of presentationof theseresponses.
After the child can reliablyimitate all three responses,choose at least 10 new responsesfrom
the list below and teach them to your child. If one of the first three responsesseemsparticularlydifficult
to teachyour child and the task is becomingtoo time-consuming,c.hooseanotherresponsefrom the list
below as a substitute.Use your own ingenuityin developingand then fading prompts.

16 Imitation, Mctching, cnd Ecrly Lcngucge

Be Tcught
Addttloncl Mcnual Imitatlon ResponsesTo
Tap nearbytable Touch knees
Stand up Touchhead
Touch tummy Touch teeth
Touch elbow Pick up an objectfrom table
Stampfeet Touch tongue
Throw kisses Touch ears
Wave "bye-bye" Touch shoulders
Put armsout to side Toucheyelid
Raiseone arm Turn around(standing uP)

N o t i c e t h a t w e d i d n o t g r o u p a l l t h e " h e a d " r e s p o n s e s ( t o u c h hout

e amakes
d ' m o uitteasier
confusethe child.Spreadingthem
becausethey would look too simiiarand would behaviorsthat look very
childhasto learnto distinguish
for the childto tel them apart.Eventually,the
but that trainingcomeslater'
similar(suchasthe various"head" responses),

some psychologists and psychiatristshavetheorizedthat an importantproblemwith
or a "senseof self'" whether or not thisis the casere-
disabledchildrenis thatthey lacka "body sense" The
willbe answeredto everyone'ssatisfaction'
mainsan open questionand one that probablynever at-
and gesturesis to makehim awareof and
purposeof teachingthe childto imitatefacialexpressions described in
bodypostures, and gestures. The dritsand exercises
tentiveto hisown facialexpressions, behavioras he
u*ur" of you and hisown physicalselfand
thissectioncanherpthe childbecome-or'" subtle andcom-
and gestures in particulararemore
movesaboutin hisenvironment.Facialexpressions
Thereforewsdo not begintrainingtheseuntilthe
plexthanthebehaviorstaughtin the previoussection.
.nita nut mastereda numberof grossmotor you
a mirror' Useone that is big enoughfor both
It is probablybestto startworking front of
and the childto seeeachother'

il::lil attend sav,"Dothis,"

to vourreflection.
infrontot,t o,*roroulililug"
step 1: sittogether "
and then oPen Your mouth wide' his mouth'
him' Say' "Do this"' and manuallyopen
Step 2: If the child does not imitateyou,
step 3: Iflfiil::ilfflan i-itateyouopenins wide' If he doesnot
in a face-to-faceposition,suy,;oo tf,ir," und then openyour
asthe one described in step 2'Fade thisprompt
readilyimitateyou, againuseaprompt such
so that the child can reliablyimitate
or allof
you openingyouf mouth' try teachingany
Afteryou havetaughtthe childto imitate andthenin the usual
the childimitateyou iniront of the minor
the behaviorslistedbelowby firsthaving of the grossmotor
situation. the behaviors thesamewaythatyou taughttheimitation
face-to_face will enablethe childto
uul" to developand {adepromptsthat
behaviors.By thispoint, you shouldu"
orderingor perseveration of the child'sresponses'

Imitation ol SimPle Actions
Addltionql Imitqtive Responsesto be Tcught
in Front of the Mirror snd then in the Usuql Fqce-io-Fqce Posltlon
Smile Frown
Smacklips Pout (lower lip out)
Shakeheadno Nod head yes
Puff up mouth with air Bite lip
Puckerup lips Roll head in circles
Brushteeth Wink (closeone eye)
Stickout tongue

Rememberthat the childshouldbe ableto imitateeachnewlylearnedresponsewhen it is

intermixedwith previously
beforeyou beginto teachnew responses.


By recordingthe child'sprogress,you should find that each new responseis learnedmore easilythan
the previousones,In fact, when the child can respondcorrectlyby imitatingyou without any prompting
the f rsttime a novel responseis presented,you will havetaughtyour child an imitatiueset or tendency,
which is exactlywhat we have been working toward! The amount of time that is requiredto teachthis
imitative set, or what is also called generalized motor imitation, varies enormously from one child to
another.Thus, some childrenneed more promptingand slowerfading of the prompts, whereasothers
requirelittleor no prompting at all. Some childrenhave mastered60 imitativebehaviorswithin I week
of 1-hour sessionsper day, and othershave required3 or 4 months of more intensivehaining, We are
uncertainabout the reasonsunderlyingtheselarge individualdifferencesin masteringbehaviors.
We recommendat least3 to 4 hours of traininga day when the child is only receivingmanual
imitationhaining. Later, when additionalprogramsare introduced,you should probablyhave a mini-
mum of t hour of imitationhaining per day. It would be easierfor you and your child if seuerolassistants
now helped you with the teaching.You have to shapethe basicstepsfor the child to imitate,but then
others could take over from there, at first merely maintainingwhat you have taught. Later, as theseas-
sistantsbeginto understandthe basicteachingprocedures,they willbe ableto teachthe child new imita-
tions. It is important that the imitationprogram be run by as many persons,in as many surroundings
(e.g., house, car, park), as possiblein order to keep the child alert all day, to keep him learning.


lmitationis one of the most important behaviorsyour child can learn and you should now extendit to
severalpartsof his life.For example,you shouldnow be moving him out of the chairas much aspossible

and teachinghim to imitate you in different locations,such as in different parts of the house, in the car,
or on a walk. If possible,have severalother personsteach him too. That is, generalizethe training.
Use your imagination and expand teaching into other areas. If he has begun to imitate your
ir i
rnovement and gestures,you may want to model dancing stepsfor him and teach him to dance. Imita-
I tion should be used as much as possiblewhen teaching the child taskssuch as brushing his hair (you
t {ii sh65rehim to imitate you when you brush your hair), brushinghisteeth, and making hisbed. You

[ffi st Imitcrtion, Mctching, cnd Ecnly Lcngutrge

' shouldexpectsomeproblemswlthteachingnewtaslts,buttheproblemsshouldbereducedeachtime
b..auseeachnewtaskrequiresthatthe childpayattentionto somethinghe hasnot seenbefore.
Theplayprogramin Chapter12isa directoutgrowthof themanualimitationprogramwe maywantto goon to thatchapteratthispointsoyoucanbeginto teachyourchildsome
free-timefun activities.

lmtlatlon of Slnib Actlonr
Identit'yingthe similaritiesand differencesbetween
MATCHING objectsis one of the fundamental skills of learning
VISUAL STIMULI that a child must acquirebelorehe can move to more
advanced skills.For example, the child learnsthat
some objectsgo togetherbecausethey look the same
(e.g., same color or same size) or that objectsgo
togetherbecausethey have the sameuse (e.9., uten-
sils).A child must learnto utilizehis past experiences
in detecting similaritiesbetween present objects or
events in order to benefit his present learning situa-
tion and to transfer learning from one situation to
another. Being able to detect similaritiesamong
diverse situationscan help provide regularity and
"smoothness"in a child'sbehavior.
One way to help chitdrenlearn to detectsimilarities betweeneventsis called matching-to'
sample,or learningto match.Quitesimply,the childis handedan objectand is taughtto placethat ob-
jectnextto the identical(or similar)objectin a groupof objectson a tablein front of him. For example,
he maybetaughtto placea shoenextto anothershoe,and not nextto the cup or the bookthat arealso
on the table.He learnsto put "like with like," or to match.Thischapterpresentsa programon matching
that is relativelyeasyto teach,flexibte,and extremelyuseful.Mostchildrenenjoythisprograma great
You will beteachingyour childto matchelements in theirconcreteform (asthree-dimensional
objects)and in their abstractform (aspictures). The childwill alsolearnto matchconcreteobjectsto their
conespondingabstractrepresentations (matchingan objectto a picture).As you learn how to teach
thesematchingprocedures,you will be in a positionto createnew programsto fill a particularchild's
needs.For example,a programfor earlyreadingwouldinvolveteachinga childto matchan objectto a
written word denotingthat object.


Selectsome objectsand pictures that are readily availablesimply by hunting through your house. It is
suggestedthat you make use of itemswith which the child hasregularcontactso that what he is learning
will be immediatelymeaningfulto him. For example,food items (suchas cookies,piecesof fruit, vege-
tables),toothbrushes,hair brushes,silverware,and smallarticlesof clothing (suchas shoesand socks)
are ideal to use in the early matchingtasks.
Objectsthat exist in identical pairs, such as two brown shoes, trvo white glasses,or two metal
spoons, are necessaryfor the early matching programs. Later programsrequire similarversionsof these
various objects.Other programs require that the child match an object with a picture of that same object
(which can be taken from a magazine)and then later match the object with a picture of a similar object.
Magazinepicturesshould be mounted on index cards or thin piecesof cardboard so that they are easy
for your child to handle.
Additional materials are needed for teaching the child to match colors and shapes. Two
squaresof each differentcolor to be matched are needed. Piecesof conshuction paper, at least3 inches
by 3 inchesin size,can be usedfor thistask.Three-dimensional and two-dimensionalrepresentations of
variousshapes,in differentcolors and sizes,are neededfor the shape-matchingtasks.It is suggested
that a set of wooden blocksbe used for the three-dimensional forms, and that the two-dimensional
forms be made from constructionpaper.


Begin by teachingyour child to match identicalthree-dimensionolobjects.lnthe followingexplanation

the lettersA, B, and C representthoseitemsthat are on the table;the lettersA', B', and C' representthe
correspondingitems that you will hand to your child for him to match.
One problemthat is likelyto occur in any stepof the matchingtasksis that of the child not look-
ing at the itemson the tablebeforehim. As a result,he tendsto placethe item to be matchedon the table
withoutlookingat the other items.Such a problemmay be partlyavoidedif you directyour child'satten-
tion to the itemson the tablebeforeyou starteachtrial. For example,you can directyour child'satten-
tion to the objectson the tableby tellinghim "Look here," whilepointingto each item individually,mak-
ing sure, of course,that he follows your fingerprompt with his eyes. Or you can help him follow your
finger as you draw a continuousimaginaryline behind the objects.
The taskof directingand buildingthe child'sattentionis one of the most difficultproblemsany
adult facesin teachingdevelopmentallyretardedchildren.Even though the child is looking directlyat
the objectsyou want him to evaluate,thereis absolutelyno guaranteethat he is "seeing"them. "Seeing"
is not the same as "looking." Teachinga child to pay meaningfulattentionto the task (to "see" or to
"hear") is a slow process.As we understandthisproblemright now, such attentionis built through"dis-
criminationtraining."That is, afterthe child hasrespondedto the wrong object (and has lost out on the
reward, or otherwisewas admonished)but at the sametime was rewardedfor respondingto the right
oblect.then slowly his attentionshould be built. He will have to attendto the right objectin order to be
reu'ardedand not admonished. Once you have this attention,the teaching of the behaviorper se
lf your child makes an incorrectresponseafter he demonstratesthat he has acquiredknowl-
ed,geof the step you are presentlyteachinghim, you may want to becomelouder and more firm in the
'e,wvrlral gou let him know that he is wrong. If your child has no consequencesto suffer once he knows

7t Imitqtion, Mctching, cnd Ecrly Lcngucge


what he is supposedto do, it would seempointlessfor him to even care about the task; he may just as
wellbe playing gameswith you. So don't be afraidto let him know that you are upset when he responds
At the sametime, should your child respond correctly, and particularlyif
incorrectlyout of carelessness.
he respondscorrectlywithout your prompting him, reinforcehim heavily.Rememberthat the contrast
between"Good" and "No" should be substantial.
Your child probablyshould not be attendingto thistaskfor more than 15 minutesat a time. If
he makes severalincorrect responseswithin a session,be sure to end the sessionafter he has made a
correctresponse.If necessary,you shouldhelp your child makea correctresponseby prompting him so
that the sessioncan be terminatedafter he is correct.This has a twofold purpose: your child will have
ended the sessionfeelingsuccessfuland he will alsolearn that he cannot be allowedto leave a session
without having met your expectationsin some way.
One final note to get you started.As in all other programs,make sureyou have your child'sat-
tention. Make sure he is looking and listeningto you beforeyou beginthe trial. Do not allow him to drift
during any trial. If you do, it is very likelythat he will respondinconectlyand you will have been wasting
your time and his time.

Step l: Mctching Simple Obiects-Flrst Pqlr

Choose the first pair of objectsthat you wish your child to match (hereafterreferredto as objectsA and
A . This need not be any particularobject,but it should not be too complexin its featuresor shape.For
example,beginwith a pair of yellow cups. Placeone yellowcup (objectA) on the tabledirectlyin front of
your child and clearlyvisibleto him. Take an identicalyellowcup (objectA') and hold it out in front of
your child, makingsurethat he looks at it. (You may need to point to the item while tellinghim, "Look
here.") While handingA (thecup) to your child, inshucthim, "Put samewith same." Your child should
take cup A' and place it on top of or near cup A on the table.
Some childrenwillhave difficultyknowing where to placethe objecton the table.One way to
help sucha child is to place A on a sheetof 3 inch by 10 inch paper, or in a pie tin, and to reinforcethe
child for placingA within that samearea.The pieceof paper (or the pie tin) helpshim definethe correct
response;it alsohelpshim to look at where to placethe object(particularlyif the adult movesthe paper
to differentpositionson the table from one trialto the next). You want to avoid having him passively
(without looking) placing the object on the table.
Once he placesA conectly near A, heavilyreinforcehim. If you feel that your child needs
more experiencewith this step, continue for 2Q or 30 trials.You must remember, however, that there is
only one objectpresent,so your child may become bored. You are likely to have lost his attentionby the
time you are ready to begin the next step.
Since you are just beginning to teach your child to match, it is highly unlikely that the task will
go this smoothly. It is possiblethat your child will have no idea of what you want him to do. If this is the
case,you have to prompt his placementof A as you tell him, "Put samewith same." As soon as he has
learnedto pick up A , you may fade the prompt by merely pointing to the area of the table besideobject
A, that is, directinghim where to placeA'. Reinforcehim afterhe has placedA'on the table.Work on
the placementof A' until he can place A' adequatelyon the table without prompts.

Stcp 2: Mcrtchlng Simple Obiects-Second Pcrir

Selectthe second object (B) you wish to teach your child to match. It should be as differentfrom the first
object as possible.For example, do not choose a fork if the first object was a spoon, or do not choose a
glassif you have hained him on a cup. If your first object (A) was a cup, choose a spoon' or a sock, for

Mctchlng Vtsuql Stimuli 73

of the child, so that the
the secondobject (B) . place A and B (the cup and the spoon) on the table in front
(a the one on the table),and
objectsare equidistantfrom him. Next, hand the child B' spoon identicalto
tellhim, "Put same with same."
(thatis, switchto
If his placementis incorrect(he placesB' near A), do not let him self-correct
and startthe trial
the right responseafter he has made the wrong one). Merelysay, "No," rettieveB',
problem with self-
over again,usinga prompt if necessaryto help the child respondconectly.The main
correctionduring early haining is that the child may merely learn to switch from one
in the early
another,without reallylooking at anything.we find it helpfulnot to let the child self-correct
hials. On the other hand, self-correctionin later learningmay be essential.Self-conection
procedures to see which
child in a different way. The best approach is to be flexibleand to try different
approachbenefitsyour child the most.
A), reward
If your child has respondedconectly (placedB' on the tablenear B and not near
untilyour child has
him. Continueto presentB' while keepingthe positionsof objectsA and B constant
allow your child to
met criterion.The reason{or leavingA and B on the tablein the samepositionis to
positionprompt (you may
usethe positionof the objectsas a prompt. All childrenmay not need such a
be ableto rotate the position of A and B on the tablefrom the onset),but many
guiding the child's response' you may do
If this position prompt does not prove effectivein
item A into place
some additionalprompting. such as isolatingitem B on the table and then fading
B', and with
besideit. To do this, place B closerto your child than to you. Presentyour child with item
each new trial, graduallymove item A forward on the table until it assumesa position besideitem B'
Repeatthe positioningprocessabove unti.lyour child has met your chosen criterion'

step 3: D'tsrchtlg sirnple obiects-Rqndom Pregentcrlion

the positionof
ObjectsA and B shouldbe placedon rhe tableequidistantfrom the child'smidline' Keep
objectsA' and
A and B on the tableconstanrthroughoutthis step and randomizeyour presentationof
8,. For example,pres€ntA'for two trials.then B'once, A'once, B'for threetrials,etc.
child will not have matchedobt€rcr A' with A sinceStep 1, it is suggestedthat in the firstfew trialsyou
presentthis item alone. (At the startof a new sessionyou may want to refreshyour child'smemory
A' and
iunning a few trialsfrom the srepjust completed beforeproceedingwith the next.) Hand objects
, your child and reinforcehis conect responsesas you have in the earliersteps;repeatthisstepuntil
B to
on the
he has met criterion.You may need to do some prompting (by pointing to the correctobject
your child was
table) in the early staEesof Step 3. You must remember that in the two previous steps
may now
matchingonly one obiectat a rime. Although your child may know which objectsto match,he
be confusedby the fao that he has to deal with two objectsat once in two different
There are several wagn in which you may inadvertentlymislead your child in these early
stages.Firstof all, if obpct A is closerto your child than objectB, it is very likelythat he will
try to make
A,or B' with the closestoblea regardlessof whetheror not it is a correctmatch. Therefore,
equally closeto
both itemson the tableequidistantfrom your child'smidline,and seeto it that they are
his sideof the table.
If you have a tendencywith eachnew trialto changehandswhen you are givingthe objects
your body,
your child, or if you hold the arm you usesomewhatoff-centertoward one sideor anotherof
For example, if you
you might unintentionallydirect your child to the objecton one side of the table.
give the object to your child with your left hand, you could inadvertentlybe directingyour child toward
trial, it
the objecton your left. Since your tendencyis to changehands as well as items with each new

74 tmitction, Mctching, cnd Ecrly Lcngucge

To avoidthis,it is suggested that you be consis-
wouldseemlogicalfor your childto followsucha lead.
in everytrial;in addition,whenyou handyour
tentwiththehandyou usein givingyourchildthe objects
you havehanded
to inadvertently guidedevelopmentally disabledihildren with suchbody cues.After
bodyto one sideor the other' Do not place
your childan object,makesurethat you do not leanyour
atthecorrectobjectbeforeyou handyourchildthe
eitherelbowon the tableduringthe trial.Do not look ap-
matching'Do not smileor frown as your child
object,and don't look while hL is in the processof it
of matching'If your childis unsureof the task'
proachesthecorrector incorrectitemin the frocessing
astheseto providehim with additionalinformation'
is verylikelythat he may look at you for cuessuch
Witnfrotaany feedbackuntil he hascommittedhimself
program'Becausehe hasso manychoices'the
step 3 is perhapsthe mostdifficultone in the point'
He may learnthe basicstepin matchingat this
childhasto learn,o*" ,Lln, in orderto succeed. table
havelearnedthatA' goeson one sideof the
and if he doeshe is overthe worst.or, he may simply followingpro-
(andto avoidpositioncues)'the
and B, goeson theother.To helphim do u"i"ul".ut.n
ceduremaYbe used.
Step {: Mctchlng Stmple Obiects-Rqndom
from your child'smidline'with
placeobjectsA and B on the tableso that they are aboutequidistant
(interchange) oblects (A'and B') you presentto your child' as in the
eachnew trial randomize is' some'
of the objects(A and B) on the table'That
previousstep.In addition,randomizetheposition '
rightside,sometimeson the left. continue withthe hialsuntilthechildmeetscriterion
timesA is on the
Step 5: Matching Simplc Obtects-Ttuec (c)' Makec different
andreplaceit with a new object
RemoveeitherobjectA or objectB from the-table steps 2
B. For example, it you have used a cup and a spoon' let C be.a sock' Repeat
from A and willreplaceobject
you huu" refton the table.(rnstep 2, objectc
through4 usingc andthe otherobject allthreeitemsby
you complete step 4, reintroduce objectB, and repeatsteps3 and 4 using
B.) When randomizing theorder
on the table(A' B' andC) constantwhile
keepingthepositionsof allthreeobjects C') ' andby randomizingthe of
of the you
objects hand to your child(A', B
of presentation
or More Palrs
Step 6: Mctchtng SLmple Obfecis-Fout Steps2
fourth object (D), in tn" rirn"*uy that you diJ objectC, that is, by repeating
lnboduce a
through4withobjectDandoneof.theotherobiectswithwhichyourchildhasalreadymetcriterion. steps3 and 4
is achieved for step 4, reintrodu." on" of tt e otier'two objectsand repeat
when criterion 3 and 4 with four objects'
the remainingobjectand repeatsteps
with threeobjects.Finally,reintroduce Simplyrepeatsteps2
thisis completed, you can continue to introducenew.ii""i into the task'
when childhasalready
on" of the oblectswith whichyour
through4 with the objectyou areirh"l;i;;und reintroduced'
A u''tif all of the old objectshave been
met criterion;then repeatSteps3 una with too many objects'or that aftera while
You may find that your childbecomesconfused to your child
you may continueto teachnew objects
you run out of ,p*" on the iable.If this happens old itemswhen
number of items in the task simply by not reintoducingas many of the
and reducethe at any one time'
five objectsare optimalon the table
you repeatstepsland 4. Perhapsfour or
Mctchtng Ylsucl Stlmull
Table 9-1 representsthe first 5 stepsof the haining sequencein outline form to help facilitate
their progiession.
Once the child has learned to match a dozen objects,the difficult part of your task is com-
pleted, and it's going to be relativelyenjoyablefor you to designnew matchingprograms. Many children
enjoy the matching programs and their motivation often improves. The basic matching procedure can
be used for a number of new tasks.


You may find it easierto teach your child to match two-dimensional objectsif they correspond to the
three-dimensional items he has just learned.For example,if you taught your child to match identical
cups or spoons, you may want to teach him to match identicalpicturesof those cups and spoons.
Teachingyour child to match picturescan proceedin the same manner as we have outlined
aboveon teachingmatchingwith three-dimensional objects.When matchingpictures,have your child
place the picture he is holding on top of the one on the tableto be matched.
You should mount picturesfrom magazineson index cardsor thin piecesof cardboardso that
they are sturdierfor your child to handle. There are severalfactorsinherent in the picturesthat may
cau5eproblems,particularlyif you have found the picturesin magazines.You may want to cover, or
remove,the borderon the picture.In many cases,bordersmay hinderthe child in matchingbecausehe
may attendto the border insteadof the pictureitself. Similarly,you shouldhy to cut out the picturesas
uniformlyas possiblebecauseyour child may attendto the shapeof the picture (e.g., circleor square)
and not to the picture itself.
You may find that some picturesare oriented verticallyand that others are oriented hori-
zontally. Picturesof different orientationsshould not be used until the child is more proficient in match-
ing. At that time you may want to reinhoduce other distacting featuresas well (borders,differentsizes
or shapes),sincethe child very likely has learnedto attendto the relevantfeaturesby this time.

Tqble 9-1. Outline oI mctching steps

Given to
Matching step child On table
First pair n

zi Second pair B' AandB

Random presentation A'andB' AandB
A ,
Random position A'andB' AandB
intermixed positionintermixed
Three pairs A" B" A, B, and C
a n dC ' positionintermixed

78 Imitction, Mcrtching,cnd Ecrly Lcngucgc

. i
on thetableand
pairsof objectsan.dpicturesareneededfor thistask.placethetwo-dimensionalpicture
three-dimensional-objects so that he can place the three-
hand your child one of the corresponding
the commandfor thistaskis
dimensional objecton top of itstwo-di.",isionul counterpart.In addition,
"Put (object)w'ith(obje't)," e'g', "Put shoewith shoe'" betweenthe three-
At the onsetof thistask,your childshouldbe ableto ableto
dimensionalitem and its two-dimensional counterpart;otherwisehe would never havebeen
the connectionbetweena three-dimensional
completethe two previoustasks.Granted,making to very young nor-
and itstwo-dimensional counterpartmay be confusingto your child;it is confusing
theirsymbolicrepresentations is basicin the educa-
mal childrenasweu.However,matchingobjectsto as
learn.proceedwiththetrainingin the sameway
tionalprocessand is an importanttaskfor thechildto
in earliermatching-to-sample training'


of rearningto matchsimilar,but not identical,ob-

In thistaskyou will teachyour childthe basicconcepts
conceptthatdifferentkindsof shoes
jects.Forexample,you -uy wantto teachhim therelativelysimple
appearance'Later you may want to teach
go together,even though they are not identicalin their as
that are more variedin sizeand shape' such
matchingof more complexobjects,that is, objects
clothes,foods,and animals' differonly slightlyamong
Essentially you needto introducegroupsof objectswhosemembers
to teach
matchidenticalbrownshoes'you will need
eachother.For example,if your child learied to your child
red shoe,or a stripedshoe'Placethe object
him to matchthe brownshoewith a blackshoe,a and proceedasin earlier
with objectsof differentcrasses,
originallylearnedto matchon the tablealong
hand him a differentversionof
matching-to-sample training.With eachn",",itiulinvolvingthat object,
ing one homogeneous set'


picturesof the objectsyou usedin matchingobjectsin crasses areneededfor thistask'Placetwo differ-

be matchedwith
pictures (of two concepts)
different on tte table,andthengivethe childa pictureto
ent a spoonand a
For exampl",lou may placepicturesof
one of them; prompt and reinforceas before. class,suchasof
prciureof a similarob]ectfrom one orthe other
brownshoeon thetable;thengiveni. u
a fork, or a red shoeand tell him to match'


neededfor this task'
used in the two previoustasksare
All of the objectsand picturesof the objects and place
item from one classand on" it"- from a differentclassof two-dimensionalobjects

Mctchlng Vlsuql Sttmult

thesetwo itemson the table. Hand your child a three-dimensionalobjectbelongingto one of the classes
representedby one of the itemson the tableand askhim to match.With eachnew hial, hand your child
a different three-dimensionalobject belonging to a classrepresentedby one of the items on the table,
and have him matchit to the appropriatepicture.In practice,this may work asfollows:placea pictureof
a shoe (e.g., a lady'sshoe) and a pictureof a spoon on the tablein front of the child. Now hand him a
brown shoe, and ask him for the appropriateplacement.Reward as before. Then rotate the pictures,
and give the child a knife, then a fork, then anothershoe, and so on. He is learningto identifyclasses
different objectsand to match these against symbolic (two-dimensional) representationsof those
Be awarethat learningto match membersinto setsthat are definedby a common functionis
difficultand may require some prior conceptual(language)skill. Therefore,very advancedmatching
may have to await prior languagelearning,which we will introducein Units V and VL


Sincecolor itselfis not an object,you will only be ableto teachyour child to match colorspresentedin a
two-dimensionalform. As discussedearlier,you will need two or more identicalcolored squaresfor
each color you introduce.Follow the same stepsusedfor teachingmatchingof objects.Sinceit is less
difficultto visuallydiscriminateamong colorsthan picturesor objects,and sinceyour child will already
have a good idea of what matchingis all about by the time thistaskis introduced,he should learnthese
tasksreasonablyquickly. You should usethe instruction:"Put (color)with (colorl." The bestprocedure
is to keep a programin operationfor aboutthreeto four weeks(1 hour a day or more); if the child makes
no progress,set the program asidefor a month or so, and then startover again. If he stilldoes not im-
prove, you may begin to suspectsome underlyingproblem, such as color blindness,but this happens


The samesequenceof stepsdescribedfor objectand picturematchingis usedfor teachingyour child to

match shapes.Sincethe child has just completedcolor matching,there may be some confusionif the
color of the item you hand to your child is the sameasthe color of anotheritem on the table.For exam-
ple, if a yellowsquareand a greencircleare on the tableand you hand your child a yellowcircle,he may
attendto the color, and not to the shape, of the item he matches.Therefore,it is suggestedthat you
eliminate any confusion on tasks until your child has graspedthe idea of both tasks. One way to avoid
matchingshapeson the basisof color is to use all blackforms. Later, when you introduce differentlycol-
ored shapes,make sure that every shapepresentedis a differentcolor, or that all shapeson the tableare
the samecolor. In eithercase,we recommendthat the item you hand to your child be a differentcolor
from the conesponding item on the table, and that you hand your child a differently colored versionof
that item with each new hial. In this way you teach your child to attend to the shape, and not to the
color, of the items.
The materialsfor this task may be obtainedby simply cutting different shapesfrom differently
colored cardboard,conshuctionpaper, or plastic.

7t Imitcrtlon, Mcrtching, cnd Ecnly Lcngucrge

Lateryou may want to teachyour child to matchgeneralized shapesby introducingshapes
(a a square'
that differin size.For example,placea large(l2-inch) cardwith variousshapes hiangle,
(2-inch shapeof
anda circle)on thetablein frontof thechild.Now handhim a cardwitha small
a hiangleand ask him to match. This procedurecan then be canied out for other shapes,
squaresor circles.


Thereis virtuallyno end to the kindsof conceptsone canbeginto teachby usingthe
duresoutlinedin thischapter.Matchingis an exhemelypowerfulteaching device.For example'you
picturesexpressing different
can useit to teachthe childto identifygroupsof behaviors,and to match
feelings(happyversussadfaces)or activities or driving)'Similarly'you canteach
earlyieading,by teaching the childto matcha cardcontaining a printedname(likeMom)witha picture
of his Mom (versus picturesof Dad or sibling).Or, you can teachnumbers,by teachingthe childto
matcha carddisplayinga particularnumeralwith a cardcontaininga group of dots
equaltothenumerical quantity.The variousmatchings canbemadeverysubtle,thusrequiringconsid-
erableinteltectualbehaviors on the partof the child.Our experience with matchinghasbeenveryfavor-
able,and it is a programthat can be kept goingthroughalmostall of the other
surprisingly,perhaps,manychildrenlearnto enjoymatching.The matching
for the children'You
own rewardvaluesincl the detectionof similorifybetweeneventsis rewarding
(Chapter 10), wheresome
may observethat the samethingshappenswith the verbalimitationdrills
fun of it, or with teachingnon-
childrenbecomeecholalic,apparentlymatchingyour voicefor the sheer
verbalimitation (ChapterSl. ine childbeginsto enjoyactinglikethe adultswho teachhim'

Mctchlng Visuql Stimuli
This program is designed to teach your child to
FOTLO$TING understandsome of what is saidto him. Specifically,
VERBAT this program will teach your child to respond cor-
rectly to simple instructions or requests, such as
INSTRUCTIONS "Stand up," "Give me a hug," or "Raiseyour arms."
This is known as training in "receptive language"
becausethe child is taught to "receive" your verbal
messageand to act appropriately in responseto that
This program on early receptive language
shouldbe taught afterthe child has acquiredthe imi-
tation responsestaught in Chapter 7. Remember,
your child has made a start in receptive speech by
respondingto such commands as "Sit down," "Hands quiet," and "Look at me." The programis easy
to teach. It will help both you and your child and he willbe easierto manage.This is particularlytrue
when you begin to teach him the meaning of statementssuch as, "Wait, we'll do it later," or "Don't
touch the stove, it will burn you."
Some parents and teachers will say, "Well, he already knows and understandsthese early
commands,so I can skip this step and go on to more advancedwork." What they mean is that some'
timesthe child will do what they want, sometimeshe saysamazingthings, or sometimeshe looks as if he
knows what is being said. That's good: the child showspotential. However, it isn't very helpfulfor either
of you for your child to be so unpredictable.Therefore, our advice to you is to teach the early stepsin
this program carefully and to establishcontrol, which means that you conhol these early behaviorsso
that he does what you want him to do, when you ask him to. Obtaining good and reliableconhol in the
early stagesof the program builds a solid basisfor later learning. You do not want your child to exhibit
tantrums or self-stimulation,but rather good sitting on chair, good eye-to-face contact with hands
down, andrelioble (predictable)responses(obedience)to early instructions ("Stand up," "Sit down,"
"Raise arms"). If you cannot control your child now, you probably will not be able to later becausethe
programswillsoon become more difficult to teach. On the other hand, you willbe pleasedand surprised
how much more relaxed and content the child willseem once he knows you are in the driver'sseat,once
he knows what is expectedand understandsthat he can't get away with all the nonsenseand crazybe-

Followlng Verbcl Instructions 8l

havior,and oncehe is in a learningsituationwherehe canbe a successful studentfor a change.Do not
be impatientand jump ahead;it is importantto buildthe basicsfirst.It is asnecessaryhereasit is in any
otherlifeventure.A childcan'tdo the advancedwork if he doesn'thavethe fundamentals down.


haveyourselfand your childseatedin chairsfacingeachother,about2feet

For all of thesesessions,

Step 1: The stimulus.Begin teachingyour child by presentingthe instuction, "Raisearms." Say it
that he is sittingup
loudly, slowly,and clearly.Make surethat the child is not self-stimulating,
straightin the chair, and that he is lookingat you. Do not give him a complicatedcommand,
such as, "John, listento me, now I want you to raiseyour arms." Such a statementcontains
too many unnecessarywords (noise),and will preventyour child from attendingto (discrimi-
nating)the criticalor releuantpart of your instruction,which is simply "Raise arms." Make
sure there is a distinctpause (threeto five seconds)betweenyour instructions.If your child
respondsto criterion (respondsconectlyto 9 out of 10, or 18 out of.20, hials),go on to the
next behavior.If your child does not respondcorrectly,go on to Steps 2 and 3.
Step 2: The uisuolprompt. Sincethe child has alreadylearnedto imitatethe actionof raisingarms,
you should raiseyour arms immediatelyfollowingthe instructionas a prompt for the child to
do likewise.If the child failsto imitatethis action, you can eitherreestablishthe imitation,or
you can physicallyprompt the child. Have the child exaggeratethe response;make him keep
his arms raisedlor 2 or 3 secondsbeforeyou reward him. This should help him know (dis-
criminate)why he is being reinforced.
Step 3: Fading the uisualprompt. Gradually and systematicallyfade your prompt by performing less
and less of the visual prompt following presentationof the instruction"Raise arms." For
example, after the child respondsconectly for five consecutivetrials, raiseyour arms so that
your hands are only as high as your head. The child must still raise his arms straightup in the
air to receivethe reward.With eachtialgradually reducethe prompt, that is, raiseyour arms
so that your hands are at shoulderlevel,then at chestlevel, and then at waistlevel,until you
provide no visualprompt at all.

Sometimesit can be very expedient and helpful to see if the child can respond to the instruc-
tion without your having to go through allthe fading. This can be determined by withholding the prompt
for a hiat or two. These are called probe triols. They "probe" to see if the child has already learnedthe
response.Some children learn very quickly, so you can skip all or some of the fading, If the child cannot
perform the instruction,go back to usingthe prompt and then fade it. In all cases,the child must raisehis
arms sbaightup in the air and should be required to hold them there for 2 or 3 secondsbefore receiving
a reward.
It is important that the child learnsto raisehis arms when you tell him to. If you let him raisehis
arms "at will" during this earty learning he willprobably not learn to listento you. Therefore, if he raises
his arms at other flmes, say "No!" loudly and stop him.
When the child can raisehis arms on command to criterion, begin teachingthe next behavior.

82 Imitctlon, Mcrtching, cnd Ecnly Lcngucge

"Touch Note"
Step 1: The stimulus.Presentthe instuction,"Touchnose.""Touchnose"is an appropriatesecond
stimulusbecauseit soundsandlooksdifferentthan"Raisearms."You shouldnot picka stim-
ulusthat is similarto the othersduringthe earlylearningbecauseyou wantto maximizethe
child'ssuccess. Forexample,"Armsout,"maybetoo muchlike,"Raisearms,"andmaycon-
fusethe childduringthe earlystages.It becomescriticalin laterlearningthat the commands
be similarin orderto buildthe child'sattentionto detailas much aspossible,but it is justtoo
difficultin the beginning.If the childrespondsto criterionto "Touch nose"teachthe nextbe-
havior.lf he cannotrespondconectlygo on to Steps2 and 3.
Step 2: The uisualprompt. Sincethe child has alreadylearnedto imitatethis action,you should
prompthisbehaviorby touchingyour noseimmediatelyfollowingthe inshuctionso thatthe
childwill do likewise.Physicallypromptthe childif he failsto imitateyour action.The child
shouldbe rewardedwhen he imitatesyou by touchinghis nose.Makesurethat the child
keepshis finger(s)on his nosefor 2 or 3 secondsbeforeprovidingthe reward.
Step 3: Fadingtheuisualprompt. Oncethechildisreadilyimitatingyou, graduallyandsystematically
fadethe prompt. For example,afterthe childconectlyimitatesthe nose-touching response
for five consecutivetrials,bringyour fingertowardyour facebut hold it about 1 inch from
your nose,then2 inches,then 3. Next,graduallyraiseyour handwith fingerpointedonlyto
the levelof your chin,thenyourchest,untilyou areprovidingno visualpromptat all.In all
cases,the childmustplacehisfinger(s) directlyon hisnoseandshouldbe requiredto holdit
therefor 2 or 3 secondsbeforereceiving hisreward.Whenthe childcantouchhisnoseon
commandto criterion,go on to randomrotation.

Random Boictlon
If you havejustfinishedteaching"Touch nose"and you now say"Raisearms,"the childwill probably
touchhisnoseinstead.The childreallydoesnot understand mean;he
yetwhatthe differentinstructions
hearswhatyou sayas"noise."Your job now is to teachhim that the two instuctionsaredifferent;you
will be teachinghim to discriminate.Randomrotationis part of this process.
Step 1: Presentthefirstinstruction("Raisearms")again. If your childdoesnothingor performsan in-
correctresponse,say "No!" loudly;repeatthe instructionand prompt the correctresponse,
The firstpromptshouldbe the weakestone usedin hainingthe response.lf thispromptfails
to producea correctresponse,a strongerpromptshouldbe usedon the nexttrial. Continue
to tncrease the strengthof the prompton succeeding trialsuntilthe childrespondsconectly.
Once the child is-responding correctly,fade out the prompt again,as you did in the initial
hainingof the response.Continuehaininguntil the child hasrespondedconectlywith no
promptfor fivetials. (Besureyourchild'sfailureto respondis not due to a failureto attendto
the task.Rememberhow he hashandledproblemsin the past.If he is wronghe willbecome
frustated.Someof the old aggression may reappearor he may startto self-stimulate again.
Don't let him act like that now.)
Step 2: Present the secondinshuction("Touch nose"). Prompt the child so he givesthe correct
responseto that instuction.Whenhe respondsconectlywith no promptfor threetrials,pre-
sentthe firstinstruction("Raisearms")again.Promptand repeatasbefore.Aftertwo correct
tials, switchback to the secondinstuction, and repeatas before.Once the child masters
thesetwo commandseasilyon the firsttry, go on to Step 3'

Followlng Verbql Inslructlons EI

Step 3: It is important to make certain that the child knows the differencebetween these first two in-
shuctions before teaching the next one. Therefore give the child a seriesof tials presenting
the two instructionsin a random order. For example, ask him to touch his nose two times,
then raisehisarmsonce, then touch his noseonce,then raisehisarmsthreetimes,and so on.
It is important to keep changingthe sequenceand the frequency of the inshuctionsso that the
child cannot figure out a pattern and use this pattern rather than your instructionsas a basis
for responding. For example, if you go regularlyfrom one instructionto the other he willlearn
to alternatethose responsesand won't really listento your instructions.Don't repeatthe same
command too many times in a row, becauseyou may teach him to perseverate,that is, to
repeat the same thing over and over. You want to be sure he is using your uords as a cue for
his response.Continue to presenttrialsuntil the child respondsto criterion,

Muliiple Requests
Now you may introduceadditional requests, such as "Clap hands," "Sit down," "Stand up," and "Pat
tummy"; other instructionscan be found in the listof nonverbalimitationsin Chapter 7. Firstteachthe
correct responseto the instruction, and then intermix it with the first two instructions.Do this for about
10 inshuctions,so that the child gets a thorough drill.
As you continue to presentnew requests,alwaystest to be sure that the child can stillrespond
to previouslylearned instructionsand to the new instructionwhen it is interspersedwith the others. Use
random presentationsof the variousinstructionsto test the child'scomprehension.
If you find that the child is having difficulty with one of the instructions,go back and work on
that instructionto get a conect response.Presentonly that inshuction and prompt the correctresponseif
necessary.Continue this retraininguntil the child respondsto criterion.Then return to randomly pre-
sentingall learnedinstructions,initiallygivingmore trialsof the probleminstructionto be sureit hasbeen
Once the child can correctly master 5 to 10 instructions,you should keep him very busy by
havinghim respondto the variouscommands.Give him a command every 5 secondsor so (that's12
commandsa minute), and take a 1-minutebreak every 10 minutes.Work with him in this way for at
least t hour a day, ideally, 3 or 4 hours spacedapart during the day. "surprise" him occasionally,
throughoutthe day, with variouscommands.The point is to keep him busydoing usefulthings(in order
to reduce his self-stimulationand other bizane mannerisms),to "tune his head" to listento you, and to
teach him to pay attention.Rememberto give your child lots of kisses,hugs, and other goodiesfor
doing the right things (he could be kisseda dozentimes a minute this way, if he can take all that loving);
and don't forget the sometimes necessarysharp smack on the behind if he startsto self-stimulateor
doesn'tfollow your commands.
Notice that this kind of exerciseis quite simple and can be canied out by relativelynaive and
untrained assistants,such as older siblingsor high school students.Rememberto generalizethe training
so that the child respondswhile he is standingup, when he is in other partsof the house,and when he is
outdoors.The child can be kept quite busy now, whereverhe is.


The next group of inshuctionsrequiresslightlymore sophisticatedbehavior on the child's part than that
r*eededfor the early inshuctions.For example, the child must be able to deal with objectsnot within his

l m Imitcrtlon, Matchlng, trnd Ecrly Longucge

1 i
immediatereach.This"pre-haining"isfor teachingthe childto labelhisown actionsand to beginlabel-
ing objectsin hisenvironment.The proceduresusedfor teachingthesetasksaresimilarto thoseusedin
the previoussection.

"Get (Qbject)"
Step 1: Thestimulus.Placeanobject (abook, aglass,orabrush)onthetablewithineasyreachof the
child. Choose an object that is easyfor the child to retrieve. Begin by presentingan instruc-
tion, suchas"Get bdok." If the child respondsto criterion,try anotherinstruction,which may
be "Get brush" or "Get glass" (seebelow). If not, prompt the conect response(Step 2).
Step 2: The prompt and fading the prompf. Presentthe instruction"Get book" while manually
guidingthe child'shand to the book, havinghim hold it, and moving it toward you. Take the
book and reinforcethe child. Placethe book back on the table, repeat the instructionand start
fading the prompt; that is, give only as much physicalguidanceas is necessaryto have him
completethe response.Once the child respondsto criterion, gradually move the book farther
and fartheraway from him on the table,and eventuallyask him to rehieve the book from a
different part of the room or from a different room.
Step 3: Labeling objects.The next instructionafter "Get book" is masteredmay well be "Get brush"
or "Get glass."You must be surethat the child is discriminatingbetweenobjectsand not just
choosingthe objectbecauseit is on the table.The correctresponserequirescorrectlabeling.
We have suggestions to help your child respondconectlyto your instructions.First,it seems
easierfor a child to identify an objectby associatingit with a familiarfunctional behaviorrather
than just pointing to it. For example, it is easierfor a child to identify a hair brush when he
hearsthe inshuction,"Brush your hair" ratherthan the instruction"Point to brush." Second,
it is easierfor the child to reach for a glassof milk when you say "Drink glassmilk," than when
you say "Point to glass."Therefore,use instructionscontainingthe action (e.g., "Drink glass
milk") to get the child to rehievethe object,and then slowlyfade the action ("drink"), ending
up with just the name of the object (glass),which he then hands to you.
Step 4: lntroducing new instrucfions.As the child's learning progresses,gradually add new instruc-
tionsfor him to handlenew objects,such as "Get toast"or "Get doll." Later you can givetwo
inshuctionsfor two objectsat the sametime. Begin this part of the task with one objecton the
child'sleft and one on his right. Graduallymove the objectsaway from him (6 feet, 12 feet,
and eventuallyin another room) so that he has to move around and searchto get them for
you. The more instructionsthe child has mastered,the busieryou can keep him.

Now let's turn to a different kind of instruction, requiring slightly different haining steps.

stepr: rhestimutu, chird to
criterion.teachanotherbehavior.If the childdoesnot respondcorrectly,promptthe correct
Step 2: Theprompt. Presentthe instructionwhileyou and the childare standingat the lightswitch'
Afterstatingthe instruction(avoidmorethan 1-seconddelays),takethe child'shand,bringit
to the switch,and assistthe childin the motionof turningon the switch,Reinforcethe child
for thispromptedresponse.Thenturn off the light,waitseveralseconds,and presentthe in'
structionagain.Promptthe childonly asmuchasnecessary. For example,followingthe in-

Following Verbsl Instructions 85

struction,wait for a second or two to see if the child will reach for the switch before prompting
this action. Once his hand is on the switch,whetherhe put it there or you prompted this ac-
tion, wait a second to seeif he will operatethe switch unassistedbefore prompting this action.
Step 3: Fadingthe prompt. Fadethe prompt by touchingor holdingthe child'shand more lightlyand
by removing your hand from the child's hand before he pressesthe switch, then before he
reachesthe switch, then when his hand is half-wayto the switch, and so on until he is canying
out the motion unassisted.Rememberto allow the child to succeedat each level of prompting
a few times beforereducingthe prompt further. Remember,do not let him turn on the light
without your having instructed him first. You want him to learn to listen to you.
Step 4: This step teachesthe child to respond to this instructionwhen he is not standingwithin reach
of the light switch. Once he is respondingto criterion on the original task, move afew feet
from the light switch and presentthe instruction.If the child failsto respond,prompt him by
giving him a gentle push toward the switch. If he still fails to respond, move closer to the
switch.When the child can crossthe room and turn off the lightto criterion,beginteachinga
new behavior.

You will find that some behaviorsmay be rewardingin themselves.For example, children
who like to turn lightson and off may not need to receivean additionalreward for completingthe task.
However, you must be surethat the child is respondingto your instruction,and not rewardinghimself,
when he turns on the lights.If he does so without beingasked,you must show your disapprovalsothe
child learnsthat he must attend to your instructionand not do as he pleases.

Tecching Alfectioncrte Behcrvior

You can usethe methodsdiscussedin thischapterto teachthe child affectionatebehaviors,suchashug-
ging, kissing,pattingyou on the head, or shokingyour cheek.Thereare many questionsone can enter-
tain about this way of training affection: "Can affection be trained in the first place?" "Won't it be
"ls it right when affectionhas to be taught?""shouldn't it be spontaneous?"There is no really
good answer to these questions, except that the training works. (ln fact, it is possible that normal
childrenlearn affectionatebehaviorin the samemanner.) Children who have been taught to show affec-
tion are easierto work with, and if they are not taught affectionatebehavior, they will never know
whetheror not they like it, Also, it is importantto consideryour needsand what you want, not just what
the child wants. Children who show affectionare part of the reinforcementadultsneed when working
with children.So, for the sakeof the child and your own "survival,"the child ought to be taughthow to
show affectiontoward others.


Yourchildcanbetaughtto respondto manyotherinshuctions of a similarnature.Try to teachthechild

behaviors thatwillbe usefulto othermembers of thefamilyaswell,suchas"Closethe door,""Turnoff
the TV' and "Pick up the toys." As you teachnew behaviors, rememberto reviewthe previously
treamed behaviors,retrainingany that may havebeenforgotten.Also rememberto presentthesein-
structionsoff andon throughoutthe day,sothatthechildiskeptbusylisteningto you, andactingappro-
priately.He hasto learnto bealertfor your instructions,
sothatyou graduallybreakthroughtheindiffer-
enceand self-stjmulation. Keephim busy.

tf Imitqtion, Mcrtching, crndEcrly Lcngucge

, ]li..Jt
shouldknow how to followseveral
As you finishthebainingoutlinedin thischapteryourchild
imitatemanyactionslsitstillforreasonable (S-minute)periodsof time' andreducehisself-
dependson the individualchild,For
stimulation.The lengthof ti." requiredto achievetheseresults
months.It is impossible to tellwho is
somechildrenit may takeonly a week;othersmayrequireseveral
baining'We do know thatif the
goingto movefastand who is goingto moveslowlybeforeyou startthe
in subsequent programs'
.hilJ.ou., rapidlyin this learningprogramhe will moverapidly
point. Your childwill startto look more
Certainunexpectedb"n"Jii, willbeginaccruingat this
to sleepbetterat night' because
grownup, hiseyeswililook more alert.At the sametime, he willbegin
otherdesirable sideeffects'The childprob-
he istiredfrom allthe hardwork of taining. Therearemany
(all childrendid), and he will be betterableto
ablywill becomemore attachedto you emotionally our joyful
variedaffect,sothat he will look more
handleeverydayfrustation.He shouldstartto showmore
(atsuccesses),or moreanxiousandsad(atfailures) . In short,he will startto look moreand morelikean


go wrong evenin the earlystepsof this program'Some

As you will soonfind out, many thingscan
re-spond to the command"Raisearms,"actingasif
childrenareveryrazy.For example,tt ey *itt-uurely
lind of behavior.If the childperformsinadequately,
their handsweremadeof lead. Don,tacceptthat
(like"Touchhead")' and he willend up confused'
hisbehaviormaybeginto look likesomeotheraction per-
perhapsspankhim if you have to) when he
Let him know you are displeased(yellat him and
may now beginto tantrum'You shouldexpect
Also,it is truein theseprogramsthatthe child
t a n t r u m s a n d a n g e r w h e n y o u i n t r o d u c e nyou
e w p r o g r a m s b e c astop
u s ethat
t h ekind
c h i of
l d behavior
h a s b e eim-
in this way for several years. cannot gethim to
demandsand novelty willtake
thebehaviorwhenit appears;otherwiseit haveno choicebutto try to eliminate
over completeqild you are lettinghim self-stimulate
may be slow in learningtheseprograms.because
deff-stimulution may comebackbecauseyou justget
too much,and he is payinglittleattention,l vou.
t i r e d a n d d e p r e s s e d f r o m u s i n g a v e r s i v e s u n d b " i n g s o hin
a r d o n t h e c h i l d . T h a tit' swill
v ere-
it becomes increasingry easy to keep the self-stimulation check,and eventually
quirevery littleefforton your part'
Ifyourchildseemstohaveahardtimelearningearlycommands'whichareveryeasyformost punishments(your
somethingwrong. Your rewards-and
children,checkand see if. you are doing thispossibility before'lt is oneof the
we mentircned
,,Good,,s and,,No,,s)maybe soundingahkl to him.
m o s t c o m m o n m i s t a k e s o n e m a k e s i n w o r k i n g w i t h t h e s emo'e
d e v ed'amatic
l o p m e nyou
t a l lare'
y d i sthe
a bbetter'
to oct angry, or hy to act very sweet' Ham it up' The
shouldty loud
makehim smile'"No" shouldbefullof
,,Good,,should be full of softs*eetnessa'ndgoodnessand
angerand threatand shouldmakehim mildly you fadethe
to the programyou are teaching'If
Otherproblemsmay arisethat are ,pu"iii. you and willthusraise
prompt by raising your arms less and less,the childmaycontinueto imitate
visual prompt or sr1!e the correctresponseby
his armsonly as high as you do. If this go of his handsand
untilhiselbowsarestraight'Then let
gentlypullingthe cf,ild,sarmsup by hishanis for severalseconds'I{ he lowershis
his armsup unassisted
rewardhim when he hascontinuedto hold
Following Verbql Instructions
armswhen you let go, pull them up againand reinforceonly afterseveralsecondsof unassisted arm
raising.Gradually andsystematically
fadethispromptby pullingmorelightlyon thechild'shandsandby
lettinggo of his handsearlierand earlier,for example,when his handsare at head level,then at
shoulderlevel'Continueto rewardonlyfor correctresponses: raisingthearmsstraightabovethehead.
You shouldalsobeon thelookoutfor thechild'stendency to "hookon theprompt."Children
with developmentaldisabilitiesare often distracted,rather than helped, by extra stimuli such as
prompts.For example,if you are inadvertently movingyour eyesin the directionof the desired
responsewhenaskingthe childto geta particularobject,thechildwill verylikelybeginattendingto your
eyemovements(ratherthan to whatyou say),and learnthe wrongcues.Try to makesureyou do not
givehim suchextracues.
The taskof teachingyour childshouldbe enjoyable and rewardingfor you; a lackof enthu-
siasmor discontenton yourpartdoesnot makefor thebestlearningenvironment.You musttakebreaks
from the taskof teaching.Breaksareasnecessary for you astheyarefor the child;takecarenot to burn
out. You couldarrangeyourteachingschedule so thatfamilyandfriendsareableto watchthechildre-
spondto your teaching.Also, becauseyou work so closelywith the child, you may not noticehis
achievements as clearlyas those who observe.Feedbackfrom observersis your reinforcementto

I Imltqtion, Mctchtng, cnd Ecrly Lcngucgo

The program in this chapter is the most difficult one
VERBAL in the book, It outlinesthe firststepsin teachingyour
IMITATION child how to talk, that is, it teacheshim how to imitate
speech,beginningwith soundsand words. Mostslow
Imitcrtionof childrenfind it very difficultto learnto imitatespeech.
It is easierfor them to learn to imitate actionsand ges-
Sounds tures (Chapter8). It is wiseto startteachingthis pro-

andWords gram early and to devote a part of each day to verbal

imitationtraining.The amount of time you put into
verbal imitationhaining depends on how important
you feel it is for the child to talk, relativeto the other
skillshe needsto acquire.We spendabout half of the
teachingtime on the languageprograms, which in
the beginningmeansthat we spend a greatdeal of time, upward of 4 hours a day, teachingthe child to
imitatespeech.You probablywillnot make much progresson speechunlessyou spendat leastt hour a
day on the training,preferablyone-halfhour in the morning, and one-halfhour in the afternoon,when
the child is in his bestform. Ideallyyou should alsotry someimitationtrainingat differenttimesthrough-
out the day.
It is wiseto mix the traininga bit so that the verbalimitationtrainingis mixed in with nonverbal
imitation,receptivecommands,and so on. Perhapsevery3 to 5 minutesof verbalimitationtrainingyou
should present some trials of already mastered material from other areas. This helps reduce the
monotony of the training.
Teachinglanguageis a complexjob and we shallonly presentthe beginningstepsin thisbook.
Those who experienceconsiderablesuccessin this introductory program may want to consult a book we
wrote specificallyon languagetraining, The Autistic Child, LanguageDeuelopment through Behauior
Modificotion (Lovaas, 7977), that includes more complex taining for languageprograms.
Bef.oreyoubegin to teach verbal imitation, you must be warned that not all children can learn
to talk using the program we have outlined in this book. It is difficult to say beforehand which child will
tearn,and which will not. If the child is lessthan 6 yearsold, and particularlyif he alreadyusescompli-
cated consonant-vowelcombinations, then he probablywill learn quickly. On the other hand, if your

Verbcl Imitation 89
child is over 6 yearsold, and if he is not making some sounds or words involving "difficult" consonants
(suchas k, g, p), but merelygivesan occasionalvowel ("ooh," "ah"), then it has been our experience
that he will progressvery slowly. Perhapsall children can learn some speech,but this may require such a
hemendous expenditure of effioftthat the verbal imitation program becomesrather impractical,consid-
ering all the other skillsa slow child must learn. If you work for 2 or 3 months on verbalimitation training
and your child is not making much progress(cannotimitatefive or more succinctsounds),then you
should considerminimizingor dropping the program. You may want to come back to it later. A child
can learn to communicate effectivelywithout actually using his vocalcords; he can learn to "talk" with
his hands.Chapter24, on manual signing,is for thosechildrenwho failto learn verbalimitation.If you
find that your child is not learning to talk, spend time strengtheninghis abilitiesin other areas.
The child who becomesproficientin verbalimitationdoes not simultaneouslylearnthe mean-
ing of the sounds. He is merely learningto imitatewords. Unit V, "lntermediateLanguage,"contains
programsfor teachingmeaning.If your child alreadyhas acquired someecholaticspeech,it is stillim-
portant to have him undergo verbalimitationtrainingso that you get good conhol over his imitations.
Finally, at the same time that you begin work on the languageprograms {which probably will never be
completely masteredby the slow child), start teaching your child other skills. Becauseit will take some
time to finish this program on verbal imitation, we usually introduce the child to our play program
(Chapter 12) at this point. Also, we introduce some more practicalprograms before we teach more lan-
guage. Therefore, Unit IV deals with basicskillsthe child needs to take better care of himself, such as
eating and dressing,Programs for teaching more advanced language are found in Unit V. However,
you should keep practicingthe verbal imitation program for part of each day, mixing this program with
earlierprogramsand with the play program. Verbal imitation is a hard skillfor your child to learn, and he
will need lots of practice.
The program in this chapter is composed of five phases: 1) increasingvocalizations,2) bring-
ing vocalizationsunder temporal control, 3) imitation of sounds,4) imitation of syllablesand words, and
5) imitationof volume, pitch, and speed of vocalizations.


A vocalization isanysoundmadewiththevocalcords, includinggrunts,laughter,babbling, "ah's,"and

"ee's."The goal of thisphaseof the programis to increasethe frequencyof thesevocalizations. You
wantyour childto learnthat verbalizingwillbe rewardedwith food and praise,and that he cancontrol
the supplyof food, praise,and other rewardsby makingsounds,so that he will not usehis abilityto
vocalizejust for self-stimulation.
Step l: You and your childshouldbe seatedfaceto faceand aboutL to 2feetapart.Sincechildren
typically"clam up" (stopvocalizing) whenthey areanxious,it is importantthat the situation
now be asfriendlyand happyaspossible.Try to avoidusingtoo manyaversives for tanhums
andself-stimulationbecause thatwill quiethim downtoo much.Any tanbumsandself-stimu-
lationshouldbe at manageable levelsby now.
Step 2: Say,"Talk," and immediately rewardeachvocalresponse with praiseand food. You may
repeatthe insbuctionevery5 to 10seconds.Try to establish a nice"flow" or "naturalpace"to
your requestsof "Talk." If you are doing it right, then your pleasant,happy manner,your
timingof "Talk," and the natureof your rewardsshouldhelp prompt vocalizations, which
you canthenreward.

Imltqtlon, Mcrtchlng, cnd Early Longucgo

Step 3: If your childdoesnot makeanysounds,you mayphysicallyprompthim with tickling,caress-
ing, or bodilyactivity(likejumping),which may inducehim to vocalize.Immediatelyrein-
forceany soundsthat your child makes.If thistype of promptingfailsto produceany vocal
response,you may want to backtrackto the programon "lmitationof FacialExpressions"
(Chapter8) and intermixthat trainingwith the promptsfor vocalizations.

Rememberthat eventhis earlystepwill be hardto learnfor almostall the children,Evenif a

a lot, it willtakehim a longtimeto "catchon" to the notionthatvocalizing pro-
childis usedto vocalizing
duceseffectson you. It seemsobviousto you thathe shouldcatchon to that quickly'but it willnot be ob-
viousto him. Technically, theremaybetwo problemsinvolved:1) hisearlyspeechmaybeconholledby
elicitingstimuli(thatis, it may be respondenf) andthereforedifficultto bringunderoperantconfrol(that
is, underthe controlofrewardsgivencontingent on his behaviorl,or 2l the earlyspeechhasbeena
form of self-stimulation, that is, the child hasbeengettinghis rewardthroughthe sensoryfeedbackin-
volvedin the actof vocalizingitself.Bringingthe behaviorunderthe conhol of your externalrewards,
you canconsiderPhaseI mastered whenthe childmakesroughly10 or morevocalizations
per minute,over2-or 3-minutetimespans.In otherwords,thephaseis mastered whenit lookslikehe
from you by vocalizing'
is gettingthe ideathathe can controlthesupplyof food and otherreinforcers


The goalof phaseII isto teachthe childto makea vocalization within3 secondsafteryou say,"Talk'" In
phaseI youtaughthimthathe couldconholthesupplyof rewards by vocalizing.Nowyou willteachhim
but only if he firstlisfensto
somethinga littlemorecomplicated.He will gettheserewardsby vocalizing,
you uo.ulir".It is a beginningstepin teachinghim how to listen,and,in a sense(withinlessthan3 sec-
onds),he willberewarded.
L to 2 feet apart'
step 1: You and your child shouldbe seatedfaceto faceand about
Ste; 2: Say,
,,Talk,"and reinforceeachvocalresponse thatoccurswithinabout3 secondsafteryour
makesa vocal
demandwith praiseand food. Thesetials shouldcontinueuntil the child
responseto your instructionwithin about3 secondsfor 10 consecutive
yourinstruction and hisresponse shouldnow be decreased to about2
Step 3: The intervalbetween
within2 seconds afteryousay,
seconds. Thatis,yourchildmustnow makea vocalresponse
at a 2-second intervalforabout10 consecutive trials,theinter-
Step 4: Whenthechildhassucceeded
to 1 second.Whenthe childhasmadevocalresponses within 1 sec-
val is furtherdecreased
trials,go on to
ond afterthe demandis stated(andthe soonerthe better)for 10 consecutive
,,spontaneous" that occuroutsidethe time intervalfollow-
(thatis, vocalizations
noddingand saying,"Good talk'"
ing your requestto "Talk") shouldbe rewardedlessprofusely,by
you shouldreservethe bigreinforcers(food,kisses) thatoccurwithinthe timeinterval'
for vocalizations
vocalizationsat all duringthe earlytraining'
Somepeople*uy pref"r-notto reinforce"spontaneous"
becauseit probablymakesthe child'staskharder-he cannot
may not learnthat he is beingre-
forced.That is, if he is beingrewardedfor beingspontaneous'he
wardedfor vocalizingat a specifictime'
Verbcrl Imitqtion
The hainingis now becomingmore complicated-you have more options,and it is not always
obviouswhich courseof actionis best.You are not the only personwho does not know exactlywhat to
do- No one hasworked out allthe detailsyet; perhapsthat is why somechildrencatchon to the imitation
program,and othersdo not. Sinceyou don't alwaysknow which programis best,try differentones.Try
one approachconsistentlyfor a few days and see how it works (collectdata on how well the child is
doing); then switchto anotherapproach,and seeif the child improves.If you have a team workingwith
you, have one or two personsteachone program, let the othershy a differentone, and then compare
how the child is doing on the two programs.This method shouldnot confusethe child unlesseachper-
son tries something different from trial to trial. Experiment. Be prepared to make mistakes.There is no
way to find out what method worksbestfor your child if you are unwillingto make mistakes.As far asthe
child is concerned,he has to get usedto inconsistency and mistakes,sincethe world is full of them. It is
betterif your child getshis first lessonsin inconsistencyand mistakesfrom you becauseyou can besthelp
him handlehisreactionsto that. You haveto be consistentin collectingdata so that you can decidewhat
works best. Once you find the right program, you should be consistentwith your training.


The goalof PhaseIII is to teachyour child to imitatespecificsoundsthat he will laterusein sayingwords.

Your child should initiallylearn to imitateabout 10 sounds,includingat leastthree consonants.A sam-
ple group of sounds is:

a ("ah") b ("buh") f ("ef") d ("duh") k ("kuh")

m ("mm") o ("oh") e ("ee"\ u ("uh") t ("tuh")

The firstsoundsto be brought under imitativecontrolmay be soundsthat the child frequently

emittedwhile you were increasingthe amount of his vocalizations, or they may be soundsthat he made
when you were establishing temporal control, or they may be "eaSy"sounds, like "ah," "mm," "oh."
(Wait with s, k, g, l, and so on becausethey are more difficultsounds.)

The First Sound

The followingprocedurecan be usedin teachingyour child to make his firstsound in imitationof your
Step 1: You and your child should sit face to face about I to 2 feet apart.
Step 2: On eachtrial, say one sound, such as "ah."
Step 3: On the firstfive trials,any sound that the child makeswithin 3 secondsof your sound and that
is even just a rough approximationof the sound you made, is rewarded. For example,in
early training,if you are saying"ah," and he is giving you "eh," that is acceptable.
Step 4: For certainsounds,the child may fail to match, even roughly, the sound you make. In these
cases,visualand/or manualpromptingshouldbe usedto produce a rough approximationof
your vocalization.
In the uisuol prompting procedure exaggeratethe shape of your mouth when you
say the sound. For instance,when saying"ah" you should open your mouth very wide.
Reinforceyour child for imitatingthe shapeof your mouth whetheror not he vocalizes.If nec-
essary,open his mouth for him. When the child has successfully imitatedthe shapeof your
mouth, then demand that the child imitatethe shapeof your mouth ond make a sound. The

tfi Imitqtion, Mcrtching,crndEcrly Lcngucge

resultingvocalizationshould be at leasta rough approximation
of the sound you made. The
visualprompting procedureis continueduntil the child hasroughly
approximatedthe sound
you made for five consecutivetrials.
In the manualpromptingprocedure,you hord the child'smouth in
the appropriate
shapewhile the child vocalizes.Thus, you can manuallyprompt the ,,mm,,by
sound holding
the child'slips togetherwhen he vocalizes.The prompt forcesthe child produce
to at leasta
rough approximationof your sound. A speechtherapistcan give you many
suggestions on
how to prompt difficultsounds,suchashying a mild gag to produceconsonantsg
or k, or de-
pressingthe child's tongue with a tongue depressorto get a good "ah."
The full prompt is
useduntil the child hasroughly matchedyour sound for five consecutivetrials.The prompt
then graduallyladed untilthe child hasroughly approximatedyour vocalizationwithout
manual prompting for five consecutivetrials.
Step 5: After the child has roughly approximatedyour vocalizationon five consecutive
trials (using
the procedurein Step 3 or Step 4), the child'sresponseis shopedto more closelymatchyoui
vocalization.That is, on successive trials,you should reinforceresponsesthat more closely
match your vocalizations. Specifically,on a giventrial you shouldreinforcea responseonly if
it approximatesyour vocalizationas closelyas, or more closely than, the last reinforced
response.However, if your child failsto match your sound closelyenough to be reinforced
for a number of trials, backtrack and reinforce a less accurate approximation to keep his
vocalization"alive." If your child receivestoo littlepraisehe will lose interestin the imitation
Step 6: The shoping of the child's responseis continued until the child can accuratelyimitatethe
sound you make. When the child has correctlyimitatedthe first sound for 10 consecutive
trials,imitationtraining of the secondsound can begin.

The Second Sound

The secondsound chosen for imitation haining should be quite differentfrom the first sound. For exam-
ple, if "ah" was the first sound taught, "mm" would be an appropriatesecondsound.
Step 1: Steps 1 through 6, used in teachingthe firstsound, are the samestepsused for teachingthe
child to imitate the secondsound "mm."
Step 2: After the child hascorrectlyimitatedthe secondsound, "mm," for 10 consecutivetrials,rein-
troduce the first sound, "ah." Continue to presenttrialsuntil your child has respondedcor-
rectly for five consecutivetrials.
Step 3: RepeatSteps 1 and2 until the child makes, at most, one error the first time you say each
Step 4: You should now begin random rotation with the two sounds, for example: "ah," "mm,"
"ah," "mm," "mm," "ah,t' "ah,tt"ah," "mm," "ah." If thg child losgsong of thg soundsdur-
ing this step, go back and rebuildit, then place the two soundsback into random rotation.
Continue to present trials in random rotation until the child has imitated you conectly to
criterion.Your child is now ready to learn to imitatea third sound.

Sounds 3 Through l0
Step 1: The procedurefor teachingthe remainingsoundsis the sameas that for teachingthe firsttwo

Verbcl Imiicriion t0
Step 2: After each new sound is acquiredby the child, you shouldmix presentations of the new
soundrandomlywith presentations of the soundslearnedearlier(soasto keepthe old learn-
ing intact)until the child hasrespondedcorrectlyto criterion,
Step 3: Whenyourchildcanimitatesixto tensounds,youshouldbeginthe nextphase,buildingsyl-
lablesand words.However,you shouldcontinueto teachyour childto imitatethe remaining
soundsin the list.

Againbe aware,asyou areworkingon verbalimitations, whichis a hardjob bothfor you and

the child,thatthe childmay "regress,"that is, startto tantrumand self-stimulate. If that is the case,you
haveto go backand settlehim down. Thereis no sensein tryingto work with a childwho is squirming
and payingno attention,at leastnot whenyou aredemanding difficultlearning,asin verbalimitation.
Yet, as we said,you haveto go easyon the aversives in this kind of training.
Also,sincethe work is verytedious,consider"sprinklingin" variousinstructions thatthe child
canfollowsuccessfully in orderto breakup the monotonyandto helphim retaina senseof success. For
example,oncein a while (every2 minutesor so) give thechilda nonverbal imitationto imitate (suchas,
"Arms up," "Touchstomach,"or "Touchnose")or somesimpleinstruction(suchas, "Standup" or
"Patthe table").


Word List
mama up open tummy
papa eat pee pee eye
bye bye cookie go milk
down water baby out

The words you chooseto teach should be composed of soundsthat the child can readily imitate. For in-
stance "banana" should be chosen only if the child can imitate the sounds "ba" and "na." "Tickle"
should be chosen only if the child can imitate the sounds "t" and "k." It's easierto start with words that
have "like" sounds (homogeneouschains)like "mama" or "papa," or nearlylike sounds,like "cookie"
or "baby." Words composed of very dissimilarsounds (heterogeneouschains) like "table" and "clock"
should be presentedlater.

The Flrst Word

Step 1: For the firstfew (20-50)trials,saya word,suchas"mama,"and reinforceany approxima-
tionsthatincludethe mainsoundsin the word.Thus"ma," "mam," "ma-a,"or "muck"are
adequateinitialapproximations of "mama"; "daga"is an adequateinitialapproximationof
Step 2: If the child makesan adequateinitialapproximationto the word on the firstfew bials,you
shoulduseshopingon the laterhialsto makethechildmorecloselyapproximateyourverbal-
ization.That is, in a givenhial, reinforceyour child'sresponseonly if it approximates
word ascloselyas, or morecloselythan,the lastreinforcedresponse.Continuethe shaping
procedureuntilthe child'sapproximation clearenoughto beread-
of the word is consistently
ily understoodby mostpeople.The child'sresponseneednot exactlymatchyourpronuncia-
tion;an adequateimitationof "tickle"wouldbe "tihka"or "tihko."

oa Imitqtion, Mctching, crndEcnly Lcngucge

Step 3: Forsomewords,your childmayfailto approximate evenroughlyyour word on thefirsthials.
For example,the child may fail to imitateone or moreof the soundsthat makeup the word
(componentsounds),An inadequate approximation of "mama" is "ah," "milk" is inade-
quatelyexpressedas "mah," and an inadequateapproximationof "doggie" is "dah" or
"gah."In thesecases,you mustbuildthe wordusinga shapingprocedure.Dividethe word
into itscomponentsoundsand presenteachsoundasa separatetrial.Thus,"mama"breaks
down69"Jnp"-('ah"-"mah"-"mah mah"-"mama." Thechildimitates eachcomponent
whenit ispresented,andisreinforced for repeating
eachcomponent.In thefollowingsample
sequence the "good" saidby the adultrepresents the rewardyou useduringthe exercise,
suchas food or socialreinforcement.

Adult: "ah"
Child: "ah"
A d u l t : " G o o d.!. . m a h "
Child: "ah"
Adult: "mm"
Child: "mm"
A d u l t :" G o o d ! . . . a h "
Child: "ah"
Adult: "mm"
Child: "mm"
Adult: (Maywaitfor the childto say,"ah.")
Child: "ah"
Adult: "Good!" (Repeatsequence.)

The point of the traininghere is that you want the child to "chain," or "hook up,"
two differentsoundsso that, once he hassaidone sound, that is hiscue for the secondsound.
For example,"mm" becomeshis cue for saying"ah" without your giving him the "ah" first.
You do this by graduallyfading your cue ("ah"), eventuallywaiting him out.

Building the first word is a difficult procedure to write out in detail, and you may have to im-
proviseto help a particularchild along. For example,if you are working on "mah," the child may give
you "ah" when you say "mah" becausethe last sound in your "mah" is "ah," which is the strongest
sound for him, sincehe heard it more recentlythan "mm." He may give you "mah" if you say "mm."
Therefore, stay with saying "mm" for a while, then fade in the "ah" in your "mah" slowly, retaininghis
"mah" with rewards.
After the child has performed the sequencecorrectly on five consecutivepresentations,you
shouldgradually,in the succeedingsequences,speedup the rate at which the soundsare presented.As
the rate of presentationspeedsup, the reinforcementspresentedbetweenthe component soundsgrad-
ually are dropped. At this point the sequence may be:

Adult: "mah"
Child: "mah"
Adult: "mah-mah"
Child: "mah"
Adult: (Waitsfor the child'ssecond"mah" or minimallyprompts')
Child: "mah"
Adult: "Very good!"
Verbcl Imit<rtlon
It is important to intermix presentationsof one-syllableand two-syllableunits, for example, "mah,"
"mah-mah," "mah-mah," "mah," in order to help him discriminatebetween those two kinds
of sounds.
The child may persistin making slightpausesbetweenthe sounds of the word for quite some
time ("mah. . . mah"). However, these pausesgradually can be eliminated by selectivelyreinforcing
only those instancesin which the child saysthe word with lesspause.

The Second Word

The second word chosen for imitation training should be quite differentfrom the first word. For in-
stance,if "mama" is the first word taught, "baby" is an appropriatesecond word. You may accept
"baba" or "bebe" as adequateapproximations.The secondword, like the first, should be composedof
soundsthat the child can imitate separately.
The secondword should be taught in the same way the first word was taught. After the child
has correctlyimitatedthe secondword for 10 consecutivetrials,you should begin random rotationof
the two words. Use random rotationin the sameway aswe have describedearlier.Presentthe firstword
to the child. Continue to presentthis word until the child has correctlyimitated it for five consecutive
trials.You may need to prompt the word on the firstfew trialsby separatingthe word into itscomponent
soundsas you did in the initial haining. Now reintroducethe secondword. Continue to presenttrials
until your child has respondedcorrectlyfor five consecutivetrials.Then presentboth words untilthe
child makes, at most, one error the first time you presenteach word. Randomly rotate the order in
which the two words are presented.

Words 3 Through l0
The procedurefor teachingthe remainingeightinitialwords is the sameasthat for teachingthe firsttwo
words. After your child learnsto imitateeachnew word, you should mix presentationsof the new word
with presentationsof the words learned earlier using random rotation until the child has responded
to criterion.
When the child can imitate 10 words consistently,you should beginthe next phase:imitation
of volume, pitch, and speed. Concurrently,however,the child should be taughtto imitatethe remain-
ing words on the list, the names of people with whom he interactsregularlyand any other labelsthat
would be functionaland usefulfor him in his environment,such as "(Jp," "Down," and "Open."

lntroduclng Additionql Words

When you shape words that contain differentsoundingunits, start with the last unit of the word and
work backward.This is called"backwardchaining."For example,if you work on "mommy," firsttrain
"mee," then put "mah-mee" together.If you train "cookie," then "kie" is initiallyenough for him to get
his reinforcer(cookie);later demand that he say "coo-kie." Usuallywhat will happen when you take
apart a word like that is that it will sound "mechanical" or awkward at first, almost as if it were two sepa-
rate words. Don't worry about that-you will be reinforcinghim for betterapproximationsover time, so
that eventuallyit will sound natural.
Rememberto teachwords that can be made functionalforthe child, that is, wordsthat he can
us€to fill his needsand desires.For example,"Up" is good, becausehe can be taughtthat he hasto say
rharin order to get up out of the chair. "Cookie" is good, becausesayingthat getshim a cookie."Open"
s ggod becausehe can be taught that saying"open" meanshe will be let out of doors.

s Imitcrtion, Mctching, cnd EcrrlyLcngucge

i i

. i l
Many children can be overheard to say some words before you begin training, but they do not
say the word when you ask them to, and they rarely use the word appropriately. Our advice is to hy to
getreliableholdofthesewords,and, if thatdoesnotsucceed, goback,simplifythings, andgaincontrol.
Demand simplesounds and/or words to startwith, get reliableimitationfirst, then become more elab-
orate later.
Finally, presentmany informal rehearsalsof words and soundsthe child can imitate. Do it
everywhere,and presentit as an enjoyablegame, hoping he willlearn to like his imitations.If he does,
he will become"echolalic,"which is good, becausehe will "play" with speech,imitateyou a lot, even if
he doesn'tknow the meaningof what he says(you can teachhim meaninglater).If he doesnot beginto
spontaneouslyimitateyour speech,and if each word is very difficultfor him to learn to express,even
afterseveralmonths of haining, then you have a child who willprobablynot talk a lot lateron. You will
have to supplementhis vocal speechwith manual (hand) signing,which is describedin Chapter 24'
Don't get too upset about this, however; some people do quite well without speakinga lot.


pitch, and
As your child learnsto imitatehis firstwords, he may show problemsin the areasof volume,
overall speedwith which he says his words. Theseproblemscan be r"zmediedusing shaping.

Volume Imitcrtion
Step l: Begin by sayingin a very loud voice one of the soundsthat your child can imitate.Reinforce
the childto
the child simplyfor imitatingthe sound on the firsttrial.In succeedingtrials,shape
child only if he imi-
match your volume. That is, on each succeedingtrial you reinforcethe
than, the
tatesthe sound correctly ond ifthe volume of the responseis as loud as' or louder
by getting the
volume of the lastreinforcedresponse.You may try to prompt a loud volume
as would a school
child excitedand moving around, or by activelygesturingfor "loudness"
is matchingyour
cheerleaderor symphony conductor.The drill is continueduntilthe child
quiet and gentle,
Step 2: Make the secondsound in a near whisper.Prompt softnessby being very
reinforcedonly if
settlingyourselfand the child down. Put your fingeron his lips.The child is
is as soft as, or softerthan,
he imitatesthe sound correctlyand if the volume of the response
child is matching
the volume of the last reinforcedresponse.Trainingis continueduntil the
your near whisPer.
Step 3: you should now randomly rotatethe loud sound and the softsound. Presentthe loud sound
quiet movement. Gradually
with its prompt (the "loud" gestures)and the soft sound with
is continueduntilthe
fadetheseprompts.Randomlyvary and rotatethe two sounds.The drill
child can shift from loud to soft easily'
a soft volume' Continue
Step 4: Next introduce and train new sounds one at a time at either a loud or
to drill the child until he can imitate each new sound at the appropriate
time that the sound is
Step 5: When the child can appropriatelymatch the volume of a sound the first
to generalize
presented,you shouldbeginto iresent words that the child can imitatein order
child can imitate the volume
the imitationof volume to words. The drill is continueduntilthe
of a word the first time that that word is presentedin a session.

Verbcl Imitcrtion rl!
Step 6: If you want to be exha fancy at this point you can begin teachinghim
the meaningof the
words "loud" and "soft." Say, "loud," very loudly, and reinforcehim for
imitatingit. Say,
"soft," in a whisper;reinforceas above.Considernow
that your loudness(decibellevel)isa
prompt for his loudness,which you may now want to fade so that you
end up saying"loud"
and "soft" at equal (conversational)
volume, while you maintain,with reinforcement.histwo
differentvolumes. That is, he givesthe appropriatedecibellevel when you say "loud"
"soft" even though your decibellevel staysthe same.

Pitch Imitqtion
The procedurefor teachingyour child to imitatepitch is very similarto the procedure
used in teaching
Step 1: Begin by sayinga sound that the child can imitateat a high pitch. over a sequenceof hials
shapethe child'sresponseto match your pitch (e.g.,by reinforcingcloserand closerapproxi-
mationsof your pitch).
Step 2: Presenta secondsound that the child can imitate,this time at a /ourpitch. Again, shapethe
child'sresponseto match your pitch.
Step 3: The two soundsare now presentedin random rotation.The drill is continueduntilthe child is
shiftingpitch easily.
Step 4: Introducenew soundsnext. Continuethe drill until the child can imitatethe pitch of a sound
the first time that that sound is presentedin a session.
Step 5: After the child can imitatethe pitch of soundsthe firsttime that they are presented,beginto
presenta three-soundcue, such as "da-dee-da,"sayingthe soundsat differentpitches(low-
high-low). Shape the child's responseuntil he can imitate the pattern of pitchesthat you
make. When the child has masteredone three-soundcue, a secondone is introducedwith a
differentpatternof pitches,and the child'spatternof pitchesis again shapedto match your
own. New three-partcuesare introducedand the child'sresponsesare shapeduntil the child
can imitatethe pattern of pitchesthe first time a given pattern is presented.

Imitation of Speed
Step 1: Begin by repeatinga sound that the child can saythreeto four timesat a rapid speed,A typi-
cal cue is "da-da-da" or "mee-m ee-mee."As in teachingthe child to imitatepitch or volume,
firstrequirethe child to imitateonly the soundsof the cue, and then graduallyshapethe child,
over frials,to imitatethe speedat which the cue is spoken.
Step 2: Now presenta secondcue at a slowrate,Then presentthesetwo cuesin random rotationun-
til the child can shift the speed of imitationeasily.
Step 3: Presentnew cues at eithera fast or a slow rate, and shapethe child'sresponseon eachcue
until it matchesthe speedof your presentation.Introducenew cuesuntilthe child can imitate
the speed at which a cue is spoken the first time that it is presented.
Step 4: Words that the child can imitateshouldbe presentednext, and the child shouldbe required
imitatethe speed at which the word is said as well as imitatingthe word itself.

98 Imitotion, Mctching, ond Ecrly Lcngucge

This chapter outlines the program for using the non-
APPROPRIATE verbal imitation skills your child has acquired as a
PIAY SKILTS basisfor teaching him to play with toys, to participate
in recreational activities, and to do art work. Brief
pointerson the selectionof toys that seemto facilitate
the learning of play skills for developmentallydis-
abledpersonsare also given.
In our treatment programs, we discovered
early that by using imitation it became possibleto
teach the developmentallydisabledchild a number
of complex behaviors,which would seem virtually
impossibleto teach otherwise. This seems particu-
larly tue in teachinglanguage.If the child were not
firsttaughtto imitatesounds (Chapter 11), it is unlikelythat he would have been taught to talk, to use
wordsand sentences,or to use meaningiullanguage,For the samereason,the learningof the complex
skillsinvolvedin playingwith toys, in drawing,and laterin self-helpskillsis alwaysprecededby intensive
hainingin imitationof more simplebehaviorsdescribedin Chapter8. If your child cannot correctlyimi-
tatethe simplebehaviors,he probablywill not be ableto reachmost of the goalsthat are outlinedin this
chapter. Remember, also, that the earlierprogramson imitation are only a partial solution to the kind of
training that the child needs for masteringplay skills,sports, and art. Although the child will imitate an
adult in many ways,there are alwayssomebehaviorsthat are too novelfor him to imitate,and that have
to be trained separately.Examplesof such behaviorsare presentedthroughout this chapter.
You should have by now a fairlygood understandingof the basicstepsinvolvedin shapingso
the programs underlying play skills,sports,and art are not discussedin as much detail as the earlierpro-
grams.Rather, we will take specialnotice of the specificdifficultiesthat may ariseasthose particularpro-
grams are taught.
Beforc you start teaching any activities,you may want to keep in mind that some children
develop an interest in a certain activity. In other words, the behavior becomesself-reinforcing,which
meansthat the child is in good shapefor beginningto learn; however, some children could not care less
about the learning activity. You will not know that until after the child has had the exposureto and has
acquiredsome proficiency at the task. Should your child remain disinterestedin the task, even after you

haveworkedwith him for a while,thenthereis reallyno sensein continuingwith that activityat that
time; perhapsyou may wantto returnto it later.Afterteachingseveralof the activitiesdescribedin this
chapter,it is probablethatyour childwill takea likingto one or moreof them.Your goalshouldbe to
teachsomeconstructive activitythatlooks"appropriate, " thatwill acquireitsown reinforcingproperties,
andthatwillthenreplacethestereotyped, ritualistic,
andinappropriate behaviorcalledself-stimulation.
In alllikelihood,play,art,and sportsarebasically self-stimulatory in nature.Thatis,completing jig-saw
puzzles, shootingbaskets, anddancingdo not reatlysolveanyof theworld'sproblems,butit feelsgood
(tosomepeople)to do thesetasks.The taskitselfgenerates the kind of sensoryfeedback rewardsthat
serveto maintainthe child'sinterestin the task.The trick is to teacha child appropriateformsof self-
stimulatory behavior,whichwill replacesociallyundesirable, inappropriate formsof thatsameclassof


One very useful activity for any child to learn, and one of the easiesttasks to teach, is building with
blocks.Becauseof the nature of this activity,make surethat you have duplicatesetsof blocks.As you
play with a particularkind of block,the child getsto play with the samekind of block. You want to teach
the child how to build a particular stucture with blocks; you then let the child build his own, using yours
as a model. Eventually,it is hoped that the child can be instructedto "Go ptay with blocks,"or that he
may do so on his own initiativeand build the shucturesyou have taught him through modeling. In this
fashionhe can be taught independentplay (discussed laterin this chapter);that is, he can be taughtto
play conshuctivelywith materialsin his environmentwithout your constantsupervisionand direction.
In preparingto teachthis activity,you and the child should sit facingeach other acrossa table
wide enough to provide good separationbetweentwo working areas (each 1 foot square),but small
enough to provide easyaccessto a supply of blocks,which you place betweenyou and your child on the
sideof the table.In the beginningyou may want to havejust a few blocksin this pile, but as trainingpro-
gresses,you should add blocksso that there are more from which to choose.If the tablecannot accom-
modate two separate working areas, move onto the floor, which should be cleared of unnecessary
objects,The floor will do just as well, providedthat the child hasa clearview of his working areaas well
Step l: Take one block from the pile and place it in front of you and place a similar block in front of
the child. In teachingthis behavior,as well as in teachingother behaviors,you should start
with the simplestform. This may be to simply touch your block, and to teach your child that
he can touch his block in imitation of your touching. You can start with the instruction "Do
this," and then touch the block, prompt the child to touch his block, reinforce,and gradually
fade the prompt. In the beginning,he may touch your block, but you should prompt and
reinforce him for touching his block. Eventuallyyou should be able to touch your block, and
he should touch his block in imitation of your action. Then go on to teach more complicated
behaviors,such as lifting your block and putting it back down. Prompt and reinforce him as
before for imitating your behavior. Perhapsthe next step would be for you to pick up your
block and tap it a couple of times on the table or the floor; then prompt your child to do
likewise,and fade the prompt, until the child mastersthe task.
$tep 2: Now teach the child to handle two blocks. You may begin this task by placing two blocks in
front of you and two similar blocks in front of the child. Now touch one block and then the

nm Imitcrtion, Mcrtching, crnd Ecrly Lcngucge

other.Promptyourchildto do likewise; fadethepromptandreinforcein sucha fashionthat,
once you havetouchedthefirstblockandthenthesecondblock,thechildwillactsimilarly. A
simpleextension of thiskind of activitywill occurwhenyou pick up one blockandput it on
top of thesecondblock,directlyin frontof you,andthenpromptandreinforce thechildto do
the samewith his blocks.Once a child can imitateyou stackingtwo blockson top of each
other, go on to usingthree or four blocks,so he is involvedin imitatingyou buildinga
Step 3: Once the child hasbegunto move blocksaround and arrangethem in a tower, it is a relatively
easy step for you to arrange your blocksto constructmore imaginativestructures,such as a
"bridge."This particulartaskrequiresyou to demonstratebuildingthe bridge.In separateand
distinctmoves, place two blocksside by side and place one block on top, touchingboth the
blocksunderneath.Prompt and reinforcethe child for matchingyour moves. It may be help-
fulfor you to instructthe child by saying"Do this" or "Do as I do" becausethis may serveini-
tiallyas a "ready signal,"which tellshim to pay attentionto what you are doing. Once he has
learnedto match your separatemoves, "condense"the imitationby completingyour struc-
ture beforehe is allowedto start.Now you areteachinghim to match "finalproducts,"not just
separatemoves. Once he has built a bridgein this way, then he could build a bridgewith a
tower next to it. Later he may learnto imitateyour buildinga house (eightor more blocksin a
rectangularshape) then a house next to a bridge next to a tower, and so on. If you build
severalstructureslike that, you can introducenew objects,such as takinga doll and placingit
insidethe "house," or placinga toy cow insidethe "corral."
Step 4: This step may have to wait until ofler the child has completed Unit V (lntermediate
Language).Once the child has learnedthe necessarycomponentsof buildingin imitationof
you, you may want to remove your structureand then ask your child to build that structure.
Then gradually,once he hasbuilt the shucture-a tower, for example-teach the childto call
it a tower. While you are fading your structureas a prompt, teach him to follow the instruc-
tion, "Build a tower." The purposeof this stepis to bring his toy play under your verbalcon-
trol, so that you can just tellhim what you want him to do with the blocks,You don't have to
do allthe work.

The kinds of combinations and creations that you can make with blocks and objects (toy
animals,toy figures,clay) can be quite complexand imaginative.You have made a beginningin teach-
ing your child how to play appropriately.


One of the early tasksin teaching appropriate play skillsis to teach your child to play with simple toys,
suchas dollsand hucks. Again, as is the casewith teachingblock play, buy two of eachtoy. If you want
to teachyour child to play with dolls,the firststeps,then, would be very simple. Pick up your doll and
prompt the child to do likewise;fade and reinforceuntilthe child picksup his doll in responseto your re-
quest"Do this," or "Let's play dolls." In subsequentstepsyou would not only pick up your doll, but put
the doll in your arms, and then prompt and reinforcethe child for doing likewisewith his doll. Other
stepswould include rocking the doll back and forth, patting the doll on the back, laying the doll dou'n.
coveringthe doll with a blanket, and feeding it. Rememberto prompt when necessaryand to reinforce

Appropricte PlcrySkills lCIl

Later you may want to teachthe child to washthe doll, to dressit, to put it on the potty, and so on.
Rememberthateachof thesearereasonable complexbehaviors.It is idealif you canteachthe childto
engagein thesebehaviors throughimitationbecause the morethechildcanimitateyou, the morehe will
learnfrom you.
It is hopedthat you may now be ableto seehow you couldteachthe childto playin a similar
manner,usinga truck or any other toy. A truckdoeslotsof things:it stopsand goes,it can be driven
througha city(madeof blocks),it canbe filledwithgas,it canbeloadedand unloaded.You maywant
to verbalizeyour actions,teachingthe child (if you can)to describehis own behaviorsas he plays.The
more programsyou can run concurrently,the betteroff everyoneis. Rememberto startwith a simple
task,suchasjust movingthe huck backand forth.
The advantage of havingduplicatesetsof toysor objectsis that the childdoesnot haveto
"remember"whatit is you wanthim to do; a toy is immediatelyavailablefor him to usein imitatingyou.
Afterhe becomes increasinglyproficientin matchingandimitatingyou,thenyou maywantto delay,in
gradualsteps, thecompletion of histask,sothatthetimeintervalbetween yourbehaviorandhisisgrad-
uallylengthened.Thisis done with the goalin mindthat eventuallyyou will needjust one setof objects
for imitativeplay.You wouldperformthe taskfirst,thenhandthe toy to the child,and askhim to do as
you did. Thiskind of delaybetweenyour behaviorand hisrequiresthat he rememberwhatyou did.
Memory,the storingof suchinformation,is probablylearned,and thereis everyevidencethat your
childcouldalsolearnto storesuchinformation.


Once you get the feel for how to teach imitative play, as when you use blocks, trucks, and dolls, it is a
relativelyeasytask to extend this kind of behavior to activitiessuch as sportsand dancing. Suppose you
want to teach your child to play with a basketball.Get two balls,and pick up your ball while telling your
child "Do this"; prompt and reinforce as before. Drop your ball and catch it and inshuct your child to do
likewise. In some activitiesyou will use a lot of direct imitation, but it also willbecome apparent as you
get going that for some of the more difficulttasksyou have to do a lot of hond s haping (thatmeansphysi-
cally guiding your child through the sequenceof actscomprisingthe behavior you want him to perform
and then reinforcing him for doing it). Suppose you are going to teach a child to catch a ball after it
bounceson the floor. Almost invariably you will have to teach him to catch a ball as a separateact. This
act is taught by having the child hold his arms outshetchedand then merely placing the ball in his arms,
reinforcing him, and then very slowly and in gradual steps,tossingthe ballto him from increasingdls-
tances,suchasfrom 2 inches,6 inches,and then L or 2feet. That is, you may have to hond shopesome
of the componentsin the kind of imitative act you are trying to teach. If you are concernedwith teaching
him how to shoot baskets,teach him first to bounce the ball off a wall, and then, with a basket at eye
level, teach him to drop the ball through the hoop, graduallyraisingthe basketin smallsteps(6 inchesat
a time) to the point where he actually has to throw the ball into the air to make it fall through the hoop.
This may seem like a tenibly arduous task, and an extremelyimpracticalway to teach a child to
play basketball.It is. For some children, it just is not going to work, but it is surprisingthat for some chil-
dren shootingbasketsbecomesa reinforcingactivityand some become quite expert at it. You just won't
know until you have hied.
If your child is no star at shooting baskets,perhaps he willbe a great dancer. Many develop-
mentally disabledchildren are very fond of music, and many have a great senseof rhythm. For such a

l,fil Imitqtlon, Mctchlng, crnd Ecrly Lcrngu<rgo

easy to teach dancingin responseto music.Turn on hisfavorite
chirdit is relatively asrockingfrom one foot to
"Do this," and start with some verysimplebehavior'-such
the child,tellhim elaboratebehavior'
prompt the child if necessary i,., s,ua'd steis' then' introducemore
the other. your body to the leftand
backward,bendingyou' kn"t'' turning
suchasmovingyou, toot forwardand if the childdoesn'tdo this
your head to the right, and turningcompleielyaround.Again,
then nodding him throughthe actions'
imitations, or.-0, him tJ getthebehaviorunderway,physicallymove
Aswillbecomeobvioustoyouwhenyoubegintoteachrdancing,somechildrenlovetodance are different-someare
become very good at it, while others nn'o quitJget the knack' children
and your child is just like everybodyelsein this respect'
good at somethings,someare good at others. modelingthe
and fun that you canteach.achildby
Therearemanybehaviorsthat are useful Sometimesyou have
reinforcinghim for matchingyour models'
behaviorfirst,andthenpromptingand plastic,rigidappearance
,,ham,,toactoutihe kindslf behaviorsthatserveto breakup thekind of
to be a and
*ho ur" developme.t"ffv li*Ufed. Theyoftenblhave withoutmuch expression'
of manychildren
vou *"t+iTir[:*t trucks,aswellasthe beginningof
brockbuildingand playingwith dollsand
activities'lt is vir-
and dance, are example, of t"u.hing you, childto participatein recreational activ-
incrudeallthekindsof playandrecreational
tuallyimpossible to writea trainingmanualthlt would the child to con-
nor is this necessary. It is necessaryfor the adultsaround
itiesthe child could be taught;
child are met'
the needsand goalsof the particular
structindividualprogramsso that


the child'strainingin
writing are elaborate behaviors that canbe taughtasan extensionof
Drawing and
to, aru*ing picturesis discussed in detail;the programon writingis
nonverbalimitation. The progra- isto teachthe
roiio*s natuiallyfr.,.n d;;i.; Thefinargoulof th" programon drawing
verysimilar,una your request'
that he can dru* r".og-nizable figuresand objectsin responseto
child enoughskills so crayonsandpaper'He may
picture,"or sothat he willpitft up u tt-uyonand-drawwhenhe sees
"Draw a ones' As with
he has learned througi imitaiion' and he -uf Itu* originai'creative
draw figuresthat interestin drawing'some chil-
developmentally disabledchildrendifferwideli in their
normalchildren, interestingwork; you
creativein drawing, producingintriguingfigu'"' and some
dren are extremely
the childa
pencil, draw a single horizontal line on a pieceof paper.Give
step 1: Tracing.with a
c r a y o n a n d p r o m p t h i m t o t r a c e d i r e c t l y o v e r y o uAfte'
, p " n .you
i t l i nhave
e ' S completed i s , ' trac-
a y . . D o t h this 'andactually
guidethe hand with a crayonoverthe pencilline' whileyou
child fo, "good *irking," or "good trawing'" Repeatthisprocedure
ing,praisethe drawing'but
rint ttrattr'e ct'itdis not watchingthe
graduallyreduceuou, oronli;. t;;;* watchwhatis
to something other than the taskat hand' Clearly,he must
ratheris attending line' and crayon' As in
hisattentionto the paper'pencil
goingon, and you will havetoLring bv positivelyrein-
tasks you have r"rnii,i"f' the childuinnaioin" taskat hand
allthe other the positivesat
givingsomereprimand(or withholding
forcinghim for being correctand linewithout
incorrect. Wi"r, ttre cf,ifJ can reliJly traceyoursinglehorizontal
least),for being bothpencillines'
line and u'k th" childto traceover
anyprompting,draw u.roth"riorizontal

APProPricrte PlcrY Skills

After masteringthis, require correcttracingover a singleverticalline. Although the child may
be able to trace horizontal lines, vertical lines are a new experience, and may require
prompts' Once the child can discriminateand reliablycopy horizontalversusverticallines,
have him trace double verticallines, and then lines that intersect.The child can be taught to
trace shapessuch as triangles,squares,and circlesand eventually he willbe able to hace box
Remember to praise the child when he correctly taces your pencil marks and to
reproach him for incorrect responsesor for not paying attention to the materialsin front of
him. Also, beforeadvancingto a more complextask (i.e., going from tracinga singlevertical
line to tracing double verticallines), be sure the child has masteredthe previous task and can
hace your line(s)without any prompting.The time it takesto learn the skillsdescribedin this
step varies considerablyfor individual children. Some may pick it up in a few minutes,
whereasothersmay require a month of patientteaching.
Step 2: Copying. Begin to teachthe child to copy or imitateyour pencillinesinsteadof requiringhim
to traceover them. That is, the child must draw his linesnext to, below, or aboveyour lines.
As in Step 1, gradethe materialin very smallsteps,startingwith singlehorizontallines,go on
to double horizontal lines, then use singleverticallines, double vertical lines, lines that inter-
sect,triangles,squares,and eventuallybox figures.
You may find at this point that it will be easierto facilitatedrawing by using a chalk-
boardbuilt into a deskwith an attachedchair.This willprovide the child with allthe necessary
drawing materialsin one place. Of course,such a tool is optional.
Step 3: Aduancedcopying. Usingthe skillslearnedin the abovetwo steps,the child can be taughtto
imitate your drawingsof various geometricshapes,and then he can move on to copying
small animalsand plants, such as dogs, cats, and flowers, and eventuallylargerand more
complex objects,such as human figures,houses,and hains.
At this point you may beginrequiringthe child to imitateyour use of color. For ex-
ample, you draw a flower usingred, yellow,green,and orangecrayonsand requirethe child
to correctlyimitate your use of thesecolors.
Step 4: Originaldrawing.Originaldrawingis quitecomplexand may haveto be postponeduntilafter
Unit V. Once the child has learnedthe necessarycomponentsinvolvedin imitativedrawing,
the behaviorcan be shiftedfrom imitation of your drawing to a verbalrequest, such as "Draw
a picture." This may at firstrequireyou to prompt the child by taking his hand and guidingit
through the be3inningphasesof a drawing. Fade your manual prompt slowly so that the child
can make a drawing on his own, when he is asked.
This newly acquiredbehaviorcan be graduallybrought under the conholof more
appropriatestimuluscontexts(otherthan "Draw a picture"), such as the child'ssightof ob-
jects in his environment, either in concreteform or in a representation,as in magazinepic-
tures. At this point, it may become apparentthat the child has taken a greatinterestin a partic-
ular area. For example, he may show an affinityfor drawing animals,or he may show an
interestin sequencesof objects,such as numbersor the lettersof the alphabet.A stong
enough interestcan provide the child with an "internalsourceof motivation"that willgreatly
enhancethe effectiveness of your attentionand praise.To be consistent,we would probably
call it an advanced form of self-stimulation.Also, the drawing skills learned thus far may
prove so pleasurableto the child that you can beginto train him to occupy his free time en-

t t0r Imltqtion, Mctching, cnd Ecrly Lcngucge

gagedin this appropriateform of playratherthan other,inappropriate
formsof self-stimula-
tory behaviors.

The programfor teachingyour childto writecanbe shucturedin muchthe sameway asthatfor draw-
ing. First,teachyour childto tracesimplehorizontaland verticallinesand curvesas in Step 1 above.
Then moveon to tracing,and finallycopying,letters.Whenyour child hasmasteredtheseskills,teach
him to copy, and then write on his own, simplewordsor phrases.


Allthe proceduresdescribedthus far have been employed in the presenceof an attending adult. You
have probablyobservedyour child when he is alone and unattended; too often the child revertsto drift-
ing inattention or to inappropriate self-stimulationwhen left alone. Therefore, you can begin teaching
the child to continue activitiessuch as the ones describedin this chapterwhen no adult is present.
The teachingof appropriateindependentplay can be approachedin the following manner.
First,you should teach the child to play with toys in your presence,without your activeparticipation.
You shouldteach him to play with two toys and then graduallyadd more until all availabletoys have
been introduced.Or you may want to instructthe child to completesome simpletasks,such as "Build a
bridge," or "Draw a flower." As the child beginsto play, graduallyfade yourselffrom the child by sitting
farther and farther away from him, eventually leaving the room, so that the child is left alone for a
minute. If the task(s)are completed or if he is working on the task upon your return, praisethe child pro-
fusely.If the child does not finishthe task,reprimandhim, askhim to do it again,and prompt his play by
standingat the door (or nearby)for a shorterperiodthan before.In gradualsteps,the number and com-
plexity of tasksrequired and the time allowed to complete them can be increased.During this time, you
can occasionallyleave the child alone with play materials(coloringbook, crayons, paper, magazinepic-
tures, and puzzles),with no instrucfions,so that the mere presenceof toys beginsto cue his playing. On
such occasions,the child should be observedas unobtrusivelyas possibleand should be allowed to re-
main unattended only as long as he usestheseplay materialsappropriately. If he remains unoccupied
ior a total of 5 minutes or if he engagesin any inappropriatebehaviors, such as self-stimulation,for a
total of 15 seconds, remove the child from the room, terminate play with the materialsand perhaps
have him do somethinghe does not like allthat well, such as householdchores, or difficultlanguage
drills.You shouldbe ableto graduallyincreasethe amount of time the child staysin the room engagedin
appropriateindependent play. Although it willtake some effort on your part to teach the child the rules
of this kind of play, it should become apparentthat, once he has learnedwhat you expect, he may be
capableof gaining enjoyment from it, just as any other child would.


Not a greatdealof factualinformation is availableon toy selection,that is, on whether one can help chil'
dren play more by selectinga particularset of toys over some other set. However, wef.eelthatit is worth-
while to give more attention to toy selection.We have suggestedthat ma'ny developmentallyretarded

Approprlcte PlcrySkills 105

children spend a great deal of their time in primitive, repetitive,and monotonous behavior in an appar-
ent attempt to provide their bodies with needed auditory, visual, vestibular,proprioceptive, and tactile
stimulation.We have already argued that one goal of a good toy-play program may be to substituteap-
propriatetoy play for the more bizarre-lookingbehaviors.That is, you can probably selecttoys to "chan-
nel" or "substitute"a more appropriate form of self-stimulatorybehavior for a lessappropriateform of
self-stimulation(e.g., rocking). In other words, you may be ableto provide the child with the needed
reinforcers(visual,auditory, vestibularstimulation)by teaching him to play with toys, insteadof acting
Hill and McMackinof the Lynne DevelopmentalCenterin Dallas,Texas,recommendedthat
the child be observedand his various kinds of self-stimulatorybehaviorsbe noted in order to classifythe
kinds of sensorystimulation a particular child is seeking.The following categorization,including exam-
ples of the inappropriate behaviors, has been developed:
Wsuol Stimulotion The child gazesat lights, fixates at rotating objects, regards his hands, flaps his
fingers in front of his eyes.
Auditory Stimulation The child vocalizes,hums tunes, clickshis tongue, taps furniture.
Tactile Stlmulation The child stokes his own body parts, pinches himself, places his fingers in his
VestibularStimulation The child rocks his body, bounces, spins his body.
Proprioceptiue Stimulotion The child's body assumesstange positions in space; he postures, toe
walks, holds his head to one side.

Hill and McMackin suggestthat an initial toy selectionto reduce uisuolself-stimulationshould

include toys such as flashlights,whirling lights, wheels, an hourglass, magnetic swinging balls, Light
Brite pegs,a FlashGordon gun, pinwheels,an Etch-a-Sketch,a Pachincomachine,a pinballgame,a
kaleidoscope,View Master, Slinky, tops, and wind-up toys. For those children who twirl shing, hy
fishing-rodgamesor stringpuppets.
For replacement of auditory stimulations select toys that make noise. For example, use
clackers,bells,whistles,talking toys, buzzers,a toy piano, music boxes, a radio, noisemakingpush-pull
toys, hair dryers, stethoscopes,or music of any type,
For replacement of tactile stimulations, select items that touch the body. Examples are an
autoharp, Silly Putty, vibrators, facial scrubbers,soft furry toys, puppets, gum, body paints, and
For replacement of uestibularand proprioceptiue stimulations, try selecting items that re-
createthe motion or position. Examplesare a rocking horse, a rocking chair, large physicaltherapy balls
to roll on, barrels to roll on and in, wagons, a spinning office chair, a hammock, many forms of play-
ground equipment such as swings, trampolines, and teeter-totters.
Many of thesetoys or items will be "favored objects"the moment they are introduced. On the
other hand, the child may have to be extrinsicallyreinforced (e.g., with food or praise) so that he will
handle certaintoys. It is difficult to determine how long to maintain the child on extrinsicreinforcement
for "good playing" before the reinforcingvalue of the toy itself"takes over." The rule may be to by differ-
ent toys during this training and "exposure" period, for upward of a week per toy.
If a child becomesquite attachedto some toy or activity (like music), then accessto that toy or
rtivity can be his reward for engagingin some behadiorthat he does not like that much. For example,
p&avtngwith a toy (evenfor a few seconds)could become his reward for sitting attentivelyin a chair and
lcarnrng some task necessaryfor more adequate social functioning.

$ Imitatlon, Mctching, cnd Ecrrly Longucge

Hill and McMackinalsosuggesta usefulshapingprocedurewithin a particularplay activity.
For example,a childwho is abody rockercanbe placedin a rockingchairand reinforced
for rockingin
thatposition.Then,in gradualsteps,teachhim to standnextto a chairwhilerocking
a doll in thechair,
to rockthe doll in a crib,thento swinganotherchildon a swing.In thatfashionthere
may be a progres-
sionand elaborationin the child'splay.
Keep in mind that no child would take interestin a toy if he were not exposedto that toy.
Rememberalsothatsomedevelopmentally retardedchildrenshowelaborate play,aswhentheyassem-
ble complexpuzzles,play intricatemusicalselections,or manipulatenumbersat an advanced
Theseare examplesof the "splinterskills,"or isolatedareasof superiorfunctioningso oftenfound in
developmentally retardedchildren.You will neverknow whetheryour child hastheseexplicitskills
unlesshe getsthe opportunityto discoverand developthem himself.

Approprlctc Plcy Skfls lot

GENERALIZATION Generalization, roughly analogousto transfer,is one
of the most important conceptsor processesin teach_
AND ing. Generalizationis concernedwith the efficiency
of teaching,that is, determiningthe change in the
MAINTENANCE child'sbehaviorspecificallyas a resultof what he has
been taught. This chapterdraws heavily on a paper
by Carr (Note 1).
Generalizationis usually divided into two
aspects:stimulusgeneralizationand responsegen_


If you are a teacher,and you have taught your student

well in crass,you may wonder whether he will
manifestwhat you have taught him in classin other
environmentsas well. If you are a parent and you
have taught your child some important things at home, you
may wonder whether he will behaveac-
cordinglyin schoolor elsewherein public.Theseur" qu"rtions
of sfimu/us generalization. stimulusgen-
eralizationis the extent to which a behavior that is taught
in one situation is subsequentlyperformed in
anothersituation,eventhough that other situationwas
not involvedin the originalteaching.Whetheror
not a particularbehavior will generalizeacrossenvironments
cannot be determined beforehand.some-
times behavior generalizes,sometimesit does not. You
should help the behavior generalize,ifit does
not initially generalize.There are certain procedures
that help ensure stimulus generalization.
1 . work in seueral enuironmenrs.If your child is only being
taught in one environment (such as in
schoolor in a clinic) and not in other environments(such
as at home), then over time he will dis-
criminate between the different environments, and little,
if any, stimulus generaiizationwill be
observed'To remedy this, the child should be taughtin more than
one environment.Whateverhe
is taught at school should be taught at home, and vice
2 . Haue seueral "teachers," It is critical, particularly with developmentally
disabled children, and
especiallythe older ones, that many "significantadults"teach
the child. Too often, a child who is
behavingvery nicely and learning well with a teacher
behavespoorly and does not learn any con-

shuctivebehaviorsfrom the parents.The rule should be that all adultsteach. After a certainnumber
of adults teach the child, his discriminationbetween adults breaksdown and the new appropriate
behaviors generalizeacross all adults.
3 . Programcommon stimuli.ltmay help, at leastin the beginning,to make home and schoolsimilarin
appearance.Have some of the same toys at home that the child has at school. Try to createthe
home mealtimeenvironmentat school (e.g.,sittingat a tablecoveredwith a tablecloth).If he plays
well with some childrenat school,try to have the childrenvisitand play with him at home. Bef.ore
the child beginsschool,play school with him at home usingschool-likeequipment; it will then be
easierto transferthe new behaviorsto school later.
4 . Common reward schedules. If a behavior is on a very "thick" (continuous or nearly so) reward
scheduleat home, and it is suddenlyshiftedto a thinner (intermittent)scheduleat school,the be-
havior will probably not generalize,at least not after the first few days. Such abrupt changesin
rewardschedulesare likely to take place when the child goesto school,if for no other reasonthan
becausethe ratio of childrento adultsis differentin the two places.To avoid suchchangesin reward
schedules,try to thin the child'sreward scheduleat home before he goes to school. Also, have
extra teacheraidespresentat school during the first few weeks to provide for an initiallythicker
reward schedule.

Thereare a largenumber of other dissimilarities

betweenenvironmentsthat may haveto be at-
tendedto in order to maximizegeneralization.
Rememberthe basicrule aboutstimulusgeneralization:
you don't get it, build it.


Responsegeneralization refersto the extentthat you can producea changein a largernumberof behav-
iorsby only working on one behavior.For example,by teachingthe child to sit and look at you on com-
mand, does he becomegenerallymore compliantor attentive?If you teach him to hug and kissyou,
does he startto like you more? It is clear that, as with stimulusgeneralization,we are in part dealingwith
practicalteachingefficiency:how much behaviorchangedo you get for free when you teach one or a
limited set of behaviors?Some degreeof generalization,be it stimulusor response,is criticalfor success-
ful teaching.You haveto get somechanges"f.orfree" becauseyou cannotbuild all behaviorsin allsitua-
Proceduresfor obtaining responsegeneralizationare lessclear than in working with.stimulus
generalization.The following suggestionsare offeredfor maximizingresponsegeneralization:
1. Build communicatiueresponses.Build and strengthenthoseaspectsof languagethat arefunctional
in gettingthe child what he wants.For example,it may be more helpfulto build verbalrequests for
things your child wants (e.g., "cookie," "juice," "open," "stop," "swim") than descriptivelabels
(e.g., "nose," "ear," "green") becausein many instancesfunctional speech will replace more
chaoticbehavior, Iike self-stimulationand tantrums, which may in part be basedon the fact that the
child cannot expresshis wants appropriately.
2. Build "practical" seff-helpskills. For the same reasons, a child will probably greatly benefit from
learningany behaviorsthat will increasehis self-sufficiencyand facilitatehis gettingwhat he wants.
Being ableto open a door, to take off wet pantsor a hot sweater,or to ride a bike placeshim in more
immediatecontactwith the rewardshe seeks.

n0 Imltqtion, Mctching, cnd Ecrly Lcngucge

3 . Build appropriate play. Certain kinds of play are appropriatesubstitutesfor
less appropriateforms
of self-stimulation. For example,a child who spinseverythinghe sees(ashtrays,cups,
be taught to use a spinningtop, therebyreducingthe amount
of inapproprlateself-stimulation.
Similarly,dancing may well replacerocking, and so on.
4 . Build compliance.Once adults acquirecontrol over two or more behaviors
which the child has
already mastered (such as "Sit down," "Stand up," or "Close the
door"), a number of other
(alreadymastered)compliancebehaviorswill increase
It is important to note again that there is a great deal of individual difference
dren in regardto this and similarresponsegeneralization, For example,a child willevidence,,gen-
eralizedcompliance" insofar as there existsa set of already acquired compliance behaviors.
In ef-
fect, you are achievingcontrolwheresomecontrolalreadyexisted.For some children,generalized
compliancemay not emerge.
5 . Teachobseruationallearning.ldeallyyou shouldteachthe child, at some point, a process
he can learn.In the chapterson nonverbalandverbalimitation(and in Chapter34 on
learning)' programs are presentedwhereby the child learns"on his own," by merely
behaviorsof other people, and without directshaping.
6 . Building new socialrewards.As you interactconshuctivelywith the child, when you as a person
come to mediate important gratificationsand aversives,your person will acquire meaningful
reward and punishment properties.In other words, adults will acquire a larger range of controliing
properties,and the child'sbehaviorwill becomeincreasinglyshaped without the adults
doing the shaping.New behaviorwill be built through more informal interactions.
7 . Building infrinsicrewards.Perhapsthe child's largestgains will take place when he learnsto dis-
criminate(attendto) rewardsinherentin the taskor the behavior.Methodsfor buildingsuchintrin-
sic rewardsare not known, but a minimal requirementis to extensivelyexpose the chitd to the
behaviorseveraltimes. Although relativelylittle is known about this process,there are examples
that it operates'If you teacha group of mute childrento imitateyour soundsandlor words, a cer-
tain portion of the childrenwillbecome imitativeon their own; they willbecome echolalic.That is,
they will continueto imitatethe adult even though there is no explicitor sociallyconholledreward
for doing so. Their mere "matching" of verbaloutputsappearsrewardingto them. The taskof imi-
tating has become its own reward.

There is obviouslylittle merit in teachinga set of behaviorsonly to seethem disappearsome months
yearsafter your effortshave stopped. We learnedsome very bitter lessonsin that regard. After painstak-
ingly teachinglanguageand other complex behaviorsto severaldevelopmentallydisabledchildren, we
dischargedthe children, and 2 years after we had terminated teaching we observeda comprehensive
loss.We reinstatedthe teachingprogramsfor a short time and recoveredmany of the earliergains,
to observea second losssome 3 yearslater. Thesefollow-up data have been extensivelydiscussedelse-
where (Lovaas, Koegel, Simmons, & Long, 1973).
There are certain stepsyou can take to protect the gains that your children will make in your
program. Build that protection into your initialteachingprogram. The following points should help you
make use of generalizationin your teaching programs.
1. Make the transition between school and other environmentsimperceptiblysmall. In other words,
createthe school environment everywhereso that the child cannot discriminatewhen he is out o{

Generaltzciion cnd Mcintencnce llt

school. The best way to do this is to train the parents and other significantadults to be teachers.In
thisway, there is no "discharge,"no "vacation,"for the child. His postheatmentenvironmentis no
different from his treatment environment.
2, Use an intermittent ("thin") reward schedule.While you may initially reward a child for every cor-
rect response,once the behavior is learned, start "missing" some rewards; for example, arbiharily
skip rewards to perhaps a third of his conect responses(selectthe ones to skip at random). The
child will "tell" you how quickly you can thin. If his behaviorstartsto weaken, then "thicken" the
reinforcementschedule.Eventually,you may end up with one reward for every 10 or 20 correct
responses,or perhapsless.
3, Use rewardsthat the child will receivein his natural environment. Artificial, exaggerated,or school-
type rewards,suchas gradesor tokens,are not likelyto be found outsidethe teachingsituation.Try
to "normalize" lhe rewards as soon as possible.
4. Teachfunctionalbehaviors.Teach the child behaviors(thatpart of language,play, sellhelp) that
get him important reinforcersin his everydaylife. Teachingsonie erudite task that does not get him
anythingon the outsidewill not be maintainedon the outsideeither.

Maintenanceof behaviorchangecan be attributedto generalization.Behaviorswillbe main-

tainedto the extentthat the child cannotdiscriminatebetweenschooland no school (or clinic,no clinic)
settings.There are other, lesswell-known variablesthat effectmaintenanceof gains. Some variables
pertainto the memory storagecapacityof the organism.Perhapsa retardedchild alsois one who has a
poor capacityfor long-term storageof learning. The relationshipis difficult to determine; relativelylittle
is known about long-termmerlory storagein mentallyretardedpersons.


You may want to considerrecordingthe child'sprogresson the variousprogramsdescribedin thisUnit.

In general,we adviseagainstsuch recordingsbecausethey are so time-consumingand one can gener-
ally judge progresson the concreteand specifictasksin this manual by whether or not severalobservers
agreethat there has, or has not been, any noticeablelearning.If you do wish to record, you should
beginwhen the child hascome to a standstill;that is, when he seemsnot to be makingany progresson a
task.How long do you work on a taskbeforeyou decideno progresshasbeen made?That dependson
the task,how intensivelyyou work with the child, and so on. If you have worked for a week,a coupleof
hours a day, and he appearsto make no progress,then you have a problem and you should start
recording. Recording will allow you to determine a "baseline"againstwhich to decide what alternatives
may be effective. You may want to consider a trial-by-trial format for recording learning data.
Rememberthat a trial was defined as beginningwith the teacher'sinstruction;it includesthe child's
responseor failureto respond,and it may includepromptsand consequences suchasrewardsand pun-
ishment.The most simplerecordingschemefor trial-by-trialdata would simply indicateif inshuctions
were given,and whetherthe child was corrector not. A samplerecordingsheetis shown in Table 13-1.
To record data, simply circlethe hial number as each instructionis given, and give a checkmark in the
correspondingcolumn if the child is correct.
You may want to group the data by averagingthe number of correct responsesto all the trials
Ettvn in one day (sum of correctresponsesdivided by total number of trialsgiven). This information may
l dirsrlb€ graphed as shown in Figure 13-1. Grouping the data into "blocks" of a day will allow you to

liui ltt Imitction, Matching, cnd Ecrly Lcngucrge


Tcble l3-1. lorm lor triql dqtcr
Child's name:

Correct Correct Correct

Trials response Trials response Trials response
I ll 21
2 l2 zz
1? 23
4 l4 24
l5 z3
6 l6 26
7 l7 27
B 1B 28
a l9 29
l0 20 2n

determinewhether,for example, your child has stoppedrespondingto a particular

type of inshuction
(Days3 and 4, Figure 13-1), and to check on the success
orfailure of differentteachingmethodsyou
may hy (Days5 through 9, Figure 13-1).
By usingthiskind of graphing,you will be in a betterpositionto ascertainwhetheryour
child is
improving, stayingthe same, or gettingworse. It is a baselineagainstwhich to
evaluatenew ways of
teaching.Thesenew ways may include: 1) droppingthe prompt and "waiting him out," 2)
or otherwisechangingthe instructions,3) givingstrongernegativeconsequences for incorrectrespond-
ing, and 4) interspersingdifferent kinds of learning.
Suppose you have tried to teach the child a task for 1 to 2 hours a day, for a week and he has
made no progress.You hy different kinds of proceduresin an attempt to improve his performances,
he stillshowsno improvementover the next 2 or 3 weeks.At that point you may want to drop
that task
and return to it in a month or so. Sometimesthe child willchange enough in that time interval (or
will) so that when you return to it, he may be able to learn it.

P r o p o r l l o no f
Ftgure l3-1. Sample recording form for grouped c o r r e c tr g s p o n s e s
average correct responses. Days 3 and 4 show low r.00
averages, indicating that the child is no longer
learning the task being presented. On Day 5, an at- 0.75
tempt is made to improve the situation by giving
stronger negative conseguences for incorrect 0.50
responses. However, this does not seem to work
well; Days 5 and 6 show continued poor per{or- 0.25
mance. On Day 7, the instructions are simplified,
and great improvement is shown. A hiqh average of
correct responses is again obtained on Days B and
9, indicatinq that the child is improving with the
new teaching method.

Generqlizcrtlon cnd Mcintencnce llt

REFERENCES Rincover,A., & Koegel,R. L. Settinggeneralityand
stimuluscontrol in autisticchildren. Journalol Ap-
plied BehauiorAnolysis,L975, 8, 235-246.
Lovaas,O. I., Koegel,R. L., Simmons,J. e., A Sidman,M., &Stoddard,L, T. Programmingpercep-
Long, J. S. Some generalization and follow-up tion and learningfor retardedchildren.In Ellis,N. R.
measureson autisticchildrenin behaviortherapy. (Ed.), lnternationalReuiewol ResearchandMental
Journol ol Applied Behauior Anolysis, 7973, 6, Retardation(Volume II). New York: Academic
1 3 1 -1 6 5 . Press,1966.
Stokes,T, F., & Baer,D. M, An implicittechnology of
generalization.Journalof AppliedBehsviorAnaly-
NECOMMENDEDREADINGS sis,1977, 10, 349-367.

Lovaas,O. I., Berberich, J. P., Perloff,B. F., &

Refercnce Note
Schaeffer,B. Acquisitionof imitativespeechby
schizophrenic children. Science, 1966, 151, 1. Carr,E. Generalization of treatmenteffectsfollow-
705-707. ing educationalinterventionwith autisticchildren
Metz,J, R. Conditioninggeneralizedimitationin autis- and youth. In Wilcox, 8., and Thompson,A.
tlc chlldren.Journolol ExperimentolChild Psychol- (Eds.), CritlcalIssuesin Educailng Auttsilc Chtl-
ogy, 1965,2, 389-399. dren and Youth, To be published,1980.

ll{ Imitatlon, Mciching, and Ecrly Langucrgo


Many developmentallydisabled children have diffi-
culty learningbasicself-helpskills.They oftenrequire
an enormousamount of help and effort from the at-
tending adult in order to be "sociallyappropriate"in
skillssuch as dressingand toileting.However, with
carefulteachingand patience,most of thesechildren
can learn quite complex self-careskills.Your child is
no exception;once he becomesmore self-sufficient,
he will becomelessof a burden on his familyor care-
This Unit contains programs for teaching
your child tofeed, toilet, dress,and undresshimself,
and programsfor teachinghim to brush his hair and
brushhisteeth.Obviously,your childneedsmoreself-help skillsthanthe few we haveoutlinedin this
Unit, but enoughpointersare givenin theseprogramsso that you are ableto constructyour own.
The feedingand toiletingprogramsmaybe startedafteryour child hasprogressed through
UnitII, the "GettingReadyto Learn"unitof the manual.Dressing,hairbrushing,andtoothbrushingare
morecomplexprogramsand shouldbe startedafteryour childhaslearnedgeneralized motorimitation
andcanfollowseveralverbal instructions.
Do not try to teachtoo muchat once.Chooseoneskillata
time and wqrk with your child regularlyuntil he mastersit.
The programson self-helpskills,discussed in Unit IV, were writtento enablethe teacherto
proceedwithoutthe studenthavingcompletedthe programson imitationof simpleactions,whichwere
described in Chapter8. Therefore,theprogramsin UnitIV relyon breakingthe variouscomplexbehav-
iors down into smallerelementsand usingphysicalprompts,such as manuallyguidingthe student
throughthe behaviors.It was the intent of the programon imitationin Chapter8 to facilitatethe
student'sprogresswith the acquisitionof complexbehaviors,suchasself-helpbehaviors.To the extent
that the studentcanimitate(or learnto imitate)the adult,the promptthat the teacherusesto elicitthe
correctstudentbehaviorshouldbe her own (modeled)behavior,ratherthan physicalguidance. Early
and continuoustrainingin imitationof gesturesshouldfacilitatethe student'smasteryof Unit IV.
The programsfor teachingselthelp skillsin this book are introductory,and many may find
theminadequate for theirpurposes.We havemadeextensive useof theprogramsdevelopedby Baker.
Brightman,Heiletz& Murphy (79771and the programsdevelopedby Watson(7972).Watson'spro-
gramsmay be particularlyhelpfulfor the severelyretarded.

EATING Children are generallytaught to spoon-feedthem_
selvesfirst becausethe spoon is the easiestutensilto
manipulate.As in teachingany complex behavior,
eatingshould be broken down into smallstepsand a
verbal cue given for each step. It is recommended
that complex eating skills, like dressingskills, be
taught using the backward chainingprocess.In this
process,the child learnsto perform on his own the
laststepin the sequencefirst,then the next to the last
step, and so on, until he can perform allthe stepson
his own.
For teachingthis behavior,choosea spoon
that your child can may want
to investin a smallchild'sspoon lf his handsare very small.Your child should learn
to feed himselfinde-
pendentlya littlefasterif he is not strugglingwith a spoonthat is too large
and clumsyfor him. puttingthe
food in a bowl insteadof on a plate should also help the child obtain bettercontrol
of his food. When
teachingthe child to eat with a spoon, you should use soft foods, such as applesauce,pudding,
yogurt, becausethey are easierto put on a spoon than chunks of meat o, u"g.tubl"r.
You may want to breakdown the use of a spoon into four steps.Note that in a hue backward
chainingparadigm, you should start with Step 3, (that is, the adult placesa full spoon in
the child's
hand), but sincethere are so few stepsinvolved,we have usuallybeen successfulstarting with Step 1.
Step 1: Say "Pick up spoon," and then ptaceyour hand over your child'shand and arrangehis
so that it graspsthe spoon. Wth your hand stilloverhis, lift up his hand, spoon and all. praise
him for pickingup the spoon. You shouldteachyour child to masterthisresponsebeforeyou
go on to the next step.
Step 2: Say "Get food," and guide his hand so that the spoon dips into the bowl. The act of getting
food on the spoon will be difficult; make sure that you show him how to turn his wristto make
the spoon dip downward. Praisehim. Once he has placedfood appropriatelyon the spoon.
go on to Step 3, his reinforcementfor completing Step Z.
Step 3: Say "Eat," and gentlyapply pressureunder his clenchedhand so that he liftsthe spooncon.
taining food upward toward his mouth. Praise him. Continue to guide his hand with th€

spoon in it to his mouth. Your child will probablyopen his mouth to acceptthe spoon natu-
rally. Praisehim as you help him put the spoon in his mouth. If he's hungry, he'llget the idea
soon enough. Be sure to praisehim for each step.
Step 4: Once the spoon is in his mouth, you may needto remind him to take it out. Some childrendo
not naturally reiectthe spoon from their mouth but continue to "mouth" it. Say, "Spoon
down," and guide his hand, stillgraspingthe spoon, away from his mouth and onto the table.

If your child self-stimulatesa lot with his hands or with the spoon, or if he frequentlytriesto put
hls handsin the bowl, tell him, "Hands quiet," and insistthat both handsstayflat on the tableuntil he is
ready to take the next bite with his spoon. Be sure to praisefor quiet hands.
When your child has swallowedthe food in his mouth, beginthe sequenceagainwith, "pick
up spoon." You should discourageyour child from "shoveling"his food. Make surethat your child has
finishedthe first bite before startingto take another.
When your child has been through the entiresequenceenough times that you can feel he is
learningthe task, beginto fade out your assistance. Startby lettinghim perform the laststepin the se-
quencefirston his own' For example, let your child put the spoon on the tableby himself.Praise
generously.When your child has releasedthe spoon on his own a couple of times, let him perform
his own the whole sequenceof takingthe spoon from his mouth and putting it on the table.Alwaysgive
the verbalcue "Spoon down" at this stageand be sure to praiseenthusiastically.
Continue to give lessand lessassistance; that is, let your child perform more and more steps
on his own. Fade out your assistance slowly, makingsure your child has had severalsuccesses at each
stagebeforerequiringhim to do more by himself. Eventually,you will alsowant to fade out all your ver-
bal cues. Wait a few moments beforegiving the cue to see if your child even needs a reminder. If he
does,you may be ableto indicatewhat the next stepis by somevisualcue, suchas pointingat the spoon
and then at the table for "Spoon down."
This sequence of behaviors was taught without the adult modeling appropriate use of the
spoon for the child. Instead,the child waspromptedthrough manualassistance and reinforcedfor each
step.In the long run, it is betterto teacha behaviorby usinga combinationof modetingand physicalas-
sistance.It is a good rule to try to demonshate (model) the action yourself before you physicallyprompt
it' If he imitatesyou, you savea lot of effort. If he doesnot imitateyou, then your demonstratingthe ac-
tions (asyou physicallyprompt him) will teachhim more aboutimitation.The more he is taughtto do in
imitationof you, the easierit will be for him to learn later.
Once your child can readilyfeed himselfwith a spoon usingsoft foods, graduateto a bowl of
bite-sizeportionsof solid foods. You should only have to prompt gettingthe food on the spoon and
perhapsmaking sure the spoon is held steadybeforeit goesinto the mouth so that food does
not fall off.
Your child should be able to perform the rest of the stepson his own.
You can teachthe child to use a fork and a knife in the same manner. Break the task down into
small steps, use verbal cues for each step, fading out your assistanceslowly, beginning with the last


h $,,}iS Bqslc Sell-help Skllls

DAYTIME Toilet tralningyour child requiresan initialtime in-
vestmenton yourpart.Be preparedto spendabout6
TOILET hoursworkingon the taskwith yourchild.Usingthe
proceduredescribedin this chapter,adaptedfrom
TRAINING the methodsdevelopedby Azrin and Foxx (I97I),
we haveusuallybeensuccessful in toilettrainingthe
child in one day. It takesa lot of work in the begin-
ning, but afteryour child is hained, you both will be


The following suggestionsshould aid you in toilet haining your child:

1. Your child should not be wearing diapersduring training. You should have about 1.2pairs of train-
ing pantson hand. You will need enoughso that you can changethe child into dry pantseachtime
he soilsthem.
2. Your child should be ableto easilymanipulatehis clothing.Have your child wear simpleclothing,
such as slackswith an elasticwaistband or a short skirt.
3. Your child should be comfortablesittingon the toilet. It is important that the child need not have to
struggleto keep from falling in. To avoid this problem you can use a potty chair or put a child-size
toilet seaton the regular toilet. If you use a regulartoilet for training, provide a low stool or block on
which the child can place his feet while sitting on the toilet.
4. You should keep plenty of your child's pref.erredbeverageson hand. You want to increasethe
child's fluid intake so he will eliminate more frequently.
5. You shouldalsokeep smallfood heats (e.g., nuts, dried fruit, candy, chips)ready in the bathroom
to use as rewards.You should chooseheatsthat will increasethe child'sthirst so that his fluid intake
is increased,

The next section contains the major steps for the overall procedure of toilet training- Addi-
tionaltoilet skillsare discussedin the last section.


S t e p 1 . Sittingon the Toilet. The goal of this step is to make it clearto your
child that he is expectedto
eliminatein the toilet. This is accomplishedby placingyour child on the toilet
and givinghim
many liquidsto drink' Reward him profuselyeverytime he eliminates.This
about 2 hours. During this time the child should be completelyundressed
in order to avoid
the possibleconfusionof having to remove clothes. (Later, some clothing
may be left on.)
Il your child eltminofes,praisehim enthusiasticallyand give him hugs,liquids,and
food' Remember,the more he drinks,the more often he will eliminate,and
the more often
he can be rewarded. After you have rewarded him for his performance, allow
him to leave
the bathroom for about 10 minutesto play, beforereturningto the toilet.
lf your child does not eliminate, praise and reward him every 3 minutes or so for
"Good sitting."
Step 2: Building lndependent Toileting Skil/s.The goal of this step is for the child to learn go
to to the
toilet in order to eliminatethere. Your child should be seatedon a chair next to the
toilet. He
should still be undressedduring this step.
If your child goes to the toilet and eliminates,reward him immediately,while he is
stillon the toilet, with liquids,hugs,and other rewards,and give him a short break.When
returnsto the bathroom, place his chair a littlefarther away from the toilet and put
pants or underwearon him.
lf your child does not eliminate after S minutes, reward him for "Good sitting."
Rememberto give him plenty of liquids.
Il your child eliminateswhilesitfingon the chair,havehim go through an overcor-
rection procedure:
1. Reprimand him shongly for eliminatingin his pants.
2. Have him clean his clothesand the chair.
3. Give him a shower.Optimally,a cold showershould be given; at least,it shouldnot be a
4. The chrld should not receiveany rewardsfor a S-minuteperiod.
5. Placeyour child back on the toilet untir he eliminatesthere.

Step 3: lncrease Toileting Skt/ls.The goal of this step is for your child to gradually learn to go
to the
toilet when it is some distanceaway, that is, walk to the bathroom, remove his clothing,
eliminate in the toilet. Placethe chair farther away from the toilet each time your child is suc-
cessful.Also, with each success,add more piecesof clothing.
If your child eliminatesin the toilet, praise him enthusiastically,while he is still on
the toilet. Give him a short break, and, when he returns, move his chair farther away from
toilet, and add an articleof clothing.
If your child does not eliminate alter 5 minutes,reward him for continuing to sit in
the chair.
If your child eliminatesin his ponfs, have him go through the overcorrectionproce-
dure outlined in Step 2. Move the chair closerto the toilet and remove an article clothing.
You should continue with Step 3 until your child can successfullyget up from the
chair, go to the bathroom, remove his clothing,and go to the toilet. When your
child has
masteredStep 3, go on to Step 4, Maintenance.

tn Bqslc Sell-help Slills

Step 4: Maintenance. Thisstepinvolvescheckingyourchild'spantsevery15-30 minutes.Askyour
child, "Are you dry?" You may haveto prompthim to answerthis questionby helpinghim
placehis handon the crotchareaof hispantsso that he canf.eelforwetness.
Il your childis dry, praise,cuddle,and kisshim. Rewardhim alsowith sometreat
that he likes.
ff your child is wet, reprimandhim ("Bad!Wet pants!")and havehim go through
the overcorrection procedure.Thenreturnto Step3. Continuewith Step3 untilyourchild
canget up from the chairand eliminatein the toilet.
If your child independentlytoilets,rewardhim profusely.
Withcontinuedsuccess, lengthenthetimebetween"dry pantschecks,"untilitisno
longernecessary to check,

Fading Out hompts and Returning to Normql Schedule

Onceyourchildunderstands whatis requiredof him, you willwantto graduallyfadeout yourphysical
the amountand frequencyof the reinforcers, and,finally,yourverbalcues.Afteryou have
followedthroughwith this intensivetrainingfor 2 to 3 days,you witl want to returnto a more normal
1'Give"dry pantschecks"beforeor aftermealsor snacks,and at naptimeand bedtime.You may
alsowantto havethesechecksat timeswhenyour childis mostlikelyto eliminate.
2. Whenaccidents occur,reprimandas usual,and havehim go throughovercorrection.
3. Avoid puttingdiaperson your child again.If necessary, and teachersin your
procedureso thatthey will not continueto usediapers.


The following toileting skills should be taught after your child has learned successfultoileting.
Wtplng If your child eliminated,and it is necessaryto wipe:
1. Inshuctyour child to "Get somepaper," while helpinghim get enough toiletpaper from
the roll.
2. Praisehim for gettingthe paper.
3. Help your child graspthe paper correctly,then say, "Wipe yourself,"while helpinghim
through the entire motion of wiping.
4. Praisehim for wiping.
5. When your child haswiped himself,instructhim to "Drop the paper," while helpingyour
child releasethe paper and drop it into the toilet.
Getttng Off the Tollet
I' Tellyour child "Stand up," or "Get down," while prompting him to do so, if necessary.
2. Praisehim for getting down.
1' Say, "Pantsup," and prompt your child by helpinghim take hold of the waistbandof his
pants and using his hands to pullthe pants up to his waist.
2. Praisehim for pulling up his pants.

Dcytime Totlet Trcining lil

Flurhing the Tollet
1. Tellyourchildto flush,andprompthimbyguidinghishandto thehandleandpushing
firmlyto flushthe toilet.
2. Praisehimfor flushing.

DcrtcSrll-hdp S}tlk
DRESSING Theskillsinvolvedin learningto undressarenot only
closelyrelatedto thoseinvolvedin learningto dress,
but alsoare more easilytaught.Therefore,undress-
ing is usuallytaughtfirstto ensure, the successof the
It is recommended that ,,backward chain-
ing" be usedin teachingundressing and dressing.
Thisessentially meansthatthe childbetaughtthelast
actionin a sequenceof actionsfirst,then the nextto
the last, and so on, until the first actionin that se_
quenceis taughtlast. However,you will want to
promptyourchildthroughthe entiresequence a few
timesbeforeinsistingthat he learnthe individualac-


children usuallylearnfirstto takeoff theirshoesand socks,then

their pants,and thentheirshirts.It is
recommended thatyou teachthe itemsin thisorderandthatyou work with
one itemuntilthechildis
ableto removeit by himself.

Removlng Shoes and Socke

step 1: Your childshouldbe seatedso that he canreachhisshoes.
Step 2: Say,"Undo laces,"or "Unbuckle,"and then takehisprefened
handand physicallymove
him throughthe motionsof untyingor unbucklinghis shoes. praise him.
Step 3: Say,"Shoesoff," and thentakehishandandpluc"-hisindexfinger
in the heelof hisshoeand
pushdown on hishanduntilthe shoedropsoff. Praisethe
the othershoe.

Step 4: Say, "Socksoff," and placethe child'sthumb and index finger under the top of his sockand
push his hand down untilthe sock comesoff. Praisethe child and repeatthe procedurewith
the other sock.
Step 5: Once your child seemsto be hying to cooperateand has the generalidea of what is expected
of him, start with the losfsfep in the sequencefirst, and let him take off the lastfew inchesby
himself.Praisehim generouslyfor doing so.
Step 6: Once your child can removethe lastfew inchesof sockby himself, have him pull it off his heel
by himselfand remove it the rest of the way. Be sure to praisehim.
Step 7: Continue to fade your prompts (reduceyour assistance) slowly, making sure your child has
had severalsuccessesat each stagebefore requiring him to do a little bit more by himself.
Step 8: Work backward in this manner until your child can take off his shoesand socksindepen-
Step 9: Once the child knows how to take off his shoesand socks,have him do it severaltimes(you
put the socksand shoesback on aftereach trial) in responseto your instruction"Shoesand
socksoff." This is to practiceundressingto your command, to help bring him under verbal

Removing Pqnts
Step 1: Your child should be wearingpantswith an elasticwaistbandor pants that can be removed
without being unsnappedor unzipped.
Step 2: Say, "Pants off," and hook your child'sthumbs under the waistof his pants at the side and
pull his pants down with your hands over his hands. Praisehim for pulling down.
Step 3: Say, "Lift your foot," and, if he does not follow this instruction,prompt him by placingyour
hand behind one knee and liftinghis foot out of one pant leg. Repeatthe procedurewith the
other leg. Reward his cooperationwith praise.
Step 4: If this step is too difficultfor your child to do standingup, then have him sit down, Say, "Sit
down," and, if necessary,prompt him to do so by pushingdown on his back with one hand
and on his stomachwith the other. This will causehim to bend over. Pushinga littlemore on
his back will help him get the idea that he is to sit down. Once he is seated,say "Leg out," or
"Pull your leg out," and help him graspthe pantswhile liftingone leg out of the pant leg with
your hand on his shin or behindthe knee. Repeatfor the other leg and be sureto praisehim.
Step 5: As with the shoes and socks, begin to give lessassistancestarting with the last action. Allow
your child to lift his feet the lastfew inchesout of his pants by himself. You can ensuresuccess
here by pressinga little harder behind his kneesjust before you let go so the momentum will
carry his foot out of the pants leg.
Step 6: Give lessand lessassistanceuntil your child lifts his feet by himself when you say, "Lift your
Step7: When your child needs only occasionalremindersto lift his feet, begin fading out your assis-
tancefor pulling his pantsoff . Again, startout by lettinghim pull down the lastfew inchesby
himself. Be sure to praiseyour child and allow him a few successesat each stagebeforegoing
to the next.
Step 8: Continueto fade your assistance until your child can perform the whole sequencewhen you
say, "Pants off." Rememberto praiseat each small step. Rememberto practiceoften in order
to gain verbalcontrol.

t8r BqstcSelf-help Shills


Dressing shouldbe taughtin the samemannerasundressing, thatis,fromthe lastactionin a sequence

to thefirst'You should,however,waitto teachfastening skillssuchassnapping, zipping,andbuttoning
cannotbe expectedof very youngchildren.It
may helpto teachfasteningskillsbv attachingfasteners to a board throughtheskills
whilethe fastenersare in front of him beforeaskinghim to perform ""d;id;;ril.iira
them on his own clothing.
As with undressing, the skillof puttingon eachgarmentshouldbe brokendown into
steps'Provideverbalcues for eachstep,andphysically proirptwhennecessary. Thenfadeout youras-
sistancestartingwith the laststep.However,don't moveon to the
next stepuntil the child hassuc-
ceededa numberof timesat the previousstep.Be sureto praise
him at eachstep.
The followingstepsfor eachgarmentaresuggested. They arelistedin the orderin whichyou
wouldteachthem,that is, in reversesequence.

It iseasier
ir theysitdown-i',:tli:tt':l"l:i:rr, pantson.
Step 1: Positionwaistband of pants.
Step 2: Pull up pantsfrom buttocksto waist.
Step 3: Pull up pantsfrom kneesto buttocks.
Step 4: Pull up pantsfrom anklesto knees.
Step 5: Standup.
step 6: Pushfeetthroughpant reghoresso pantsareat the ankres.
Step 7: Put pant legsoverfeet (oneat a time).
Step 8: Whilestillholdingpants,reachdown to feet.
Step 9: Grasppantsat side,holdingfront_side up.
Step l0: Pickup pants.
Step 1l: Sit down.

Putting On Shirr
Step l: Pull body of shirt down to waist.
Step 2: Put armsthroughsleeves(oneat a time).
Step 3: Hold shirtso that armscango throughsleeves(oneat a time).
Step 4: Pullshirtover head.
Step 5: Placeshirton top of head.
Step 6: Hold shirtin proper positionso that it will go on correctly.
Step 7: Pickup shirt.

Putting On Socks
Step 1: Pull on top of sock.
Step 2: Pull the heelof sockover heelof foot.
Step 3: Pull sockup to heelaftercorrectlypositioningit on toes.
Step 4: Positionsockon the toes.
Step 5: Hold sockconectly,readyto be put on.
Step 6: Pick up sock.
Step 7: Sit down.

on shoes
stepl: pushheeroffootintoheer rlltjl"o
"r heelof foot.
Step 2: Pull heelof shoealmostover
step 3: Pushfoot into shoe,afterconecttypositioningit on toe.
Step 4: Positionshoeon the toes.
Step 5: Hold shoe,correctly,readyto be put on.
Step 6: Pickup shoe.
Step 7: Sit down.

In teachingundressing
and dresstngskills,you havebeenpromptingthe childby physically as-
sistinghim throughthe action.Anothermethodof teachingtheseskillsis throughmodeling.
to teachthe childby havinghim imitateyour actions.Advantages of imitationtrainingarethatthe child
will learnmore and moreto imitateyou and lesstime will haveto be spentwith the tedious
eachseparatestep' You may stillneedto shapehis behaviorsbut to a
shouldhy to promptthe child'sbehaviorthroughimitationof your actionsand thenreinforce
him. in-
steadof relyingexclusivelyon manual(physicalassistance) promprs.

tr Easic Sell-help S}tlh

BRUSHINGOR You must decide ahead of time how your
should brush, or comb, his hair and then
COMBING HAIR down into a logical sequence of steps.
break it
Each step
should contain a verbalcue. Choose a sequence
stepsthat is natural for your child and appropriate
your child'shaircut.Thesestepscan include:
up the brush with the prefened hand, brushing
hair startingat the part and shoking downward
the left and right sides,brushingthe hair
on the back
of the head, and brushingthe bangs.Additional
include brushingthe undersideof the hair
for long
hair, or using front to back strokesrather than
sittingin frontof a mirrorsothathecan,"" *nurlTit::ff
Thefollowingprocedures shouldbe followedwhen"teaching how to brushor combhair.
Step 1: Givethe commandfor eachstep,for example,,,Brush
Siep 2: Modelthatstepby performing the maywantto say,,Dothis,,,to
childreadyto imitateyou. Praisehim for imitatingyou. getthe
Repeatthe modelingprocedurefor
eachstep,if necessary.
step 3: once your childhasthe generalideaof whatyour
commandmeans,you may wantto pro-
videphysicalpromptsif he cannotget the teil
ofperformingthe actionproperly.Givethe
tanceto allowhim to completethe action.piui."
step 4: when yourchildcanperformtheaction,butneeds
a reminder,providea visualprompt. For
example,pointto thebackof hisheadfor thecommand,"Brush
back.,,If thispromptissuffi-
cient'provideno furtherassistance
andpraisehim whenhe completesthe action.If the
promptis not sufficient, visual
thengivea physicalprompt(guidethe actionwith your
onlythe minimumpromptneededto reminj him.

Step 5: Graduallyfadeout (decrease)
yourassistance by firstgraduallyreducingthe amountof physt,
you provide.Next, graduallyreducethe amountand frequencyof visuatcues
cal assistance
and promptsyou provide.Finallyfadethe verbalinstuctionsfor eachstep.

When the programis completed,your child shouldcomb or brush his hair independently
whenyou giveone inshuction,"Comb hair."

il Bsrlc Solf-hdp Sklllr

The actof tooth brushingis composedof a long and
TOOTH complexsequenceof actions'As is the casewith any
BRUSHING complexbehavior,tooth brushingshouldbe taught
in very small steps. With such a complex act, it
becomesquiteclearhow muchthe programin teach-
ing imitation(Chapter7) can help. It would be so
much easierto just demonshatethe sequence,in-
steadof havingto hand-shapeevetystep' We hope
to be ableto saveas much time as possiblethrough
demonstrating(modeling)the right actions,using
hand-shaping whenmodelingfails'
, The followingsequenceof stepsisrecommended asa guidelinefor teachingyour childhow to

1. Turn on the water.

2. Pick up the toothbrushby its handle'
3. Wet the toothbrush.
4. Turn off the water.
5. Graspthe toothpastetube with the nonpreferredhand'
6. Removethe toothPastecaP'
7. Setthe caPdown.
8. ApplYtoothPasteto the brush'
9. Lay the toothbrushdown.
10. Replacethe cap on the toothpaste'
11. Lay the toothPaste tubedown'
12. Pick up the toothbrush.

from ProiectMore, University of KansasBureau

Much of the information presentedin this chapter has been adapted
Center' Parsons' Kansas'
o{ Child Research,ParsonsState Hospital and Training

1 3 . Brushthe outsidesurfacesof upperand lowerteeth.
1 A
.1.$. Brushthe bitingsurfacesof teeth.
15 Brushthe insidesurfaceso{ upper and lowerteeth.
Ib. Lay the toothbrushdown.
l7 Pickup a cup.
18 Turn on the water.
19 Fillthecup withwater.
20. Turn off the water.
21. Rinsethe mouth.
22. Put the cup down.
23. Wipethe mouth.
24. Turn on the water.
25. Rinsethe toothbrush.
26, Lay the toothbrushdown.
27. Rinsethe sink.
28. Turn off the water.
29. Dry hands.
30. Put the equipmentaway.

This sequenceof stepsis recommended,not required,It may be that rearrangingthe order of

some of the stepswill be more convenientfor you and your child. However, make sure that the se-
quenceyou choosecontainsstepsthat follow in a logicalmanner.
Beforebeginningto teachtooth brushing,seeif your child can perform any of the abovesteps
on his own. Provide him with all the essentialmaterials(toothbrush,toothpaste,cup) and ask him to
brush his teeth. Sometimesyou can saveseveralstepsbecauseyour child alreadycan perform part of
the task. You can simply indicateto him the appropriatetime to perform that action.
Once you have established the stepsyour child can and cannotperform on his own, choosea
verbalcommand to accompany eochstep. You should have as many verbalcommandsas you have
steps.Your child may not need as many stepsas are recommendedhere. For example,if your child
already understandsthat wetting somethingrequiresthat he turn on the water, put the objectunder the
water, and then turn off the water, Steps 1 through 4 could be combined into one step, "Wet tooth-
brush." Choosethe right number of stepsfor you and your child so that he understandsexactlywhat is
requiredof him when you give the command for that step.
As in other complex behaviors,the beststrategyfor teachingyour child to brush his teeth com-
binesthe techniquesof modeling,imitation,and prompting.The followingmethod is recommendedfor
Step l: Give the command for that step, for example,"Wet toothbrush."
Step 2: lf your child can perform the necessaryaction just by being asked, provide no further assis-
tance. However, be sure to praisehim when he completesthat step. If your child can't per-
form the action, show him by modeling, that is, perform the action yourself, You may need to
say "Do this" to get him to imitateyou. Praisehim for imitatingthe action.
Step 3: If your child is unable to imitate the action, then prompt him by guiding his hands with yours'
Gradually, over successivetrials, decreaseyour amount of assistance.
Strp 4: When your child understandswhich action he must perform to your command, but some-
times needs a reminder, provide a visualprompt or instruction.

8n Bqslc Self-help Sktlls

strp 5: If a vbualp::f* is nol enoughof a remlnder,
thenprovtdea physicalpromptbyguidtnghis
handsthroughthe actton.Provideonlyenougi
*r[r"n.. asis necessary
to gethimto per-
formthatstep.Be sureto pralsehtm.
$t*p 6: Fadeout (decrease) yourassistanc.gbyfirstgraduallyreducingtheamountof phyeical
tanceyou provide'Next, graduatlyreducethe amount assls-
and frequencyof visualcuesof
promptsyou provide.Thengradualyfade
the verbarcommands.
Whentheprogramis completed,yourchildshould
beableto performhisenilrctoothbrush-
ingroutlnewhenyoutellhlm only,,,Brush teeth.,,

ToolhErnrhlsg 't[
RETFRENCES loosa, Alabama:BehavlorModflcationTechnol.
Azrin,N. I'1.,and Foxx,R. M. A rapldmethodof toilet
hafnlngthe instftutlonaltzed
retarded. Joumalof Ap. RECOUIIENDEDNEf,DINCS
plled BehautorAnolysts,L97L, 4, 89-99.
Baker, B. L., Brightrnan,A. J., Helfetz,L. J., & Bernal, M.E., &North,J. A. Asurv€yofparenttrain-
Murphy, D. M. Stepsto Independence : A sktllstrotn- lngmanuals.Journalol AppltedBehautor Anolysts,
ing serieslor chtldren wlth speclal needs. Cham- 7978,77,533-544.
palgn,Ill.: ResearchPrcss,t977. Foxx, R. M., & Azrln, N. H. Totlettratntngthe re-
Watson,L, S. Hou to usebehaulormodtltcattonwtth tarded:A programfor day and ntghtilmeIndepen.
mentallyretarded and autktlc chtldren: progromslor dent tolletlng.Champatgn,Ill.: Research Press,
admlnlsfrators,teachers,parentsand nurses,Tusca- 7974.

il BcrteSoll-bdp $Ltllr

By thistime your child haslearnedto follow certain
simpleinstructions (Chapter10), and is learningto
imitateyour speech (Chapter11) and hopefully
makingsomeprogressin bothareas,lt'stimethen,to
proceedwithmorelanguage haining.Thematerialin
this Unit is a little more complexfor your child to
learn,but is not necessarily more difficultfor you to
teach. Programsare introducedthat will help the
childdescribe hisenvironment morecompletely and
his behaviormore accurately.
Thereare two partsto language.One has
to do with behavingappropriatelyto languageas an
inputof information.Thisis receptivespeechand it is
illustatedin the sectionin which we taughtthe childto followsimpleinstructions.It is calledreceptiue
because the childisreceivinglanguage,and actingon it. The otherpartof languageiscalledexpressiue,
that is, the child himselfwill expressin his own wordswhat he sees,hearsor feels(othersmay act on
whathe says).Thesetwo aspectsof speech,receptiveand expressive,areusuallytaughtsideby side,
with the receptivepart beingpresentedinitially,followedby the expressive counterpart.We beginby
teachinga childto respondappropriately to an object(e.g.,by pointingto a cup) when an adultsaysits
name("cup"). We teachhim lo receiuewhatis said.Later,he istaughtto expresswhathe sees(e.g.,he
Somechildrentalkinappropriately, thatis,theytalktoo muchand whentheydo talk,it does
not makeanysense.For example,somechildrenwillechowhatyou say,eitherimmediately or aftera
delay(theywill repeatyour question,suchas"What'syour name,"insteadof answeringthe question).
Or, they will persistin repeatingfavoritesayingsfrom TV commercials quiteout of context,and appar-
entlywithoutknowingwhattheyaresaying.Or, somechitdrenwillshingtogetherwordsin combina-
tionsthatdo not makeany obvioussense(forexample,a childwho exclaimsin anycontext,"Helicopter
pillowpilot").Althoughit isgoodthatthechildtalks,suchecholalicor psychotictalkofteninterferes with
hissocialand educationaladjustment.As far aswe canunderstand,echotalicand psychotictalkis self-
stimulatorybehavior.Chapter23 containscertainprogramsto help the child decreasesuchtalk.
Somechildrenhaveseriousdifficultyin bothreceivingand expressing vocallanguage.If you
haveworkedwith a child for severalmonthsand he is makingno progresson verbalimitation,or on

receptive (vocal)labeling, then consider teaching him to sign instead of vocalizing. Sometimessigning
programsfacilitatethe development of vocal language,and other times they provide a good substitute.
In any case, keep in mind that some children may have serious problems with understandingvocal
(auditory)input and may do relativelybetter with manual signs(visualinput). But hy vocaltraining first,
becauseit is most practical in our society.
The haining protocols for intermediatelanguageare presentedin some detail. This may seem
redundant, since they are similar to those in the earlier chapters, but we decided to present them in
detail,to be on the safeside.
Giving names to (labeling)objects(with nouns) and simple actions (with verbs)are amongthe
most fundamental of language skills. Your child must learn to comprehend and use the names of
"things" and "actions"in order to interactand communicatewith other people. This Unit describes a set
of programsthat can be used to teach your child to understandand use a variety of names or labelsthat
will be necessaryin his everyday interactions.
The first four chaptersof this Unit cover the following areas: 1) understandingnames of ob-
jects, or receptive object labeling, in which the child learns to respond to instructionssuch as "Touch
ct)p," ot "Touch book";2) learningto name objectsor expressiveobjectlabeling,in which the child is
taught to answer questionssuch as "What is this?" and "What do you want?"; 3) understandingnames
of simple actions, or receptiveaction labeling,in which the child learnsto perform or indicate an action
when given instructionsto do so, such as "Walk," or "Show me jumping"; and 4) learningto verbalize
the names of actions, or expressiveaction labeling,in which the child is taught to respond to the ques-
tion, "What are you (or am I, or is he) doing?", usinga verb to describethe action. Your child must learn
a great number of names or labelsin each category in order to interact effectivelywith other people.
Please note that the separation of receptive and expressivelabel training in this manual is
somewhat artificial.After the initialstagesof the program, receptive and expressivelabeling should be
practicedand trained concurrently. Receptiveand expressivetraining should be intermixed particularly
in the generalizationportions of the programs.
Remember that the program on language in this book is an introduction to language; it's
meant to get you going. If you feel you are making progress,and want to do more than what is sug-
gested here, then you may want to read about the extension of this progtam in a book specificallyon
teaching language, The Autistic Child: Language Deuelopment through Behauior Modification


Hr Intermediate Lcngucrge
The procedure f.or receptive labeling is most easily
RECEPTIVE canied out with objectsplaced on a small table be-
OBJECT tween you and your child or with you and your child
seatednext to one another with the objectson a table
tABEtING in front of you. A large number of common, every-
day objectsshould be used in this program.


We chose a cup for a first object because it is fre-

quently encountered. It is important to pick an object
that is familiarand that he can handle. Any number
of objects,suchas a truck, a doll, or a ball, or foods,suchastoastor cereal,can be used.You arepartic-
ularly fortunate if your child can point to an objectbefore he has receivedany formal haining. If so, stort
with the objectshe can name olready. It is true in labeling, as it was in teaching him imitation and to
follow inshuctions,that the child may already"know" some of theseobjects,but he does not usethem
that often. Your job now is to get control over theseearly labeh, by rewardingcorrectresponses,and
punishingincorrectones, as well as punishingthe child'sfailureto cooperate.Determineat the start(by
observing,or, if you are the child's teacher,by askinghis parents)what the child alreadycan name
(even if he is unreliableat it) and get control over those labelsfirst. It will save you a great deal of time.
Step 1: Removeallobjectsfromthetable, outof sightandreachofthechild.Beginhainingbyplacing
the cup, on the table about 1 to 2 feet in front of the child. Then present your instructionsto
the child, in this case, "Touch cup." If the child respondsto criterion,go on to the second
label. If the child respondsinconectlyfor five trials,go on to Step 2.
Step 2: The uisualprompt. You can prompt the child'sresponseby placing your hand on the cup so
that the child will do likewise.If the childfailsto imitatethis action,follow the proceduregiven
in Step 4, the physical prompt. A correctresponsehas occurred when the child imitatesyou
by reachingout and placinghis fingerson the cup in responseto the command "Touch cup."
Reward the child with praise and food. When the child has responded correctly (imitated
your action) for 5 consecutivetrials, go on to Step 3.

Step 3: Fadingthe uisualprompt. To fade the visual prompt, you first move your hand toward the
cup, without actuallytouchingit. Then you graduallyreducehow much you move your hand
in the directionof the cup, until you aren't moving your hand at all. Reinforceeach conect
response,and, when the child respondsto criterion,go on to the second label.
Step 4: The physicalprompt. A physicalprompt may be necessaryif the child fails to imitate you, or
if, as previouslynoted, the child imitatesso wellthat he fadeshis responseas you fade your
prompt. In eithercase,physicallyprompt the correctresponseby takingthe child'shand and
placingit on the cup. Then remove your hand and reinforcethe child after he has kept his
hand on the cup for 2 or 3 seconds.Gradually and systematicallyfade, or reduce, this
prompt by pulling more lightlyon the child'shand and releasinghis hand soonerand sooner
beforeit hasreachedthe cup. Continuetraininguntil the child touchesthe cup on your com-
mand without any physicalprompt at all (e.g., your hand staysin your lap or at your edgeof
the table).After the child respondsto criterion,begin to teach the second label.


In orderto minimizethe child'sconfusion,the secondobjectchosenfor labeltrainingshouldbe quitedif-

fetent in physicalform and in functionfrom the firstobject.Thus, if a cup were the first object,a glass,
similarin shapeto a cup and also used for drinking, would be a poor choice for the secondobject.In
addition,the labelsor names of the two objectsshould be maximallydifferent.For instance,if "Cup"
werethe firstlabeltrained,"Cookie" would be a poor choiceasa secondword, becauseboth wordsstart
with a "k" sound. Also, they have very similarfunctions-both go in the mouth. A good choicefor the
secondlabelwould be a doll, for which the command would be "Touch doll." A shoe would be another
good choice.
Step 1: Remove all itemsfrom the tableexceptfor the doll being usedfor training.Placethe dollon
rl the table in front of the child. Give the inshuction,"Touch doll." If the child respondsto cri-
terion, go on to discriminationtrainingusingrandom rotation.If the child makesfive consec-
i utive errors, go to Step 2.
I Steps 2'4: Thesestepsare carriedout in exactlythe samemanner as those in the first label.When
i the child has masteredthis secondlabel, go on to random rotation.

ff S t e p 1 : Once the child has reached criterion on the second object (doll), the first object (cup) is again
tu! presentedby itself. Conduct severaltesttrialsto ensurethat the child stillrespondscorrectlyto
m the instruction,"Touch cup." If the child does not respond correctly,the correctresponse
m shouldbe retrained.
Step 2: The second object is reintroduced. The trials are presented (following the procedure in Step
1, above) until the child responds correctly with no prompt for five consecutivetrials.
Step 3: Steps 1 and 2 are repeated until little or no prompting is needed the first time that an objectis
Pl ts>s I l tgLr .

$tcp {: The two objects are presented in random rotation. The random rotation procedure is re-
viewed below to reduce any chanceof misunderstanding.

iln Intermedlcte Lcngucge

Placeboth objectson the tableabout\ to 2 feetfromthe childand about
1 foot apart.present
onecommand,e.g.,"Touchdoll,"andreinforce thechildwithpraiseandfood if he iscorrect.On suc-
ceedinghials,you mustalternate yourinshuctions in a randomfashionso thatthechildcannotusethe
patternof commandsratherthan your actualcommandsas
a basisfor responding.For instance,on a
seriesof hialsyou mightaskfor: cup,cup,doll,cup,doll,doll,doll,cup,
Joil. In uddition,theposition
of the two objectsshouldbe alternatedin a randomfashionduringthe seriesof trials
in orderto prevent
the child from associatinga commandwith a position(rightor left) ratherthan with the objectbeing
named'A typicalsequence of trialsmightshowoneobjectin thefollowingpositions: R(ight)-L(eft)-R-
R-L-R-L-L-L-R. If thechildresponds to criterion,thenhe candiscriminate betweenobjectsandyou
maygo on to teacha third label.If your childrespondsinconectlyfor fivetrials,go
backand retrainboth
labelsseparately,then beginrandomrotationagain.


The simultaneous presentation of the two objectsand the requirementthat the childlearnto selectthe
correctitem on the basisof your verbalcue may be quite difficult.There are severalprocedures
promptinga correctresponse,and you shouldtry eachoneuntilyou find one
thatiscomfortable for vou
and successfulwith your child.Let us illustrate
two procedures.

Proximity Prompting
Thisprocedureinvolvesplacingthe objectnamedin your instructions closerto the childthanthe other
object.On the firsttrial,placeone object(thecup) 1 foot fromthe childand the otherobject(thedoll)2
feetfromthe child,thensay,"Touchcup." On succeeding trialsyou continueto say,"Touchcup,,,as
you graduallymovethecup backintolinewiththedoll. You mustchoosethe side(leftor right) which
the cup isplacedin a randomfashionasyou fadethe proximitycue.Rememberto allowthe childa few
successes at eachlevelof promptingbeforemovingthe cup closerinto line with the doll. Continueto
presenthialsuntilthecupisbackin linewiththedoll.Afterthechildhasresponded correctlyto thecom-
mand,"Touchcup," with no promptfor fiveconsecutive trials,you beginto say,"Touchdoll."On the
firsthial, placethe doll about1 foot from the childandthe cup2feetawayfrom the child.On succeed-
ing trialsfadethe proximityprompt,that is, movethe doll backinto linewith the cup, asyou did before
withthecup.Continueto presenttrialsuntilthechildhasresponded to "Touchdoll"correctly withouta
promptfor fiveconsecutive trials.Repeatthe promptingprocedurefor cup, thenfor doll, and so on,
eachtime decreasing the distanceof the proximityprompt usedon the firsttrial (from 6 inchesto 4
inchesto 2 inches)andfadinguntilthechildneeds,at most,onepromptedtrialeachtimeyoupresenta
commandfor the firsttime.
' Now use random rotationwhen presentingthe two commands.Some slightproximity
promptingmaybe neededfor severaltrials. Continueto presenttrialsuntilthechildhasresponded to
criterion.Your child now haslearnedhis firstreceptivelabeldiscrimination.

Thisprocedureis mostappropriatefor the childwho readilyimitates.Selecta matchingsetof objectsfor
yourself andforthechild. Placetheobjectsonthetablesothatyourarrayisamirrorimageof thechild's.
Givetheinshuction, "Touchcup," andpromptthechildto touchhiscupby modelingthe response, that
is, by touchingyour cup. On succeeding
hials,randomlyalternatethe two commandsand the left-right

Receptive Obiect Lcbeling lg?

positionsof the objects.Rememberthat the positionsof the objectsin your'sand the child'ssetshould
alwaysmatch.Over a seriesof trials,reducbthe modelingprompt by cominglessand lesscloseto
touchingtheobjectsin yourset,Remember to allowthechildto succeed at a givenlevelof promptinga
few timesbeforereducingthe modelingpromptfurther.Continueto presenttrialsuntilthechildhasre-
spondedto criterion,withoutprompting.You now havetaughtyour childhisfirstreceptivelabelingdis-


Oncethechildhaslearnedto identifytwo objects,go on to teachhim to identifyotherobjectsin hisenvi-

ronment.You shouldalwayspresenta newobjectby itselfandteachthe childto respondto thisobject
followingtheprocedureoutlinedabovefor thefirstandsecondlabels.Eachtimethechildhaslearneda
new objectlabelin isolation,it shouldbe presentedsimultaneouslywith two or moreobjectsthathe can
alreadyname.As the child buildsa repertolreof receptiveobjectslabelsthat he can discriminate,you
shouldpresentmanycombinations of theseitemsto be surethe childhaslearnedeachlabelwell.


When the child has masteredsix or more labelsyou should begin generalizationtraining. The chitd must
learn to identify other examples of an object correctly, not just the single item with which he has been
hained. For instance,you want to teach your child to identifyall cups, not only the cup with which he
was hained. At first, training should be extended to items that are quite similar to the original object.
Gradually, you should inhoduce objectsthat are more diverse. You may need to use prompts during
generalization training. Follow the same procedureyou used in teachingmatching (Chapter8). Con-
tinue haining until the child can correctlyidentify a new member of a class(e.9., a type of cup that he has
never been askedto label)the first time it is presented.When your child can correctlyidentify a member
of a classthe first time he is asked to do so, he has a "concept" of that class.
Once your child can easily label a variety of objectsof different classes,you should begin to
generalizehis use of theselabelsto new situations.For instance,you should place itemsthat he can label
around the livingroom (e.9., a cup on a coffeetable,a doll on the floor, a ball on a chair)and askhim to
flnd them. You should regularly quiz your child on the names of objectshe encountersin his environ-
ment (e.9., the cup from which he is drinking,or his shirt).In essence,you must extend your haining
into every possiblepart of your child's daily life. Only in this way will he become competent in generaliz-
ing skillshe acquires in the more shuctured therapy sessionsto the less structured real world.
The following list containssuggesteditems you may want to teach. You may want to add items
not on the list or forego teachingothers. Your primary considerationshould be to chooseitemsfor train-
ing with which your child has frequent contact.

cup doll foot juice tummy

cookie block milk pen head
banana shirt shoe eyes sock
pants book knee truck car
apple teeth boat bowl cereal
IOaSt meat ball brush eat

BT Intermediate Lcngucge
(point to) ap-
After your child has learned to identify
EXPRESSIVE proximately 10 objectsreceptively, you may begin
to use ex-
teach him to name these objects, that is'
OBJECT pressiuelabeling.
tABEtING In this program' your child willlearn to say
that object
the name of an object when he is shown
and asked,"What is it?" A large number of
everyday objects should be used in this
startingwith the same objectsused in teaching
the child
tive language (Chapter 19)' Moreover'
you when
should no*kno* how to verbally imitate
you give the names of the objectschosen for
ithrough the verbal imitation training)'


each other acrossa table' Place an object on the table in

Step 1: you and your child should sit facing your child wants'
you may want to choose objectsthat
front of the child. In the beginning, by name'
you *unt to teach him to ask for these objects
such as foods or a favorite toy, since be ex-
if you startwith "cookie"' the child should
and to get them when asked.-Forexample,
pectedtosay..Cookie,,beforeyougiveittohim.Thisservestomakehisspeechpracticaland as the child
Place a cookie on the table and as soon
functional, which also strengthensit. trial' that is' the
It is important that the onset of the
looks at the cookie, ask, "what is it?" succinct'
your question "whll is it?" be as distinct'
placement of the cookie on the table and to criterion'
the chili's attention' If the child answers
or discreteas possible,so that it catches five con-
inconectly or fails to respond for
go on to the second label. If the child responds
iecutive trials, go on to SteP 2' "what is it?" As soon as the
prompt Place the cookie on the table. Do not ask the child
Step 2: The child imitates
responseby saying"Cookie'" If the
child looks at the cookie, prompt the correct until the
and remove the cookie from the table
you accurately, immediately reinforce him

beginningof the next trial. The intervalbetweentrialsmay be anywherefrom 3 to 5 seconds,
long enough to make the beginningof eachtrial discreteand definite,that is, the trial should
have a clear onset, so as to catch the child's attention. If the child failsto respond correctlyfor
five consecutivehials when you use the whole word as a prompt, you may suspendwork
with that object, and begin training a different object with a labelthat the child can imitate.
Step 3: Fading the prompt After the child has correctly labeled the object for five trials with a full
prompt (the entire word), you shouldbeginto /ode or reducethe prompt Graduallyreduce
the amount of the word that is used to prompt the responseand the loudnesswith which the
prompt is spoken. For instance,"Cookie" might first be faded to "co" at full volume, then to
"k" at intermediatevolume, and finally to a whispered"k". The child should respondcor-
rectly with the full word "cookie" at a given level of prompting a few times before the prompt
is further reduced. When the child has responded correctly at least five times to a minimal
prompt, the prompt shouldbe eliminated.At thispoint, the cue for the child to respondis the
appearanceof the object on the table in front of him. Control over his saying "Cookie" has
been shiftedfrom your saying"Cookie" to the sightof the cookie on the table. The training
procedure is completed when the child correctly labels the object to criterion without

Almost always, if you now were to place ony object in front of him, the child will say,
"Cookie." It is not until he has a second label that he beginsto learn that different objectshave different


The secondlabelis taughtin the sameway asthe first. Rememberthat the secondobjectchosenfor
bainingshouldbe quitedifferentin form and functionfrom the first,and, in addition,the labelsof the
two objectsshouldbe maximallydifferent.If "Cookie" wasthe firstlabel,"Ball" may be the second.
Teachhim to labelthe secondobjectto criterion,the sameway as you taughtthe firstlabel.


Step 1: After the child has conectly labeledthe second word to criterion, the first label is again pre-
sented by itself. If the child does not label the object conectly for five tials, prompt the
response.The first prompt should be the weakestone used in haining the word, for instance,
a whispered "k" sound for cookie. If this prompt fails to elicit a correct response,a shonger
prompt should be hied on the next hial. Continue to increasethe shength of the prompt on
succeedingtials untilthe prompt is strongenough to produce a conect response.After a cor-
rect responsehas been elicited, the prompt is then graduallyfaded in the same way as in the
initial fading. Trials are presenteduntil the child responds correctly, with no prompt, for five
Step 2: The second object is then reinhoduced. Trialsare presented(followingthe procedure in Step
t. 1, above) until the child responds conectly with no prompt for five consecutivetrials.
ii $rry 3: Steps 1 and 2 arerepeated until little or no prompting is needed the first time that an objectis
t!; presented.
&T lntermedlcte Lcrngucge
Step 4: The two objectsare next presentedin randomrotation.Slightpromptingmay be necessary
on the firstfew hials.(lf slightpromptingis insufficient
to elicitcorrectresponding,
Steps1-3.) Trainingwith randomrotationshouldcontinueuntil the child respondsto

Oncethechildhasbegunto labelornameobjects, andcanidentifyseveralobjects

to do so,you havemadea goodbeginning on language,Muchof the hardworkis donebecause many
of the laterprogramsareelaborations
on thetwo wejustdiscussed. Thereismuchwork ahead.butit will
not be astrickyas buildingverbalimitationand teachingthe firstmeaningful


The procedurefor teachingother words is the sameas that usedto teachthe firsttwo words. After the
child learnseach new label, you should mix presentationsof the new word with presentations
of labels
learnedearlieruntil the child respondsto criterion.Rememberto chooseobjectsthat have alreadybeen
used in receptivelabeltraining and whose labelsthe child can imitate.


Begingeneralization trainingafterthe child haslearnedsixexpressivelabels.The procedurefor general.

izingexpressivelabelsis the same as that describedin the sectionon receptiveobjectlabeling.Remem-
ber that this step is crucialin the child'slanguagedevelopmentbecausehe must learn "concepts,"no1
just labelsof singleobjectsand he must learnto use languageall day, every day, not only in structured


After the child has masteredperhapsa half dozenlabels,you shouldbeginaskingthe question,"What is

it?" when presentingthe objectto be labeled.This questionis not askedin the preliminarystagesof train-
ing, sinceit may block a good responseto the prompt, and conceivablyalsoblockthe child'sattentionto
the hainingstimulus.In the earlystagesof haining,if possible,you shouldsay only the prompt word. In
general, the less you say at first, the better.
If the child echoesthe question insteadof labelingthe object or echoesthe questionjust before
givingthe label, see the later sectionon proceduresto controlecholalia(Chapter23).


After the child has learnedto respondcorrectlyto "What is it?", trainingcan begin on, "What do you
want?"Placeone objecton the table.The objectmust be one that the child would like to have (a favorile
food or toy) and that he can labelexpressively.
When the child visuallyfixateson the objects,you ask.
"What do you want?" If the child fails to respond, then you should prompt the response(e.g.. say"
"What do you want? (pause)"Cookie"l. The prompt is then faded. In the beginningof this haining, Xrori

ExpressiveObiective Lcngucge t{t

mayfindit helpfultoaskthe question,"Whatdo you want"at low decibelleveland quickly,whilesaying
the prompt, "Cookie," loudly and clearly.Later, raisethe decibellevelof the questionand fade the
prompt.Whenthe childhasmasteredthisphaseof theprogram,you shouldbeginto placetwo or more
itemsthat the child would like to haveon the tablebeforeaskingthe child "What do you want?"The
childisthengiventhe objectthat he labels.Thus,in thisphaseof theprocedure,the childlearnsthathe
mustnamethe item that he wants.Oncethe childcananswerthe questioncorrectly,he shouldbe re-
quiredto askfor (bylabeling)any desireditem or action(suchasfood, toys, hugs,"open door" to get
out, "up" to get pickedup, "down" to get off the chair)beforehe receivesit.
Additionalobjectsareinboducedfor labelingtn the samemanneras wassuggested for other
discriminations(such as the receptivelabels).

m Intormodlstr Lcngucgc
RECEPTIVE Once your child haslearnedto identifyand name ob_
jects,you can beginto teach him how to identifyand
ACTION name behaviors or actions. That is, after he has
TABELING learnedto point to and name objectssuch as milk,
cookie, huck, and doll, he can learn to do the same
with words that describeactions,such as standing,
sitting,jumping, and laughing.
The programfor teachingyour childto per-
form actionsin responseto your inshuctionsis similar
to the procedurefor teachinghim to follow verbalin_
structions(outlinedin Chapter 10). We describethe
trainingprogram again here, with the intent of elab-
oratingon some of the more complex behavlors.


Thistaskteachesthechildto walkto anotherpersonin theroom (ifoneispresent)or to walkto an object

in theroom (e.9.,a table).
Step 1: You and your childshouldbe seatedapproximatelyfivestepsfrom the personor objectto be
approached(for example,the child'sfather).Presentthe instruction"Walk to daddy"to the
child.If the childrespondsto criterion,go on to the secondbehavior.If the childrespondsin-
conectlyfor five trials,go on to Step2.
Step 2: The prompt Thisand similarbehaviorsaremosteasilytaughtby havingthechildimitateyou.
Thus,aftersaying,"Walkto daddy,"you shouldsay,"Do this,"thenstandup, turn in the
directionof the personto be approached,and walkto thatperson.If the childfailsto imitate
you for five hials,usephysicalpromptsto getthe childto do what you haverequested.For
example,you can prompt the child to standby placingyour handson his upperarmsand
pullinghim up. You can then turn him in the appropriatedirectionwith your handsin the
samepositionon hisupperarms.Finallg,Voucanprompthim to walkto the specifiedp€rsorl
or objectby takinghim by the hand,or by pushinghim from behindif necessary. Wh€ndE

child reachesthe person or the object, he should be rewarded immediately with food and
Step 3: Fadingthe prompt Graduallyand systematically fade or reduce any physicalprompts you
may be using. Begin by pushing the child more and more lightly and for fewer stepsto get him
to walk. Next, touch his arms more and more lightly to get him to stand and turn in the appro-
priate direction until you need not touch him at all. While you fade or reduce the physical
prompts, continue to perform the action yourself. Thus, when the physicalprompts are com-
pletelyfaded, the child shouldbe imitatingyou. Now you must fade your modeling(demon-
stration)of the behavior so that the child can perform the behavior on his own in responseto
your instructions.As with most of the other training procedureswe have described,you fade
the prompts startingat the end of the behavioralsequence,that is, startingwith the laststep in
the sequence.In this case,that step is walking with the child to the appropriateperson or ob-
ject. Thus, you should graduallywalk a shorterand shorterdistancewith the child until he is
walking the entire distancealone. It may be necessaryto introduce and then fade (gradually
eliminate)a push from behind to get the child going when you are no longer walkingwith
him. Next, you should fade the prompt of turningin the desireddirectionby turning lessand
less.Again, the useof a lightphysicalprompt to turn the child when you are no longerturning
with him may be used and then graduallyfaded. Finally, you should fade the prompt of
standingwith the child by standingto lessand lessof your full heightand by returningto a sit-
ting positiononce the child is standing.Usea lightphysicalprompt if necessary to getthe child
to standwhen you are no longer performing the action, and to keep him standingwhen you
are returningto a sittingposition.Eventuallythe prompt may be so much faded that you only
nod your head in the appropriatedirection.When the child can stand,turn, and walk to the
appropriate person or object unassistedand without a model (someone to imitate) to
criterion,begin teachingthe next receptiveverb label.


The secondreceptiveverb label is taught in exactlythe same manner as the first was hained. If you are
usingan obpct rather than a secondperson in the training procedure, be sure that you use the some ob-
iect in teachingboth behaviors.When the child haslearnedthe secondreceptivelabel(e.g.,jumping to
the person or o,blecton command) , go on to random rotation.


Step l: Reinuoduce the first command ("Walk to Person/Objecf'). If the child does not respondcor-
rectly for five rials, prompt the response.Begin by using a weak prompt, for instance,walk
one or two steps. If this prompt failsto elicit a conect response,hy a shonger prompt on the
next fial. Continue to increasethe sbength of the prompt on succeedingtrials until the child
responds correctly. After a conect responsehas been elicited, fade the prompt in the same
way as in the initial faining- Continue to presenttrials untilthe child respondscorrectly,with
no prompt, for five consecutivetrials.

l{{ Intermedlcrte Lcngucge

Step 2: The secondcommand("Jump to Person/Object")is now reinhoduced.Presenthials (fol-
lowingthe procedurein Step1, above)untilthechildrespondscorrectly,with no prompt,for
five consecutive hials.Makesurethat the emphasisin your voiceis on the word "walk" and
on "jump," to help your childdiscriminate.
Step 3: RepeatSteps1 and2 untilthechildmakesno morethanone enor thefirsttimeyougivethe
Step 4: Thetwo instructions arepresentedin rotation,Slightpromptingmaybe necessary on thefirst
few hials. (lf slightpromptingdoesnot producecorrectresponding, returnto Steps1-3.)
Rotationshouldcontinueuntilthe childresponds to criterion,


Theprocedurefor teachingotherreceptiveverblabelsin whichthe childperformsthe actionisthesame

asthatusedto teachthe firsttwo labels.Afterthe childlearnseachnewreceptivelabel,you shouldmix
of the new labelwithpresentations
presentations to cri-
of labelslearnedearlieruntilthechildresponds
terion.Otherbeginninglabelsyou may chooseto teachin thismannerare:

run eat throw (theball)

lie down drink roll (theball)
crawl wavebye-bye kick (theball)


It is criticalthat your child use the labelshe learnsduring structuredtherapy in nonstructuredsituations.

Give your child commandsusingthe receptiveverblabelshe knows wheneverthe opportunityarisesin
your daily interactions.For instance,askyour child to "Walk to car" insteadof leadinghim by the hand,
and askhim to "Open door" and "Wave bye-bye"to friends.Only through extensivepracticewill your
child becomeproficientat using theselabels.Let him do it, rather than your doing it for him'


Next you may want to teachthe child to identifythe actionsor behaviorsof people in pictures.Pictures
are usefulteachingtools becausethey can illustrateactionsthat may be difficultfor people to perform
duringtherapy (e.g., sleepingor riding a bicycle).This taskis taughtin exactlythe samemanneras that
outlinedfor receptiveobjectlabeling.However, picturesare substitutedfor objects.Initiallyeachpicture
should show one person engagingin a singleactivity,such as eatingor sleeping.Typical instructions
used in this task would be "Touch eating" or "Point to sleeping'"
When selectingpictures for labelingand discriminationtraining, be sure to selectpicturesthat
clearlyillustratethe activity you want to teach the child to identify. You should selectactivitiesin which
the child engagesor that he seesothersengagein frequently.Thus, in the early stagesof haining, you
would probably not want to selecta picture of a person skiing; a picture of a person driving a car would
be more appropriate. As with object selection,initiallytry to selectverb labelsthat sound maximally dis-

Receptlve Action Lcbeling t{5

similarto assist the childin discriminating the commandsandto aidin laterexpressive languagetraining.
Finally,in the earlystagesof thistraining,try to presentthe variousactivitiesin pairsthat areeasilydis-
criminatedvisuallyaswellas auditorily.Thus,walkingversusrunningmay be a difficultdiscrtmination
earlyin haining,as mightbe sittingversuseating(sinceeatingusuallyoccurswhileseated).You should
waituntilthechildcanidentifythesepictureswellwhentheyarepresentedin combinationwith otherac-
tivitiesbeforepresentingthem together.Justkeepin mind, you want the child to respondconectlyas
oftenaspossible.You canhelpthisoccurby presenting easytasksfirstandgroduallyincreasing
of difficultyfor the child. If the child is doing poorly, it is probablybecauseyou have proceededtoo
rapidlyfor him.
It is interestingto checkand seethe extentto which your child will be ableto identifytwo-
dimensional representations (asin pictures)of real-lifethree-dimensional behaviors.The questionalso
arisesasto whetherhe willbe ableto identifyreal-lifethree-dimensionalbehaviors, afterhavinglearned
to identifythesebehaviorsin pictures.With sometrainingbackand forth he shouldlearn.
The listbelowcontainsexamplesof actionsyou may wantto teach:

walking driving frowning

waving sitting kissing
jumping standing brushingteeth
cooklng reading combing hair
eating writing swinging
sleeping smiling throwing

fil Intermedlaie Lcngucgc

EXPRESSIVE You may begin this program when your child has
learnedto identifyeight to ten behaviors.Your child
ACTION will now learn to say the name of a behaviorthat he

IABELING hasjust performedor hasseenyou perform. He also

will learn to name behaviorsillustated in pictures.
The firstbehaviorsyou choosefor trainingshould be
behaviorshe hasalreadylearnedto labelreceptively,
Continue to work on the precedingprogramswhile
you work through this program.
Essentiallyyou will teach your child to
name actionsthat you or he perform. The procedure
for teachingexpressiveactionlabelingis quite similar
to teachingexpressiveobjectlabeling.Thereare only
two main differences:1) insteadof showingthe child an objectyou show him an action(whichyou or he
performs),and 2) you ask him, "What am I doing?" insteadof, "What is it?"


Step l: You and your child should sit facing each other. You stand up and simultaneouslyask,
"What am I doing?" If the child answerscorrectly,by saying"standing" to criterion,go on to
the second label. If he answersincorrectly or fails to answer for five hials, go on to Step 2.
Step 2: The prompt. To prompt the correctresponse,stand up and say, "Standing." Do nof say,
"What am I doing?" If the child imitatesyou accurately,immediatelyreinforcehim. Sit down
and stand up again, making the stimulusdiscrete.If the child failsto respond correctlyfor five
trialswhen you use the whole word as a prompt you may either teach the child to imitate the
label"Standing" (asin Chapter 10) or suspendwork with this actionand begintrainingwith
an action the name of which the child can imitate.
Step 3: Fodingthe prompt The prompt (presentationof the correctresponse,"Standing") should be
faded or graduallyeliminatedin the samemanneras in earlierprocedures.When the prompt
hasbeen eliminated,the cue for your child to respondwillbe your performanceof the actlon


The secondlabelis trainedin the sameway asthe first.Remember

to choosean actionthathasbeen
masteredas a receptiveverblabel,Wavingthe handis a goodbehaviorto pick.


Presentthefirstactionto the child.If the childnamesit correctly,

thenpresentthe secondaction.If he
namesthe actionincorrectlyfor five trials,go backand retrainthat label,beforepresentingthe other
action.Alternatethe presentationof the two actionsuntilthe childis consistently
makingno morethan
one errorthe firsttimean actionis performed.At thispoint,you shouldbeginrandomrotationof the
two actions.


The procedurefor haining other expressiveverb labelsand discriminationsis the sameas that outlined


Afterthechildhasmastered labelsfor threeor fouractions,youshouldbeginaskingthequestion "What

am I doing?"whenperforming theactionto belabeled.If thechildechoesthe questioninsteadof label-
ing the actionor alongwith the label,seeChapter23 for stoppingecholalia.


It is difficultto performcertainactions,suchasridinga bicycleor sleeping,duringa therapysession. For

theseactions,you shouldusepicturesinsteadof livedemonstrations in the initialstagesof taining. In all
otherrespects,trainingis the sameas describedabove.Rememberto chooseactionsfor trainingthat
havebeenmastered as receptiveverblabels.


Ceneralizationof expressiveverb labelsshould be canied out in a variety of ways. First (and easiestfor
the child) personsother than the therapistshould perform actionsthat the child can name and ask the
child, "What am I doing?" Later you should ask, "What is he (she)doing?" while pointingto a second
p€rsonwho is performingan actionthat the child can label.In addition, you should have the child per-
form behaviorsthat he can name and then ask, "What are you doing?" Once the child has mastered
thesevariationsof the basictask, you should ask him to labelactionsthat he can name as they occurin
hb everyday life and as they are seen in pictures. As noted before, in the early stagesof each phase of
I Eeneralizationtraining, some prompting may be required.

) i
l -r; !{ Intermedlate Lcngucge
ii $I
STOPPING Many developmentally disabled children are mute
(do not verbalize)when you start to work with them;
ECHOLATIA that is, their languageor verbal output is nonexistent,

AND or is reshicted to occasional vowels or consonants

that appear in a random or meaninglessfashion.
PSYCHOTICTALK Some childrenmay evidencea greatdeal of speech,
even though the speechappearsto have no immedi-
ate meaning or significancefor social communica-
tion. A child's speech may be echolalicwhen he
repeats,either partially or completely, sentencesthat
he hearsother people say. The echolaliamay be im-
mediate,as when he echoeswithin secondswhat an
aduftjust said, or delayedin the sensethat the child
echoeswordsor sentences that he heardthe precedinghour, or morning,or evenweeksago.
Otherchildrenhaverelativelyelaboratespeech,which doesnot appearto be echolalic.In-
steadthespeechmaybe unusualwordcombinations ("wordsalads") thatdo not makeanysense,such
as"parhidgehammockcakedown eyelash,"or the speechmaybe meaningfulbut it occursout of con-
text. An exampleof the latteris the caseof a childwho spendsa greatdealof hisday describing eleva-
tors,clocks,or datesand calendarsto anyonehe meetsand independentof whatis actuallyhappening
at the time. Suchinappropriatestatements havebeencalledpsychotictalk.
Psychoticand echolalictalk directlyinterferewith the child'sabilityto generateappropriate
speech.Thisis seenveryclearlywhenyou hy to teacha childa simplequestionandin so doingblockhis
opportunityto generatethe rightresponse.Therewill be manyotherreasonswhy you will wantto help
a childovercomeecholalicor psychotictalk;for instance,the presenceof suchspeechcandelaycogni-
tivedevelopment by interferingwith learningprocesses.Echolalicandpsychotictalk,andprocedures to
overcomethem, are describedin more detailbelow.


Echolalictalk is not restrictedto autisticchildren or to psychoticchildren, although it is often considered

an indlcationof those conditions. Echolaliaoccursin normallanguagedevelopment; it peaksaround 30

months of age, then decreases.Echolalic speech can also be observed in children who have experi-
enced recenthaumatic brain injury.
The presenceof echolalicspeech in a child who is beginning therapy gives the child a better
prognosisfor learninglanguagethan if he were mute. Eventhough the child may not know the meaning
of the words and word combinationshe is echoing,he knows how to talk. If the child didn't have echo-
lalic speech,then a great deal of time would have to be spent in teaching him to form sounds and words
and word combinations.So, for no other reasonthan that time is saved,the echolalicchild is far ahead
of his mute peers. Children who are mute, but who later become good at speakingwith languagehain-
ing, do so after they have passedthrough a stageof developing echolalicresponding. The previously
mute children who do not enter an echolalicstagerarely become good at using language,at leastnot
vocal language.Therefore, it is to the child's advantageto learn to echo, even if he doesn't do so before
you begin working with him. The child clearly has to go beyond echolalic (or psychotic)talk in order to
function more adequately on an interpersonallevel, to problem solve, and otherwiseto improve in his
cognitivef unctioning.
Why children echo is hard to say. It is unlikely that they echo becausethey are rewarded or re-
inforcedfor doing so by people who listento them. In other words, echolaliais probablynot operantbe-
havior basedon sociallycontrolled extrinsicreinforcement,but insteadit may be operant behaviorbased
on infrinsicreinforcement, like self-stimulatorybehavior. The child's reinforcement may consistof his
matching what he hears himself say to what he has heard other people say. In other words, the rein-
forcer is to match, and in that sensethe child giveshimselfhis own reinforcement.Notice how closely
and how beautifullysome childrentrack the nuancesof other people'sspeech;in fact, some children
have severalvoices, imitating their mother's intonations,their father's,and perhaps also their teacher's'
Echolaliacan be viewed as storing or otherwisepreservingin the brain the auditory input from one's sur-
roundingenvironment.In that senseecholalicspeechwould be analogousto a visualafterimage.So, it
may be useful to retain certain aspectsof it, as an "internal" rehearsal.Proceduresfor helping the child
move past overt echolalicrespondingare describedbelow.


An echolalicstudentis likely to echo statementsthat he does not understand.For example,if you say,

"Point to your head," and if the child knows how to follow that command, then he will not echo that
command. On the other hand, if you were to say, "Point to your cranium," then it is likelythat the child
would echo the statement and not follow the command. This means that you should observesome
decreasein echolalic responding as the child acquires meaningful language. In any case, you may
$ observeconsiderableecholaliaeven if the child is learninga great dealof languagebecausehe willre-
tr main ignorant of correct answersto most questions.
One procedure for stopping echolalicspeechto unfamiliar statements(commands,requests)
ffi has been provided by Schreibman and Can (1978). Echolalicchildren were taught to answer"l don't

ffi know," as a general nonecholalicresponseto questionsor statementsthey did not comprehend. The
procedurecan be outlined as follows:
Stcp l: Have the child sit in a chalr facing you, perhapsopposite you at a small table. As usual, have
the child sit quietly, without self-stimulating,and visuallyattendingto you. Selectfour or five
questionsto which the child does not know the answers:for example, "Why do birds sing?"
"Where is London?" "How many brothers and sistersdo you have?" or "Why do sailboats

tr Intermediate Lcngucge
move?" There are many similar"How," "\ivhy," ,,who," and ,,where,, type questions
you might find more appropriatefor your particularchild. You should also select
some ques-
tions to which you know your child alreadyknows the answers,for example,"What's your
name?" "How old are you?" "Who is that?" (whilepointingto his mother). Now presentthe
firstquestion,for example,"Why do birdssing?",very quickly,and at a low decibellevel (in
whisper).Then immediatelystatethe answer,"l don't know," very loudly. Try experiment-
ing with the volume of your voice until the child echoesthe correctanswerand not the ques-
tion. Reinforcehim heavilyfor a correctresponse.
Step 2: In very gradualsteps,beginto raisethe decibellevel (loudness)of your questionwhile grad-
ually loweringthe decibellevel of the answer.If the child beginsto echo the questionduring
this process,give him a sharp "No" and backtracka littleby decreasingthe loudnessof the
You do not want him to echo the question;in fact, you preventthis by rewarding
him for being quiet, for withholdinghis responsein the presenceof the question.This very
promising technique of presentingthe cues for the wrong answer at a very low intensity
teachesthe child to tolerateor not to respondto the presenceof the wrong cue.
Step 3: Eventually,ask the question "Why do birds sing?" in a normal voice, and withhold the
answer.The child has masteredthe task when he withholdsecholaliaand givesthe correct
answer,"l don't know," without prompt and to criterion.
Step 4: Once you have hained the response"l don't know" to questionssuch as "Why do birds
sing?", then introduce a question to which he already knows the answer, for example,
"What's your name?" (The child sayshis name, and is reinforced.)If he failsto respond,or
respondsincorrectly,prompt the correct answer, then reinforceto reestablishcorrect re-
sponding.The importanceof introducingquestionsto which he alreadyknows the answer
and intermixingthem with questionsto which he does nof know the answeris to retainthe
discriminationbetweenwhat he knows and doesnot know. It should help him avoid learning
to say "l don't know" to all questions.
Step 5: Present another question, such as "Where is London?", and tain the correct response,"l
don't know," to that question, continuing to intermix questionsto which he knows the

If you continue this procedure using questionsthat start with "how," "*hy," "when," and
"where" intermixedwith questionsto which the child does know the answer,you will find that after a
while the child will spontaneouslyanswer"l don't know" to a questionto which he does not know the
answereven when you present this question for the first time (that is, without prior training). You may
saynow that he knows what the "rule" is. In any case,throughthisprocedureyou can help a childtermi-
nate his echolalicresponding in a variety of situations


In general, it is probably safe to assumethat psychotictalk is self-reinforcingand will not disappearor

decreasemarkedly if you place it on extinction or use time-out. Many children will persistin expressing
psychotic talk, even though they can also talk appropriately, apparently becausepsychotic talk s so
reinforcingto them. There should be some replacementof psychotic speech by appropriate language"

Echolalic cnd Psychotic Talk l5l

sinceappropriatelanguagegivesthe childaccessto manyof the self-stimulatory previously
availableto him only throughpsychoticspeech.Thatis, appropriatespeechmay cometo substitute for
the (self-stimulatory)
propertiesof psychoticspeech.In mostinstances,
stayat a high level,and in thoseinstanceswe mustactivelyinterveneto eliminatethe psychotictalk.


Thetreatmentrationalebehindprogramsto stopinappropriate and psychotictalk isthatthepresenceof

a greatdealof psychotictalk sociallyisolatesa child. It makeshim standout like a sorethumbwith his
friendsatschoolor in thecommunity.You wantto helphimsuppress psychotictalkjustasyouhelphim
suppress other kindsof self-stimulatorybehaviors.
Startby givingthe childa sharp"No!" (or otherkind of disapproval)
choticproduction.You may wantto say"No, no sillytalk," in an attemptto help him discriminate why
he isbeingadmonished. (However,thereisno guarantee thathe willmakethediscrimination.) Abetter
way mightbeto teacha childto talk"silly" (thatis,psychotic)on cue.Teachhim to talk"silly"or to echo
whenyou say"Talksillyand echo,"and reinforcehim for talkingpsychotically or echoingat thattime.
Thenswitchand say,"Don't talksillyand dont echo,"andreinforcehim for withholdinghisresponse at
thattime.The mainjustificationfor goingthroughsucha procedureis to teachthe childto discrtminate
betweenappropriateand inappropriate speech.Althoughwe asadultsclearlyknow the discrimination,
it is obviousthat psychoticand retardedpersonsdo not.

l"ru Intermedlate Lcngucge

SIGN A significanf number of developmentally disabled
children show marked improvement in their recep-
TANGIIAGE tive and expressive verbal ability when they are
EdwcrrdG Corr trained using the techniquesdescribedthroughout
this manual. However, some children show bnly
minimalgains.For them, sign languageis a usefulal-
ternativeto verbal language.In addition, there are
children who acquire fairly good receptive verbal
skillsbut whose expressiveverbal behaviorremains
so poorly articulatedthat no one can understand
them. These children, too, can profit from being
taughtto expressthemselvesthrough signs.
A word of caution is in order concerning
who should notbe taughtsign language.Signingshould
not be taughtto very young children(lessthan
4 yearsof age) whose languagesimply may be delayed
or to childrenwho nuu" not yet receivedvery
much verbaltraining' Try verbaltrainingfirst. signing should
not be taught to echolalicchildrenor to
childrenwho have otherwisegood verbalimitationskills.
Thesegroups of childrencan profit most by
being startedon a verbal languagetraining program such
as that describedin earlier chapters.In short,
parentsand teachersshould resistthe impulse
to hy to teach sign tanguagejust becauseit is new or
becausethey feelthat a child is not learningverballanguagequickly


sionalsbelievethat if an adult communicateswith a child by pairing
signswith spokenwords, a method
refened to as simultaneous communicaffon, the uppropriui"
use of speechwill be facilitated,or hig-

^ Preparationof this chapterwas aided by U.S.P.H.S. BiomedicalResearch

Support Grant 5 S07 Rp07067-11 at
Stony Brook' Thanks are dueto my students,especiallyEileenKologinsky, Paul
Dores, Margie pelcovits, Cathy pridal, Sheila
Parris.,and Jody Binkoff, for their help in developing the haining prJcedures
and to Dr. Maiin Hamburg, ExecutiveDirecror.
Suffolk Child Development Center, for his geneious support.

gered. This expectationis quite conhoversial.While some nonverbalchildren do begin to talk fottowing
simultaneouscommunication,a greatmany othersdo not. What is clear, that mostnonver-
bal children can learn at leastsome signsand thereforeshow improved communication with adults.Sec-
ond, it has been known for some time that althoughmany developmentallydisabledchildrenhave a
great deal of difficulty understandingspoken words, they appear somewhat better at comprehending
gestures,Perhapsthis is basedon the greatereasewith which many developmentallydisabledchildren
discriminatevisual, as compared to auditory, stimuli. Perhapsvisual stimuli are inherently easierto dis-
criminate, or many disabledchildren attend better to visual stimuli rather than auditory stimuli. Since
sign languageis primarily a visual (gestural)system,it offersthe promise of facilitatinglanguageacquisi-
tion. A third considerationis that a teacheror parentcan easilymold (i.e., manuallyprompt) the child's
hands into the appropriate sign configuration. This advantageis particularlybeneficialduring the diffi-
cult periodof initialsignacquisitionwhen much promptingis necessary.Fourth, for many signs,thereis
a concreterelationshipbetween the sign and its referent.For example, the sign for banana consistsof
"peeling" the extended index finger of one hand with the fingers of the other hand. The iconic or pic-
torial quality of many signs is likely an additional teaching advantage. Some illushative signs are pre-
sentedin Figure24-1. Fifth, and finally,a child who hasacquiredsignlanguagepotentiallycan be main-
sheamedinto a classroomandlor community for the deaf, therebyproviding additionalopportunities
for academic,vocational,and socialdevelopmenr.


Flguro 2{'1. Iconic or pictorial quality of signs.Reprintedby permissionfrom: Carr, E. G., Binkoff,
J.A., Kologinsky,E., & Eddy, M. Acquisitionof sign languageby autisticchildren. l: Expressive
Iing. Iournol o! Applid khovior Anolysis,1978,11,489-501.

l5{ Intermedlcrte Lcnguage


Beforebeginningany signhainingactivities, the adultshouldensurethatthe childhasthe basiclearning

readiness skillsdescribedin earlierchapters, especially thosein Unit II. That is, the childshouldhave
beentaughtto attendto an adulton commandandto sitstillin a chairfor 10 minutesor moreata time.It
is importantthat self-stimulatory behaviorbe suppressed. Not only does self-stimulation act to block
learning,but it may alsomakeit verydifficultfor an adultto discriminate the child'ssigns.A childwho is
flickinghisfingersintermittentlywhilesigningis lesslikelyto be understoodby adultswho mustgrapple
with the taskof "weedingout" the self-stimulatory behaviorsfrom the signs.A child shouldhavealso
shownsomeprogressin nonverbalimitation(Chapter71.lI a child is good at imitatingnonverbal
(motor)movements, an adultcan usethisskillasan aid for teachingnew signs.However,evenhere,
somemanualpromptinginitiallymay berequiredin orderto refinethe signsso thattheymoreclosely
resemble the specificsignsbeingtaught.
The nextstepis to acquirea signlanguagedictionary.We havefoundtwo dictionaries particu-
larlyuseful.TalkWithMe,6y JeanneHuffmanandcolleagues (1975),explains theoriginsof eachsign,
therebyprovidinga usefulmnemonicfor the adultwho mustmasterthisnew languagein a shortperiod
of time.For example,the signfor an orangeconsists of makinga squeezing motionwiththehandposi-
tionednearthe mouth.Anotherdesirable featureof thisdictionary is thatthe signsarecombinedinto
convenientgroups,e.g., clothing,bodyparts,and colors.The SignedEnglishDictionaryfor Preschool
andElementary Leuelsby Hany Bornstein andcolleagues (1975)listsallthesignsin alphabetical order,
therebyallowingfor rapidretrieval of information. In addition,thereis a clearand detailedexplanation
of how to formeachsign.Thisfeatureis oftenpoorlysetout in otherdictionaries. Bothdictionaries are
writtenfor elementarylevelsigningand arethereforeappropriatefor usewith developmentally disabled
children.A briefdescription of wherethe readercango for additionalinformationon signtrainingis
givenin the referencelist at the end of this Unit.
Finally,theadultmustdecideto useeithersigningaloneor simultaneous communication, that
is,signsaccompanied by spokenwords.We havefoundthatthe bestwayto decideisto teachthechild
firstusingthe simultaneous communication method.If, aftera periodof 6 to 8 weeks,the childappears
confused(i.e.,showsinconsistent responding or failsto respondat all), we haverevertedto signing
alone.Apparently,somechildrenareunableto attendto boththe spokenwordsand signswhenthey
arepresented simultaneously.Oftensuchchildrenwillshowincreased ratesof learningwhenthe adult
dropsthe speechcomponentof communication. Forsimplicity, our signlanguage trainingprogramis
described asif we wereusingsigningalone,In practice, if we wereemployingsimultaneous communica-
tion,the only changewe would makewouldbe to speakeachword as we signedit.


Therearemanysimilarities betweenteachinga childto speakand teachinga childto sign.Morespecifi-

cafly, the proceduresnecessaryfor teachingreceptivesign languageare almostidenticalto those
described earlierin this book for teachingreceptiveverballanguage.Insteadof the adultvocalizing
labelfortheobjectshewantsthechildto touch,he or shesignsthelabel.So,to avoidrepetition, we limit
our discussion to the problemsof expressive signlanguage.By trainingnonverbalchildrento produce
signs,one givesthesechildrena directand effectivemeansfor communicatingwith others.

Sign Longucge r55

Labelins objectsis the first skiuto b" ,uushl**:H'?iil"r:ls" to begin by hyins to teach the chitd the
labelsfor clothes or parts of the body sincethese labelswill have minimal significancefor the child. In-
stead, we begin by selectinga number of foods that we know the child likes. In addition, the first few
signs chosen for training should be visually and motorically distinct from one another. The signs for
apple and orange are simllar to one another, but the signsfor apple and milk are not. Therefore, one
may best begin by haining the latter two signs.
During trainingsessions,the child and the adult should sit facingone another as in the early
phasesof other programs. A trial should start only when the child is sitting quietly and attendingto the
adult. Inattentivenessand self-stimulatorybehaviors must be suppressed.The training itself is carried
out in three steps.Considerthe procedurefor teachingthe label for apple:
In Step 1, the adult holds up the apple in front of the child'seyes. Sincethe child will not re-
spond at thispoint, a prompt is given. That is, the adult liftsthe child'shand and molds it into the correct
sign configuration.The correctprompted responseis followedby socialreinforcement(e,g., the adult
signsGOOD), and primaryreinforcement(e.9.,a pieceof the apple).
In Step 2, the adult repeatsStep 1, exceptthat the prompt is graduallyfaded out until the child
can makethe signunaided.By the end of Step 2, the adult merelyhasto hold up the appleand the child
may sign correctly.Run this first sign to criterion.
Once the sign for apple is acquired, consider training the sign for milk. This sign consistsof
slowly closingthe outstretchedfive fingersto form a fist while moving the hand in a downward motion, a
pictorialrepresentationof milking a cow. In Step 1, the adult would prompt the sign by lifting the child's
hand from the lap, spreadingthe fingers,and then placinghis or her hand behind the child'shand so as
to squeezeit into a fist while forcingthe hand downward. In Step 2, the adult would fade the prompt,
firstby squeezingand pushingdown the child'shand with lessand lessforce, and then by reducinghelp
with spreadingthe fingers, and finally by eliminatingthe aid provided in raisingthe hand from the lap. If
the child signsincorrectly after all the prompts have faded, the adult should vigorously shake his or her
head "No" and sign NO. The trial would be repeated,reinstatingprompts if necessary.Of course,on
these prompted hials, the child would not receive any food reinforcers, although social reinforcers
would still be given. Run the secondsign (milk) to criterion.
Once the child has masteredtwo signs,place thesesignsin random rotation and run to cri-
terion. Now practiceteachinga third sign, and then intermix the third sign with the other two signsto
facilitatethe discriminationbetweenthe three signs.
After a child has learned five or six (sign) labelsusing the above procedures, the adult can
beginsigningWHAT? before showing the child the object. It is bestto keep the signedquestionsimple at
first (like WHAT?) and not to inhoduce extra signs,such as WHAT IS THIS? or WHAT AM I SHOW-
ING YOU?, at the startof trainingsincethe child is likelyto becomeconfusedwhen there are too many
signsbecausehe may not know to which stimulusto attend.
When beginning this kind of expressivelabel training, approximations to a given sign can be
accepted.That is, it is senselessto spend weeksshaping apertect exemplarof a given sign. The idea is to
begin by teaching the child the general concept that "different things have different names (signs)."
Once the child has masteredthis concept, then one can sharpenthe topography of the varioussigns.
There is a parallel here with spoken language. When an infant labels a cookie "oo-ee", we do not
dfirruscthe vocalizationas inadequate. lnstead, we reinforce the attempt and only later do we ty to
ri!il.p€n the topography,

HT Intermediate Lcngucge
Another point worth noting is that after a child
has learned five or six signs and therefore
understandsthe task, new signscan be taught primarily
through (nonverbal) imitation.That is, in step
1' the adult would model the conect labelforan
oblect (i.e., give an imitativeprompt rather than a
manual prompt) and reinforcethe child for imitating
correctly.Then, over many trialsin Step 2, the
adult would graduallyfade out the imitativeprompt.
At first, the child'simitationsof a sign will be very
poor and some manual prompting will
be necessary.However, aftera dozenorso signshave
quired' many childrenbecome quite adept been ac-
at learningthrough imitationand thereforerequire only
minimallevel of manual prompting. If a child is at firstirot a
capableof nonverbalimitation,then this skill
could be taught concunently with signingby using
the proceduresdescribedin this book. Eventually,
the newly acquiredimitativeskill should be integrated
with the sign training procedure.
' The data on one child, Darrick,are representative
of the resultswe have obtainedusingthe
abovetechniques'Darrick'slearningrate is not dramatically
differentfrom many childrenlearningex-
pressivelabelsby verbalizingthem. Danick was
10 y"ars old and had been institutionalized for b years.
His vocalbehaviorwas limitedto infrequentand meaningless
soundsand he showeda varietyof autistic
behaviorsincludingself-stimulatory hand movements,socialwithdrawal,and lack of toy play. He
functioningin the profoundly retardedrange.over
a 3-yearperiod he had made no progressin his use
of vocal language' Danick required over 7000 hials in 1
week to learn his first three expressivelabels
(cookie,milk, and candy)' In conhast,he acquired
histwelfthsign (ball)in only 1g trials.It is important
to note that not everychild requiresso many trialsto learnthe
firstfew discriminations.Individualdiffer-
encesaside' however, we have obtained one finding
consistently,namely that all children show a
"learningset'" That is' they require fewer and fewer
hials to masternew discriminationsas more and
more discriminationsare taught. Thus, adultsshould not give up
signtrainingeffortsif progressis diffi-
cult at first' Even the slow child will eventuallyshow a ,upid
in.r"use in the rate of learning.

A child may know the sign for an object,for example,a
lookie, and yet neverusethat signspontane-
ously in order to requesta cookie. The problem seemsto be one
of.narrowsfimu/us control.That is, the
signwillbe made only when an adult holds up a cookiein front
of the child and asks,,,WHAT DO yOU
WANT?" The purposeof this sectionis to discusssome techniques
for broadeningthe stimuluscontrol
of signlanguageso that the mere presenceof an adult will be sufficient
conditionfor a child to spontane-
ouslyinitiaterequests.Problemsin spontaneitywill arisein any program,
and the suggestions presented
here can be exhapolatedto vocal languageas well.
We begin training for spontaneity by selectinga strong reinforcer.
The child's favorite food
could be used' In this case a crackeris used. The adult approaches
the child and givesan imitative
prompt (i'e', the adult signsCRACKER). When the child
imitatesthe adult'ssign, the child receivesa
piece of the cracker. Over tials, the adult gradually fades
out the prompt and u.roitsfor the child to ini-
tiate the sign before deliveringthe reinforcer. At this point, it may be necessary
for the adult to .,look ex-
pectantly" at the child before the child will make the sign but
after a while even this prompt can be faded
out' At the end of thisstage,the child will spontaneouslyinitiatea requestfor
crackerwheneverthe adult
We continuetrainingby recyclingthe aboveprocedurewith a varietyof
other food signs.Later
still, we compile a list of favoritetoys and activitiesand add them to the
spontaneityhaining as well.
We would like the child to sign in a varietyof contextsand not merely in
one trainingroom.
Therefore,once the child hasbeentaughtto signspontaneouslyfor
threeitems,hainingis caniedout in

Sign Langucge
a varietyof differentsituations (e.g.,classroom, playground,kitchen,and bedroom)and in the pres-
enceof a numberof differentadultsin additionto the originaladultteacher.Followingsuchtraining,the
childwill exhibita varietyof spontaneous signsto manydifferentadultsin many differentsituations. In
short,childinitiatedsigningwill be under broadstimulusconhol.
The finalstageof hainingconsistsof makingthe child'sspontaneous signingcontextuallyap-
propriate.In thebeginningstagesof thehainingdescribed above,we wouldreinforcethe child'ssponta-
neoussigninginespectiveof whetherit was appropriatefor a given context.We did this in orderto
shengthenspontaneity.However,oncethe behavioris established, we beginto refineit further.Thus,if
the childis in bedreadyto go to sleep,we do not wanthim to signCRACKER,PLEASEevenif we ini-
tiallyreinforcehim for doingso in thiscontext.Instead,we wouldchooseto reinforcea requestfor KISS
or HUG. The bestwayto ensureappropriatespontaneity isto observewhatreinforcers areavailable in a
givencontext,Havingmadethisdetermination, we wouldimitatively promptthe appropriate signsfor
thesereinforcers andthengradually fadetheprompts.Now, whenthechildmakesa contextually inap-
propriatesign, he is simplyignored.Of course,when he makesa contextuallyappropriatesign,he
recelvesthe specificreinforcerrequested.Soon the child'sspontaneoussignswill be qppropriatefor
Whenwe carriedout the abovetraining,we foundthat aftera whilea childwoulddisplayhigh
ratesof spontaneous signing.In addition,the childwouldsignappropriately to manydifferentadultsin
manydifferentsettings.Interestingly, the spontaneitywasquitenaturalin character.Thus,a childwho
hadbeensigningfor potato chips (and presumably wasgettingthirsty)wouldinevitablybeginsigningfor
fluids.A childwho hadeatena lot and,therefore, wasnot interestedin food anymorewouldstartsign-
ing for varioustoys and activities.An importantside effectof thistrainingwasthat as childrenshowed
higherand higherlevelsof spontaneous signing,they gaveup muchof theirself-stimulatory behaviors.
Such a shift away from self-stimulatorybehaviors, as appropriatebehaviors are acquired, can be ob-
servedin most teachingsituations.Perhapswhen we teachchildrenthat they can have an effecton
adultsandcangetthingsthat areof valueto themselves, self-stimulatorybehaviorsbecomelessimpor-
tant waysof gainingsatisfaction and are thereforedecreased.

Descrlptlvc Sentences
Programsfor teachingearly phrases and sentencesare presentedin more detailin Chapter28, but
sentence shucturefor childrenwho signis inhoducedat thispoint.
Oncea child hasbeentaughtto usesignlanguageto labelobjectsand to makerequests,the
next stepis to teachthe child to combinesignsto form simplesentences.One particularlyusefulsen-
tencetypeto teachinvolvesdescription.The goalis for the childto learnto describeongoingeventsus-
ing simpleverb-nouncombinations. For example,an adultmightpour a glassof milk and askthechild,
WHAT AM I DOING?The childwouldthen signPOUR(lNG)MILK. (lt is not necessary atthisstagefor
the child to signthe "ing" endingon the verb; the goal is simplyto teachverb and signcombination
shlls.)By teachingdescriptive sentences, whatwe arein factdoingis broadeningthebasisfor conversa-
tionalcommunication betweenthe childand the adult.
Whenwe beginto teachdescription,we find thatthe child hasa stong set(dueto priortain-
rrgl to labeleverythingasa noun. For example,the adultmightmovea toy truckacrossa tableand ask
d'lechildWHAT AM I DOING?The childwilllikelyrespondby signingTRUCKonly;thatis,the child
iua not yet learnedto attendalsoto the behavioror actionwhichwasperformedon the truck.To over-
cornethlsdeficit,we would initiatethe followingtrainingprogram.
t-5 Intermediqte Lcngucge
In Step1, theadultteaches thechildto attendto andlabelbehaviors. Forexample,in orderto
teachthe verbPOINTTO, the adultbeginsby makingan exaggerated motionthat involvesmovingthe
extendedindexfingerin a largearcwhichculminates in touchingthesurfaceof a table.No objectispres-
ent on the table,however'The purposeof this stepis to draw the child'sattentionto
the behaviorin-
volvedin pointing.The absenceof all objectspreventsthe childfrom beingdishacted
from the adult,s
pointingactivity.When the adult completesthe pointingmotion,the child
is askedWHAT AM I
DOING?",and isthenpromptedto makethesignfor POINTTO, andfinally,he isreinforced
for doing
so. Overhials,the promptis fadedand eventually the childmakesthe POINTTO signwheneverthe
adultperforms the exaggerated pointingmotions.Next,a secondverb(e.g.,"pickup") is introduced
usingthe sameprocedures justdescribed. Thestandardrandomrotationprocedureis employed;that
is,tials involvingthepreviously mastered verbareintermixed withhialsinvolvingthenewverbuntilthe
childhasacquireda discrimination between thetwo verbs.Finally,a thirdverb(e,g.,"hold")istaughtin
thesamemannerasthe othertwo verbs.At the end of Step1, thechildwill correctlysignpOINTTO,
PICKUP, and HOLD in response to the adult'smakingexaggerated motionsrepresenting thesethree
Oncea childhaslearnedto attendto andlabelthreedifferentactionson the partof theadult,
Step2 is initiated.In this step,objectsarereintroducedand the child is requiredto describewhat the
adultisdoingusinga simpleverb-nounsentence. Forexample,theadultmightpointto a toytruckon a
tableand askthe childWHAT AM I DOING?Typically,at thisstage,the childwill signonly the verb
(i.e'' POINTTO) and omit the noun (i.e.,TRUCK).Therefore, the adultmustpromptthe nounsign
immediately afterthechildmakesthesignfor theverb.Overtrials,the adultfadesout the prompt.Next,
a secondverb-noun cornbinationistaught(e.g., PICKUPTRUCK)viathestimulus rotationprocedure.
Followingthis,the third verb-nouncombination(e.g.,HOLD TRUCK)is taughtas above.Oncethe
childhasmasteredthe threedifferentsentences, the exaggerated motionfor eachverbisfadedout. For
example,considerthe actionrepresenting pointto truck.The adultwill havebeendemonstrating this
actionby movinghis index fingerin a largearc prior to bringingthe fingerinto positiona few inches
abovethehuck' Duringthefadingsequence,the adultwouldbeginto decrease thesizeof thearcuntilit
graduallyapproximateda normal "point to" gesture,A similarprocedurewould be caniedout with
respectto the PICK UP and HOLD verbs.At the end of Step2, the child would be signingPOINTTO
TRUCK,PICKUP TRUCK,and HOLD TRUCKin response to the corresponding adultactions.
In Step3, newnounsaretaughtin conjunction withtheabovethreeverbs.At thisstage,exag-
geratedmovements areno longerused.The adultsimplydemonstrates a new combination (e.g.,the
adultmightpoint to a spoonon the table)and repeatsthe proceduresdescribedabove.Oncethe three
newverb-noun combinations havebeenacquired, trialsbasedon theold andnewnounsareintermixed
(e.9.,PICKUP SPOON,POINTTO TRUCK,and HOLD SPOON)untilthechildhasmastered allthe
combinations. Step3 is recycledwith a numberof new nounsusingthe sameprocedures justdescribed.
In the end, the childwill be ableto usea two-wordsentenceto describethe threeactionsthatthe adult
performswith respectto a varietyof objects.
Finally,in Step4, newverbs(e.g.,throw,run, andjump) areintroducedfor appropriate ob-
jects.Generally, atthispoint,theadultneedsonlyto useexaggerated movements for a smallnumberof
tials and to promptthe signscorresponding to the verb-nouncombinationonly a few times.Afterthis
relativelybrieftrainingperiod,the exaggerated movementsand the promptsfor the signscanbe faded
out and the procedures of Step3 canbe followed.At the end of Step4, the childwill know how to
describe a greatnumberof eventsinvolvingmanydifferentnounsand verbs.

Sign Lcnguoge
When we have used the above procedures,we found that during Step 3, the child became
ableto signnew verb-nouncombinationsthat had neuerbeen taughtto him. For example,afterhaining
only five or six nouns (e.g., truck, spoon, shoe,pencil,and towel) with the initialthreeverbs,we found
that we could presenta new situation(e.g., PICK UP BOAT, POINT TO BOAT, and HOLD BOAT)
and the child would correctlysignthe new verb-nouncombinationeven though we had never hained
that particularcombination. This skill is referredto as generatiuesigning;that is, the child generatesor
createsnew combinationsfrom signshe alreadyknows in order to describenew situations.This skillis
commonly seen in the verbal languageof young normal children and is highly desirablebeciuse it
meansthat a child doesnot have to be taughteverypossiblecombinationof words. Apparently,the chil-
dren themselvesbecomecapableof rearrangingwhat they alreadyknow in order to meet new commu-
nicationchallenges.The factthat thisskillcan be taughtto developmentallydisabledchildrenbodeswell
for their continued languagegrowth.

Abstrqct Sign Lcnguqge

Verbs and nouns are concretepartsof language.Although they are usefulto know, a child must learn
abshactlanguageforms as well in order to functionadaptively.Abshactionsdefinerelationships among
people, objects,and eventsand includeprepositions,pronouns, and time conceptsas wellas a host of
other conceptssuch as color, size,shape,"yes" and "no", and "same" and "different."Theserelation-
shipsare sharedby many differentobjects,and therefore, beforea child can be saidto have mastered
suchconcepts,he must be ableto "abshact"or discriminatewhat allthe objectshave in common. Thus,
"brown" can be characteristic of wood, chocolate,cars,leaves,and many other objects.The child must
learn that brown is not a characteristicof one specificobjectbut rather a characteristicof a wide varietyof
objectsotherwisedifferingin many dimensionssuchas height,weight,and volume. Conceptsrepresent
one of the greatestchallengesin teachinglanguageto developmentallydisabledchildren.
Programs for teaching abstractrelationships,using signs, are quite similar to programs de-
scribedin the next unit (UnitVI) for teachingadvancedverballanguage.Therefore,they will not be pre-
sentedin detailhere. The readercan easilysubstitutethe appropriatesignfor a particularvocalizationin
the programsthat follow. Incidentally,childrenwho have to use signscan be taught complex abstract
relationships,just as vocal childrencan.


We have revieweda number of proceduresdesignedto teachsign languageskills.Clearly,many areas

,,verenot discussed,For example,we did not talk about buildingmore complex sentencesor advanced
conversation,nor did we discussstorytellingor recall.In a preliminaryway, we have begun to teach
rhesemore sophisticated skillsas well. It is likelythat the techniquesdescribedin Unit VI for teachingad-
r,ancedverbalskillswill also prove usefulfor teachingadvancedsigningskills.In any event, we have
nor,"'made significantinroads in teachingnonverbalchildrento communicate.


em Intermediqte Lcngucge
REFERENCES erafized.verbal
response.Journalol AppliedBehau.
ior Analysis,1978, 11, 452_469.
Bornstein,H., Hamilton,L. B., Saulnier,K.
L., &
Roy, H. L. (Eds.).The signedEng/ish dictionarylor
preschool and elementary leuels. Washington,
D.C,: GallaudetCollegepress, 1975. (Available
from GallaudetCollegeBookstore,Gallaudet
Col_ Bonvillian,J. D., & Nelson,K. E.
lege,Washington, D.C. 20OO2.l Signlanguageac-
quisitionin a mute autisticboy, Journat
C1T, E. G., Binkoff,J. A., Kologinsky, i1 Speecn
E., & Eddy, and HearingDisorders,1976, 41, ggg_g47
M. Acquisitionof signlanguageby uutirti. children. ^ .
Can, E, G^.Teachingautisticchildrento use
L Expressive labeling.Journalot' AppliedBehouior guage: signlan_
Someresearchissues.Journalof Autismand
Anolysis,L978, 11, 489-501.
DeuelopmentalDisorders,lg7g, g, giS_gSg.
Huffman,J., Hoffman,8., Gransee,D., Fox,
A., Creedon,M. P. (Ed.). Appropriatebehauior
James,J., & Schmitz,J. (Eds.). Talk with me. throuqh
communication. Chicago:MichaelReeseMedill
Northridge, Calif.:JoyceMotionpictureCo.,l97S. Center, Dysfunctioning Child Centerpublication,
{Availablefrom Joyce Motion picture Co., Ig702 1975.
Bryant St., P.O. Box 45g, Northridge,Catif. Fulwiler,
R. L., &Fouts,R. S. AcquisitionofAmertcan
e7324.) Sign Language by a noncommunicating
Lovaas,O. l. The outistic child: Languagedeuelop_ autistic
child. Journal of Autism and Childhood
mentthroughbehauiormodilicationNewyork: Irv_ Schtzo-
phrenia,7976,6, 43-51.
ingtonPublishers,1977. Longhurst,T. M. (Ed.). Funcilonallanguage
Schreibman, L., & Carr,E. G. Elimination inter-
of echolalic uention:Readings (Vols.I & II). Newyorl: tutSStn-
respondingto questionsthroughthe trainingof gen- formationCorp., 1974.

Sigu Longrucgt

Programsfor introducing the child to more difficult
language are described in this Unit. The child is
taught not only to label discreteand simple events
(suchas the objectsthat he seesaround him), but he
can alsobe taught more complicatedlanguage,such
as that used in describingthe athibutesor properties
of objects(size,color, and form), describingthe rela-
tionshipsbetween objectsand events (usingpreposi-
tions such as in, beside,under), identifyingthe per-
sons to which objects and behaviors belong (using
possessive pronouns such as your, my, his, or hers),
as well as many other concepts,includingtime. As
you begin to teachthe child how words are combined
into simple phrases or sentencesto enable him to describe more completely something happening
around him (teachhim to say not only "Mommy," but "Nice Mommy") and to use sentencesto express
his wants ("1want some milk.").
When a child understandsthe concept of time, it will be easierfor him to learn to wait for some-
thing without becoming too upset. As the child learnsto more accuratelydescribehis experiences,you
will acquirea more thorough understandingof what he is all about, and willthen be in a betterposition
to help him.
Languageis a very complicatedbehavior to teach, and this Unit only suggestssome programs
that can help your child get going. Should your child have some talent for learning speech, then you
may want to familiarizeyourself with more elaboratelanguage programs.
Chapter 25 gives programs for teaching the concepts of color, form, and sizebecausethese
are relativelyeasierto teach than prepositionalconcepts(under, inside, in front), which are introduced
in Chapter 26. Pronouns (you, I, her) are inhoduced in Chapter 27 , followed by programsfor teaching
the child to understand temporal conceptssuch as first and last in Chapter 28. A pro$am for teaching
the child the appropriate use of yes and no can be found in Chapter 29. Unit VI concludeswith Chapter
30, which presentsprograms for teaching appropriate use of sentences-the beginningsof grammar.
SIZE, The programsfor teaching size,color, and shape are
COLOR, illustrativeof the approach for teaching many con-
cepts of advanced language. The procedure for
AND SHAPE teaching each of these abstractconceptsis similar to
that describedearlierfor teachingsimplelabels.The
following inshuctionsserveas examplesof how this
proceduremay be adaptedfor the teachingof many
kinds of simple abstractions.


Receptive Trclning
The programfor teachingsizemay be the easiestfor your child to understand.As in teachinglabels,you
should begin with receptivespeechbecauseit is generallyeasierthan expressivespeech.You should
placeon the tablein front of the child two objectsthat differonly in size,and nof on any otherdimension
(suchas shape,or color). For example,placeone very large (10 inchesor more in diameter)ballon the
table,and next to it placea rathersmallball (I or 2 inchesin diameter)of the samematerialand the same
color. You then presentthe command for size,that is, askthe child to point to (or give you) a particular
size.You may say"Give me big," or just "Big," which meansthe child hasto give you the bigball. In any
case,the word "big" should be the dominant cue, beingpronouncedvery loudly and clearly.Sincethe
child most likelydoes not know what to do, you shouldprompt the correctresponse,that is, you should
point to the big ball, or otherwiseguide the child'smanual responsetoward the correctobject.
You may find it necessaryto presentsome "ready signal"(suchas, "Look here") whilegestur-
ing toward the tablein the directionof the stimulusobjects,beforepresentingthe command. Some chil-
dren willlearnto attendto and visuallyfixateon the objectwithout sucha readysignal;others,however,
do not look at the objectsthey are askedto identify,and obviouslyneed to visuallyattend.In any case,
you shouldwait for a child to look at the objectsbeforepresentingthe command. In this way, your com-
mand may serveas the child's reinforcementfor visuallyattendingto the object. On the other hand,
your child could associatethis reinforcerwith the undesirablebehaviorin which he hasjust been engag-
ing, For example, let's say the child is inattentive,or he is throwing a tantrum, and you wait until he

becomesattentiveand looks at the objectson the tablebeforeyou say "Point to big." Your verbal
instructions,possiblyservingas a reinforcerfor the child, could strengthenthe child'sinattentionor
Onceyou havepromptedthe correctresponse, thenfadethe promptas you havedonein
otherprograms. Continuepresenting the command,andrememberto changethe positions of theob-
jectson thetablerandomlyso that sometimes the largeballison the child'sleft,sometimes on hisright.
Once the child has respondedto criterion,you may introducethe secondsizeconceptby saying
"Small,"or "Give me small."Again,you shouldprompt,if necessary, and fadethe promptuntilthe
childrespondsto criterionwithoutprompting.Now reintroduce the firstcommand,"Give me big."
When the child makesthree or four correctresponses in a row, switchto the secondcommand,
"Small,"or "Give me small."Again,promptif necessary and then fade the prompt until the child
responds to criterion.Now intermixthe two commandsusingrandomrotationasyou havedonein all
the discrimination trainingprogramsdiscussed in this book.
Oncethe childcan reliablyidentifya largeballversusa smallball, you can teachhim to dis-
criminatebetweenthe sizesof otherobjects.Thechildhaslearnedthe conceptof sizeif he respondscor-
rectlyon thefirsthial, withoutanyprompting,whenyou presenta newpair of objects(apairthathe has
not beentrainedon).
Somechildrenlearnto discriminatesizeveryeasily,and othersare slower.If your childhas
madeno progresson thistaskafter1 weekof training(l or 2 hoursper day)thenput it asideandreintro-
ducethetaska monthor two later.You maytry teachingsomeotherconceptsin the meantime. If the
childcontinues to havedifficulty,you may alsowantto go backand pretrainhim on the matching size
program,explained in Chapter9, In teachingthechild to match sizes,place two on
objects the table in
front of the child and give him a third object,which matchesone of the two objectson the table.The
childis thenaskedto placethe objectin hishandwith the objectit matcheson the table("Putit whereit
goes,"orjust,"Matchup").ln thiswaythe childmaylearnto matchsize,and in so doinghe mayhave
learnedto attendto sizeas a cue and to discriminate.

Expressive Trcining
So far you havebeenteachingthe childa receptiveunderstanding of size,thatis, you labeltheobject
(like"Big")andteachthechildto respondappropriately to yourlabel.Now, you maywantto teachthe
childto usethe correctlabelhimself, so that he verbalizes"Big" in the appropriatecircumstance. (This
trainingin the expressiveuseof conceptsis taughtin the samefashionasthe expressive labelsof simple
i objectsin Chapter20.) Placetwo ballson the tablein front of the child, then ask him to point to one
i (e.g.,"Big").Then,oncethe childhashishandon the appropriate object,ask"Whichsize?"(Forthe
l, firstfewhialsyou maysimply deletethe questionandjustpause,in orderto avoidany interference that
may be causedby the question.) The desired response is then prompted, the prompt is faded, new
stimuliareadded,and so on.
ir labeling
if You can helpthe childby indirecttypromptingthe conectresponsewhen expressive
i$ followsreceptivelabeling.Thatis, whenyou firstaskedhim to identifya particularsize, you said,"Point
iii $
ro big," and when you then askedhim, "What size?"his answer,"Big," wasactuallycontainedin your
ffi eariiercommand.Later,to makecertainthat he is not merelyrepeatingyour words,skipthe command
l,s, {*Pointto big"); insteadprompt him to touchthe big object,and then askhim, "Which size?"
ffi, You may wantto beginspeechtrainingon the expressive useof sizelabelsafteryour childhas
rnreteredthe receptiveuseof sizelabels.Or, you may wantto go on to firstteachotherabshactions at
drc re,ceptivelevel,waitingto teachexpressive abstractions. Thereis no good reasonfor choosingone
ryroah over the other.You shouldchoosethe approach that worksbestfor your child.

fl Advcnced Lcngucge

The programfor teachingcolorsoutlinesa way

to teachrecognitionof colorsand to labelthem appro-
priately'As in teachingsizeand other more
concretelabels,receptivespeechhaining is generally
as a pretrainingfor expressivespeech'You should useful
teachcolor conceptsthe same way you taughtsize.
That is' place on the table in front of the child
two objects(blocks,plasticchips, or the like) that
only in color and nof in any other dimension.The differ
child is to identifya particulaicolor when you givethe
command for that color, such as "Red" or "Give
me red." He has to give you the red objectwhen two
objectsof differentcolor are placed on the table
in front of him. you should prompt and fade these
prompts' then presentthe colorsin random
rotation,the sameway you did when teachingsize.The
pressiveuseof color labelsis taughtin the ex-
samefashionasthe expressiveuseof sizelabels. Remember
generalizethe use of color labelsby using to
differentobjects. (Seethe sectionon generalizationtraining
the end of this chapter.) at


The program for teachingshape is carriedout in the

same way as teaching sizeorcolor. Merelyselect
two objectsthat are alike in all dimensionsexceptshape,
and placethem on a tablein front of the child.
You may want to selecta circleand a triangle.Prompt, fade,
and rotate as you did in other programs.
I Rememberto teach generalization,such that when the
child has learned to tell a plasticcirclefrom a
plastictriangle,you then presenthim with forms made
of differentmaterialsand in differentcolorsand
sizes'For example, presenthim with a pair of objects,both
ti rather large and made from yellow card-
board paper' if the first objectshe encountered weresmall
and made lrom white plastic.
We usuallyteach shapeafter color, but there is no good (data-based)
reasonwhy we do so.
Childrendiffer quite a bit in the easewith which they learn different
kinds of concepts,so it is bestto be
somewhatflexibleand to try to figureout the particularhaining
sequencethat bestsuitsyour particular
child' Usually,you can do that by keepinga program in operation
for a certaintime (abouta week or
so)' If the child makesno progress,you shouldbe willingto setaside
that particularprogramfor a while,
and then come back to it at a laterperiod. For all you know, your
child may be color-blind(thereis no
easyway to diagnosethis with disabledchildren),and it would
be a pity to staywith thisone concept,ex-
posingyour child to lots of frustrations,when there are
so many other conceptsleft to teach.
Once the child has learnedtwo or three abshactions,then the haining program
can become
quite interestingand very complex. The good part of a complexprogram
is that the child is askedto pay
attentionto increasinglyfine detailsin his surroundings.For example,you
may place a btue squa're,a
red circle,and a yellow hiangle in front of the child. Then tell the chitd "Hand
{ me the blue square,,, or
"Hand me the red circle." Using even more complex instructions,
ask the child to discriminatethe
dimensionsas in the requestto "Hand me the srna!! blue square." However,
asthe program becomesin-
creasinglycomplexfor the child, it does not necessarily becomethat much more difficultto teach (thank


As in allthe other programs,the child'strainingshouldbe taken outsidethe teachingsituation

in order to
hain and test for generalization.The color of a person'seyes, hair, or clothing, and pieces
of furniture

Size, Color, cnd Shcrpe

maybeused;theshapes of tables,containers,andtoysmayalsobeincluded. Oncemastered, colorand
formdiscriminations areoftenquiteusefulin facilitating newlearning. Forexample, onewillfindmany
programmed learning materials forteachingreading in whichcolorisinitiallyusedto helpthechildform
thecorrectdiscrlminations between words.Keepln mindthatyoushoutdteachthechitdinhiseveryday
sunoundlngr in anattemptto expandhisunderstandlng of theseconcepts, onceyouhavehelpedhtm
learnthemln a conholled halningenvlronment. Theonlyreason thatyoustartwitha conholled tratntng
environment isthatit iseasierto teacha childin a slmplified
situationthanit isto teachhimoutInthereJ
world,wherethereis so muchgoingon. Learnlngto labelobJects in the contolledteachlng envi-
ronmenttsof ltttleimportance unlessthechildcanlearnto usetheselabelsappropriately in hieditly ac-

PREPOSITIONS The purpose of the program for prepositions is to
teach the child to label spatial relationshipsbetween
objects,such as under, above,and inside.Later, you
will attempt to teach the child about his own position
in space,such as on the bed, and insidethe house.
The programfor prepositionsis an exampleof a pro-
gram that alwaysbeginswith receptivespeechtrain-


You and your child are seated at a table on top of

which is a smallcontainer,such as a cup, and a smallobject,such as a penny. You inshuctthe child to
p l a c e t h e o b j e c t i n t h e c o n t a i n e r b y s a y i n g " P u t p e n n y i n c u p , " o r b y s i m p l y s"al ny .i n
" lgf n e c e s s a r y , t h e
correctresponseis prompted by takingthe child'shand, placingthe penny in it, and helpinghim put the
penny in the cup. Reinforcethe child and fade the prompt in the usualmannerby graduallydiminishing
your participationin the child'sresponse.(The choiceof a penny may not be ideal for some children
who have a problem with fine finger dexteritybecauseit is so difficuttto pick up. Pick an easierobjectfor
the child to handle; you do not want to dishactthe child.)
When the child is respondingto criterionwith "in," then beginto train a secondpreposition;
we usuallychoose"under." You could have chosen"beside,"or some other preposition,that sounds
and looks maximally different from "in." In teachingthe secondprepositionthe same object (the penny)
may be utilized;however, adiflerentcontainer(e.g.,a smallbox) can be used.You can say,"Put penny
under box," or simply, "L)nder." The responseis prompted and the prompt is faded. When the child has
mastered"under," "in" is reinhoduced and the first responseis retrained, and then "under" is retrained
and so on untilthe child is making no more than one error each time you switchthe trainingstimuli.
During the entirehaining programthus far, one containerhas been usedfor "in" and another
for "under." In all probability,the child is now learningthat when one containeris present,he is sup-
posedto place an object under it, and when anothercontaineris present,he is to place an objectin it.
That is, the child is probably not learning much about prepositions. The two different containersare

employedto facilitatethe child'sdiscriminations;they serveas a prompt. Prepositiontrainingis difficult;
that is our reasonfor usingsuch prompts. Some childrenmay be ableto catch on usingthe samecon-
tainers;othersmay need differentkinds of prompts.Keep in mind that it is a difficultconceptto learn,
and that you need to be able to improvise.
To keep the child from relying on such prompts, and to bring him under the control of the
prepositionsyou verbalize;you must teachthe child to make both responsesusingonly one container
(e.g', to put the penny "under" or "in" the cup). This procedureconsistsof two
sary,prompt the child to placethe penny in the cup. When the child reachescriterionon this
response,you introducethe command "under," and if necessary,prompt the child to place
the penny under the cup. When the child reachescriterionon this response,"in" is again
introducedand retrained.Then retrain"under" until the child consistentlymakes no more
than one error with each change in command. Then, randomly rotate the commands as
Step 2: Removeone of the containersso that the child will make both responsesusingthe somecon-
tainer.You may want to fade the other containerfartherand fartheraway from the child, so
that it will be easierfor him to use the same containerfor both "in" and "under."

When the child can respondcorrectlyto "in" and "under" usingthe samecontainer,and with
rotated trials, generalizationtraining may be institutedusing new containers.New prepositionsand
prepositional phrases,such as "beside,""on top of," "behind,"and "in front of," may be taughtusing
the sameprocedures,omittingany stepsthat seemunnecessary for your particularchild. Thus, for one
child it may be necessaryto hain a new prepositionin isolation,then alternatehainingthe new preposi- I
tion and a previouslymasteredpreposition,and finallypresentingthe new prepositionin random rota-
tion with previouslymasteredones. For anotherchild, it may be sufficientto simplybring in new prepo-
sitionswithout concernfor first trainingthem in isolation. t

When the child has masteredfive or six prepositionsat the receptivelevel,you may begin expressive
speechtraining.The procedureis exactlythe same as that for receptivespeechexcept that now you
place the ob.lectin or under the containerand then ask the child "Where is it?" The desiredresponse,
e.9., "ln" (or "ln the cup") or "(Jnder" (or "Under the box") is prompted, and the prepositionsare
taughtin the samemannerthat expressivelabelswere hained, Note that a receptivetrial may serveas a
prompt if lt is followed by an expressiveone. For example, if you say "Put in cup" (and the child
respondsconectly), and if you then ask "Where is it?", your instructioncontainsthe prompt for the
child'sanswer ("1n").This may or may not be helpfulfor your child. ,li


As with the other programsdescribedin this manual, once the child has completedthe initialtaining
phase of the program, generalizationbaining is canied out in the child's everydaylife. Your goal now is

170 Advcnced Lcngucge

to teachthechildabouthisown position
objects'for example,hiding"behind" betweenmajoreveryday
the dresser,
,itti;t'i;;;e,,the.closet, puttingthe
of'the bed' and placinghisslippers"under" books,,ontop
thebed.i;;l;" chirdthe correctr"rponr" to the most
the homeand/orschoolso
once the child can cany out the
ships'you may begingeneralization relation-
trainingon expressivespeech.For example,you may firstinshuct
the childto sit on a chair,and then
presentthe questionl'whut are you
promptedto reply"l am sitting doing?,,The childis then
on the.huir." You mayaskthechird ,,sit
the chair"' andthenpromptthe child's to on thebed,,orto stand,,on
of alsomayaskabout
otherobjectsor persons("whereis the
baby?"',whereis the mirk?,,). we mustrepeatagainthatthe
generalizationphaseis the most importantpart
of the programfor teachingprepositions.your
mustusethe prepositionsthat he learns child
regularlyand in a-varietyof situations
functionalpart of his vocabulary.our for them to becomea
e*periencehasbeenthat the childrenao
everydaylife unlessthey are taughtto noitransferlearningto
do so.



PRONOUNS The goalof the program for pronouns is to teach a
child to understandlanguagethat dealswith personal
relations.It attemptsto teach the child the beginning
meaningof termssuch as "yours" and "mine," what
a person means when he talks about "1" versus
"you," and what is meant by "we" and "us" as com-
pared to "they" and "them." One could speculateon
how importantit is for the child to learn suchterms-
for example,how important it is for him to learn "1,"
in order to achieve a sense of identity-but such
speculations are beyond the scopeof this book. Let's
just agreethat it is of some value for the child to learn
pronouns. The program introducespronoun tain-
ing, giving the adult and the child a "feeling" for how such a trainingprogram is constructed.


Trainingin the receptiveuse of the genitivecaseof pronouns,suchas"my," "your," "his," or "hers," re-
quires that a large number of common personal possessions(such as clothing, and jewelry) and body

parts (nose, eye, ear, and arm) be used as basicstimuli. The child should already know how to label l

thesepossessionsand body parts. That is, haining for words like "your" and "my" implies that the child
now will learn to conectly identify the personol referent of your statement,i.e., the child must discrimi-
nate not only an object (a nose or an eye) but the pronoun related to that object ("your nose," "my
Step 1: Begin with the instruction"Point to your nose" (or some similar body part), or you may sim-
ply state"Your nose."
Step 2: At the same time that you give this instuction, you should prompt the conect responseby
moving the child's hand to the child's nose and having him touch his nose.
Step 3: Training is continued until the child responds to criterion with no prompts.

Once this behavior is establishedyou then introduce a second instruction,"Point to my nose,"
or just "My nose," and train the behaviorto criterion.When the child has mastered"My nose," then
beginrandom rotationwith thesetwo commands,as you have done in all previousbaining. The child
has masteredthis discriminationwhen he can respond conectly to criterion with these two commands
randomly intermixed.
then the trainingis broadenedto introduceother body
Once this initiallearningis established,
parts.The discriminationfor eachnew body part (e.g.,"my ear" versus"your ear") shouldbe mastered
first, then the newly masteredinstructionsare intermixed with those already trained. A seriesof trialsat
this stagein the training might go as follows: "Point to my nose," "Point to your ear," "Point to your
nose," "Point to my ear." The child has masteredthisphaseof pronouns when, on the firsttrial, he can
correctlypoint to a particular possessionor body part that was not used in an early training. For exam-
ple, he can correctlypoint to his head or to your head even though he was not specifically hainedto do
so earlier.
Pronouns are difficult to learn and some children experiencemajor difficulty in training at this
level.One way to easethe difficultyis to pretrainusingthe child'sname and your name. If that needsto
be done, change your instructionsand ask the child to "Point to (child'sname) nose," and "Point to
Mommy's nose." Once this discriminationis established, you can then use this command as a prompt
and superimposethe pronouns"your" and "mine" on the proper names,graduallyfadingthe latter.For
example;you ask the child to "Point to Billy'syour nose," making the pronoun "your" quite loud and
pronounced,and then graduallyfading the loudnessof the child'sname ("Billy") so that it becomesin-
audibleand only the command with the pronoun ("your") remains.This samekind of pretraining,using
proper names, could be used for many kinds of pronouns.
Once the receptiveuse of pronounssuchas "your" and "my" is established, you mighttry ex-
pressivespeechtraining for thesesame pronouns. This is a very difficult discriminationto learn because
the child has to learn to reversepronouns. Such pronoun reversalis complicated.For example,sup-
posethat the child had just beentaught"Point lo your nose," and his correctresponsewasto point to his
I own nose.Then you taughtthe child "Point to my nose" and the child'scorrectresponsewasto point to
your nose. In expressiuetraining, when'you say "Point to your nose" the child must now point to his
I own nose, and he must verbalize"My nose" (eventhough the label "my" was previouslytaught in rela-
li tionshipto your nose, and not his). However, pronoun reversalcanbe mastered.Try to makethe situa-
lt tion (the cues or stimuli) very succinct,help the child identify the referent of the question. For example,
if you askthe child, "Point to my nose," you should askhim to do this while he holds his hand on your
nose. As an additionalcue, ask "Whose nose?"The movement and the position of the child'shand

$r helpsprovide action cues for him.

You may want to teach personalpronouns using a large number of ordinary, common activi-
tiesthat a child can already label. Start this kind of training by askingthe child to perform some activity,
such aswaving his arm. The child is then prompted to say, "I am waving." At this stageyou may alsoask
the question,"What areyou doing," althoughthe presenceof "you" in that questionmay temporarily
confusethe child. In either casethe prompts are faded as we have done in other programs. You may
then go on to some other activity(suchas standing,pointing,jumping, smiling,or laughing)for use in
taining of the pronoun "1."
Once this phase of the haining is accomplished,that is, the child can now verbalizecorrectly"/
am standing,""f am pointing," and so on, you may engagein some behaviorand ask the child "What
arn I doing?" It may be helpful during theseearly stagesif you point clearlyto the child when you askthe
question, "What areyou doing?" and point clearly to yourselfwhen you ask, "What am I doing?" It is

tta AdvcrncedLtrngucge
probablyeasierfor the childto comeup with a conectpronounto a visualcue (pointing)comparedto
findlngthecorrectpronounto your questionwithoutothercues.The visualpointingpromptcanthenbe
graduallyfaded.In subsequent trainingit is possibleto usepicturesfor teachingpronounssuchas"he"
and "she."
If the chlldhassomedifficultywithpronounssuchas"l" and "you," you maybegtnthiskindof
pronountralningusingproper names,so that the child willbe initiallytaughtto conectlylabel"Billy is
wavlng."Usethe proper noun as a prompt to be fadedand superimposed by the pronoun "1."
The pronoun hainingdescribed in thischaptercanserveasan exampleof pronounhainlngin
general.Pronountrainingistediouswork and clearlyemphasizes the needfor a largegroupof peopleto
work withthe chlld.Thislmpllesthatpeoplewithoutformalspeechfratningcan, in fact,helpthe child's
languagedevelopment.No doubtsuchis the case,and no doubtlt is criticalfor the child'slanguagede-
velopmentthat a largenumberof peopledo, in fact, work with hlm.

Pronounr m*
TIME The goal of this program is to teach your child to
understandsimple time concepts, such as "first" and
CONCEPTS "last," and "soon" and "later." You may begin the
teaching of time concepts by teaching "last." As
usual,beginthis kind of trainingunder controlledcir-
cumstances.This means that you and your child sit
facingeach other, a smalltablebetweenyou, with a
set of distinct and relatively discriminable objects
placedin a row on the table.


We suggestthat the training begin with "last" as a temporal and spatialcue becausethis concept is most
recentln the child'smind. You shouldplacetwo objectsthat the child can now label(suchas a key and a
ball) on the table in front of him about 1 foot apart. It is advisablein this program, like all the others, to
selectobjectsthat look somewhat different. You then tell the child to touch the two objectsin a certain
order. For example, you may ask the child to "Touch key first" (or simply, "Key first"), prompt the
response,reinforce,and then askthe child to "Touch balllos!,"and againprompt and reinforce.On any
one tialthe order in which the objectsare touched and their position on the table may both be changed.
Ask the question, "What came last?' Once the child has masteredthis discrimination, inhoduce a new
pair of objects (such as a penny and a glass)and repeat the training on this new pair of objects.As in
other programs, the learning is consideredcomplete when the child can correctly verbalizetheconcept
"last" on the first hial on a pair of objectshe has not encountered before.
It may be helpfulin this training to have the child verbalizeyour command. That is, when you
tellthe child to touch one object "first," and some other object"last," you should encouragethe child to
repeat theseinstructions.For example, in the trialsgiven above you say "Key first," have the child give
the correctresponse,ond have him repeat"Key first."The samething happenswith the command"Ball
last"; when you ask "Which did you touch last?" the child has available (stored) the correct respons€
("Ball last").

You may alsoconsiderworkingwith morethantwo objectsat a time. If you work with setsof
fiveobjects,askingthe childto touchanytwo of those,you may avoidthe child'sresponse
sociatedwith a particularobject,ratherthan the temporalorder in which an objectwastouched.


In hainingfor "first,"the samesetsof objectsareused,the instructions

areidenticaltothosefor training
the concept"last,"but the question,"What camelast?"isreplacedby the question,"What camefirst?"
The child is promptedand trainedas before.
Oncehe hasperformedto criterionon the concept"first,"thenthetwo labels,"first"and"last"
are randomlyrotatedas in all previoushaining.


Many opportunities are availableto generalizethe use of time concepts to everyday life. As always,
gradually move away from the original taining situation,and begin to include more generalbehaviors,
such as touching head first, touching table last, then standingup first, and turning around last. Slowly,
baining can be generalizedto more elaboratesequencesof activitiesthat the child must perform (e.g.,
"Hang up your coatbefore you go outside," "Firsf eat your vegetables").You may move from teaching
the child to interactwith simple objectsto having the child explicitlyengagein a set of behaviorsthat can
be sequenced,suchas standingup, closingthe door, and then sittingdown. In any case,the generaliza-
tion of theseconceptsto everyday life will benefit the child, and all significantlanguagetraining should
take place in his everyday environment.

t78 Advcrnced Lcngucge

YES/NO Let us mention one more haining program involvlng
a different kind of inshuction, one that is perhapsnot
TRAINING all that difficuh to learn. This concerns teaching the
child to appropriatelyuse the terms Yes and No. This
is a very usefulpart of language,but developmentally
disabledchildrenmay have problemswith such lan-
guage and may need explicit instructions. yeslNo
training can be divided into two procedures,training
for personalfeelingsand training for factuatmatters.
Generally we begin with personal feelings because
they seem easierto teach.


Selecttwo behaviors, one that your child definitely prefers and one that he definitely does not prefer.
For example,you may ask a questionsuch as, "Do you want candy?",.ascontrastedto the question,
"Do you want a spanking?" Ask one of these questions,and then prompt the correct response.For
example,ask "Do you want some candy?", while holding apiece of candy clearlyin front of the child;
then prompt the child to verbalize"Yes" beforeyou actuallygivethe child the candy. You then say,"Do
you want some candy?" (pause)"Yes." The prompt ("Yes") is then graduallyfaded, and you end up
with a situation in which the child is verbalizing"Yes" to your question, "Do you want some candy?"
Once this is establishedyou then raise your arm and ask the child the question, "Do you want a spank-
ing?" and prompt the answer "No." In gradual stepsthis prompt is faded. The critical haining comes
when these two questions are intermixed using random rotation.
It is probably wise for you to let the child experiencethe consequencesof his using the terms
yes and no correctly,as well as the consequencesfollowing an incorrectusage.That is, if the child says,
"Yes," when you ask, "Do you want a spanking?"then the child should probablybe given a swat (just
enough for him to f.eela little uncomfortable).You can help the child formulate the conect answerby
grosslyexaggeratingyour gestureswhen you ask "Do you want a spanking?"That is, raiseyour arm so it

179 '
hold the candyclearlyin the child'sline of
is clearto the childwhat may be in storefor him, Similarly,
visionwhen you ask,"Do you wantcandy?"
your raisingyour arm as com-
Initially,the child is probablyrespondingto the uisuolcuesof
paredto holdingforth somecandy.Theseuisualcuesmustthenbefaded, over
you wantcandy?"withoutshowing
respondto the questiononly. Foiexample,you endup asking,"Do
that candyis available'


you may wantto teachYes/Noin relationto factualmatters. Startwith somesimplesituation,suchas

prompt andfadethe promptsfor
holdinga book in front of the childand asking,"ls thisa book?";then
and ask"ls thisa book?"and
the correctresponse,"Yes." Then hold up a phone,or someotherobject,
,'No for an
promptandf ade ." Thenpresentthe two stimuliin randomrotation. Referto earlierchapters
outline of random rotation presentation.Generalization haining, describedearlier,should also be

ls Advqncod Lcngucge
TEACHING As the child beginsto learn the meaning
cated words, such as the concepts
of compli-

PHRASES underlyingpro_
nounsand time, you will increasinglyfeelthe
need to
AND SENTENCES teach the child how to use these
newly acquired
words in a correctform. That is, after he
has learned
the conceptof color, you may want your
child to use
his color terms when he expresseshimself,
as in the
caseof "the red truck." The child has to
learn to put
togetherwords in the right order so that
they mike
Some people feel that the abilityto express
and formulate sentencesis an innate capacity,
ta'vdisabred chirdren
nate ability' or that some part of the brain is damaged
and thereforeit is difficu-ltor impossiblefor your
childto speakin sentences'others saythatthe.chilJ
may haveprobtemstalkingin sentences
hassomebraindamage' Even the exierts becausehe
don't agreeon th" causes.Therefore,it is probably
yourselftake chargeof the situation bestif you
and see what you can teach your child.
Actually' teachingthe child to speakin
sentencesis not all that difficult.It is quite possible
you to teachyour child grammar, or for
what otherscallsyntax.As with all other
to breakthe behaviordown into smallersections, kinds of learning, it is best
then teachthosesmallersectionsone at a
the smallestword combinationsis a noun time. one of
with a modifier,denotinga quality or athibute
For example'an objectsuch as a huck of that noun
hassome attribute,suchas a size,color,
you want to teach your child to describe or form. In other words.
objectsin more detailso he ends up saying just ..Truc&.-
"cookie"' and "Mommy," but that not
he describesthem in more detail,suchas ,iReit ,.Brg
and "Nice Mommy'" Later in the program rck,,' coo*cn"*
he may describetheseobjectsin even more
caseof "My big red huck," or ,,Hisnice Norwegian rn ttm
teacher.,, I
start the training by choosing a set of objectsyour i
child can rabel,such as a rruch. r csn&nr," *
cup of coffee, a big ball, a little ball, and a n
squareblock. Have theseobjectsdiffer on $
name of theseobjectsbut also their athibutes (such
as their color, size, or shape). dren ymnpmr*nsil*

r8l ffi
indicating someobject(e.g.,a truck)andaskinghimthequestion, "Whatisthis?"If he answers "Truck,"
thenyouconecthim andprompthimto say,"Redhuck,"As in alltheotherhainingyou havetaughtso
far, repeatthe question,"What is it?" and proceedto fadeyour prompt ("Red")so that he eventualty
endsup saying,"Red tuck" to your question"Whatis it?"
Repeatthistrainingwith a largesetof objects,say 10 to 20, and you will quicklyobservethat
onedayyou will hold up an object,suchasa greenturtle,or a bluebutterfly,or a squarepieceof cheese,
and your child will usethe correctcombination of the adjectiveand the noun withoutyour having
hainedhim on thisparticularphrase.That is, he will say,for the firsttime in hislife, "Greenturtle,"
"Squarecheese,"andso on. Whenthechildcanconstruct a phrase,asin combining an adjective witha
noun,he is, in fact,beginningto understand grammar.
In a similarway you can teacha childto combinenounsand verbs.Considerthe phrase,"l
want-." Therearea lot of thingsyourchildwants,suchascookie,juice,cup, out, car,or music.
Whenhe wasfirsttaughtto usethesewordscorrectly,he wasmerelyrequiredto statethe labelof theob-
jector actionhe wanted.If he wantedjuice,thenall he had to saywas"Juice."Now you maywantto
changethe rulesand askfor a littlemore;askhim for a completesentence,suchas"l wantjuice."If this
is doneconsistently, acrossa largerangeof wants("1want-") then at somepoint he will be con-
frontedwitha behavioror objectthathe desires, andwillthenbeableto state,withouthavingbeenspe-
cificallyhained,the correctcombinationof wordsto expressa want.For example,aflerhe haslearned
10 or 20 "l want-" phrases, thensomeday,facedwith a biteof icecream(whichhe canlabel),
whenhe isasked"Whatdo you want?"he maysay,"l wanticecream,"eventhoughhe hasneverbeen
trainedto expressthisparticularrequest.Again,he is movingcloserto understanding the correctuseof
It may be necessaryto usethe backwardchainingprocedurein teachingphrasesand sen-
tences.You starttrainingthe behaviorclosestto the reinforcer,for example,the lastword ln the sen-
tence.If you aretraininghim to express the sentence, "l wantcookie,"then you wouldstartwith the
word"cookie."Thenyou movebackwardto the next-to-last word, "want." In thefinalstepof theteach-
ingsequence you wouldaddthefirstwordin thesentence, "l wantcookie."Thesentence isa "chain"of
words.You teachthesewordsseparately to the childandthenteachthe childto chain(combine)these
wordsinto a sentence by workingbackward.
It is true in teachingphrasesand sentences, asin all otherkindsof languagelearntng,thatthe
mostmeaningfulpartof the learningoccursin day-to-dayliving,and takesptaceseveralhoursa day. It
isveryunlikelythat your childwill everlearnto speakgrammatically conectlyif allthe learntnghe expe-
riencestakesplacein one hour a weekwith hisspeechtherapist.The followingdialogueillustrates how
you canteachyour childto expandhis useof grammarat any timeduringthe day (Lovaas,L971,p.

Teacher: "What do you want?"

Billy: "Egg,"
T: "No, what do you want?""l . . . "
Billy: (no response)
T: "l. ."
Billy: "l want. . . " (T's"1"cuesBilly's"l want"on the basisof priortrainlng)
T: "Egg." (pause)
"O.K., What do you want?"
Billy: "l wantegg."

tu Advqnced Lcugucge
T: "Good!" (feedsBilly)
"What do you want?"
Billy: "Egg."
T: "No, what do Youwant?""l. . . "
Billy: "l want egg."
T: "Good boY!" (feedsBillY)
"What is this?" (showsBilly bacon)
Billy: "Bacon."
T: "Good, what do Youwant?"
Btlly: (no resPonse)
T: "l.,."
Billy: "l wantbacon."
T: "Good!What do Youwant?"
Billy: "l wantbacon."
T: "Good!" (feedsagain)
"What is this?" (showsmilk)
T: "Good!""1. . ' "
Billy: "l want milk."
T: You want what?"
Billy: "l want egg."
T: "O.K." (feeds)
Billy: "l want egg."
T: "Good!" (feeds)

Tocchtng Phrcrcs cnd Sentences
REFERENCES M. Acquisitionof signlanguageby autisticchildren.
labeling.Journalol Applied Behaulor
I. Expressive
Lovaas, O. L The oufistic child: Longuoge deuelop- Anolysis,1978, 77, 489-501.
mentthrough behauior modit'ication New York: Irv- Longhurst,T. M. (Ed.). Functlonallanguagelnteruen-
ington Publishers,1971. tton: Readings(Vols.I & U). New York: MSSInfor-
mationCorp., 1974.
Lovaas,O.l. The outisticchild:Languagedeuelop-
BECOMMENDEDREADINGS mentthroughbehouiormodtftcationNew York: Irv-
Carr,E. G. Teachingautisticchildrento usesignlan- Schreibman, L., & Can, E. G. Eliminationof echolalic
guage:Someresearchissues.Journolof Autismond respondingto questionsthrough the taining of a
DeuelopmentalDisorders,1979, 9, 345-359. generalizedverbal response.Journal ol Applied
Carr,E. G., Binkoff,J, A., Kologinsky, E., & Eddy, BehoviorAnolysis,L978, 77, 453-463.

!,ll Advanced Lcngucge


IJnitVll is the last unit in the book' and it
time you
some very interestingprograms'By this
have wo*ed through some very tedious
it is fun
and Unit Vll canbe consideredyour reward;
to teachat this level.
The Unit starts out with programs
your child in
Chapter31 on how to bettermanage
communitysettings,such as storesand
teaching rathergen-
Thisis followedby four chapters
eralbut extremelyimportantbehaviors'
dealswith teachingthe child to better
understandfeelings'Chapter33 addresses
i"totng thechilddevelopwaysto expand
liie, as in pretendingand imagining' Chapte'3+leachesthe childto learnby
fantasy situations,whichhe
from relyingon shictone-on-oneteaching
learn.Thisshouldhelphim moveaway groupinstruction'
u".uur" teachers relyon (observational)
will not receivein mostpublicschoolsettings because theauthor-
spontaneous behavioru'" p'"'"nt"d in Chapter35
Variousprogramson increasing who is
presentedinlhe earlie,or.n,u.r in thistook haveprobablycreateda student
itative procedures
too depende#:;:::#;tj::rrams instructionthat he
for preparinsyour childfor the classroom
sugglstilnsto classroom teacherson how to constructa more
will receivein schoor,chapter 37 gives in teaching
Finallychapter 3g slu"mmarizes someof the morecommonproblems
behaviorar classroom.

Parentscometo uswith talesof horrorabouta recent
MANAGING trip to a supermarket,a restaurant,or a neighbor's
THECHILD home. Althoughsometimes
incidents in whicha child has
amusingin rehospect,
knockeddown a store
INCOMMUNITY display,hasbegunto tanhum,or hasthrownfoodin
a restaurantareverydisturbingandembarrassing to a
SETTINGS parent.Other incidents,such as runninginto the
streetin frontof a caror gettinglostat the beach,may
evenjeopardize the safetyof thechild.In anycase,a
child who is too unruly imprisonshimselfand his
family. You are unlikelyto returnto a restaurantor
someotherpublicplaceif all eyesweregluedon you
and your childas he screamed, threwfood, pulled
the tableclothoff the table, and knocked the disheson the floor the last time you were there' Similarly,
you becomereluctantto invite other people to your house if you remain fearfulthat your child might dis-
rupt a dinner party. Even mild misbehaviors,such as his incessantmasturbationin front of your guests
during dinner, are likely to seriously inhibit your party mood. You and your child end up being
prisoners,so to speak; his misbehavioris your jailer. But it doesn't have to be that way at all. Instead,
your child coutd actuallybecome a most athactiveand charmingperson in any crowd. This chaptersug-
gestssome simpletechniquesfor making exposureto the community safeand enjoyablefor both parent
and child.


Mostpeopleagreethatthe bestwayto handlea problemisto preventitsoccurrence. The majorpartof a

child'scommunityhainingshouldbe completedbeforethechildis eveninboducedto a particularcom-
munitysetting.A childshouldlearnsomethingabouta settingand how to behavein thatsettingwhile
of his homeor school.He shouldnot expect to learn
the morefamiliarand contolled circumstances
new waysof copingin an environmentthat is at oncenew, shange,and perhapsevenfrightening'On

the other hand, good preparatory haining will ensurethat the child, with your help, need only hansfer
alreadywell-establishedbehaviorto new conditions.

Visiting A Store
Preparatorytraining may be best illustratedby using a concreteexample of an intended trip to the store.
Begin by practicing"store" in the house. Create a little grocerystore at home by placing some cans,jars,
and boxeson a shelf, as in a grocerystoredisplay,and get a shoppingcart. Have someoneplay the part
of the storekeeperwho operatesa toy cash register.Have some money ready to pay for the food. Start-
ing with the easieststep,simplyteachyour childto help you push the cartin a shaightline, and to go and
stop on your command. Prompt, reward, and punish as in other programs.(Usecerealas a rewardfor
good behavior,and whackson the rear for bad behavior.)Have the child stop the cart while you put in
the items,and laterhave him put the itemsin the cart as you ask him. Always proceedin gradualsteps.
For example,at the check-outcounterfirstyou shouldgivethe cashierthe money; laterteachyour child
to do it.
You will be greatly expandinghis receptivevocabularyin this haining: "Stop," "Put in the
greenbeans,""We need some cat food," "Give the money to the man." At the sametime you willbe
teachinghim conhol: "No, don't run, walk," "Hands down, no stimming,""Take my hand." You want
to be reasonablycertain that your child does not drop or throw grocery items, does not screamwhen
pushingthe cart, or misbehavein other waysbet'oreyou go to the store.
In planningthe first visitto a community setting,designthe trip to be short and simpleand to
focus upon the child. Do not take him on a long shoppingtrip to a large,bustlingsupermarketwhere
there are many people and where you may be caughtin a long line at the checkoutcounter. A small,
localgrocerystorewhere you might shop for 15 minutesor so would be a much betterchoice.You want
as few witnessesas possible,in casethingsgo wrong, or if you have to admonish him for actingup.
The firsttripsshould alsoemphasizethe child'sactiveparticipation,which can make a visitnot
only an enjoyableoccasionbut alsoa meaningfullearningexperience.The parent'srole shouldbe one
of promptingand helpingthe child to employ successfully in this new environmentthe skillslearnedat
home and of praisingthe child lavishlyfor attemptingto do things properly and for acting appropriately.
If the child is busy acting appropriately, the chancesof misbehavioroccurring are greatly reduced and
the chancesof a successfulsubsequenttrip are greatlyenhanced.
While the training and planning might sound formidableand time-consuming,this is not the
case.One or 2 hours over three or four eveningswill probablysufficeto accomplishthe pretrainingat
home, The child should be graduatingfrom short visitsto small storesto longer visitsin largerstoresover
a 1-weekperiod, with store visitsscheduledfor every second day.

Vtsiting A Beetctutqnt
What hasbeen said about managingthe child in storesis equallyapplicableto restaurants.If your child
has problemsmanaginghimselfin restaurants,startteachinggood table mannersat home, and make
home look like a restaurantfor a while to giveyour childthe necessaryexperiences.For example,one of
the mostdifficultbehaviorsfor childrento learnis to wait. At home everyonesitsdown when the food is
served,and almost immediatelystartseating.In restaurantsone sitsdown, waits, orders,waitssome
more, and then beginsto eat. So, startteachingsittingand waiting,for increasinglylonger periods.
When you do decide to go out to eat, go to a fast-foodrestaurantfirst, and graduallyexpand to
more elaborateestablishments. If your child actsup very badly, you may want to warn him sternlyand
gve him a pinch on the bottom under the table.If that does not work, you may want to leavethe table

lru Expcnding Your Child's World

with him and give him a strongerreprimandoutside.When he hasstoppedmisbehaving,and you
he have both regainedyour composure,then go back insidethe restaurantand return to
vour meal.


Therearesomeunusualproblemsthatmayoccurwhenthechildistakenoutof thehouseandplacedin
differentsettings.Oftenthe childfailsto generalize
or transferwhathe haslearnedat hometo the new
situation. He maybe obedientand respondconectlyto inshuctions, suchas"Cometo me" and',Hold
my hand,"at home,butthiscontrolmaycompletely vanishin a storeor a restaurant.
ularlyhue of theolderchildren.In suchinstances thechildprobablythinksthathe willnot be punished
for misbehaving in public;thatis,he hastheadult"overthebarrel"soto speak,andhe thinkshe canget
awaywith murder.We recommendthatyou takea littlebit of "home"intothe outsideworld,andthat
littlethingfromhomemaybethe paddle.If he hasbeenhit on the behinda coupleof timesat homefor
misbehaving, thenall he hasto seeis the paddlein Mom'spursewhiletheyare in the market.

Running A*cry
Sometimesthereis a lot of excitementand distractionin a storethat may interferewith the child retaining
good manners. Particularly,if he is some distance(like 20 feetor more) away from you in a store, or at
the beachor in the park, he may not come when you say, "Come here," if he has been taught to re-
spond to that command while being only 5 feet away from you at home. The child may even try to
"leave" you by running away upon hearingthe "Come to me" command. There are severalways of
remedyingthisproblem.For example,startteaching"distanceresponding"at home, so that the child is
taught to respondto you, even though he is far away. Another method is to have a second adult (a
cohort or a collaborator)presentin the beginning,to "bait" or "test" the child on purpose,while you are
in contactand are callingthe shots,For example,let the child wander away, then when the distanceis
20 feet or more, call him to come back; if he does not come immediately,your "collaborator"quickly
emergesfrom an inconspicuouspositionnearthe child and administersthe appropriateconsequence(a
stern "Go" or a slap on the bottom) belore the child has an opportunity to experiencethe rewards he
getsfrom ignoringyou or from running away.
A child may sometimesrun when excited, or will try to play a game of "chase" with you.
Under theseconditionsyou must use consistentand total discipline.As the child beginsto run away,
you should sharplysay "No!" and then walk slowly toward the child, even if he continuesrunning.
Under most circumstancesrunning toward a child will only make him more excited and hence run
faster.Upon reachingthe child, you should firmly state"No! Don't run away!" Repeatedincidentsof
running away should be consequatedwith physicaldisciplineor a time-outcondition in additionto ver-
bal chastisement.
There shouldbe no leewayallowedin casesof runningaway once the first"No!" has beenex-
claimed.It is simplytoo dangerousfor developmentallydisabledchildrento iun away, sincethey could
be hurt (for example,most of them do not understandthe dangersinvolvedin haffic). The "No!" is your
signalto the child that he has done somethingwrong, and will be at leastverballydisciplined.The state-
ment "No!" helpsto bridgethe gap in time betweenthis initial exclamationand whateverfollows (further
verbaldiscipline,physicaldiscipline,time-out). A patternthat often emergesis the child'stendencyto
stop suddenly upon hearing "No!" and then to hastilyreturn to you with the expectationof forthcoming
praise.While the child'sapproachis desirablein this context,praisinghim at this point will only encour-

Mcncging ihe Child in Community Sertings 189

agefuturerepetitionsof the entirerunningaway-comingbackpattern.On the other hand, following
throughwith disciplineat thispoint will helpto discourage
sucha game-likepatternfrom forming.After
your child,you canthenimmediatelysay,"Hold my hand"or "Stayby me" in orderto pro-
videa positivelearningexperience, thatis,an occasionleadingto praiseor rewardfor appropriate
imity behavior.


One very usefulprogramthat we sometimesteachexplicitlyis fushotlon tolerance.Most readerscan

probablyconstructone at this point. Presenta frushatingsituation(e.g., food on a plateto a hungry
child), then reinforcethe chlld heavilyfor a short (S-second) delay beforehe startseating.Prompt
"holdingback"behaviorif necessary by givinghim inshuctions("Handsquiet,""Look at me")or by ask-
ing him questions("What kind of food are we eating?").Then graduallyincreasethe delayto I or 2
minutesbeforehe is allowedto eat. (Notehow you couldusethiskind of programto teachhim to better
copewith all kindsof frusbations.For example,if your childcan'thandlecritlclsm,startwlth a mildcritl-
cism,thengraduallyincreaseit to moreand moreseriouscriticisms, allthe time reinforcingthe childfor
"keepinghls cool.")
Unlessyou alreadyhavegoodconholoveryourchildat home (or in somesimilarlylimitedsit-
uation),it isjustwishfulthinkingto believethatthechildwill actappropriately in larger,morestimulaflng
environments. The childhasto firstbetaughtto actappropriatelyat home;then he canbeinboducedto
the community.

tr ls Expcnding Your Child's World
TEACHING Teachingabout feelingshas, of course, been part
ABOUTFEETINGS our teachingmethod from the very beginningof the
first program. The child has Iearned about feelings
during interactionswhere emotions were expressed
or withheld. For example, when the child received
rewards,he probablyexperiencedhappinessand ex_
pressedthis feelingin his interactions.As the child's
environmentexpands,he is ableto acquiremore and
more rewarding properties; his feelingsof happiness
or unhappinessincreasinglycome under environ-
mentalconhol.Likewise,the more the child'senvi-
ronmentexpands,the more there is to lose, and
thereforethereexistmore opportunitiesto feel and
expressfeelingssuchassadness and grief.We haverepeatedly observedthe gradualemergence of gen-
uineandelaboratehumanfeelingsin children(suchasautistic
or schizophrenic children)who weresup-
posedlyincapableof expressing suchfeelings.Quitepossibly,the environmentdid not initiallypossess
reinforcingpropertiesfor the autisticor schizophrenicchild,h"n." the corresponding lackof appropri-
ateaffect'when the childlearnedwhichbehaviorswoutdelicit
rewardor punishmentfrom hisenviron-
ment' he no doubt experienceda feelingof reliefor happiness
at beingableto controla potentially
threatening situation.In otherwords,asthechildacquiredrewardingand aversivequalities
vironment,he experiencedmore natural,
of the most gratiiyingexperiences in
workingas a teacherwith developmentally retardedchildrenis to seeand discoverthesenewlyfound
feelingsin the childrenand to help them copebetter.
Therearecertainaspectsin the child'semotionallife,however,
that will not developconstruc-
tivelyunlessthe childis taughtaboutfeelingsmoredirectly.This particularly
is the casewith somechil-
drenwho do not know how to identifyand describe feelinis.We conshuctedprogramsthatwouldhelp
childrentalk aboutthe feelingsin themselves and in others.Althougha child may feelvery happyand
perhapsgrateful,he may not know how to naturallyor spontaneously
fore,from the veryfirstday we seeachild,allthroughtheprograms,
we teachhim to expressaffections
in an appropriatemanner.Similarly,childrenhaveto betaught
appropriatewaysto assertthemselves.
some childrenwho aretoo assertive and endangerthe welfaleotoit ei childrenhaveto betaughtmore


appropriatewaysof assertingthemselves.Other childrenwho are too passiveand quiet haveto be

taughtto becomemoreassertive. Finally,somechildrenshowa greatdealof unusualfears,
refenedto as "irrationalfears,"so we developeda programfor helpingthem overcomefears.


You may find that using this progtam to teach the child to discriminateand labelfeelingsof happiness,
sadness,anger, and fear adequately covers the main emotions. It is important during this program to
make certain that the child enters into the interaction with the attending adult as actively as possibleto
allow him to describehis own feelingsand the causesbehind them.
Begin the program by teachingthe child to labelfacialexpressionsas happy or scared.You
should have two adults presentto help teach the program. Have one adult tickle or feed the second
adult who would then smile and give signsof happiness.You then ask the child, "How does he (she)
leel?"Prompt the child to respond with "Happy:" or "He (she)is happy." Once the child can respond
appropriatelyto the questionwithout prompting, then a secondemotion, scared,is introduced.Now,
the firstadult will behaveas if he or she is going to hit the secondadult, who cowersand showssignsof
beingscared.As before,you askthe question,"How does he (she)feel?"and prompt and reinforcethe
child to answerappropriately,"He (she)is scared."Noticethat there are severalcues in this situation
that prompt or otherwisesignalthe feelingstate.Most noticeableis the contextof the feeling,suchasthe
firstadult threateningto strikethe secondadult. Gradually,thesecuesshould be faded so that the child
can answerappropriatelyby merely looking at the second adult'sface. In other words, the child will
have learnedto read the cuesof the emotionalstateby attendingto the facialcuesonly.
One useful way of expandingthe above program would be to graduallyreplacethe second
adult with picturesof people who look scared,or happy. As in all other programs,the more picturesyou
have and the more diversifiedthey are, the more effectivethe program will be.
Another usefulexpansionof this programis to teachthe child to matchfacialexpressions with
their conespondingemotions.For example,once the child has learnedto conectly labelvariousfacial
expresslons, suchas smiling,the child could then be taughtto matchthe facialexpressionwith the emo-
tion it expresses. In this way, the child will be ableto describea pictureof a happy personas, "He is smil-
ing and he is happy."
After the child has learnedto labelfeelings,it is appropriateto beginteachingthe childto make
statementsabout the causes of feelings. The program on labeling facial expressions,with its heavy
emphasison contextualcues, would provide ideal teachingmaterial.After the child seesthe second
adult beingfed and learnsto respond, "He (she)is happy," the child can be taught to respondto the
question,"Why is he (she)happy?" In this instance,the appropriateresponsewould be, "Becausehe
(she)is being fed." Similarly,the child could be taught to identifybeing hit as a causeof fear.
In general, the more explicit the context of these various feelings,the easier it will be for the
child to discriminateamong them. Going backto the originalsituationin which the child observedone
adult hittingthe other, the person who is gettinghit (receivingpunishment)would be afraidwhile the
personwho doesthe hitting {administering punishment)would have a facialexpression showinganger.
While the child previouslyhad learnedto labelthe feelingsof the recipientas "afraid," the child would
now be askedto describethe feelingsof the adult who is doing the hitting (and who looks angry).
Another important program is one that teachesthe child how to apply these emotion labelsto
himself.The child will learn to make happy and sad faces.In devisingmore elaborateprogramsfor the

192 Expcnding Your Child's World

identificationof the child'sown feelings,it may be wiseto closelyparallelthe programs {
we already
describedfor teachingthe child to labelemotionsin others.For example,the firstprogram
could be
modifiedsothatthechildistheone who istickledor fed.Whenthechildhadbeenmade
to lookhappy,
he wouldthenbe asked,"How do you feel?"Oncethe childcanreliablydiscriminate betweentwo feel-
ings (suchas happyor afraid),he can be taughtto describethe causesof his feelings.
A thirdemotion,suchasanger,canbeintroduced whenthechildcanadequately discriminate
betweentwo feelings,suchashappinessand fear.You mightfind it easierto beginthe programby
ing the childdiscriminate betweenhappiness and anger,ratherthan happiness and fear,because it is
easierto visually displayangerthanfear.Thethirdemotion,whetherangeror fear,wouldbeplacedinto
the trainingroutineusingrandomrotation,suchaswasdonein the trainingof receptiveand expressive
labelsfor objectsand/or behaviorsin Unit V.
The feelingof sadnessusuallyoccursin the contextof somesort of loss,so the personwho
teaches sadness shouldcreatea situationwheresomeonelosessomething. An examplewouldbe a sit-
uationwhereone adulttakesa toy awayfrom a secondadult,and thesecondadultmimicssadness by
makingcryingnoisesand pretendingto wipe the tearsfrom his face.The child is then askedto label
thesefeelings, is prompted("He is feelingsad"),and is reinforced as before.
Notethatthiskind of hainingeventually becomes problematic because the cuesof the more
complexfeelingstatesare very subtleand difficultto discriminate,suchasthe distinctionbetweensad-
nessand guilt.Furthermore, the cuesthat distinguish
manyemotionalstatesare sometimes internal.
Nevertheless, goodprogress canbe madeon identifying the basicemotionsof anger,fear,happiness,
and sadness.


The extent to which a child's feelingsare a product of his heredity or are derived from his environment
(arelearned)is a matter of debate. It is our experiencein working with many children that, exceptfor the
most elementaryand rudimentaryexpressionof emotion, suchas anger,feelingshave to be taught; at
the least,their expressionshave to be shaped by the people who care for the child. Feelingssuch as af-
fection,appropriateassertion,and showingkindness,concern,and considerationfor othersall haveto
be shapedin carefulsteps.Otherwise,the child would not expressany of theseemotions,to the detri-
ment of himselfand of those around him.
From the very beginningof the program,perhapsfrom Day 1, we haveplaceda greatempha-
sison the children'sbeingaffectionateand kind to the adultswho carefor them. Being kind meansmany
things; to many it means to expressaffection, such as by kissingand hugging, which are easy to learn.
Begin by prompting (manuallyguiding) and reinforcingthe child for touching his cheek to yours, as you
instructhim by saying,"Hug me." Then graduallyfade the prompt while you provide reinforcementfor
more and more elaborateand longer hugs, such as those lastingfor 5 or 10 seconds, with his arms
around your neck. In our program, particularly through the first several months or year, hardly 5
minutes go by in a teaching situation without the child being expected to show affection to the adults
who deal with him directly, and he is prompted and requestedto do so if the behavior does not appear
spontaneously.In general,our philosophyis that in theseprograms,where the adult givesso much of
himselfor herselfto the child, the adult deservesaffection,and the child is expectedto offer affectionto
show his gratitude. Children who are nice had to be taught to be nice, to a certain extent.

Tecching About Feelings l*t


Assertingoneselfappropriately is a very complex skill that requires, in most instances,a lot of training,
even for averagepersons.We have found developmentallydisabledpersonsto be markedlylackingin
appropriate assertionskills. One of the first behaviors we teach in this regard is taught in a teacher-
student relationshipwhere the teacher will purposefully place the child in an uncomfortablesituation
and will prompt the child to say, "Stop it," "No, thank you," or some other appropriateresponse.
We usually begin such training by having the teacher mess up the student'shair or engagein
somefrighteningbehavior,suchasshakingthe child or liftingthe child high in the air. Once the child has
learned to terminate these kinds of interactionswith the appropriate assertiveresponse,the adult pro-
gressestoward more subtle stimuli, such as taking favorite toys away from the child or removing food
from his plate. Later, the adult may feed the child food he really doesn't like, tighten his beh too tight,
put his hand in cold water, or perform some other action. We have been astoundedat the extentto
which a developmentallyretardedperson will seemto accept,or fail to rejecl,stimulussituationsthat are
very aversiveto him, or at leastthat seemaversivefrom the adult'spoint of view. For example,we have
seen childreneat food that has been much too hot for them, almost scaldingtheir mouths. We have
seenchildrenin the shower when the temperatureof the water has changedto what most would con-
sider uncomfortablycold or hot, and they did not object.And we have seenchildrennot ableto refuse
food , who would simplyeat everythingthat the adult had giventhem, no matterhow full or stuffedthey
became.Similarly,we have many storiesof childrenwho have broken an arm or a leg or who have ex-
periencedtoothachesor high feverswithout being able to communicate their stateof discomfort.Need-
lessto say, you would probablybeginteachingsuchchildrento expresstheir feelingsin simplesituations
first, in which the adult knows (and can vary) their feelingstates.
Some of our children needed a lot of attentionwhen they were placed among peersin an
everydayenvironmentbecausethey were too aggressiveand would totally dominate the group and
depriveother childrenof valued items,such astoys and food. In such a situation,we trainedappropri-
ate assertivebehavior (like askingfor favors)in a one-to-onesituationwith the teacher,and then put
adultsinto the child'severydayenvironmentto stop the aggressive behaviorand to prompt appropriate
assertivebehaviorwhen necessary.
Most developmentally retarded individuals have a general impoverishment of affectiveex-
pressionof almostany kind. They appearvery stoicand bland. A greatdeal of promptingand displayof
appropriateaffect,through playing and generally"horsingaround," is a necessaryand importantsup-
plementto any teachingprogram. Per[aps the ideal ratio of work to play (the teachingof intellectual
functioningto emotionalexpression)would be a ratio of fiveto one. That is, f.orevery5 minutesthat the
child is taughtintellectual,social,and self-helpskills,he would be taught 1 minute of affectiveexpres-
sions.The 1 minute of teachingaffectcould well be used as a reward that would be contingentupon 5
minutesof intellectualand socialwork.
Note againthat a lot of the proper expressionof atfecthas to be creativelyprompted, as in the
use of nonverbalimitation with mirrors to teach various facialexpressions.A great deal of concern and
care should be placed on helping the child to discriminatethe appropriate stimulus or environmental
conditionsfor expressingthe various feelings,For example, giving a hug and a kiss should occur with a
smiling face, and statementsof assertionshould occur with a stern or seriousface.
We have constructeda number of other assertionor "conviction" programs. One program is
called the "AlternativesProgram," in which the child is taught to respond conectly to choiceslike, "Do

t}{ Expcnding Your Chtld's World

you wanta tickleor a slap?"and then graduallyfacedwith moredifficultchoices,suchas,"Do you want
to work or play outside?"
You may haveto teachyour childconuicfions. For example,someprogramsmay helpthe
childrendefendtheiranswersand discriminate misinformation.The hainingmay proceedas follows:
Step 1: Havethe childlabelan object:"Thisis a cup."
tellthechild,"No, it isa book."Helpthechildby making
Step 2: Afterthe objectis labeledcorrectly,
thechoiceasabsurdas Forexample,he labeleda cookieconectly,but you calledit
a horse.
Step 3: Now teachthe childto defendhis answerby restating the correctlabel.

A programthatmayfacilitatethe development of thechild's"convictions"

is onethatteaches
him to labeland consequate incorrectbehaviorin others.(Thiscouldbe an additionto the "Playing
Teacher"programthat is outlinedin Chapter33.) In otherwords,one attendingadultis instructed to
behaviors)and the
(suchasengagingin self-stimulatory
giveincorrectanswersor to actinappropriately
childistaughtto correctandadmonishsuchbehaviors, ashe istaughtto rewardothersfor actingappro-
Again,theseareonly examples of the programsyou mayneedto buildappropriate
Enoughhasbeensaidby nowthatyou shouldbeableto construct yourownprograms
to "fillout" allthe
necessary behaviors. ,I

Some developmentallydisabledpersons show inational fears. We have two criteria for inferring that a
fear is inational:1) the fearpersistsfor months and is expressedconsistently(suchas daily),and the fear
does not seemto diminishdespiterepeatedexposuresto the learedobject(s);and 2) the fear is unrea-
sonablegiventhe child'sage or level of functioning.By unreasonable fear, we mean that the fear inter-
fereswith the child'slevelof functioning.An exampleof an fear
irrational is a fear of the noisegenerated
by vacuum cleaners,which persistsover months or yearsand totally absorbsthe child wheneverhe is
anywhere near a vacuum cleaner. Other fears include fear of dogs, open doors, heights,bubbles,
balloons. and cracks.
The presenceof irrationalfearsis used by some people to diagnosechildhood psychosis.Irra-
tional fears are not present in all psychotic and retarded children, but interestingly, fears will often
emerge in a child who is getting better with heatment. Thus, the child who improves substantiallywill
develop a largerange of fears.Why thesefearsexistor come about as a child improves is an open ques-
tion; it might be becausethe child becomesmore aware of his environment. It is important to note that a
child who has irrationalfears,or who in generalseemsquite anxious,does much better in the kind
teachingprogramwe have developed.Some childrenare quitevoid of any anxiety,and their
upp"uri"r, favorable.The presenceof fear in the child provides him with an additional source of moti-
"get a
vation. To some extent teachingcan become a way of hetpingthe child to cope with his fear, or to
manage and that can
handle on it," It is important to distinguishbetweenfearsthat the child can learn to
be used therapeutically,and fears that directly interferewith the child's learning.
There are two programs in helping a child overcome fears: modeling and "working through'"

Tecching About Feelings
Modeling kognom
In the modeling program (Bandura, 7967), the teacherfirst makescertainthat the student'sfearsare not
reinforced (they are not operant, such that the child useshis fear to obtain a desiredresult). For exam-
ple, it is entirely possiblethat a person may use his fearsto escapeor avoid certain demands or unplea-
sant situations,thereby learningto becqmefearful. It is alsopossiblefor a child to learn to becomefearful
in order to get lots of attention from adults, who hy to comfort him whenever he is fearful. The extent to
which such fear is "real" (fear generatedby painful situations)or shaped as operant behavior is hard to
say (watch a good actor acting a frightening scene and by to tell the difference).
Once it has been determined that rewards, such as escapeor attention, have been removed
and that the fear is not decreasing,the adult may want to model appropriate behavior in relation to the
feared object or event, and perhaps verbally describethe situation as not fearful. For example, if the
child is afraid of dogs, the adult would model approach behavior toward the dog, including petting the
dog, while reassuringthe child, "See, I'm pettingthe dog. Gee, that wasn'thard." Of course,the child's
approach behavior to the feared object should be immediately rewarded.
It is surprising, in view of all the modeling and gradual exposure to the feared objects,that
most of the children with whom we worked stillremained very fearful. That is, we were unableto desen-
sitizethem and almost invariably we had to force them into contact with the feared object.

"Worling Through" kogrcm

This program resemblesa "flooding" program used in treatingadult fears. When the fearspersistedafter
a modelingprogram, the child was placedinto the fearfulsituationand kept there until he gavesignsof
extinguishinghis fear. This lastedanywherefrom 5 minutesto severalhours. At any one session,no
more than one-halfhour went by without takinga breakof 5 to 10 minutes,and then the child wasrein-
troducedto the fearfulsituation."Flooding" the child in this way with the fearfulobject,that is, ensuring
prolonged exposures to the feared object, ensured extinction of the fear. The procedure has been
markedly effective.For example, the child may be very afraid of going into the swimming pool, or even
afraid of going into water in the tub or shower. He screamsand fights whenever he is near water. In that
situation,we eventuallymay end up placinghim in a tub, or in the swimmingpool, for anywherefrom
15 to 30 minutes, despite the fact that he screamsand kicks. We may take a short break after 15 to 30
minutes,and then place him back in the pool againfor anotherexposure,so that during one afternoon
he may be in the pool for 3 hours, and out of the pool, for 10- to 2O-minutebreaks,for a total of 30
minutes. Most of the child's fearsof water should be extinguishedwithin a half-day sessionlike that, and
it is probably safeto say that if the fear persistsdespitetwo or three sessionsof 3- to 4-hour durations,
then the techniquedoes not work. Also, it is importantto note that if the child givessignsof diminishing
fearafterthe firstday, then the sessionsmust be continuedthe secondday. Do not allow too much time
to elapsebetweentrials.
Other fearsare extinguishedin similarways. For example,if the child is afraidof heightsyou
would purposelyput him on top of chairsand tables30 to 40 times an afternoon,or carry him piggy-
backwith you, so as to help him extinguishthe fear. If he's afraid of vacuum cleaners,then purposely
run vacuumcleanersaround him severalhours a day for howevermany daysare necessary to help him
overcomethat fear.
We have observeda very interestingetfect,counterphobio, in children who have successfully
lost (thatis, mastered)their fears.Essentially the childrenwho previouslywere afraidof an object,once
thek fears reach manageablelevels with regard to that object, become quite attachedto and obsessed
u'ith the previouslyfeared objeit. For example, the child who was afraid of heightsnew insistson jump-

t$ Expcnding Your Child's World

ing off of chairsand tables,and the childwho wasafraidof the waternow insistson spendingall hisfree
timein thq pool.

Teoching About Feelings l97


The programsin this chapter teach the child how to
PRETENDING pretend and to imagine-how to use his fantasy.
AND IMAGINING Essentially, these programs involve teaching the
child to constructin his imagination a reality that may
not be there, and to act as if that reality is present,
which it is not. Such behavior is consideredto be the
most advanced attribute of language. For develop-
mentally retarded children to be able to learn such
behavior would seem particularly encouragingsince
many theoreticianshave written on the "inabillty" of
developmentallyretarded persons to abandon what
many consider their basic concrete attitude and
engage in more abstractand creative behavior. As
you will seewhenyou teachtheseprograms,childrenwith developmental retardationare quiteableto
tearnto pretendand to fantasize, with somehelpon your part,and willshowsignsof enjoyingthiskind
of activityas much as any averageperson.
Obviously,sincetheseprogramson pretendingand imaginingrequirea considerable amount
of language,it is bestto starttheseprogramsafterthe child hasbecome proficient
in his useof abstract
language,afterhe can easilyidentifyand describeeventsand behaviorsaroundhim, and afterhe has
developedsomeconversationalskills. ln otherwords,theprogramson pretendingand imaginative play
arebestsuitedfor higher-functioning children.The childshouldhavemasteredthe basicsof nonverbal
imitation,as well as intermediatelanguage(UnitV).
The programsofferedin thisbook are intendedlargelyto serveasguidancefor the teacher's
constuctionof morecompleteprograms.Thus,we usea numberof progtamsthat arenot presentedin
detailhere.In the "PredictingProgram"the childistaughtto predictwhatwill happenin the future:you
askthe child questionssuchas, "lf I drop thisglass,what will happen?"or "What are you goingto do
afterlunch?"Anotherprogram,the "Tell a StoryProgram,"startswith the childcompletingstatements
alreadybegunby the teacherin referenceto a picture.For example,you startthe "story" by saying'
"This boy is wearinga -." Graduallydrop suchpromptswhile movingon to more elaborateac-
countswith decreasing cues("Who aretheyand whataretheydoing?").Finally,you may reduceyour

partin thestoryto thefollowingrequest,"Tellme a storyaboutthepicture,"andyour
childtakesit from


In this program the child will be performing an action in relation to some object that is
not present, or
pretendingto be an individual or organismthat he is not.
Begin the program by teachingthe child to engagein some behavior that he finds entertaining,
but without using the "props" that are necessaryin reality to complete the act. For example,
face the
child and say to him, "Do this, pretend you are drinkingjuice." In most of these'timagined,' ,,fanta-
sized" behaviorsit is critical that the child has some prior gratifying experience"in reality," and
that he
hasalreadydescribedthe behaviors'linreality"beforeyou startthem "in fantasy."Modelthe action
the child, holding the (imaginary)cup in your hand, smackingyour lips,
and making slurpingnoises,
while "drinking" the imaginaryjuice. Prompt the child to imitateyou if
he doesn'tdo so spontaneously
and provideall the necessarycontextualcues,suchassaying"ah" and "um" to communicateyour plea-
sure with the exquisitejuice you are drinking. In other words, "ham it up" and prompt the
child when
necessary to do likewise.Over severaltrials,fade out the modelingprompt, so that by the end of a sertes
of hials you can simply ask the child to perform the action ("pretendyou're drinkingjuice") and
reinforcehim heavilyfor actingappropriately.Your joy over his creativeand imaginative
be a part of the reinforcementhe receives.The other part of hisreinforcementshould
be that which is in-
hinsicto the behavior.That is, by choosinga behaviorthat he likes,suchas drinkingjuice, the
of the behavioris very likelyto elicitthe kindsof positivefeelingsin him that are rewarding,
tainingthe imaginativebehavior.
Once this firstbehaviorhas been acquired,you will want to inboduce anotherpretendacflon,
and mix it in with the first action (randomlyrotate)in order to help him form a discrimination.
actionsof pretendingthat he enjoysand that are associated with somediscriminableand clearlyidentifi-
able behavior.For example, if drinkingjuice is the first behavior,then "eating a cookie" might be
next behaviorthat he pretends,followedby "kissingbaby," "going to sleep," or "driving a car." For
of thesebehaviorsthe teacherhasto becomequite creativein order to bringin all the nuancesof the act.
For example,driving a car would entail more than just holding the hands on the steeringwheel. It in-
volvesshiftinggears,soundinglike an engine,and moving to the left and to the right as the car negoti-
atesdifferentturns. For childrenwho like to ride in cars,imaginingbeing in a car should becomevery
pleasing.If your child does not like riding in a car, pick some other behavior.
Basicpretending also includesteachingyour child to pretend to be somethingwhich he is not,
for example, a dog, a cat, or a bird, Hearing the expression,"Let's pretend we arebirds," and then
watchingan adult and a child running around the room with arms flapping is quite a sightto behold.
Many actionsof dogs can be imitated: they bark, they scratchtheir headsfor fleas,they eat out of a dish
on the floor. Pretendingmakesteachingfun.
Some children become extremely gratified by learning to use their imagination. One slight
problem which then may occur is that some children become so involved in their fantasy
that it takeson
inappropriate or psychotic proportions. For example, once the child is taught to pretend to
be a dog,
somechildrenmay becomeso involvedin playingthe part that they would ratherbe a dog than a human
being. They spend the entire day barking, eating off disheson the floor, and even smellingthe legs of
adults or hee trunks. Adults have to provide the child with feedbackwhen he becomestoo involved in

200 Expcrnding Your Chllds World

Thatis,he isjustplainlytold,in harshtermsif necessary,
somebehavior. "That'senoughdog,let'splay


After the child has mastered"simple" pretending,that is, once he can act out severalsimplepretendac-
tionswith littleor no prompt from the adult,then he is readyto learnlargersequencesof actions,suchas
"Gettingreadyfor bed." This sequenceof pretendactionsmay includegettingundressed,takinga bath,
brushinghisteeth,climbinginto bed, puttinghead on pillow, closinghis eyes,and sleeping.You should
statethe action,"Pretendyou are gettingready for bed," and prompt the child, which will be necessary
in the beginning.Also askthe child to labelthe behaviorthat he "performs,"so that he may describehis
actions,such as "l am taking my clothesoff," or "l am closingmy eyes." Prompt him to expressthese
verbaldescriptionsof "gettingready for bed" activities.Theseprompts should be as "light" as possible.
Once the child has masteredany one sequence,other sequencesof behaviorsshould be
trained,such a$ "cooking breakfast,"and "gettingready for school." Again, selectthose behaviorsthe
child finds most reinforcingin everydaylife.
In order to build your child'simagination,the child must learnto labelmoreand more of his
behaviorsin everydaylife. For example,if the child goesto a store,or to the beach,or to someplacehe
enjoys,have him label his behaviors(that is, give a verbaldescriptionof each act) as he goes through
them. Behaviorsthat havebeen labeledor describedasthey actuallyoccurin the real world willbe easier
for the child to rememberand to use in fastasyat a laterstage.Too many developmentallyretardedchil-
dren will engagein some pleasurableactivity,but, sincethey do not conceptualizeor verbalizethe be-
havior at the time, they are lessable to draw upon theseexperiencesfor subsequentgratificationin
The programsin basicand advancedpretendingare tied to experiencesin the child's"real"
life. "Going shopping," "playing in the park," and "eatingbreakfast"are all behaviorsthat are closely
tied to the child'sdaily life. It is possibleto stretchthesebehaviorsa littleand to introducenew material
that doesnot shictlycorrespondto what the child may alreadyhave experienced.For example,playing
"mama bear" and "baby bear" are certainlybehaviorsthat the child has neverseenor had contactwith,
and they would be proportionatelymore difficultto build or shapeup. Becauseof that we preferto start
with pretendbehaviorsthat the child encountersin everydaylife. Pretendingthat involveseventsthat
are totallyconstructedin imaginationshould nevertheless becomeimportant for facilitatingpeer play
(one peer becomingmama bearwhile the other peer becomesbabybear),or play with many toys, such
as dolls, where one doll is "mama doll," another is "baby doll" who is fed and bathed by "Mama."


"PlayingTeacher"is a program that many childrenfind uery rewarding.This program is lesscompli-

catedthan the otherprogramsand can be startedquiteearlyin the child'straining.The teachertakesthe
role of the child and prompts the child to take the role of the teacher.The program is designedto teach
the child an explicitform of control over his environment.He becomesboss,so to speak.
It might be easiestto startthis kind of interactionwith a secondadult, who standsbehind the
child and promptsthe child to give the teacherorders.Fade this secondadult as soon as possible.For

Pretending cnd Imcgining 201

example,the childis promptedto say,"Standup," "Sit down," "Clapyour hands,"and so on going
into increasingly complexcommandswherethe teacherimmediatelyperformsthe actions.Laterthe
childis promptedto rewardthe teacherfor complying("Goodstanding,"givingthe teacherfood and
kisses) , or to admonishthe teacherin a sternvoice("No,payattention!")if the teacherdoesnotcomply.
"PlayingTeacher"in this way is probablya very importantpart of a child'splay and should
facilitatesocialization. We frequentlyobservea greatdealof joy in the child as he takescommand.We
alsoseea substantial improvementin theclarityand volumeof hisdiction."PlayingTeacher"mayserve
asa goodprocedurefor helpingchildrenwho typicallyareinaudibleand poor enunciators to enunciate
clearlyand loudly.
Whena childhasbeenon the receivingsideof a teachingprogramsuchaswe haveoutlined,
all effortshouldbe madeto helpthe child"takecommand"of the situationassoonaspossible.The im-
portantmessage in all teaching,whetherone is workingwith developmentally retardedor normalchil-
dren,is thatthe childhasto submithimselfto somecontrolat one timein orderto becomea freeperson
at a latertime.The program"PlayingTeacher"is one smallstepin that direction.

m Expcrndlng Your Chtld'g World



OBSERVATIONAT The child learns much by merely observingand then
doing what other children do or what adults do with
TEARNING other children. Perhapsquite suddenly and without a
great deal of practice,the child may show that he has
learned through the mere observationof the behav-
iors of others. He does not have to be explicitly
shaped through successiveapproximations. This is
called learning by observation, or observational
learning. Sometimes observational learning goes
hand in hand with the kind of shapingthat we have
already describedin this manual. For example, the
child will be prompted to act in a certain way by
observing someone else behave, but since the
behavior may at first be imperfect, the behavior gradually will be shaped to criterion. It can be argued
that observationallearning is criticalfora child'snormal development,that learningthrough directshap-
ing is not enough. This becomesparticularlytrue when the student startsto interact with his peers. Most
of what a child learnsfrom peers will be learned through observation,and that learning is criticalfor his
full development.
In any case,it would be extemely helpfulfor a child to learn behaviorsby merely observing
those behaviors in others. The importance of learning by imitation is a good illustration. The child
watchesthe behavior of somebody else and then hies the behavior on his own. When a child cannot
learn by this kind of observation (and most developmentallyretarded children seem unable to do so)
perhaps he could be taught to do so. This is exactlywhat we attempted to do when we set up programs
for teachingverbal and nonverbal imitation in the earliersectionsof this book. This chapter expandson
these programs, largely by teaching the child to become more observantof what is happening in his
Note that some of the programs in this chapter (such as "What's Missing?") may be started
relativelyearly, for example, after the child has completed Unit V. As we presenttheseprograms, keep
in mind that you have to work out the detailson your own. The order in which these programs are pre-
sented does not have to be the order in which you teach them. Observationallearning is vastly more

complex than what we have outlined here, but the intent of the chapter is to provide a beginning in
teaching the child to learn by observatton.You have to conshuct more elaborate programs on your
own. The variationsthat may be inhoduced on theseprograms underscorethe need to be aware of the
child's level of functioning, and to be aware of possiblemistakesin one's teaching. It is easyto see how
one could be teachingbehaviorsthat lead nowhere.


The purposeof thisprogramis to help the childpay more attentionto the thingshe seesaroundhim.
Startin the usuatposition,with you and the child sittingacrossfrom eachother at a table.
Step 1: Placeone commonobjecton thetable(likea setof keys,or an ashtray,or a watch)andask
the childto labelit by saying,"Whatis this?"(Thechildmustknow theselabelsby now.)
Step 2: After you havepointedto the objectand he haslabeledit (e.g.,"watch,"),tell the child,
"Coveryour eyes"(aresponseyou shouldpracticeindependently), or coverhiseyesfor him
with your hand. As soonas his eyesare shut,removethe object,or coverthe objectwith a
napkin.Then tell him, "Open your eyes,"or removeyour handfrom his eyesand let him
Step 3: Pointto the tablewherethe objectwaslastvisibleand askyour child"What'smissing?" If he
answersinconectly,you may wantto promptthe correctanswerby showinghim partsof the
objectyou are hiding.
Step 4: Oncehe hasmasteredthetaskwith one object(thewatch),try differentobjects,oneat a time
or candy).Whenhe responds to criterion,go on to Step5.
Step 5: Placetwo commonbutdistinctobjects on thetable (e.g.,keysanda watch).Pointto eachob-
jectandaskthe child"Whatisthis?"If thechildresponds conectly(e.9.,"Keys"),thenpoint
to the secondobjectand againask, "What is this?,"reinforcingthe child'sconectlabel.The
childis then askednot to look whileone of the two objectsis removed.If the childhasprob-
lems here, Just cover the object with the napkin, without actually removing it. He is then
asked, "What's missing?"With two objectspresent,the child is forced, or enabledto learn the
concept, "What's missing?"sincehe has to rememberwhat was there before but is not there
In gradual steps, make the task more difficult by adding more objects (some chil-
dren will be able to detect what is missingfrom as many as eight or more objectson the table),
increasingthe amount of time the child looks away, and skipping the labeling of the object
(say "Look at these," while moving your finger slowly behind the objects, facilitatingthe

Generalizethis program to the everyday environment by removing dishes or eating utensils

from the table, by removing familiar piecesof furniture from his room, by removing your shoes,or by
taking a picture off the wall. At the risk of being redundant, let us reiteratethat it is crucial to teach the
child to generalizethese tasksto his everyday environrnent. It is of no particular benefit to the child to
leam to detect objectson a table if he remains oblivlousto the rest of his environment. You
merely start
sre rairung on the table to help the child leam to look and identify changes around him,

toi Expcrndlng Your Chlld'r World





Unlike the "What's Missing?"game, the "What Is It?" game requires a fairly sophisticateduse of lan-
guage. Essentially,the child is given a verbal descriptionof an object or a behavior and is required to
identify the conesponding object or behavior in his environment. This game is usually played as part of
preschoolpreparationtraining with severaladults (playingthe part of children) sittingin a group with the
child, but it could be taughtin a one-to-onesituationas well. In a group situation(theadultsare seatedin
a circleso everyonecan be seen),each person holds up an object(suchas a yellow cup, a blue cup, a
blackbook, a blackcomb, a white shoe, or a squareblock).The teacherthen asksa question,such as
"What do you drink from?", and the child is prompted to answerand is reinforcedas before.A target
responsemay be the child pointing to the objectand correctlyverbalizing,The questionsgraduallyare
made more difficult,suchas, "What is yellow and you drink from it?" or, "What'sbig and white and goes
on someone'sfoot?" At some point, different persons in the group "take turns" answering different
questions.The answersshould become prompts for the child when he cannot respond correctly.
Remember,the puriose of the program is to teachthe child to learn by observingand listening.
In the caseof identifying behaviors,the membersof the group may demonstratesome action,
or the adult may want to use pictures.A beginningstepmay be for the child to identifywho is smiling
when one of the personsin the group is smiling(e.g., the child responds"Laurie is" when asked,"Who
is smiling?").A more complex questionwould be "Who is smilingand hasa yellow sweater?"This helps
the child listento the questionand scanhis environmentfor the appropriatecues.Needlessto say, suc-
cessfulanswersto a task like that forces(or enables)the child to "turn outward." or to becomeawareof
his surroundings.


The "l Do" game is very similarto the "What is it?" game. The purposeof "l Do,/l Am" is to teachthe
child to learn by listeningand looking at people around him and by comparing himselfwith others.
Anange a group of people in a circleand then beginwith a questionlike, "Who hasthe yellow
cup?" The personwho has the yellow cup would be requiredto say, "l do." The child is then given the
object (e.g., the yellow cup) and is prompted to respondcorrectlyto the question.Laler, the cuesthat
are required for correct responding may be more subtle, such as, "Who is wearing jeans?" or "Who is
wearinga yellow sweater?"Later, the teachermay ask quite difficult questions,such as, "Who is smiling
and has blonde hair?" or "Who has brown eyes and white shoes."
An interestingvariation of this game, which makesit more certainthat the child is in fact learn-
ing the rule, is to have an adult answerincorrectly.The child shouldthen be taughtto say, "No, you are
not," and to conect the adult. It is the child's ability to discriminateat that level that allows you to infer
that he has acquiredthe task.
An interestingvariation of the "l Doll Am" game involvesthe introduction of competition. For
example,the teachermay ask, "Who wantsice cream?"and then reinforcewhoeversays,"l do," with a
spoonful of ice cream. Once this behavior is establishedand the child is answering appropriately,
change the question to, "Who wants a spanking?" Needlessto say, correct responding to these ques- {

that the child listencarefullyratherthan learningto say, "l do," to whateveris asked.
tions necessitates ir
Observctioncl Lecrning 205

The "Listeningand Finding"gameis verysimilarto the gameswe havealreadydescribedand involves

only a slightvariation,underscoring the factthatdevelopmentally disabledpersonsneedexplicitteach-
ing. In thisparticulargamea groupof peopleis not essential. It may be playedby havingJusta teacher
and a childpresent,but sinceit is a typicalpreschoolgame,it is probablywiseto includeotherpeople,
especially children,in a group-likeformatat laterpoints.Essentially,the teacherdescribesa picturethat
only shecan see,and, oncethis pictureis described,then that particularplcture,alongwith another
similarpicture,is placedin front of the child.The chtldis then requiredto identify(pointto) the picture
the teacherhas described.In other words,the child is askedto identifya picturebasedon someone
else'sdescriptionof it.
For example,the teachermay hold the pictureof a boy eatingicecreamand describe thispic-
ture quitesimplyin the beginning:"The boy is eatingicecream."The teacherthenshufflesthatpicture
with anotherone, placesthe two picturesfaceup in front of the child, and tellsthe child "Potntto the
conectpicture."To makeit easy,perhapsthe firsttimeone picturewouldshowa boy eatingicecream
whilethe other picturewould be blank.Whenscenescometo be includedin the secondpicture,they
mightbe clearlydifferentfrom the firstone.
Gradually,the descriptionis increased in complexity,with a correspondingcomplexityin the
choicesbetweenthe pictures.For example,it is entirelypossiblethat the teachereventuallypresenta
vi:rylengthydescriptionof the picturein whichthe key element,suchasa boy ridinga bicycle,is a rela-
tivelysmallpart of the story.Then, the childis presentedwith two quitesimilarpictures,for example,
one picturemay includea boy ridinga bicyclewhilethe otherpicture merelyshowsa blcycleaspartof a
scene.Again,notethat you wantto movefrom the simpleto the complex,and to makeit simplein the
beginningso that the child getsa chanceto exhibitthe correctbehavior.


"StoryTime" is particularlyusefulfor studentswho are aboutto enrollin preschool,or in classrooms

wherestudentshaveto listento the inshuctions of theteacherandthenrespondappropriately. Thegoal
of sucha programcenterson increasing the child'sknowledgeof the world and therebyhelpinghim to
be more usefuland entertainingwith his socialgroup.
It is perhapsbestto "play school"in this programby havingthe childsit on the rug, like chil-
drendo in school,eitheraloneor with otherpersons,and listento the teacheroffer"story Time."You
may want to proceedas follows:
Step 1: A very simpleand easybook is selected.One adultservesas teacherand readsone or two
sentences from the book. The secondadult is then askeda simplequestionbasedon the
materialreadand providesa simpleanswer.Thisadultisthenreinforced.The materialisthen
rereadand the child is askedthe somequestion.This is to facilitatethe child'shsteningto
other membersof the group and to get promptsfrom them when necessary.
For example,the teachermayread,"The dog doesnot say,'cluckcluck,'the dog
says'bow-wow.'" The teacherthen asksan attendingadult"What doesthe dog say?"This
adult then answers"The dog says'bow-wow.'" The teacherthen reinforcesthe adult for
"good listening."At that point the teacherfacesthe child and asks"The dog doesn'tsay,

Expcndlng Your Chlld'r tVorld

cluck,'the dog says'bow-wow.'Whatdoesthe dog say?"If the child now saysthe right
answer,he is reinforced;if not, he may be prompted. His prompt may be given by repeating
the question to the first adult.
Step 2: The child may now be askedthe question directlyby the teacherwithout the teacherfirst ask-
ing the attending adult. If the child fails to answer the question or answersincorrectly, the
materialmay be reread and the teacher may ask the first adult for the conect answer. What
the program attemptsto do, in part, is to help direct the child's attention to other membersin
the group as providing information about correct responding in addition to helping him at-
tend to what the teacheris reading.

In subsequentsteps,the level of difficulty is increasedby the teacherreading longer sentences

and includingreferencesto the character'sknowledge,feelings,and so forth. Note the importanceof
readingmaterialthatdirectlyrelatesto the child'sown experiences, that is, materialthatis meaningfulto
the child. If you can't find such a book (many books for children are written at an unbelievablydifficult
level and from the framework of an adult), you obviously can make up your own story. Make certain
that it fits the child's experience,dealing with activitiesthat he clearly understandsand can concep-
As trainingprogresses, the materialbecomesmore demandingand the child may now expect
to listen to a story, for example, for 3 to 5 minutes, before questionsare asked about that story. The
storycould dealwith people'sfeelings,reasonsfor theirfeelings,and what they were thinking,Note also
that "Story Time" provides an opportunity for the child himself or other children to present their own
materialto the story. In other words, as soon as the child has masteredthe early steps,make learning
more demanding,and more interesting.


In a programvery similarto, and complimenting"Story Time," the child is taughtto seekinformationby

addressingattending persons.
Step 1: Startby askingthe child questionsthat he knows the answerto, such as "What's your name?"
or "Where do you live?"
Step 2: Then presenta questionhe doesnot know how to answer,suchas, "How old is he? (pointing
to a particular adult)" or "What are you going to have for dinner?"
Step 3: Prompt your child to ask someone else in the room, who then gives the child the correct
Step 4: Repeatyour questionto the child and prompt the correctanswerif necessary.Also, you may
occasionallyask him questionsfrom Step 1 at this point.
Step 5: RepeatSteps 1-4 with new questiorisuntilthe child learnsto ask attendingadultsfor answers
to questionshe cannot answer.

An important extension of this kind of program is to have personsin the child's environment
make certainstatements(initiallyoffering simple facts,later more subtledescriptions)and then ask your
child to tell you about what was said. Repeat, prompt, and fade the prompt as before in order to get this
kind of behaviorunder appropriatecontrol. It is a criticalskillfor your child to learn if he is going to bene-
fit from group instruction in school or from most other situationsin life.

Observqtlonal Lecrnlng wl
Mony teocherswho become familiar with the kind of
BUILDING behavioralteachingswe have discussedthroughout

SPONTANEITY this book wonder about the extent to which children

taught by these procedureslack spontaneity.They
VERSUS may have a valid concernbecauseany authoritarian
and controlling atmosphere such as the one we
CONTROLLING employ may well curb spontaneity.This chapter pre-
sents definitions of spontaneity, and describesways
BEHAVIOR of encouragingand building spontaneousbehavior'
Spontaneous behavior is behavior that is
not explicitlytaught, but is in a sense"free" and un-
predictable.This definition of spontaneousbehavior
relatesto generalizationas discussedin Chapter 13'
In stimulus generalization, spontaneousbehavior can be viewed as behaviorthat occurred in new situa-
be viewed
tions, that is, in situationsnot explicitlyassociatedwith teaching.Responsegeneralizationcan
behaviorsnot ex-
as the appearanceof new and novelbehavior.Generalizedbehaviorchangerefersto
plicitly taught.


The following set of procedures has been designedto foster spontaneousbehavior'

1. As many personsshould work with the child as possible.This will facilitatestimulus
so that the child will behave spontaneously in the presence of new persons. Auoid
probably teach him to discriminate between
where the child has only one teacherbecausethis will
in the
persons,and cut down on spontaneousbehavior. Be sureto include children as "teachers"
and remain
teginning; otherwisethe child may learn to discriminatebetween adults and children
passivewith the latter'
in the car, on
2. Teach your child in as many physicallocationsas possible:in school, at home,
walks, in the park, in stores.You want as many situationsassociatedwith his new skills
play, social interactions) as possible. Auoid teaching programs where the child is taught in a
limited environment, like sitting in a chair in a particular room in a particular school.
3 . As early as possible, change to natural, everyday rewards and use as many different kinds
rewardsas you can, including rewardsthat are availableeverywherein people, in his
own behav-
ior, and so on. Auoid teaching programsthat rely on a limited set of powerful rewards, like foods
or candy. In such programs the child will learn to behave appropriately when he is hungry
food is present; otherwise he will not. You may have to use such artificialrewards
as food in the
beginning, but only to initiate certain basic behaviors.
4. Associateyourselfwith the delivery of powerful reinforcers,like giving or removing food and aver-
sives,or providing the child with new opportunitiesto play. That way you will acquireincreasingly
complex rewarding value for your child, and so will other aspectsof his behaviorand environment
in general' When that occurs, you will have to do lessexplicitshaping and teaching. He will begin
to shape himself (that is, spontaneouslychange) in order to enjoy those new rewards.
5. As much as possible,reinforce appropriate behaviorsthat occur withoutthe adult prompting
otherwise asking for it. In particular, be sure to fade out adult assistance,in the form of prompts
and inshuctions,as soon as possible,and reward behaviorsthat occur in the absenceof adult con-
6. The larger a child's behavioralrepertoire,the more spontaneoushe will seem. Clearly,a child
who has only mastered one verbal responsewould not manifesta great deal of spontaneousver-
bal behavior when compared to a child who has a more extensive verbal repertoire. In other
words, keep on teaching new behaviors to expand the child's repertoire, This will facilitate
7 . Teach as many "pivotal" responsesas possible.That is, strengthenbehaviorsthat allow the child
accessto a large range of powerful reinforcers.Make his language/u ncilonal,teach him practical
skills.For example, teach him to ask for favors, like food and play, rather than just teachinghim to
labelbody parts. Teach him to go to the toilet, to dresshimself, and to eat appropriately,insteadof
just tracing linesor coloring insidea boundary, In the same manner, teach new behaviors
that sub-
stitutefor already established,lessadaptive behaviors.For example, teach appropriateplay and
art to replace more elementaryforms of the same, such as lesselaborate,more stereotypedmotor
self-stimulation.Suppressthe primitive forms of self-stimulationand hope for a behaviorsubstitu-
tion of more appropriate behaviors.
8 . Try to suppressthe stereotyped,repetitiveself-stimulatorybehaviors,sincetheseapparentlyblock
the developmentof new, more adaptivebehaviorsand reduce the child'sresponsiveness to his
9 . Avoid prolonged use of aversives(generalizedfear and anxiety) becauseaversivessuppressspon-
taneousbehaviorssuch as vocal languageand play.
Points 8 and 9 above may seem contradictoryin that aversivesmay have to be used to
suppressself-stimulatorybehavior. Even so, once self-stimulatorybehaviors are suppressedand
replacedwith more appropriate behaviors,aversivesshould be withdrawn to allow spontaneous
behaviorsto appear.
I U , Create situationsthroughout the day in which you and your child can act as "free" as possible.
Create situationsin which he is physicallyvery active in play, or he is rewarded for being active.
Gradually inhoduce these situationsover the first year of teaching as he learnsto discriminatebe-
hveensituationsin which he can play and thosein which he hasto work. In general,asthe child is
acquiringthe basicbehaviorsnecessaryfor more adequatefunctioning, the adult needsto back off
a bit on teacherconhol so as to help the child assumemore independenceand freedom.

tt0 Expcndtng Your Child'r World

il ir


When to conhol and when not to control is a basicand difficult questionfor both parentsand educators
alike. There are two types of control, conhol that is used conshuctively and control that is used to
enslave.Constructiveuse of control provides children with the basicbehavioralrepertoire necessaryto
be free. Anyone who has visited a state hospital (or stateschool) for the developmentallydisabledand
emotionally disturbed has seen how behavioral impoverishment leads to enslavement. People are
"stored" in those places becausethey do not have the behavioral skillsto make it on the outside.
On the other hand, every dictator and oppressorhas enslavedhis people through the use of
behavioralcontrolprocedures.The main stepsinvolvedin enslavingsomeone may read as follows:
1. Selecta setof powerful,but limited,reinforcers,suchasfood, guilt, and anxiety.Allow only one or
a limitednumber of personsto manipulatethosereinforcers.Discouragethe developmentof rein-
forcersthe individualhimselfcan manipulate,such as s€x or personalcreativity.
2. Build a limitedsetof behaviorsonly, and makecertainthat thesebehaviorsare under the conhol of
a limitedset of easilyidentifiedpersonsor situations(buildnanow stimulusconhol).
3. Shengthenincompetence,as in rewardingdependentbehaviorand interpersonalfailures.

The list could be lenEhened, but this is probablysufficientto alert the reader to the dangersof un-
checkedbehavioralcontrol.Remember,althoughcontrolcanbe usedto freepersonsand to build spon-
taneousbehavior,it can also be used to enslave.
From what we havesaid,one obviouslyneedsto exertconsiderable conholin the beginning.It
is the samewith normal children-adults exertconsiderable controloverthem in the earlyyears.That is,
young childrendo not decide whether to go to school, whether to crossa streetin heavy traffic,or
whether to be freely aggressivetoward their siblings.Adults make those decisions.As the child becomes
behaviorallymore competent,adultsshould reducetheir control.When to stop harpingand pestering,
and, for the child's sake, when to let him make his own decisionsare very difficult decisionsfor all
parents.For example,one of the most difficultdecisionsany parentfacesis to easeup on their conhol
even though they are certaintheir childrenwill make mistakes.Eventuallychildrenhave to face reality
on their own, and learn from the mistakesthey make. It is hard for parentsto face that, but it is betterto
make small mistakesas a child than big mistakesas an adult,
Easingconhol is a gradual process. We have learned to begin experimenting with lessened
control some time after the child has masteredmost of the programsin this book. The child's behaviors
provide the guidanceto us-if he continuesto learnand functionadequately,we lessenthe controla bit
more. If he regresses,stopslearning, becomesinattentivein class,startsto self-stimulate,or beginssome
other inappropriatebehavior, then we reinhoduce the control, in order to lessenit again at a later date
when he can "handle" it.


Many puzzlingquestionsremain regarding spontaneousbehavior versus controlled behavior. At this

time we do not know how to raisean individualto come under the influenceof personallycontrolled
"creative" reinforcers (and, accordingly, to lessenthe control of social, exfrinsicallycontrolled rein-

Buildlng Spontcneity 2ll

forcers).If we argue that exposure to already existingsocial behaviorsis necessary(but not sufficient),
we arenot providinga teacherof creativestudentswith much help. How, then, can a behavioristdeal
with creativespontaneity, behavior that conhibutesto the individual'sgrowth and our understandingof
man? Let us try to conceptualizesuch creativity.
Consider the behavior of creative artistswho clearly escapedfrom the control of their social
environments.People like Van Gogh and Shavinskyare good examples.They createdart that was
"ahead of the times"-future generationswere to appreciatetheir work more than the present. They
may also have exerciseda profound effecton culture,science,and politics.What shapedVan Gogh's
paintings?He did not match his picturesto an "outside" reality, as paintershad done before him. There
is no way that his behaviorcould have been shapedby the socialrewards(hispublic),which, of course,
he didn't have in the firstplace. (ln other words,therewasnot a group of peoplearound Van Gogh who
said, "Good painting, Vince.") In fact, Van Gogh and personslike him seemedquite independentof
suchsocialcontrol. Most likely,then, Van Gogh shapedhimself. He must have experienced,at the very
moment he had put down a particularshokeon the canvas,that the form and the color were"justright";
the color and the form he createdreinforcedhim.
In theseinstances,one may talk of perceptualreint'orcers,which we inhoduced earlierin con-
junction with sensoryreinforcers,We said earlierthat motching one person'sbehavioragainstsome
other person'sbehaviormust have becomereinforcing,as in imitative(echolalic)speech.In the caseof
Van Gogh, however, the matching did not occur againstsome external ref,erent,becausethat external
referentwas not available.That is what makesVan Gogh's behaviorso particularly originaland ueatiue.
Instead,Van Gogh must have matchedagainstsome internal"template." In other words, the behavior
of artistslike Van Gogh is probably determinedby internal, personallyconholled reinforcers.Such per-
sonallyconholled behaviorsare the essenceof creativespontaneity.
Much behavioralwriting has attributedall of man'sbehaviorto socialconhol. B. F. Skinner,
who is the besfknown livingspokesmanof modern behaviorism,doesnot extensivelydiscusssuchper-
sonally controlled perceptual and conceptual reinforcers.Yet we might find it necessaryto postulate
such reinforcersin order to accountfor truly creativeand autonomousbehavior.
It would also be interestingto speculateon the emergence of creative behavior in develop-
mentally disabled persons, and to speculateon the relationshipbetween creative and psychotic
behavior.Note, for example, how creativepersonssuch as Van Gogh and Shavinskywere relatively
fueeof social conhol. However, this relationshipmust await clarificationthrough future research.For
our purposes here, let us describe a more mundane and concrete program to initiate spontaneous
behaviorin developmentallydisabledchildren.The program is known as "poster training."


Postertrainingstartswith a setof ten posters,eachhavingone pictureof an objectthat the child has

alreadybeentaughtto label,suchas an apple,alree,a dog, or similarobjects.The childis simplyin-
structed,"Tell me aboutthe poster."He is immediatelyshownthe poster,and reinforced afterhe has
madea correctresponse, The teacherthengoeson to thesecondposter,and so on untilthefirstsetof
tenposters hasbeencompleted. He isthenshowna setof tennewposters, eachhavingtu.rofamiliarpic-
tures,suchasan appleand a dog.The childis reinforced afterconectlylabelingbothobjects.He may
needpromptingon the firstfew posters,andthissetof postersmay haveto berepeatedbeforehe labels
both pictureson the posterswithoutpromptswhen askedto "Tell me aboutthe poster."The teacher

2r2 Expcnding Your Child's World

may want to help the child monitor his performanceby teaching him to first point to one of the objects,
anj then the other, in the poster,perhaps moving from left to right, as in reading. After the child
masteredposterswith two objects,he is shown ten posterswith three pictureseach, and so on until
can tell about posterswith ten different objectson each poster'
The child is probablylearningtwo things at this time. Firsthe is learningto give longer and
longer descriptionsbefore he is reinforced, and his behavior is probably becoming less tied to explicit
teacherconhol. Second, he may be learningto systematicallyscanor searchhis environment for
the child
sary cuesin order to come up with adequatebehavior,Both theseeventsserveto "separate"
from explicitteacherconhol and to facilitatethe beginningof spontaneousspeech.
Once the postersare mastered,move the child on to more ordinarybut complex
pictingheterogeneous scenes(dog, house, man, woman)' You may then go on to askthe child to label
him to "Tell me
everydayeventsaround him, such as objectshe seesin his house. For example,ask
You should
what you seein this room," to which he may respond,"light, door, table,picture,floor."
prompt his responsewhen necessary,and gtaduallywithhold the reward in order to
get longer and
more detailed descriPtions.
Another exercisemay be for the child to "Tell me about yourself,"in which the teacher
body (to shoulders,
startthe child off by describinghis head ("hair, eyes,ear") and moving down his
repertoireswith less
arms, stomach).The goal in this haining is to anangefor largerand largerbehavior
and the child are
and lessadult guidance.Rememberthat in theseas in all other programsthe teacher
learninga procedurethat works best when it is extendedto the child'severydayenvironment'
These and similarproceduresmay well help the child to be more "free" and spontaneous'
physicallyactive,as in play
There are many othersuchpractices,includingteachingthe childto be more
explicitand strictcontrol
and sports,and to becomemore assertive.Rememberto graduallyfade out the
that you neededto get learningstartedin the beginning'
play and language'
We havefound physicalaversivesand fearto be inhibitorsof spontaneous
the basiclearningrequire-
This impliesagainthat the teacherneedsto "back off" a bit on her control as
ments have been met.
behavior, and
In summary, then, a number of differenteventshelp produce spontaneous
the child becomesincreasingly
many of theseinvolvethe adult becominglessconhollingof the child as
creativity.Other aspectsof
competent. A happy, anxiety-freeenvironment seemsto facilitatethe child's
of information on the subjectof
spontaneityare lesswell understood. This is particularlytrue of our lack
intrinsicbut sociallymean-
how to crealeateachingenvironment in which the child is helped to acquire
ingful rewards, such as in creative art.

Building SPontcrneitY
Just os a parent of a normalchild never relinquishes
PREPARING total responsibilityfor a child's education when he
THECHITD enterskindergartenor the first grade, neither would a
parent of a developmentally disabled child' Active
FORSCHOOL and close cotlaboration between parents and
teachersof developmentallydisabledchildren is criti-
cal; without close collaboration, the child will suffer'
The kind of programs that developmentallydelayed
children are likely to encounter in school are often
similarto the programs outlined in this book, such as
programsfor teachingthe children abshactlanguage,
teaching appropriate play with toys and peers, and
teachinglisteningand attending.Sincethe programs
in schooland at home are quite similarand becausedevelopmentally disabledchildrenlearn more
on the child'seduca-
that parentsand teacherscollaborate
slowlythan averagechildren,it is necessary
tionaiprogram.In a sense,parentsbecometeachers, become(to someextent)parents'
and teachers


Oncea parenthashad someexperience in teachinghisor herchildthe kind of programsoutlinedin this

be in a positionto evaluateand
book, the parentshouldhavegainedmanyteachingskillsand should
parentshouldbe in a positionto
selectthe kind of schoolthatis optimalfor the child.Similarly,sucha
that wouldbe particularlydehimental.The followingsuggestions shouldhelp
parentsselecta schoolfor their developmentally disabledchild.
First,hy to enrollyour childin a classroom wherethereareasmanynormalchildrenaspossi-
ble,or wherethereis a mixtureof children,someof whom areperhapsmore
otherslessso. Try to avoidclassrooms or schoolswhereyour childis amongequals,sincehe will not
havemanysuperiorbehaviorsto model.Developmentally disabledchildren,placedamongotherdis-
peculiarand bizarrebehaviors
abledchildrenwiththe sameor worsestatus,tendto imitateor modelthe

of theirpeers.A disabledchild placedamong more normal childrenwillimprove simplybecausethe op-
portunityto model more appropriatebehaviorsis more available.
You need to find apeer group for your child where your child's existingintellectualand social
behaviorswill match as closelyas possiblethe behaviorsof his peers. If the child is with a group of chil-
dren of the samechronologicalage who are mentallyadvanced,then it is likelythat he will be isolated
and excluded from his peersbecausehis behavioralskillsare too immature. If he hasto go to classeswith
otherchildrenwho alsohave lotsof behaviorproblems,make surethat thoseclassesare at a minimum,
and in schoolswith many normal children.
Second,try to placeyour child in a classwith normal childrenwho are functioningat a mental
levelsimilarto your child's.For example,if your child hasa chronologicalage of 5, but in factfunctions
mentallyat the 3-year-oldlevel, then he is betteroff with childrenwhose chronologicalage is younger
than his. Younger normal childrendo not show much bizarrebehavior,yet they are more likelyto play
with your child, and therebymake more demandson him for appropriateinteractionbecausetheir men-
tal agesare about the same.
Some parentsof developmentallydisabledchildren may want to statethat the age of their
child is anywherefrom 1 to 3 yearsyoungerthan it in factis. This is somewhatbelievable,sincedevelop-
mentallydisabledchildren often look younger than averagechildren of the same chronologicalage,
and, of course,their mental development(suchas play and languageskills)is more appropriateto a
younger child. For example, in some cases,a parent of a child who is 6-yearsold and who normally
shouldbe enteringfirstgrade may assertthat the child is 4 yearsof age and enrollthe child in preschool,
allowingthe child to have an additional2 yearsof teachingbefore he entersfirst grade.
Third, avoid bringing to the school'sattentionany mention of your child's diagnosis.For
example, if your child has been diagnosedas autisticor brain damaged, the mere mention of such a
diagnosisto schoolpersonneland neighborswill very likely resultin some very peculiarprogramming
for your child by that school.It is sad but true that the diagnosisof a psychologicalproblemis very likely
to lead to a detrimentalenvironmentfor the personbeingdiagnosed.Most diagnosescausea peculiar
"hands off" attitude on the part of most teach,ers,and the callingin of experts who are particularlyinept
at adjusting your child to school. This does not mean that you lie or withhold information from the
schoolpersonnelbecauseyou considerthem naive or misinformed.Rather, do not providethem with
misleadinginformation, as you do when you label your child with a particular diagnosis(unlessthat
diagnosisis well understood,suchas PKU or Down'ssyndrome).They will obviouslyseethat your child
behavesdifferentlyfrom other children,which is allthey need to know. When you achievea mutually
confidentrelationshipwith the schoolpersonnelyou may want to mention your child'sdiagnosticpast.
Rememberthat if you had visitedseveraldiagnosticcenters,your child probablyhas had more than one
diagnosis.Tell the teacherthat, if she doesn'tknow already.
Fourth, try to find a classroomthat has a structured curriculum. Developmentallydisabled
childrenare unlikelyto benefitmuch from a situationin which the child prescribeshisown curriculum,or
a systemthat is marked by a lot of finger painting and playing with clay. Such classroomsmay at times be
usefulfor normal children, but developmentallydisabledchildren are not able to use their free time as
well as others;consequentlythey need a cleardefinitionof what is requiredof them. In this regard,it is
safeto mention that you should be cautiousabout classroomsthat have a very heavily one-sidedtheo-
reticalorientation,such as a heavy emphasison sensorimotorhaining, musclepatterning,or psycho-
dynamictheory. The reasonthat we can post this warningto you is that, as of this writing,there are no
factsor data that show that children treated with programs such as sensorimotorhaining, muscle pat-
terning,or psychodynamicsdo betterthan childrenwho did not receivesuchtraining.Alltoo often, one

216 Expcnding Your Chlldrs World


meetsparentswho have had children enrolled in such programsand, after much work and money, their
children are no better off than before they started.In general,consulteducatorsand psychologists(e.9.,
at a local university)about programs for your child. Be prepared to make the final decision yourself.
Fifth, evaluatethe teacher. Teachersare not all alike; some are better than others. Similarly,
the teachersdo not necessarilyfollow the philosophy of the schoolprincipal or whatever public relations
person you first encounter.Therefore,it is essentialthatyou seethe teacherwork with the childrenin
her classroom,and come to know her and understandwhat her philosophyand teachingstyleare like.
Another very important, perhaps essential,criterion is that the teacherallows you to visit her classroom
and discussyour child's experiencewith her. Our experiencehasbeen that teacherswho do not want to
talk to the child's parents, or do not want the parentsto observethe classroom,are often incompetent.
Eitherthey are incompetentbecausethey are poorly trainedand simply do not know what to do (they
are afraid to be observed), or they perceive themselvesas extremely knowledgeableto the point that
outsideadviceand counselare not sought.Sincethereare no suchexpertsin the field of developmental
disabilitiesat this time, you can safelyassumethat their contributionto your child will be limited.


The mostcommon reasonfor which childrenare dismissed from schoolis that they constitutea nuisance
or hazardfor the teacherand for the other children.That is, a child who disruptsother childrenat work,
or who is aggressivetoward other childrenand the teacher,is likelyto have his dismissalrequested. Sur-
prisingas it may seem, this common reasonfor dismissalis perhapsthe most easyone to correct.As a
parent, you should,by now, have considerableexperiencein handlingthe child'stantrumsand disrup-
tive behavior.The main problem for you now is to transferthe kind of control you have over the child's
good behaviorat home to the teacherat school.Do not assumethat just becausethe child behavesap-
propriatelyaround you that he will behave in the same way around the teacher. In fact, it is bestto
assumebeforehandthat he will "test" the teacherto seewhat he can get away with. Make surethat you
help the teacheracquirethe conholthat you have over the child. Since childrendiffer markedlyin the
kind of problembehaviorsthey show, and differmarkedlyin the kind of waysthey respondto discipline,
you haveto help the teacherby tellingher and showingher (whenthe occasiondoes arise)how to han-
dle your child.
Keep in mind that some teachershave learneda lot of techniquesand philosophiesof treat-
ment that may be detrimentalfor your child. For example,a teacherhas learnedthat the child is acting
out becausehe hasa deep senseof underlyinganxietyaboutthe teachingsituation,and to top it off, you
have causedit, you have traumatizedyour child; or the teacherhas been told that your child is brain
damaged, and that he has thesetanhums and angry outburstsbecausethe nature of his brain doesn'tlet
him do what he wantsto do and he is frustrated.The end product of all that misinformationis that the
child is left to act inappropriately.In such cases,you will have to activelyinterveneon behalf of your
child so that the teacher does not make your child worse. Most teacherswill drop their misconceptions
and follow your advice if it works. You may or may not find that this effort of working with your child's
teacherpays off. When faced with the long and difficult task of reeducatingyour child's teacher about
your child, it is possiblethat you would be better off hansfening your child to another classroom.This
will differ acrossschool dishictsand acrossteachers,and there is no rule that one can reach at this point.
Perhapsit is easierto advise a younger teacher than an older one, becausea younger teacher may be
more curiousand more flexible.It is importantto keep in mind, however,that teachersare people,too'

Prepcrringthe Child lor School 2t7

andthattheteacheristhe bossin the classroom. You haveto getyourpoint acrosswhilebeingpteasant,
playingto your teacher'sshengths.It is difficultat times,but you shouldrememberthat, if thingsare
handledwelland the teacheris receptiveand well-tained,he or shewillbecomeyour child'smostim-
portanthelper.In fact, your child won't makeit withouta good teacher.
Parentscan help the teacherto controla child'sdisruptivebehaviors.You canalsohetpthe
teacherwith teaching.Teacherslike childrenwho learnin the classroomand showthe kindsof appro-
priatebehaviorsthat teachershy to teach.Therefore,someweeksbeforeyour childstartsschool,visit
the schooland find out what kindsof behaviorsthe teacherrequiresfrom the children.Makea listof
thesebehaviorsand teachthem separately to your childat homebelorehe goesto class.Someof the
behaviorschildrenshouldacquireare sittingon the rug and listeningto stories,playingappropriatety
with play equipment,participatingin group activitieslike playingring-around-the-rosey,and singing
songslike"TheWheelson theBusGo RoundandRound."A studentwho isideallyprepared for school
is a studentwho alreadyknowsmany of the tasksthe teacherwantsto teach.Therefore,you should
practicemanyof thesebehaviorsat hometo perfectionandthenlaterhelptransferthesebehaviors from
your hometo the school.
This"pretraining"canbe donein gradualsteps.Playschoolwith the famityand adultvolun-
teersat home first.Later, hy to teachyour childin the presenceof siblingsor otherchildrenfrom the
neighborhood. Althoughyou initiallyteachthe childin a one-to-onesituation,graduallyincrease the
numberof childrenaroundhim untilyou approximate thesizeof thegrouphe isgoingto meetin school.
Do not assumethat,just because the childcan behavevery well at home with you in a one-on-one
teaching situationhe willtransfer
thisbehaviorto theschoolorto a groupof otherchitdren.By building
the rightsteps,you can be surethe childis generalizing hisbehavior.


It is essentialin most successful placementsof developmentally disabledchildrenthat the parent(or

someadultwho knowsthe childequallywell)be presentin the classroomasan assistant teacherduring
theearlystagesof the child'sadjustment period.Theparent(orparentassistant) maygraduallyteavethe
groupandsitat somedistancefromthe childandthenslowlybeginto fadeout of theclassroom for short
intervalsat a time. "Peekin" on the childto observehim whenhe doesnot expectyou to bethere.If he
misbehaves withoutyou there,consequateeflectively for his survivalin that class.
It is very likelythat your childwill "test"the teacherin your absence,if not before.For exam-
ple, your childmay beginto whineor tantrum,if hisdemandsarenot met. Or he may be"lazy"with his
behivior and not behaveas clearlyor succinctlyas he is able.Rememberthat you can minimizesuch
problemsby beingpresentat firstand, with the teacher'sapproval,consequating thesebehaviorsthe
way you did at home. It is reallybestif you disciplinehim and get him undercontrol,becausemost
teachers feelreluctantto be asstrictasis necessary. Ask the teacherto placeyour childin thefrontrow
wherehe or she can reach over and intervenethe way that you do. Do not take generalization for
granted.Makesureyou do not hide from the kind of problemsthat may occurbut arepresentduring
any importanttransition,suchas goingfrom hometo school.
Throughoutyour contactswith the teacher,rememberto heavilyreinforcethe teacherwith
positivesfor any behaviorthat you considerhelpful.Mostteachersare responsiveto your approval.
(Sincetheydon'tmakeasmuchmoneyastheircolleagues in psychologyandpsychiahygivethempres-

u8 Expcrndlng Your Chtld'r World

for them at times.)If yourchildcan'tbe allthatniceto histeacherat thistime,
entsand do specialfavors
makesurethat Youare'


Justasparentshavethe opportunityto visittheschool,theteachershouldalsobe ableto visitthe child
home.Theidealteacher isone who knowsthe child'sfamily,(themotherandfatherand othersiblings),
who knowsexactlyhow the childis capableof performingin optimalsituationsand who knowswhatthe
optimalintervention thisinformationcanonly be obtainedby the teacheractively
is. In manyinstances,
consultingwith the parentsfor advice'


to spreadthe work
The idealteachingsituationexistswhen severalpeoplework with one child, so as
and responsibilities around. Weekly or bi-weeklystaffconferences should be held. Such "staffing"
shouldincludethe teacher,the parent,and otheradultsactivelyworkingwith the
members,so asto get
eachmemberof the staffactuallyworkswith the childin front of the otherstaff
the teacherandthe
feedbackon how theyaredoing,andto teachothers.It is alsoextremelyhelpfulfor
parentboth to know what the child did in any one day. This canbe done by exchangingbrief
notesaboutproblemsor progressthe child has made'
It is our experiencethat the kind of healthyseparationthat existsbetweenteacherand parent
whenit existsfor developmentally disabledchil-
in the caseof normalchildrenis verycounterproductive
dren. Schoolfor developmentally disabledchildrenis differentfrom other schools,and segregation
betweenparentand teacheronly worksto the child'sdetriment.Needless to say,achievingthe kind of
collaborativ e eflortbetween parlnts and teachers,whereboth are consideredequaland both possess
a gteatdealof time,
importantinformationfrom workingwith the childon a day-to-daybasis,requires
work togetherin har-
tact,and patienceon the part of bothparties.It is rareto seeparentsand teachers
mony,yet it is quitepossible to achievesucha harmonious group'


A uerylargepart of his
When a childgoesto school,part of whathe learnswill comefrom histeacher.
directlyby interactingwith
learningwillbe providedby trispeers.other childrenwill teachhim either
him orlndirectlyby beingobservedby him asthey interactwith the teacher'
If the developmentallydisabledchildalreadyreceives from playingwith otherchil-
child willplay with othersand
dren, then, to someextent,the problemis alreadysolvedbecausethe
disabledchildrenaresociallyvery isolatedand feel

learnfrom them.However,many developmentally

from playingwith peers'A childhasto learnto appreciate and enjoythe com-
no particularsatisfaction
propertiesof other
I pany of friends.One solutionto this problemmay be in buildingup the reinforcing
children. ,i

219 d
Prepcnlng the Child lor School
There are severalstrategiesthat you may useto help develop more adequ ate peerinteraction.
Rememberthat it is best to start building social interactionsat home, either by working with the child's
normal siblings or by helping children in the neighborhood to play conshuctively with your child.
(Chapter 12, "Appropriate Play Skills" outlinesprogramsfor building peer play.) It will be easierto
develop peer play at school if your child already possessessome basiclanguageskills,is ableto partici-
pate in cooperative play with adults, and is able to participatein social games with siblingsand peers,
suchas running, climbing,and playingball.The childrenhe meetsin schoolwillbe much more respon-
sive to him if he can participatein some of their games.
There are three basicstrategiesthat can be used to increasesocialinteractionbetweena devel-
opmentallydisabledchild and his peer group:
1. Teocherreward strategy.The teacher (or some other adult presentat the school) directlyreinforces
the children for interactingwith each other. Thus the child may be reinforced for talking to other
children,for sittingnext to them, for playing with them, or helping them in some task.
2. Peergroup reward strategy.The childrenthemselveswill, as a group, be rewardedfor playingwith
a particularchild, The teachermay inform the group that if the group plays with and helpsa particu-
lar child interact more, the group as a whole will gain some particular privilege or recognitionfor
such work.
3. Peer reward strategy.The teacherselectsa particularchild who seemsvery capableand competent
in interactingwith othersand specificallyasksthat child to model, prompt, and reinforcethe devel-
opmentallydisabledchild for interactingsocially.In the beginning,it is bestif the peer is told exactly
what to do, which means that he acts just like a teacher-therapist:he instructs,rewards, and
prompts. This is to help develop some interaction,becausewithout such explibitinstruction,there
may not be any interaction. In the processof becomingfamiliar with each other, the peer will prob-
ably become more flexible and inventive, without losing contact with the disabledchild. This strat-
egy also has the advantagethat it requireslessof the adult's attention, and the end product resem-
bles more closelya normal socialinteraction.


A classroomfor many developmentallydisabledchildren,at leastinitially,and in many casesperma-

nently, only bearsa slightresemblanceto a classroomfor averagechildren. This becomesobviouswhen
one considersthe ideal teacher-to-studentratio in such a specialclass.Ideally, this ratio should not ex-
ceedtwo studentsper one adult. In mostinstances,a schoolis idealwhen initiallythereis one teacheror
adult for every child. It is clear that the disabled child's school experienceshave to overlap with his
everyday home activities. Developmentally disabledchildren are very slow learners and they simply
don't learnenough in a 3- to 6-hour teachingenvironment,hencethe need to extendschooltoall hours
of the day. It is pointlessto teachskillsin school if the child does not transferand usethoseskillsat home,
and vice versa. Many developmentally disabled children have problems in tansfer, so you have to
make it happen. The hansfer will occur when part of school is at home, and part of home is at school. It
is also true that the teaching curriculum for the developmentallydisabledchild should be different. For
example, there seemsto be little sensein having a child learn to read or do arithmeticif he cannot dress
himselfor behave in a store or havel on a bus. That is, the kind of academicbehavior we should expect
of a normal first grade child probably has no real usefulnessfor many developmentallydisabledchil-
dren. The teacher has to teach different skills. in most instances.

an Expcrnding Yow Chlld'r World


Somechildrenwillsucceed in school,thatis,theywillbepromoted fromonegradeto another.Other

childrenwillstaysomewhat at thesamelevelof functioning for manyyears,neitheradvancing norr€.
gressing.Manychildrenwlllnotbeableto adjustto a particular school,andneedto beptacedin classes
or schoolswitha lessdemanding curriculum.Remember thatif yourchild"levelsoff,';or startsto sllp,
andyouhavedoneyourbest,thensayto yourself thatsuchisllfeatthistime,and,to someextent,eolife
wlllalwaysbe.Excellence is relative.
Thepointof thisbookis to helptheadultswhocarefor disabled childrento workbetterwith
but,oncea goodeffortismade,to accept whatever limitations
have.Oncetheeffortis made,andthedemands imposed, at somepointonemustacceptthechild's
achlsvement, eventhoughlt islimited.Thistsa basiclesson of lifethat everyonehasto learn.Thedie-
abledchlldehares thatwithall of us.

Prcpcrlng thr Chtld lor School 221

lr :1

The possogeof the Educationfor All Handicapped
scHooL ChildrenAct (PL 94-1421in1975hasresultedin ac-
for large
CrightonNewsom cessto publiclyfundededucationalservices
numbersof developmentalty disabledchildren who
were previouslydeniedtheseservices'Educational
programs have proliferatedto the point where
specialeducation the mostcommon
now constitutes
form of "treatment"for developmentallydisabled
persons.Therefore,an understanding of the major
and problemsof specialeducationis
essential, who in'
bothfor parentsand professionals
teract with schoolsand for teachers who work in
them. We draw attentionto someof the characteris-
home treatment modelthat is presented
ticsof specialeducationby contrastingthem with featuresof the
essentialcharacteristicsof behaviorally-
in previous chapters anj, subsequently,by discussingsome
oriented specialeducation proglams'

Thereare a numberof differences betweenthe hometreatmentmodel,describedin otherchapters
schoolswith programsfor developmen-
this book, and the classroomeducationmodelfoundin most
tallydisabledpersons.some of thesedifferences arcverybasicand we discussthosethatseemmostim-
manyof the procedures
portant,because they go to the heartof the problemof usingin the classroom
that haveprovensuccessful in clinicand homesettings'

One-to'One Yersus Group Instructlon

Schoolclassrooms tradition,if not by definition'group instructionalsettings'
are, by deeply-ingrained
hometeatment model,the classroom
Insteadof the one-to-oneteachingformatthat is the basisof the
teachermustwork with a group of four to ten, and sometimes
more' students'Evenif an assistantis i
presentto improvethe adult-studentratiosomewhat,the effectof groupinstructionisto spread f
rion thinly and thus dilute its impact on the individual student. Although it is commonly felt that class-
room instruction provides opportunities for socialization,it does not appear that the degreeof social
developmentthat actuallytakesplace simply as a functionof being in a group is sufficientto justifythe
dilution of teachingthat occurs.Socialbehaviorsdo not "develop" or emergespontaneouslyin devel-
opmentallydisabledpersonssimply through exposureto other personsbeyond a very rudimentary
level,if that. They must be taughtsystematically, initiallyin one-to-oneand one-to-twosituations.Fur-
thermore,most socialinteractionsrequire some languageand cooperativeplay skillsas prerequisites,
and instructionin thesebehaviorsproceedsbestin one-to-oneand small-groupsituationsinvolvingno
more than three or four students.
Some ways of minimizingthe dilution of instructionin classroomsare discussedbelow. It
shouldbe noted that the "problem" of group instructionis not inherentin the idea of classroomeduca-
tion for developmentallydisabledstudents,but resultsfrom two factors,one obviousand one not so ob-
vious. The obviousfactor is the economicsof educatinglargenumbersof people, which genefdllydic-
tatesa group instructionmodel at all levelsof education,whether or not it is in the bestinterestsof the
populationbeing served.The second,lessobvious,factor is the presuppositionthat the way to design
educationalprogramsfor disabledpersonsis to extendtraditionaleducationfor normal and more able
specialstudents downward, that is, to decreasethe classsizeand simplifythe curriculum.An alternative
approach,which seemsto have escapedconsiderationby educationplanners,would be to build up-
ward from the one-to-one situationthat has establishedits effectivenesssincethe early sixties.The
here would be to use classroomsas settingsfor multiple one-to-one instructionalactivitiesthat
changed to group instruction as it became increasinglynecessaryto teach "regular" classroom

"Lovercge" versus "Totql Push' Curiculc

,,curriculum,'in the home treatmentmodel is focusedin the sensethat during the initialstagesof
time is
teatment it concentrateson languageand the controlof maladaptivebehaviors.The majorityof
"human" behavior that provides "leverage"
spenton teachinglanguagebecauseit is the quintessential
in that it facilitatesthe acquisitionof other kinds of behavior, socialbehaviors,which help the
personto avoid institutionalization. Once languagehasbegunto show steady progressand maladaptive
behaviorsare under control, behaviorsin other domainsare taught, includingself-careskills,
skills.In contrast,mostschoolcurriculaprescribe instructionin a
skills,play, and community-interaction
number of areassimultaneouslyfrom the startin a "total push" approach.Language,academic,social,
recreational,motor, self-care,and community-interaction behaviorsreceiveabout equal emphasisin
termsof time allocation.This broad, total push approachresultsfrom the considerationof development
in the normalpersonasa processof acquiringbehaviorsin multipleareassimultaneously.At the present
time, there are no experimentaldata comparingthe outcomesof personstreatedaccordingto the two
approaches,but it might be noted that the total push model runs the risk of failing to provide a sufficient
amount of languagetraining to childrenwho are known to need a great deal of it to make progress'

Strong versus Wecrk Punighers

In the home heatmentmodel, relativelystrongpunisherscan be usedto reducemaladaptivebehaviors
the parentsconsent,includingisolation,time-out, and slaps,Thesepunishersare eitherabsolutely
bidden or dependenton administrative,as well as parental,consentin most schools'The classroom
teachermay be limited to nonexclusionarytime-out and extinctionas behavior-reducingprocedures'
The resultis that maladaptivebehaviorswhich are eliminatedin a matterof days or weeksin the home

221 Expcrnding Your Child's World


Although it seemspara-
treatmentmodel require months or yearsto be eliminatedin schoolsettings.
of complex adaptivebe-
doxicalthat professionalteacherswho arc expecledto be ableto teach a variety
be noted that many have
haviorsare deemedunableto use aversiveproceduresappropriately,it must
and that schoolslive
had no formal instructionin the use of aversivesin their specialeducation training
does much to preventthe useof
under the glareof uninformedpublicopinion. This "fishbowl"existence
known, ,upiaty eflectlveheatments, Hopefully, it may provide impetusto the developmentof publicly
acceptable,if lessintense,teatment techniques'

Behcrvior Anclysis versus Developmenicrl Theoreticql Orientctions

is basedon a theoreticalframe-
The home treatment upprou.h describedin other chaptersof this book
in the earlierchapters'The proce-
work known as "learningtheory," which was formally introduced
onolysis.Essentially,the studentis
dures which have been discussedare alsoknown as appliedbehauior
be remediated directlythrough the
seen as having certainbehavioraldeficitsand excesseswhich should
The teacher is seen as a
provision of teachingprocedures known to strengthenand weaken behavior'
,,shaper"of behaviorand knowledge.On the other hand, many classroomprogramsfor develop'
derived from Piaget, Werner, and
mentally disabled persons are based on developmental theories
from maturationand the per-
Kephart. Such theoriesemphasizethe emergenceof behaviorsresulting
son,sinteractionswith the environment.The role of the teacherof
,,stimulate"maturationindirectlyby providingappropriatelearningopportunitiesto help the person
progressfrom one developmentallevel to the next'
presenttime, and few therapistsor
Neither theoreticalapproach has all the answersat the
generallyborrow conceptsand techniques
teachersrigidlyadhereto eitherapproachexclusively.They
proceduresbasedon neither approachin
rather freelyfrom both approaches,and sometimesinvent
to recognizethe differencesbe-
their attemptsto solve immediate practicalproblems. But it is important
to justifytechniquesand each involves
tween the two theoreticalapproachesb"causeeach is invoked
The behavioralapproach runs the risk of
certainrisksthat can be assumedto affecta student'sprogress.
age-appropriateskills as rapidly as
failing to teach prerequisitebehaviors in its concern with teaching
that this problem is picked up when
possibte.In defenseoi the behavioral approach, it may be argued
made to determinewhat additionalbe'
the data show the student'slack of progress;attemptsare then
approach involves a much more
haviors need to be taught and to teach them. The developmental
indirectly through procedures of often
serious risk. In attempting to stimulate maturational changes
time on prerequisitebehaviors (or "readi-
dubiousscientificvdijity,it runs the risk of spendingso much
nor do they emerge spontaneously'"De-
ness" skills)that age-appropriatebehaviorsare never taught,
instruction, is the thing that develop-
veloping,,,in the senseof acquiring new behaviorswithout direct
"stimulated" or not. Further, the lack of socially
mentally disabledstudentsare leastable to do, whether
the developmentalposition does not in-
significantprogressmay not be noticed and addressedbecause
clude a stong emphasison data-baseddecisionmaking'


of effort that goesinto creatinga classroom

No one who is not a teachercan fully appreciatethe amount
in developmentallydisabledpersons' Some
that is eflecliveinproducing meaningful, positivechanges
supervision, public relations, child
rather formidable problems of teaching, organization,scheduling, I
skillfully if both stagnation and chaos are to be ,il
advocacy, and personal motivation must be handled t:$

zas i'
School il;t
avoided.All of thesetaskscannotbe addressed here,but somepossiblesolutionsand rouble-shooting
considerationscan be offeredfor a selectionof commonlyencounteredproblems.
Many of the featuresof a behavioralclassroomhave alreadybeenpresentedearlierin this
book, and needonly be brieflyreviewedhere:
1. Goalsare explicitlystatedin termsof overt behaviorsand conhollingstimuli.Such explicitness
allowsthe teacherto betterknow whethershehasbeensuccessful or not.
2. Food, socialwants,and play are explicitlyusedas reinforcers.
3. Promptsare usedextensively,and carefullyfaded.
4. Evaluationof student'sprogressis objectiueand continuous,sometimeshourly or daily, if need
5. Classroomtime is highlystructuredand centeredon educationaltasks, suchas languagebuilding
with minimaltimespentin free
and self-care, play, artistic
6. Parentsare at the centerof the educationalprocess.
7 . The teacherassumes for progressor lackthereof, whichallowsfor eliminationof inef-

Let us now turn to a more detailedpresentation

of how one may optimizecertainclassroom


A number of steps can be taken to improve the amount of one-to-one instruction and to improve the
productivity of group instruction. These include the use of volunteer assistants,optimizing the instruc-
tionalconfiguration,shapinggroup instruction,and teachingindependentwork skills.

Uslng Volunteerc
The most common way of maximizingone-to-one instructionis to include volunteersin the classroom.
Studentsand parents can be trained in a relativelybrief period of time to teach many of the tasksin a
developmentallydisabledperson'scurriculum. Includingthose parentswho have the time to participate
on a regular basishas the additional advantageof ensuringconsistencyof heatment acrossthe school
and home environments.A nearby collegeor universityusuallyproves to be a very productive sourceof
volunteers.Many psychology, education, and speech and hearing departmentsgrant course credit to
undergraduatestudentswho do part-time work in the community. Graduate studentscan often be at-
hacted by providing them with opportunitiesto satisfyinternshipor practicum requirementsand to con-
duct research.Other sourcesof volunteersinclude high schools(through "career exploration" courses),
women's groups, and foster grandparent programs.
In addition to exha setsof hands, volunteersbring enthusiasmand fresh perspectiveson prob'
lems. Only rarely, however, willthey bring relevantpast experience.It is therefore essentialthatproce-
dures for orienting, training, and supervisingvolunteersexist if they are to function effectivelyand not
become a burden. Some very useful, practical guidelinesfor integrating volunteers into a classroom
have been presentedby Frederickset al. (1977l'. These authors discusstraining and supervisionproce-
dures, the matchingof level of responsibilitywith level of teachingskill, and the schedulingof volunteers'
time and assignments.

Expanding Your Chlld's lfforld

Optimizing The Insiructioncl Conligr'uqiion
in waysdesignedto approximate
Severalpossibilities existfor organizingthe classroomconfiguration in
to proceduresfor conductingone-to-onetraining
one-to-oneinstruction.In essence,theseamount