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Let Them Do it Themselves! Teaching Everyday Skills and Fostering Independence in your child at every age PowerPoint Presentation
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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

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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
What are the goals at home?

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…

how do we get our kids to do these things now
How do we get our kids to do these things now?
  • Good strategies
  • Check charts
  • Appropriate prompting
  • Praise
  • Contracts
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Not so great…
  • Yelling
  • Threatening
  • Repeating directions over and over
  • Punishing
  • Guilt
  • Avoiding the situation altogether
independence plans
Independence Plans

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.

what is an independence plan
What is an independence Plan?

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.

parts of the independence plan
Parts of the Independence Plan

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

long term goal
Long Term Goal

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.

additional examples of ltg
Additional examples of LTG

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.

for family events
For Family Events

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.

leisure activities
Leisure Activities

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.

short term objectives
Short term objectives

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.

examples of stos
Examples of STOs

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.

cleaning room
Cleaning room

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.

eating at the table
Eating at the table

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.

using prompting
Using Prompting

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.

verbal prompts
Verbal prompts

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

  • Sue get your agenda book and your notebook and sit down at the table.
  • Please read the next two pages yourself
  • Please go upstairs and open your drawer and take out your pajamas
physical prompts
Physical 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.

text and picture prompts
Text and Picture Prompts

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 and modeling
Gestural prompts and Modeling

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)

specific steps to follow
Specific steps to follow

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.

adl and leisure skills
ADL and Leisure Skills

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.

setting goals and criteria
Setting Goals and Criteria

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.