Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #231
CE Offered: BACB
An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Using an Acoustical Marker (TAG) on the Acquisition of Various Skills in Children with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 25, 2008
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Theresa McKeon (TAGteach International)
Discussant: Julie S. Vargas (B. F. Skinner Foundation)
CE Instructor: Julie S. Weiss, M.S.

Three presentations analyzing the effectiveness and efficiency of using an acoustical stimulus in conjunction with reinforcement and various teaching and prompting strategies will be presented. Applied Behavior Analysts are dedicated to finding effective ways to teach skills to participants with autism and related disorders. Standard teaching curricula are typically based on the use of prompting and shaping procedures. One way to augment standard prompting and shaping procedures is to pair an auditory or visual event with the delivery of reinforcement to mark the correct response. TAG Teach is a technology based on the use of markers or auditory stimuli paired with the delivery of reinforcement to shape new behaviors. TAG stands for Teaching with Acoustical Guidance and is a direct descendent of the clicker technology presented by Karen Pryor in her popular book Dont Shoot the Dog. Practitioners of TAG Teach argue for its effectiveness in many endeavors designed to teach motor skills such as gymnastics and dancing. The three data-based papers presented here successfully demonstrate how to incorporate aspects of TAG Teach technology into some of our standard curriculum to teach basic motor skills with participants for whom prior attempts have been unsuccessful.

Demonstration of the Effectiveness of Using a TAG to Promote Skill Acquisition for Students with Autism.
JULIE S. WEISS (The New England Center for Children), Myrna E. Libby (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Applied Behavior Analysts are dedicated to finding effective ways to teach skills to participants with autism and related disorders. One way to augment standard prompting and shaping procedures is to pair an auditory or visual event with the delivery of reinforcement to “mark” the correct response. A multiple baseline across participants was used to assess the effectiveness of adding such an acoustical marker to the reinforcement component of standard acquisition curriculum. Student skill areas were selected because they were IEP objectives with ongoing program implementation and unsatisfactory progress and/or lack of acquisition. Four participants diagnosed with autism and between the ages of eight and twenty were included. The only modification from ongoing training was the addition of an acoustical stimulus contingent on correct responding before the delivery of reinforcement. All participants acquired the previously unlearned skill. Inter-observer agreement data were collected in at least 40% of sessions and averaged 95%. Procedural integrity data were taken in at least 40% of sessions and averaged 95%. Possible behavioral processes involved in the apparent usefulness of the acoustical stimulus are discussed.
Teaching Eye-contact in Response to a Peer’s Initiation using Tag Teach Peer Tutoring.
KATHERINE A. JOHNSON (Advances Learning Center), Elizabeth Paige Adams (Advances Learning Center), Katrina A. Fallon (Advances Learning Center)
Abstract: In a multiple baseline across subjects design, Tag Teach methods were used in conjunction with peer tutoring to teach children to respond with immediate eye contact to a peer calling his/her name. Four young children diagnosed with PDD-NOS were taught to reinforce each other’s eye contact, using Tag Teach methodology. Sessions were held during a weekly social skills group in which the four children participated. Three of the students had worked on this skill previously, with very limited success, using massed trials, incidental teaching techniques in distributed trials, prompting, and positive reinforcement in the form of tokens. The method for the current study included teaching students how to use the hand-held “tagger,” teaching them when to reinforce by using discrimination training, and then gradually removing adult interaction to allow the students to run the practice sessions themselves. Generalization data were taken throughout the course of the study. Tag Teach methods were more effective in increasing eye-contact as a response to peer’s initiations than previously-used methods for most students.
Evaluating the Influence of TAG Teach on Increasing Self-help Skills with Individuals with Severe Developmental Disabilities.
LAUREN C. WASANO (STE Consultants), Sarah E. Trautman-Eslinger (STE Consultants)
Abstract: Tag Teach or Teaching with Acoustical Guidance incorporates the use of a tagger (audible marker) while pairing it with positive reinforcement and shaping in order to quickly teach a vast repertoire of skills to individuals in a variety of populations. Among these skills include self-help and daily living skills, which are an integral skill set for individuals with Developmental Disabilities (DD) to acquire. The current study focused on utilizing TAG Teach to increase the toileting and appropriate drinking (other than a baby bottle), in addition to other types of target behavior that warranted intervention (e.g., hands-on behavior and object mouthing) in two males diagnosed with severe DD. Historically, these skills had been targeted for intervention; however, the various methodologies used had deemed unsuccessful for both participants. Results showed that target behavior increased after the first session with the use of TAG Teach.



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