Martha Gabler lives in a suburb of Washington DC with her wonderful husband Eric and two sons. When the younger son was three years old, AUTISM entered their lives. The End. The Beginning.
Why did you decide to write this book?
When my son was younger, during the time I think of the dreadful early years, his behavior consisted almost solely of running, screaming, making noises hitting himself and sometimes others. I was desperate to do something as simple as go for a walk, go to the playground, and get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. By the time Doug was eight we were physically isolated, exhausted and frustrated. As many autism families do, we met with massive bureaucratic and financial obstacles to get the scientifically-based, professional help that we required. I realized that we were on own and it was up to me to figure out a way to help Doug. I discovered a method called TAGteach, about 8 years ago and found it to be a simple, inexpensive way for us to implement proven procedures to help Doug be calm and confident and able to engage in normal family activities. I wanted to share my experience and protocols with other autism parents so that they too can work with their children at home during those times when a professional behavior is therapist not available.
What is TAGteach and How is it Different?
At its heart, it is a communication method, a way to let a person know that he or she has done something right. TAGteach is based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, which is familiar to many autism parents. With Applied Behavior Analysis you use positive reinforcement to increase desired behaviors. It is a gentle and effective way to teach a child, and it is highly recommended for children with autism. There is no punishment with a positive behavior approach. What TAGteach does is add in an acoustical signal, a click, a flash of light, or a hand clap, to “mark” the behavior that will earn the positive reinforcement. The click or mark provides very specific information to the child about what will earn the reinforcement. It’s a communication method. It tells your child: “You did this right. Now you are getting a reward.” Or, technically speaking, a reinforcer. Once your child knows WHAT to do, he will do that thing more often to get more rewards. That is how you start to build good behaviors.
TAGteach also provides a framework for parents to use in thinking about their child’s behavior and coming up with a plan to increase positive behaviors in tiny increments.