“So you want me to fade myself out?”


“So you want me to fade myself out?”

Sometimes it’s not easy to bridge the gap between the teaching our kids get at ABA therapy and the teaching we offer at home.  Our Remote Consultation program is set up to help kids generalize the skills they’re learning in ABA to their everyday life.

How? By helping parents learn what that looks like and how to do it!

In the process of it all we talk a lot about teaching with independence as the goal, or keeping the end in mind, from the very beginning.  Doing discrete trials in a structured setting like a table can seem easier because we have procedure sheets, data and percentages all set up to let us see every teaching decision we’re making.  Those act as a guide letting us know exactly what to do next. But what about the goals we’re choosing to teach away from the table?  What do we need to remember when teaching new skills at home?

Goals focused on independence at home are often embedded in to daily routines, such as eating, dressing, and playing.  But at home the trickiest part of keeping the end in mind, from the beginning is not only choosing prompts, but recognizing the prompts we’re already doing.

Start by taking a few minutes to consider your child’s daily routines…now write it down.

1.Wakes Up, 2. Eats Breakfast, 3. Brushes Teeth, 4.Gets Dressed, 5. Puts on Shoes, 6. Walks to Car, Etc.

Take note of what you think your child does by himself vs the activities where you help or prompt. Next, pay attention during your child’s day…are the “independent” items really independent? Are you offering help, prompting, without realizing? Is he following the instruction “Put on your shoes.” each morning or are you handing his shoes to him as you say it, pointing at them or even just looking at them in the corner as a clue toward what you’re telling him?

Our key for teaching routine skills at home is imagining what they’d need to be able to do without us in the room. That starts by recognizing how we’re involved in every small task that makes up the daily routine then fading ourselves out of the situation.  Recognizing how we’re allowing our kids to be dependent is the first step in helping them move more toward independence.

Providing help to our kids when they need it is important; that’s how they learn, but the next time you walk your child’s plate from the table to the sink, reach over to wash his hair, or remove his shirt only because it’s what you’ve always done, we challenge you to stop and simply recognize the help you’re giving. Consider that your child might be able to complete this task with some less intrusive prompts and then don’t be afraid to practice that skill it in a new way that keeps the end in sight and is helping them move toward it .

So are we asking you to fade yourself out?



bethany profileFrom the desk of Bethany Covington
Assistant Director of Outreach
Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children

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