Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TAGteach at the Association of Behavior Analysis International Conference

TAGteach was the subject of five presentations at the recent ABAI conference. One was on the subject of teaching the golf swing, presented by Victoria Fogel and the others were about TAGteach applications in teaching children diagnosed with autism. The titles and abstracts of the austim presentations are listed below:

Using TAG Teach Methods to Develop Eye Contact Behavior in Children with Autism.
REGINA L. MAENDLER (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), John W Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Traci M. Cihon (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Many children diagnosed with autism demonstrate limited eye contact behavior with others. Eye contact can be an important prerequisite for the development of other behavioral repertoires including mands, imitation, and social interaction. Because the eye contact movement cycle can be quite brief, it is not always possible to provide immediate reinforcement and often one may inadvertently reinforce another behavior (e.g. looking away). The purpose of this study was to increase eye contact behavior in children diagnosed with autism using two reinforcement methods; contingent positive reinforcement and Teaching by Acoustical Guidance (TAG). During the first treatment condition, descriptive praise statements as well as access to preferred items and activities were made contingent upon occurrences of eye contact behavior. During the second treatment condition, occurrences of eye contact behavior were immediately tagged with an acoustical marker and directly followed by access to a backup reinforcer in the form of descriptive praise statements as well as access to preferred items and activities. Treatment conditions were presented during randomly alternating sessions through a multielement design. Differences in responding between conditions were attributed to the effectiveness of each treatment variable as an intervention for developing eye contact behavior among children with autism.

The use of TAG to Improve the Acquisition of Instruction Following in Young Children with Autism.
MARIDITH R. GUTIERREZ (Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc)

The use of TAG (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance) was examined in the acquisition of Receptive Instructions in children with autism. Receptive skills can be difficult for children with autism to acquire and the discrimination of different instructions is often an observed deficit. Four students at a non-public school for children with autism participated in the study. The students had not acquired the skill of following instructions in a structured teaching environment using standard discrete trial teaching nor through incidental teaching (e.g., within routine contexts). A multiple baseline across subjects design was used to examine whether the insertion of TAG, used to reinforce the target response prior to receipt of the highly preferred item, led to an increase in the acquisition of the skill. Students were exposed to a Receptive Instructions lesson with standard discrete trial teaching (i.e., SD-R-SR) during baseline. The use of TAG was implemented with each student in a staggered fashion and inserted immediately after a correct response.

Evaluating the Maintaining Effects of TAGteach on the Social Skills of an Individual with Autism.

There have been many noted interventions utilized in teaching social skills to children with Autism. TAGteach or Teaching with Acoustical Guidance incorporates the use of a tagger (audible marker) while pairing it with positive reinforcement and shaping in order to quickly teach a vast repertoire of skills to individuals in a variety of populations. The current study focused on analyzing the maintaining effects of TAGteach on the social skills (e.g., eye contact during manding and close proximity to peers) of a 7-year-old male diagnosed with Autism. Previously, eye contact while manding and close proximity to peers had been targeted and increased utilizing TAGteach compared to a more commonly used method. Maintenance data showed that the target behaviors did not maintain; however, required considerably less time to reacquire the skills utilizing TAGteach.

An Auditory Marker as a Secondary Reinforcer in the Shaping of Specific Behaviors in Children with Autism.
JEFF E. OOSTYEN (Focus Psychological Services)

This study examined the training of two behaviors (maintaining proximity and eye contact) in six children with Autism. An auditory marker, or TAG (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance) was employed as a secondary reinforcer for shaping the desired behaviors. The intervention followed the tenet of Applied Behavior Analysis and learning theory. The study was directed by personnel with TAGteach certification A multiple single case design with a multiple baseline across behaviors design was utilized to implement the intervention, as well as increase the ease of collecting data. The interventions took place in a natural environmental setting where each child’s behaviors were ecologically balanced. The data supported the efficacy of the intervention, but only in the context of training a child with Autism. Following full implementation, the rate of reinforcement was methodically reduced. The data indicated that the behaviors could be maintained at a level well above baseline. The implications of these results are discussed.

Additional study reports and information about TAGteach and autism can be found at


  1. Where can I find the complete articles?

  2. Sorry Lynette, the link from this post was out of date, but corrected now. You can get more information about these studies here: