Common Teaching Mistakes to Avoid for Children with Autism


As behavior analysts, teachers, and even parents,
we all make mistakes teaching our children and clients with and without autism. Today we’ll be discussing some of the more
common mistakes professionals and parents make when teaching. I know I’ve made all of these mistakes and
I’m sure you’ll benefit from hearing these mistakes too. Hi, I’m Dr Mary Barbera, autism mom, board
certified behavior analyst, online course creator and bestselling author of the verbal
behavior approach. Each week I provide you with some of my ideas
about turning autism around, so if you haven’t subscribed to my youtube channel, you can
do that now. Today I’m sharing a small excerpt from podcast
number 27 an interview with Theresa McKeon, who is one of the creators of Tag Teach and
she discusses common mistakes when teaching children with autism. You can check out the full podcast episode
at marybarbera.com /27 or click the card on the screen now. What are the the, what are the mistakes you
see when you do work with not just behavior analysts, but you work with a lot of teachers,
a lot of trainers, and what? What do you think are like a couple of the
mistakes you see most commonly? Yeah. When the teacher has a picture in their mind
of what they’re seeing. Uh, or especially if something’s on the table
and you’re doing writing or you’re doing, you know, pick up a pencil, you know in your
mind what you’re looking for. They don’t. And so when they don’t do all of those things
that you’re looking for, you go, that’s wrong. And it’s hard for you to break down what’s
wrong because it is, um just second nature. All the movements that you do to pick up a
pencil and move it into your fingers and get it in the right spot or pick up a glass or
tie your shoes or any of these things. There’s this picture that’s so in your mind
it’s hard to break down. So I, I think that is the hardest things is
if we are teaching, we are probably pretty good at what we do to be the teacher. Right? The very fact that you’re teaching someone
else means that you probably do it really well and have forgotten the steps that lead
up to doing it. Um, and even when you do think you can break
it down, it’s, it’s still too big and that’s frustrating to go, but I just told you, or
I just showed you, or how come you couldn’t take your finger and touch that dot. It’s just so easy. It gets frustrating. Um, and that goes across whether I’m teaching,
um, factory workers or, or, um, organizational business or kids with autism or sports people. The teacher gets frustrated cause I already
know what it is. The other day, yesterday I was clicker training
my new horse and I wanted him to touch something and he wouldn’t. And I thought, well, why won’t he touch this? I’m putting it right up in front of his face
and I just went, ah, it’s too much for what reason? Now my job is to figure out why is it too
much? Is it too much stimuli? Is that I don’t understand what you’re doing? Do I need to make this skill smaller or do
I need to make the environment quieter? Or maybe both. But that’s what I want teachers to remember. No matter where you’re using, whatever technology,
whether you’re using your technology or Tag Teach or fluency or whatever you’re looking
at is look at the look at the learner. If they’re learning, great, keep going what
you’re doing. But is it the skill that needs to be broken
down? Is it the environment that needs to quiet? And that might include you. You might be too much in the environment for
them to, to practice or feel confident. And with adults who don’t have special needs
that I’ve found I am the stimulus that’s too much. Right? So if I’m looking at you, giving you instructions,
all you’re doing is thinking, am I nodding my head right? Am I blinking the amount of times is my, you
know, my eyebrow the right way. But if I can turn around and talk to you without
looking at you, I’ve quieted the environment enough and basically told my learner, I’m
going to give you a time to think about what I’m actually saying. Am I going too deep? Um, no, no. I, I do think that when kids don’t make progress
on anything or when I don’t make progress on anything, um, most of the time it’s that
I don’t have the prerequisite skill, uh, the skills needed. You know, people are working on, you know,
single addition math or double addition math. And I’m like, how fluent are they with number
identification? How fluent are they with one-to-one correspondence
or, or whatever. Um, or if they’re working on to double digit,
can they, you know, I, how fluent are they with one digit? Well, they’re not, but it’s ready to move
on. They’re in third grade, like, get with the
program. It’s like you can’t just pull somebody into
Spanish 4 when they haven’t mastered Spanish 1, 2, and 3, even if otherwise, you know,
it’s like, it’s not gonna work. So when people are struggling, you know, even
in my business, if there is a struggle, it’s a systems issue. It’s something that isn’t, you know, there’s
somebody who’s not fluent with something. There’s, there’s an issue, there’s a breakdown
somewhere. So I think a lot of times I just really tell
people like, you need to bring it back. But I think Tag Teach also with that kind
of, and I don’t know if this is an actual rule with Tag Teach, I kind of remember it
as such, but I could be wrong. But like three attempts to do something and
it’s not working. You’ve got to add a prompt or is that, is
that kind of a rule or, yeah, the 3 try rule. Well, you’re exactly right. Okay. 3 try depending on your learner, um,
I know with your son 3 was too many, right? I don’t want him to get to the point where
he throws that down and goes, I don’t want to do it anymore. Right. So can I catch it on the first try? Can I catch it on the second try? So, depending the gymnast were, were, were
pretty, were pretty good. They could go to 3 most of the time. So just depends on your learner. Me, if I fail 3 times instead of in front
of somebody that I respect, I’m going to be horrified. So don’t let me fail 3 times, please. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I know one of the main challenges of spreading
the Tag Teach technology is that people like your gymnast’s parents say, I don’t want the
same thing clicker training used for animals and they’re, you know, even it, a lot of people
will have problems with ABA in general and they’re like, you know, ABA is dog training
and, and this is, you know, inhumane. It’s like, ah, no, it’s the most evidence
based treatment for autism. And if you’re seeing a not good procedures
being done that doesn’t, that doesn’t represent, uh, what I would consider good ABA or good
Tag Teach or whatever. So how do you, how do you respond to people
that say that, um, you know, Tag Teach is just clicker training in disguise and that
we shouldn’t be using it for humans if we’re using it for animals. Yeah. Boy, I used to battle with this a lot of,
mostly in my mind I won’t battle with, with, with somebody. Cause if they don’t like it, that’s fine. You can explain to them the science but, but
at this point they probably don’t want to hear anything about that. Um, I simply can go in without the audible
marker and use something that they are familiar with using an audible marker that they use
everyday, which is yes or good or something that that is typically s uh, acceptable. And then you can say you do see the state,
right? Or You, you know, in a nice way you could
say, yes is my marker. This is a little faster, a little cleaner
and has less stress involved with it. I, I’m not putting as much pressure on you. I won’t have a tendency to go yes and do all
these weird things that we do with our words. Um, but if they’re not accepting of that and
I can’t get them to learn, then, then I won’t use that marker. Um, and so I won’t fight them on there. There is nothing about saying do this good
job that is any different than, that’s not dog training to them, that that’s normal training. And that’s what we’ve always tried to say,
that, that being clear about what we want and putting parameters around success and
then saying, yes, you’ve done it. Wh what is dog training about that? I hope you enjoyed this short snippet from
the podcast. If you want more content, check out the podcast
at marybarbera.com /podcast, wherever you’re watching this, I’d love it if you would leave
me a comment, give me a thumbs up, share this video with others who may benefit. And for more information, you can attend a
free online workshop atmarybarbera.com /workshop and I’ll see you right here next week.

2 thoughts on “Common Teaching Mistakes to Avoid for Children with Autism

  1. What mistakes have you learned from in the past? Share them here so we can all learn from them as well!

  2. My baby is 23 month old. He hold others hand to get his desired object or wanna go out. But never point by index finger. What does this mean. Is it ok

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