Dichotomies and types of deate

By Christina Bell,2014-11-11 13:49
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Dichotomies and types of deate


Errorless Teaching

    Errorless teaching is an instructional strategy that ensures children always respond correctly. As each skill is taught, children are provided with a prompt or cue immediately following an instruction. The immediate prompt prevents any chance for incorrect responses. Unlike other teaching procedures where opportunities for initial mistakes are allowed and then corrected through prompting, errorless learning’s immediate prompting

    ensures that a child may only respond correctly. Prompts are systematically removed until children are able to respond correctly on their own. The theory behind errorless teaching is that children with autism do not learn as successfully from their mistakes as typical children may, but instead continue to repeat them. Research suggests that frustration following incorrect responses associated with trial and error learning can actually provoke problem behavior such as tantrums, aggression, and self-injury. Using an initial prompt, before the child has an opportunity to respond incorrectly, avoids any chance of teaching a chain of errors and bypasses the discouragement that may come from incorrect responding.

The Role of Positive Reinforcement

    Positive reinforcement is providing something after a behavior that increases the likelihood of the behavior occurring again in the future.

    Errorless teaching uses positive reinforcement combined with prompting strategies to teach new skills. Instructions are immediately followed by a prompted correct response, which is then followed positive reinforcement.


    ; Teacher gives instruction, “clap hands.

    ; Teacher immediately prompts child by manipulating the child’s hands to

    ; make a clapping motion.

    ; Teacher praises the child, “nice job clapping your hands!” and gives the child a


    To promote independence the immediate prompts, or amount of help provided, are systematically decreased, or faded, to allow children the opportunity to provide correct responses on their own. Errorless teaching strategies used to decrease prompting and encourage independence may include time delay prompting and most-to-least prompting.

Time Delay Prompting

    Time delay is a prompt fading strategy that systematically increases the amount of time between the instruction and the prompt. This delaying of prompts gives children a brief window of opportunity to give a correct response on their own. As the child begins to respond independently before a prompt is given, the delay is continuously increased until it is faded out

    completely. Responses provided independently, before any assistance is given, are immediately followed by positive reinforcement.


    ; (2 second delay)

    o Teacher gives instruction, “clap hands.”

    o Teacher waits 2 seconds and then manipulates the child’s hands to make a

    clapping motion.

    o Teacher praises the child, “nice job clapping your hands!” and gives a


    ; (3 second delay)

    o Teacher gives instruction, “clap hands.”

    o Teacher waits 3 seconds for the child to respond independently.

    o If the child does not respond independently, the teacher manipulates the

    child’s hands to make a clapping motion.

    o Teacher praises the child, “nice job clapping your hands!” and gives a


Most-to-Least Prompting

    In most to least prompting, prompts are systematically faded by decreasing the intrusiveness of assistance provided to promote independence in responding.


    ; (light physical prompt)

    o Teacher gives instruction, “clap hands”

    o Teacher immediately prompts child by providing a light physical prompt

    at the child’s elbows to make a clapping motion.

    o Teacher praises the child, “nice job clapping your hands!” and gives a


    ; (Gesture)

    o Teacher gives instruction, “clap hands”

    o Teacher immediately prompts child by raising hands slightly to gesture

    clapping without touching the child.

    o Child begins clapping hands.

    o Teacher praises the child, “nice job clapping your hands!” and gives a


Promoting Independence

    It is important to collect data on how often children require prompts as well as how often they give independent responses. This information is used to determine when to decrease prompt levels. An example of decreasing prompt levels using time delay may

    be delaying prompts 2 seconds, then 3 seconds, and then 5 seconds.

    An example of decreasing prompts in most-to-least prompting may be lessening

    the intrusiveness from hand over hand, to a light physical touch, to shadowing the

    response without any physical contact. For more information on prompting see the Prompting Fact Sheet.


    Even with errorless teaching, errors may still occur. If a child makes an error, the teacher may withhold reinforcement and present a new instruction or withhold reinforcement and present the same instruction again providing an immediate full prompt of the correct answer. Errors should never be followed by negative comments, reinforcement, or presentation of a reward.

    Adapted from the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at Florida Atlantic University.

Errorless Learning Ensuring Success Each Step of the Way

    Errorless learning is really a fancy name for something we do quite naturally with our little ones as they learn and grow from babyhood to child hood, and it is something we can continue to do with our children on into their formal education. So just what is errorless learning? It is guaranteeing that my child does not fail at a given task by helping him along until my help is no longer necessary. It is making sure that he gets the answer right every time. It is giving him the answer whenever he hesitates. And it is a very legitimate teaching technique!

    Why Errorless Learning?

    For many children with learning challenges it is so important that they are not given the opportunity to make mistakes when learning a new skill. Making mistakes often leads to discouragement, which results in a lack of motivation to even try the skill again. Often once a mistake is made, it becomes very difficult to unlearn it. Errorless learning is an excellent way to avoid discouragement, and to build success and self-confidence in a new skill. Another huge deterrent to learning is frustration, whether it’s me getting frustrated with my child “not getting it”, or whether it’s my child becoming frustrated because it

    just doesn’t make sense. Errorless learning eliminates both.

    Introducing a skill

    When teaching my child a new skill using errorless learning, I must first make sure that he knows what I expect of him. This can take a long time and a lot of patience on my part as we go over and over and over a new skill together. There are a number of ways I can introduce a new skill. I can prompt my child by talking through each step of a new skill. I can provide hand over hand support. I can do the skill with my child over and over again. I can provide him with cues he can “peek” at to guarantee his success. I can do the skill for him when he hesitates, modeling my expectations. Whatever approach I take, I need to provide my child with all the help he needs to accomplish the learning task given. Here’s how Nila has been applying errorless learning with her daughter Anna:

    “We are trying to get Anna's auditory sequencing up, and one of the computer programs

    we have has animal sounds and instrument sounds which they play in different orders and require her to play them back in the same sequence. Until she understands exactly what is required of her, I actually do it for her. Today I did the exercise many times myself, walking through it with her, until she seemed to grasp what they were requiring. It may have been a simple task for another child that doesn't have learning challenges, but for Anna it involved several things that she had to think through. When I could hear that she was actually saying them back in the right order, then I would use the mouse myself to start her with the one she had said first. Otherwise she had a tendency to say them right, but when I asked her to move the mouse to the first one, she would always go to the one she heard last. Her problem was that she had to keep the order in her mind, and remember to get the mouse working, and recall the right order, while they may have interrupted her

    concentration with asking her to find the right order or repeating the sounds. Had she got it wrong repeatedly she would have become very disappointed and probably would have just shut down for the day or a few days. As soon as I got her going on the first sound, she could recall the others and would say, "Anna do it." We did this over and over as long as her interest was there, and we ended on a positive note.”

    Reducing your help

    As my child shows that he is beginning to understand what is expected of him, I need to slowly reduce the help I’ve been giving, but I also need to be prepared to give him help whenever he hesitates. The key, again, is keeping his learning error free. Here’s what

    Amy does with her daughter Reagan:

    “When Reagan knows something, she is very quick to respond. If I show Reagan a sight reading flashcard and she hesitates more that 2-3 seconds I give her the correct word so that she doesn't just guess and "cement" the wrong word vs. what is represented on the card.”

    Breaking it down

    If my child just doesn’t seem to be catching on, it may be necessary to break the skill down into small steps that need to be learnt first. When Andrew was learning to count, I realized that though he had learnt to count up to 10, he did not understand the concept of quantity that 3 meant three things. Using errorless learning I made up some games to help Andrew learn about numbers. Here’s what I did:

    Number Games

    I made a "game board" out of a piece of construction paper with 3 recipe card size squares glued onto it. On the squares, I wrote the numbers 1 to 9 as well as the corresponding number of dots, using a different color for each number.

    I also made a set of number cards, with numbers on one side and corresponding dot patterns on the other. I color-coded the dot patterns to match with the colors on the game board, but made the numbers on the cards black. The games for this board are simple matching ones - match the numbers, match the dot patterns, name the numbers as you match them, call the number that you want your child to match, place the number cards in order. The purpose is to help your child to become familiar with numbers, to recognize number names, to be able to count in order.

    I then made a second "game board" similar to the first, but with just the dot patterns on it - still color-coded to match the game cards (I made it on the back of the first board). The game for this board is to match the number cards to the dot patterns. Peeking at the colored dot pattern on the back of the card is allowed and encouraged until it is no longer necessary. Another use for the game board is to place counters (buttons, coins, raisins, Lego, whatever might be fun and interesting for your child) on the dots, counting them as

    you do. From here you could match counters to the number cards without the dot patterns to guide, though allowing peeking on the back as necessary. The purpose of these games is to help your child recognize that numbers represent specific amounts. Being consistent

    Using the same language with each lesson, following the same steps, in the same order, using the same words, can become a prompt for my child to help him know the response I’m looking for. As Amy has been teaching Reagan to answer “who, what, where, when and why” questions, she uses visual cues and has also developed a script to use when delivering lessons.

    “Reagan is not always appropriate in her responses to "wh" questions. In trying to resolve the situation, I decided that maybe she didn't know the definition of the "wh" involved and that maybe if I asked the question and gave the appropriate response it would help her to define the question. Slowly, she is making progress! I talk a LOT to myself these days. The lesson begins with a picture book. During the story I will ask the "wh" question while holding up a cue card with the "wh" question we are working on. I will ask 3-4 or more "wh" questions per story. If I do not get an immediate response, I give the answer. As long as we are having fun and she maintains an interest in the "wh" question & answer "game" (aka errorless learning) I will continue. I then use the same technique in our everyday conversation and focus on the same "wh" question to generalize the concept.”

    Matching, Selecting, Naming

    One errorless learning technique that can be used in teaching many concepts is Matching, Selecting, Naming a method developed by Patricia Oelwein for teaching children with Down syndrome how to read sight words. The key to this technique is using a double set of flashcards of whatever the concept you want to teach. As an example, let’s look at teaching shapes. Matching: First show your child a card with a triangle on it. Tell your child, “This is a triangle”. Place the card in front of your child, along with 3 other cards with shapes on them. Give your child another card with an identical triangle on it. Ask your child, “Find the triangle” and have her match the card in her hand with the correct card on the table. Selecting: Ask your child to give you the card with the triangle on it. If she’s unsure, find it for her and go back to matching triangle cards with her. Naming: Once she’s able to pick the triangle out of a group of shapes, ask her to name the card you

    show her. If necessary, prompt her, then go back to matching or selecting until she’s familiar enough with the shape to name it for you.

Resources for Working with Learning Differences.

Errorless Learning

    Children with autism share common characteristics in learning. For example, they adhere rigidly to routines and tend to over-select and over-generalize responses to failure or novel tasks. Therefore, errorless learning, which limits an incorrect response in a learning situation, is ideal for this group of students.

    Errorless learning, a procedure introduced by Terrace (1963), is a type of discrimination learning that decreases or eliminates the opportunity for incorrect choice selection, therefore maximizing the possibility of a correct response. Simply put, errorless learning allows learning to occur with few or no negative stimuli. The theory behind errorless learning is that error responses have negative effects, especially for children with AUTISM, given their rigid adherence to rules (Green, 1996; Smith, 2001; Smith, Iwata, Goh, & Shore, 1995).

    Errorless learning offers the following benefits:

     Minimizes the number of errors

     Increases overall time available for instruction

     Reduces the likelihood that errors will be repeated in future trials Reduces frustration and the occurrence of inappropriate emotional behaviors

    by increasing opportunities for reinforcement -

    In errorless learning, children only learn the correct skill. That is, the teacher teaches in such a manner that students do not make any mistakes. As a result, they do not learn an incorrect skill that will have to be corrected or re-taught


    Guidelines for using errorless learning are as follows:

1. Identify and teach the child the desired behavior.

2. Identify prompts that will ensure success.

3. Have the child begin to perform the response.

    4. Provide prompts to make sure the child performs the desired behavior correctly.

    5. If behavior/response is incorrect, increase prompts to make the child successful.

    6. Repeat the trial several times until the child appears to be able to demonstrate the desired behavior correctly and independently.

    7. Following a specified number of non-prompted behavior, conduct a trial to assess the child’s correct or incorrect learned behavior.

    8. Finish the lesson on a successful trial with appropriate reinforcement.

9. Fade or decrease prompting as soon as indicated by data collection.


    Ms. Cooper utilized errorless learning techniques in teaching John, a 3-year-old boy with autism, to recognize his body parts. She asked John to touch the body part that she named. At first, Ms. Cooper provided a full prompt by taking John’s hand and touching the

    correct body part. She gave John a goldfish cracker as a reinforcer whenever he finished the task.

    After several trials, Ms. Cooper faded the prompt by merely lifting John’s hand toward the correct body part. When John successfully performed the task, he received a cracker. When John failed to perform the task, Ms. Cooper prompted him through the task and provided a verbal reinforcer. Gradually, Ms. Cooper faded prompts. After several trials, John could successfully perform the task with no prompts.


    Errorless learning is a set of teaching techniques designed to reduce incorrect responses as the child gains mastery of a novel task. It has been contrasted with trial and error learning in which the child attempts a task and then benefits from feedback. This strategy is an effective way in which to teach a variety of skills to individuals with autism.

Adapted from

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