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Let Them Do it Themselves! Teaching Everyday Skills and Fostering Independence in your child at every age. Deborah R Whitman BCBA District Behavior Analyst New Rochelle City Schools. What are the goals at home?. Independently completing homework without stress
Deborah R Whitman BCBA
District Behavior Analyst
New Rochelle City Schools
Independently completing homework without stress
Developing appropriate leisure activities
Participating in family activities
Cooperating with house hold chores
Independent ADL skills
Taking care of personal belongings such as their room, clothing etc…
Independence plans as they can be used at home help you set reasonable goals and plan step by step criteria for your children to achieve greater independence over time with careful prompting and more specific steps allowing for more positive feedback and less frustration for all involved both the child and the parents.
An independence plan is a scripted curriculum that contains specific goals towards independent skills, identifying where when and how a skill will be practiced and with what prompts and support. It also contains specific short term objectives as benchmarks towards that long term goal.
Long term goal
Where, when, how often description of behavior
Current short term objective
Current prompt levels
Specific directions for child and helper
Specific levels for criteria
Data and method for assessing mastery
What is the skill that you want your child to be able do long term? This can be within a few months or even a few years.
John will be able to sit down at his desk and open his agenda book and complete each homework assignment with parent giving only initial direction and 2-3 verbal prompts or praises for up to an hour.
Given the direction: “clean up your room” Sue will go to room, pick up anything that is on the floor, make her bed, throw away the trash and organize her desk without negative talk or arguing within 5 minutes of being given the direction and with no more than 2 additional verbal encouragements from Mom or other caregivers from another room. She will complete the task within 20 minutes.
When Mom calls Josh will come to the table for dinner, sit at his place, eat his food slowly, and participate in conversation by making at least two remarks appropriate to the topic and asking at least one question inquiring as to someone’s day and making eye contact when they respond. He will remain at the table for at least 15 minutes.
Camille will pick a non-electronic activity such as drawing, building, do a craft or reading a book and continue engaging in that activity for 10-15 minutes without a parent in the room and with no more than 3 prompts from a parent in an adjacent room.
A short term objective is a step towards the long term goal. Some goals require many short term objectives some only a few. Short term objectives allow the child to have success in some aspect of the long term goal and build skills.
We use short term goals all the time and those who successfully reach long term goals usually set specific short term goals along the way.
For John doing homework
STO 1- John will sit at his desk, take out his agenda book and find the first assignment with <4 prompts from Mom. He will then start the first assignment and work it through completion with <6 verbal prompts and a parent staying in the room. He will complete each assignment with <6 prompts taking a 5 minute break between each one.
Given the direction “clean your room” Sue will go into her room with parent who will direct Sue to pick up items on floor, make bed and organize desk. Sue will complete the room clean up with verbal directions for each step from her parent who will reinforce her intermittently throughout.
When called to dinner Josh will come to the table and sit down eating his food appropriately and responding to at least 1 question posed to him with a prompt. He will remain at the table for five minutes and can leave when the timer rings. He will reinforced with positive comments at least twice for being at the table.
Identifying prompts for your child will allow you to help them be successful at whatever their current abilities are and work from a strength base place rather than from their weaknesses and reinforce progress.
Types of prompts include verbal prompts, physical prompts, text prompts and gestural prompts as well as modeling.
Not so great….
Sue…what are you supposed to be doing? Where is your agenda book? Why do I have to tell you this every night?
Read the chapter and I will be back
Get ready for bed
Good Verbal Prompts
Any prompts that require you to touch your child to assist them. Often physical prompts can be better than verbal because they are often easier to fade. Try and use physical prompts from appropriate angle to foster independence always attempting to fade as soon as possible.
Any prompt that is written is a text prompt. If you list the steps to complete a task and let your child check them off. You can have your child read the steps or point to them as you read. Picture prompts are similar but are pictures rather than words. Can be combined with verbal or physical prompts. Very good for teaching multiple step activities.
Gestural prompts are non-verbal prompts where you are giving help without touching your child or talking. You can develop specific gestures that communicate a signal or model a step or activity and the child can copy your model.
Examples include: thumbs up, pointing to answer or desired behavior, modeling the activity (such as ADL skills)
Part of the plan where you specifically list what kind of help, when, by whom and for how long.
i.e. – John will sit down at his desk, open his homework folder and work for ten minutes on his math with only verbal prompts from me from the same room.
Sue will brush her teeth with me standing behind her giving 1 physical prompt at the wrist to help open the toothpaste and then just light touches at the elbow to do all the other steps
Joe will play with legos or puzzles at the table for ten minutes with me sitting next to him and pointing to the pieces.
When Sue can do each step of tooth brushing correctly with elbow touches for two consecutive nights then I will fade the physical prompts and model or gesture if necessary
Make sure to celebrate the criteria met and set the new STO giving less prompts but set up your child for success.