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Arts and Crafts
The six portions of the Arts and Crafts Program presented in this chapter are intended to help students with developmental delays adjust to preschool and pre-kindergarten environments, as well as to help them engage in socially appropriate arts and crafts play behaviours during their free time. The portions of the program that constitute this chapter are presented in the following order: (1) block building, (2) drawing, (3) cutting with scissors, (4) gluing, (5) painting, and (6) writing longhand. Each portion consists of one or more phases, and each portion and phase within the program is laid out in order of apparent difficulty.
Certain portions of the Arts and Crafts Program may be introduced in the beginning stages of treatment by, for example, teaching imitation of simple block building as an extension of the Nonverbal Imitation Program. As the student progresses through treatment, various portions of the Arts and Crafts Program appropriate to the student's skill level may be continued into the teaching of such programs as the Prepositions Program (Chapter 27) and the Reading and Writing Program (Chapter 29). Thus, although teaching the student to build with blocks is somewhat elementary and may be accomplished very early in treatment, teaching a student to write his own name (see Chapter 29) is relatively difficult and may best be introduced after the student has shown extensive mastery of Matching and Sorting (Chapter 12), Nonverbal Imitation (Chapter 13), and Receptive Language (Chapters 15, 17, and 18).
Given the large individual differences among students, you must be sensitive not only to variations in the particular student's overall rate of learning but also to the variability the student may show across and within certain types of programs. For example, in this program, the student may excel at block building and painting but experience considerable difficulty with drawing and cutting. Given such complexity, it is our advice to work as a team with other teachers and invite and be open to feedback regarding this and all of the other programs presented in this manual.
Most preschoolers enjoy building with blocks alone or in interaction with others. Younger children typically stack blocks, whereas older children build complex structures such as houses, fortresses, bridges, and mazes. Typical children often imitate others' moves when they build with blocks and tell each other how and what they are building. Many students with developmental delays learn to become ardent block builders as well, and some learn to build intricate and complex structures. Others may find block building less reinforcing at first, but deserve a fair chance at finding out whether they will learn to enjoy this activity over time.
Block building is a relatively easy task for the teacher to instruct and for the student to learn. It provides an opportunity for the student to generalize matching and nonverbal imitation skills into an area of play while learning to attend to increasingly complex visual stimuli. Through an increase in sharpness of attention, the student acquires creativity and problem-solving skills. In addition, block building is an ideal facilitator of conversational speech among students, adults, and peers.
Block building should initially be taught at the table, because it is easier to structure tasks at the table than on the floor given that the table and chair setting provides for more control over the student's behaviour and, thus, acquisition of new skills. You may extend block building to the floor after the student becomes proficient at building at the table. Trials of block building may be performed efficiently by placing a bin containing the blocks on a chair next to the table, facilitating quick placement of the blocks on the table as needed.
In choosing the initial stimuli, keep in mind that the student may experience less success in early stages of block building if all the blocks used are identical in colour, size, and shape. You should therefore use such stimuli as Tootsies Toys 100 Blocks, which come in various colours, sizes, and shapes. Tootsies Toys 100 Blocks are available in major toy and department stores.
The progression of block building is described through the following nine phases: (1) imitating the teacher building on and around a base block, (2) imitating the teacher building a structure one block at a time, (3) imitating the teacher building a structure without a pre-positioned base block, (4) imitating the teacher chaining blocks, (5) copying the teacher's pre-built block structure, (6) copying the teacher's block structure built behind a screen, (7) copying block structures in photographs, (8) building a block structure upon the teacher's request, and (9) building with different kinds of blocks.
Phase 1: Imitating the
You may facilitate the student's initial imitation of block building by using two blocks only: a base block and a placement block. Two identical sets of blocks (i.e., two identical base blocks and two identical placement blocks) are needed for Phase 1. In this phase, you position the two base blocks on the table such that one is in front of the student and the other is in front of you. You then demonstrate positioning the placement block in various locations in relation to the base block. The student is to respond by imitating the arrangements of the placement block. You may position the placement block on top of the base block, next to the base block, in front of the base block, or behind the base block.
For the sake of illustration, let the base blocks be two identical relatively big, red, rectangular blocks placed flat on the table, one in front of the student and one in front of you. Let the placement blocks be two yellow blocks that are otherwise identical in size and shape to the base blocks. Position one placement block to the right of the student (if the student is right handed) and about 6 to 8 inches from the student's base block. Position the other placement block 6 to 8 inches to the left of your base block, and then go on to Step 1. The placement block should be removed from the table between each trial.
► Step 1
Mass trial SD1 to mastery (e.g., placement of the yellow block on top of the base block). Present SD1, which consists of the instruction 'Do this' while picking up, moving, and placing the yellow placement block on top of the base block. Prompt the student's response by, for example, manually prompting her to pick up her yellow placement blocks and place it on top of her base block. Reinforce the response and remove the blocks from the table. Over the next few trials, gradually fade the physical prompt to a less intrusive prompt such as pointing to the student's placement block, then fade all prompts completely. Set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses.
Mass trial SD2 to mastery (e.g., placement of the yellow block in front of the base block). Present SD2, which consists of the instruction 'Do this' while picking up, moving, and placing the yellow placement block in front of the base block. Following the teaching procedures described in Step 1, set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses.
► Step 3
Intermix SD1 (i.e., placement of the yellow block on top of the base block) and SD2 (i.e., placement of the yellow block in front of the base block) according to the discrimination learning paradigm (see Chapter 16). Begin by presenting SD1 and set mastery at 3 consecutive unprompted correct responses in a row. If prompts are needed initially, fade them over subsequent trials and maximize reinforcement for unprompted trials. Two seconds after the student reaches mastery of SD1, present SD2. Prompt the student's correct response if needed. Again set mastery at 3 unprompted correct responses in a row. Over successive trials, gradually reduce the number of consecutive unprompted correct responses from 3 to 2 and finally to 1 before alternating between SD. If the student makes an error, such as responding with R2 to SD1, immediately interrupt the response by retrieving the placement block and withholding reinforcement while giving an informational 'No.' Repeat SD1, prompt R l, reinforce the response, and then fade the prompt over the next few trials. Over successive intermixed, randomly rotated, and differentially reinforced trials, the student will make fewer and fewer mistakes and eventually master the discrimination (i.e., responding correctly in 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 trials). This discrimination occurs as the associations between SD1-R1 and SD2—R2 are strengthened because they are reinforced, and mistakes such as SD1-R2 are weakened because they are not reinforced.
► Step 4
Mass trial SD3 to mastery (e.g., placement of the yellow block next to the base block) by following the procedures outlined in Step 1. Once SD3 is mastered separately, intermix SD3 first with SD1 and then with SD2, adhering to the discrimination learning paradigm outlined in Step 3. Set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses.
► Step 5
Mass trial SD4 to mastery (e.g., placement of the yellow block behind the base block) by following the procedures outlined in Step 1. Once SD4 is mastered separately, intermix SD4 first with SD1, then with SD2, and finally with SD3, according to discrimination learning procedures. Set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses. Finally, gradually generalize the student's building skill from building exclusively with the yellow rectangular placement block to building with novel placement blocks.
Phase 2: Imitating the Teacher Building a Structure One Block at a Time
In this phase of the program, the student learns through imitation to build a small structure with two placement blocks (e.g., a yellow block and a blue block) identical in size to the base block. As done in the previous phase, position one base block in front of the student and one in front of yourself. Horizontally line up two placement blocks approximately 6 to 8 inches to the right of the student's base block and two to the left of your base block.
Once the blocks are in position, pick up the placement block closest to the base block and instruct, 'Do this,' while placing the block next to the base block so that the two blocks are equal in height. Manually prompt the response if necessary. Once the student places her block, pick up the second placement block and say, 'Do this,' while placing the block on top of the two adjoining blocks. If necessary, prompt the student's response and fade the prompt over successive trials. After reinforcing the correct response, remove the placement blocks and return them to their original positions on the side of the table. Set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses.
To reduce inadvertent prompts and facilitate generalization to other structures, begin randomizing the shape and colour of the placement blocks and the shape and colour of the base blocks. In addition, position the placement blocks in various locations relative to the base block. Systematically increase the number of placement blocks from two to six and then vary the number of placement blocks used in each structure. Also, randomly rotate the position of the placement blocks in the line-up next to the base block, remembering to choose the placement block nearest the base block each time a placement block is arranged in the structure.
Phase 3: Imitating the Teacher Building a Structure without a Base Block
In Phases 1 and 2, a pre-positioned base block helped simplify the task for the student. Similarly, the placement blocks were arranged in a horizontal line at the side of the table, helping the student to select the correct blocks. To aid the student's mastery of block building in a more natural setting, both kinds of prompts are removed in this phase.
Begin this phase by placing on the table two identical 'piles' of two blocks, one pile for the student and one pile for yourself. Present SD1 by saying, 'Do this,' while picking up a block from the pile closest to you and placing it on the table in front of yourself. Slow and exaggerated motions may facilitate the student's attending to the SD. If necessary, prompt the student's correct response by, for example, pointing to the identical block in the student's pile or separating the block out from her pile and positioning it closer to her. Reinforce the student's correct response. Then follow up by picking up a second block and placing it in somewhere in relation to the first block. Prompt as needed. Fade all prompts over subsequent trials.
After the student masters building with two blocks using the procedures outlined for this phase, add a third block to each pile. Once the student masters building from a pile of three blocks, gradually continue to add blocks to each pile. As the student learns to build from a larger pile of blocks, vary the number of blocks used in each structure, teaching the student that not every block needs to be used in every structure. Eventually place all the blocks—yours and the student's blocks—into a bin located on the side of the table and teach the student to choose the correct blocks from the bin. Some students will learn to build structures (e.g., bridges and fortresses) consisting of 10 to 15 blocks when modelled in a one-by-one stepwise fashion. When the student can build complex structures in this manner with ease, proceed to the next phase.
Phase 4: Imitating the Teacher Chaining Two Blocks
Thus far the student has built structures following your model. In the present phase, the student learns to be less dependent on your prompts and begins to initiate building, establishing her own steps as the stimuli for the next steps.
Place two sets of blocks consisting of two identical but random blocks on the table, one set for the student and one set for yourself. Instruct, 'Build this,' while picking up and positioning one block on the table and immediately picking up and placing the other block next to the first block. If necessary, manually prompt the student to pick up and position her blocks such that they duplicate your structure. Repeat the SD and fade the manual prompt over trials. Although both prompted and unprompted correct responses should be reinforced, reinforcement for unprompted correct responses should be maximized. Make sure that reinforcement is withheld, however, until the student completes the placement of both blocks, as this chain of responses constitutes the correct response. Eventually the student's placement of the first block will provide the stimulus for the placement of the second block. Once mastery is achieved (5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses), generalize to novel sets of two blocks. In the following phase, expand upon the chaining learned in the current phase by presenting pre-built block structures of more than two blocks.
Phase 5: Copying the Teacher's Pre-built Block Structure
In this phase, the student is taught to duplicate a structure you build in its entirety while the student watches. Begin this phase by piling two identical sets of three blocks on each side of the table, one set for the student and one set for yourself. Build a simple structure (e.g., two blocks placed side by side and the third placed on top of the first two to make a bridge). Point to the structure and say, 'Build this.' If necessary, prompt the student's response. Gradually fade prompts over subsequent trials, maximizing reinforcement for unprompted correct responses. The student has mastered this phase once she responds correctly in 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted trials. Once mastery is reached, increase the complexity of this phase by adding blocks to the piles and modelling gradually more elaborate structures. Increase the number of blocks in the structures to a maximum of 10 to 15 blocks, depending on the student's rate of success. Eventually place the blocks used in the structures plus any distracter blocks (i.e., extra blocks) in a container next to the table.
Phase 6: Copying the Teacher's Block Structure Built Behind a Screen
In this phase, you build a structure behind a screen (e.g., a sheet of paper or the lid of a container), remove the screen, and then teach the student to duplicate the structure. The student's responses should initially be facilitated by presenting her with the exact number of blocks she needs to build the structure. Begin with three to four blocks and build a structure behind the screen. Once the structure is completed, remove the screen, point to the structure, and say, 'Build this.' Teach the student to copy three to four different structures in this manner before adding blocks to the structure. Once the student can imitate different structures consisting of 10 to 12 blocks picked from a bin containing the blocks needed plus several additional distracter blocks, move on to the next phase.
Phase 7: Copying Block Structures in Photographs
Present photographs or well-drawn coloured representations of block structures as models. The stimuli must clearly show each block in the structure, and photographs if should be taken against a white or neutral uncluttered j background. Start with a photograph or coloured drawing of a two-block structure and present the student with the i exact number of blocks needed to copy the model structure. Show the student the picture of the structure and I say, 'Build this.' Facilitate the student's response by positioning the picture upright. Gradually fade this prompt by j lowering the picture until it is positioned flat on the table. Pointing to the blocks in the picture and to the ■ corresponding blocks on the table may also be helpful. Fade all prompts gradually over trials. Set mastery of each j structure at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses. The number of blocks in each structure should 1 not exceed 10 to 12.
Once the student can build a number of structures J from pictures, present pictures of structures that mimic I objects, such as tables, chairs, and couches. A block table; can be built by positioning a rectangular block (the table-top) on top of two smaller square blocks (the legs). A chair can be built by positioning a square block upright! (the backrest) behind another square block (the seat). A couch may be build much like a chair only with long rectangular blocks. Once several such structures are mastered, teach the student to build these block structures in I response to your verbal request as described in the next phase. Building Lego structures from the instructions that come in the Lego boxes.
Phase 8: Building a Structure upon the Teacher's Request
At some point in the block building program, the student should be taught to build a certain structure when asked to do so. Before being taught this skill, the student should have learned to label the objects to be built either in their 3-D or 2-D form as taught in the Receptive Identification of Objects Program (Chapter 17).
The process for teaching the student to build structures in response to your instructions may proceed as follows. Say to the student, 'Build chair' (SD1), and prompt by displaying a model such as a pre-built structure of a chair or a picture of a chair built out of blocks. Next, fade the model by gradually giving the student shorter and shorter amounts of time to view it, bringing the student's building under the control of your verbal request. Once the first structure is mastered, introduce 'Build table' (SD2) using the same procedure. Then alternate between presentations of SD1 and SD2 according to the discrimination learning paradigm.
Once the student masters discrimination between SD1 and SD2, gradually add distracter blocks to the pile of blocks presented and teach the student to find, among many blocks, those needed for building a structure that corresponds to the instruction. We recommend that the student be taught to expressively label the structures she builds as well. Teach expressive labelling of the structures by adhering to the procedures described in the Expressive Labelling of Objects Program (Chapter 23).
Phase 9: Building with Various Kinds of Blocks
At this point, new types of blocks, such as coloured cubes, Duplos, Lego (if the student's fine motor skills allow for their introduction), and big cardboard blocks, should be introduced. Along with big cardboard blocks, introduce extra materials that may make building with the blocks more fun. For example, blankets or sheets may be used to make a house that the student can play in alone or with a sibling or friend. Big Bird, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, Woody, Buzz, Esmeralda, Barbie, or other favourite characters would be great to bring to a tea party in the block house. Introduce cars and animals when building with Duplos or Lego and create places where people live, play, and go to work. Some students with advanced block building skills enjoy.
Areas of Difficulty
Although most students learn to build with blocks, individual differences are apparent in that some students learn quickly with little or no prompting, whereas others need extra help throughout every phase of this portion of the program. As you gain teaching skills and acquire knowledge of the student's idiosyncrasies, it becomes easier to identify remedies for difficulties that may arise in teaching as a result of the student's unique characteristics. It is impractical to describe all possible problems that may arise and their potential solutions, but two common difficulties are identified in this section as illustrations.
Some students experience difficulty lifting the placement block and putting it into position relative to the base block as described in Phases 1 and 2. If this occurs, help the student by demonstrating and prompting her to slide (instead of lift) the block first to random positions on the table and later to various positions in relation to a base block. For example, place two identical blocks on the side of the table. Slide your block to a random position on the table and manually prompt the student to grab her block and then slide it such that the two blocks end up side by side. Reinforce the response. Gradually fade the manual prompt over subsequent trials. Work on this skill until the student can slide her block unprompted to any random position on the table in imitation of your placements. Next, teach the student to imitate sliding the placement block in front of, then next to, and finally behind the base block on the table, following the stepwise teaching procedures described in Phase 1. Once sliding is mastered, transfer from sliding to lifting the placement block into position. Initially use slow and exaggerated movements when lifting the block to facilitate the student's attention to the SD.
When you first demonstrate chaining the placement of two blocks, some students may begin their response as soon as you place the first block. Such an error is reasonable because it is consistent with the response learned up to that point in teaching. Solve the problem by withholding the student's blocks until your chain is complete.
Persons with developmental delays, like typical individuals, differ widely in their interest in drawing. Some students appear to find drawing reinforcing in and of itself, whereas others need external reinforcers for their efforts. Many students, however, learn to like drawing after they have gone through the phases presented in this program.
Drawing is an elaborate behaviour that can be taught as an extension of the student's progress in the Matching and Sorting and Nonverbal Imitation Programs. It is to the student's advantage to have mastered fine motor imitations and the exercises for building and strengthening finger-hand dexterity described in the Nonverbal Imitation Program before beginning the current portion of the Arts and Crafts Program.
In the first phase of this portion of the program, the student is taught to hold the crayon correctly and imitate your straight lines. Next, the student is taught to draw basic shapes, such as circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles. After learning this skill, the student is taught to combine shapes to create figures and then to draw these recognizable figures upon your request. The student also is taught to colour inside the lines of shapes and simple figures. Later the student may draw original and creative pictures; however, it is unlikely that he will do so without first being explicitly taught to draw in imitation of your drawings. An occasional student is extremely creative in drawing and produces intriguing figures and interesting artwork from the start.
Large sheets of construction paper, jumbo crayons, and thick water-soluble markers are needed to teach drawing. The crayons should leave a strong coloured line on the paper as opposed to a barely discernible trace (the latter has a less reinforcing effect for most students). If the student seems more reinforced by using markers than crayons, begin with markers and introduce crayons at a later time, teaching the student to put more force behind his strokes. The teacher and the student should use identical drawing utensils in the initial stages of imitation.
If the student does not demonstrate a hand preference, teach him to draw consistently with his right hand from the beginning. If the student is 3 years old or older, teach him to hold the writing utensil correctly. A younger student may use a fist grip. To teach a correct grip, the following procedure may be used: Place the crayon or marker with the tip pointing toward the student next to or on the paper. Give the instruction 'Pick up marker' and manually prompt the student to pick up the marker between his thumb and index finger, and then adjust his grip. Practice this procedure until the student can pick up and hold the marker correctly without your prompt. Allow the student to scribble on the paper while he is practicing holding the marker with a correct grip. As the student learns to draw in imitation, remind him when necessary to hold the crayon or marker correctly by, for example, saying, and “Hold marker right “or” Fix marker.
Combine the instruction with a manual prompt needed.
Note that when you move from simple instructions! Such as 'Do this' to more complex instructions such as] those just presented, you should not assume that the dent understands and thus can respond appropriately to I such instructions. In short, complex instructions may I not initially function effectively. Rather, when the instructions are combined with effective prompts, they] may be gradually mastered if associated through procedures presented in the Early Receptive Language Program (Chapter 15).
When beginning to teach drawing, you should sit behind the student at the table as this position facilitates I manual prompting. Keep in mind, however, that sitting i behind the student makes it difficult to observe whether j he is attending to the SD. Therefore, shift to a side-by-side position once the consistent use of manual prompts is faded. Keep sessions short initially (e.g., around 1 minute) and use the student's favourite reinforcers.
Phase 1: Imitating the Teacher Drawing Straight Lines
In Phase 1, the student learns to draw straight lines in imitation of your drawing. For the purpose of illustration, let drawing a vertical line be SD1, drawing a horizontal line be SD2, and drawing a diagonal line be SD3. After sitting behind the student, place the paper on the table and then introduce Step 1.
► Step 1
Present SD1, which consists of your saying, 'Do this,' while drawing a vertical line about 8 to 12 inches long on the left side of the paper. Immediately prompt the student's response by manually guiding him through the motions of drawing a vertical line on the right side of the paper. A black dot placed on the top of the page, indicating the line's starting point, may be added as an additional prompt. Alternatively, a dotted line between a big beginning dot and an end dot may be provided as a prompt. Gradually fade the manual prompt to a pointing prompt that indicates where the student should begin his stroke, and gradually erase the dotted line between the dots. Finally, decrease the size of the dots until all prompts are eliminated. During the prompt fading process, be sure to probe unprompted trials to help reduce the number of prompted trials and avoid prompt dependency.
In the early stages, you may reinforce slightly rounded or crooked lines as acceptable approximations of your straight line. By the use of differential reinforcement, such approximations should gradually be shaped to closer approximations of your straight vertical line. Once the student masters drawing a straight vertical line in imitation of your line by responding correctly in 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted trials introduce drawing a horizontal line.
► Step 2
Present SD2, which consists of your saying, 'Do this,' while drawing a horizontal line on the paper. Imitating a horizontal line is a new experience, and the student will most likely require prompting to respond correctly. If he does, follow the same prompting procedure used in Step 1. Once the student masters drawing a horizontal line in imitation of your line go on to the next step.
► Step 3
Intermix SD l and SD2 according to the discrimination learning paradigm. Begin with mass trials of SD l (saying, 'Do this,' while drawing a vertical line). If necessary, prompt the response and fade the prompt over mass trials. Set mastery of SD2 at 3 unprompted correct responses in a row. Within 2 to 3 seconds of completing mastery of SD l, present SD2 (saying, 'Do this,' while drawing a horizontal line) and prompt the student's correct response, if necessary. Fade the prompt and, after 3 consecutive correct responses, shift back to SD l. Over the next few trials, set mastery at 2 consecutive correct responses then 1 correct response before alternating SD. Set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses presented in random rotation.
► Step 4
Mass trial SD3 (saying, 'Do this,' while drawing a diagonal line). Teach SD3 to mastery by following the procedures outlined in Step 1. Once SD3 is mastered separately, intermix it first with SD l and then with SD2 according to the discrimination learning paradigm.
Once the student can draw and discriminate vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines in imitation of your lines, go on to Phase 2.
Phase 2: Imitating the Teacher Drawing Basic Shapes
In Phase 2 of the drawing portion of the Arts and Crafts Program, the student learns to imitate your drawings of circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares. Initially divide each shape into separate components. As the student becomes proficient at imitating each component, gradually chain the components together to create a shape. Let SD l be a circle which tends to be the least difficult shape to imitate.
► Step 1
Present SD l (saying, 'Do this,' while drawing a circle). Immediately provide the student with a manual prompt. If necessary, draw a dotted circle for the student to trace and fade the dots gradually from clear sharp dots to less and less visible dots. If the student completes the circle but continues by drawing spirals, prompt him to stop as he closes the circle by saying, 'Stop,' while lifting his marker from the paper. Marking the beginning and the end of the circle with an obvious dot may also be helpful in prompting the student from making spirals. Reinforce correctly drawn circles that are prompted or unprompted, but remember to save the student's favourite reinforcers for unprompted trials. Occasionally probe unprompted trials to reduce the number of prompted trials and help avoid prompt dependency. Once the student masters drawing a circle (5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses), go on to Step 2 and teach the student to imitate an isosceles triangle (i.e., a triangle in which two sides are of equal length). This behaviour should be broken down into three separate components, which are then gradually chained together.
► Step 2
Present the first component of SD2 (drawing an isosceles triangle) by instructing, 'Do this,' while drawing a diagonal line as the left side of the triangle. Upon completion of the student's correct response, present the second component by saying, 'Do this,' and drawing a diagonal line as the right side of the triangle. Immediately upon the student's correct response, present the last component by saying, 'Do this,' and drawing the base line of the triangle from left to right. If prompting is necessary, manually guide the student through the motions or draw a dotted triangle for the student to trace. To fade the former prompt, gradually provide the student with less and less assistance on subsequent trials. To fade the latter prompt, gradually erase the dots.
Once the student can draw the triangle unprompted in response to your three separate instructions, start chaining the sides of the triangle together. Begin by saying, 'Do this,' while first drawing the left side of the triangle and then immediately drawing the right side of the triangle. Prompt the correct response and fade the prompt over successive trials. Provide reinforcement contingent on the student's completion of both sides of the triangle. Add the base line last and reinforce this response separately. After the student can draw the two sides of the triangle in response to a single SD, chain all three sides together by saying, 'Do this,' while drawing the left side, the right side, and then the baseline of the triangle. The student should be provided with reinforcement contingent upon his completion of the entire triangle in response to a single SD. Set mastery at 5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 unprompted correct responses.
Intermix SD1 (drawing a circle) and SD2 (drawing a triangle) according to the discrimination learning paradigm.
► Step 4
For the sake of illustration, let SD3 be the drawing of a square. Teach this skill by following the procedures described in Step 1. Once SD3 is mastered, intermix it first with SD2 and then with SD1 according to discrimination learning procedures.
Other shapes that should be taught include a semicircle and an oval. If the student's motivation wanes a bit while drawing, vary the task by, for example, letting the student trace stencils of the shapes he is learning to draw.
Phase 3: Imitating the Teacher Drawing Figures
Once the student learns to draw basic shapes, he may go on to learning to draw simple figures, such as a house, a tree, an ice cream cone, a train, a happy face, a stick person, a cat, a dog, a giraffe, and so on, by combining mastered single shapes in various ways. It may facilitate the student's learning if he masters matching 2-D pictures of the figures he is to learn to draw and receptive labelling of the 2-D figures prior to beginning this phase of the program.
To teach these prerequisite skills, draw two sets of clear pictures of the figures and then, according to the procedures described in Chapter 12 (Matching and Sorting), teach the student to match the like figures. By matching the figures, the student learns to attend to the similarities and differences among the stimuli. Once the matching task is mastered, teach the student to identify the figures by following the procedures outlined in the Receptive Labelling of Objects Program (Chapter 17). By teaching the student these skills prior to this phase, the 2-D figures may be used as visual prompts when teaching the student to draw the figures, and the labels of the figures may be used as verbal prompts. Descriptions of the arrangements of each figure are provided below. The figures are sequenced in order of apparent level of difficulty, and we recommend teaching one figure at a time to mastery before introducing the next figure.
Drawing a House
Drawing a house consists of imitating your drawing of a square (the main portion of the house) with a triangle on top (the roof). Because the student has already learned to draw these two components separately, they may be easily chained into a single response by your modelling the second shape immediately after modelling the first shape and providing reinforcement contingent on the student's imitating the drawing of both shapes in correct relation to one another. You may use the picture of the figure as a prompt by, for example, covering the second part of the house until the student finishes drawing the first part, then revealing the whole house. Once the imitation of the main house is mastered, two square windows and a rectangular door may be added.
Drawing a Tree
The drawing of a tree consists of a triangular top and a rather long and narrow rectangular trunk stemming from the middle of the triangle's base. You should follow the same procedures described for drawing a house, combining the two already learned component parts into a single response.
Drawing an Ice Cream Cone
The drawing of an ice cream cone consists of a semicircle (the ice cream) on top of a triangular cone. As done before, teach the task first as two separate responses and then chain the components into a single response.
Drawing a Train
The drawing of a train consists of a narrow, vertical rectangle (the cab), then a wide, horizontal rectangle attached to the cab (the engine), then a small vertical rectangle on top of the front end of the engine (the smokestack), and finally one circle underneath the cab and another circle underneath the engine (the wheels). Once the student masters imitating the train drawn in five separate components, use backward chaining to teach him to draw the entire train as one response to a single SD. Start by drawing the cab, engine, and smokestack as separate SDs, then draw both wheels as a two-part chain with one SD. Once this chain is mastered, chain the two wheels and the smokestack together, drawing them onto the predrawn cab and engine. Continue with this chaining procedure until the student can draw the entire train in imitation of a single SD.
Drawing a Happy Face
The drawing of a happy face consists of a circular head, two dotted eyes, and a single curved line as the mouth. Once again, first the components are taught separately, and then they are chained together. To teach this imitation, a forward chaining procedure (see Chapter 10) may be used. That is, teach the student first to draw the head and one eye as one response, finishing the face using separate SD for the remaining components. Next, chain the head and both eyes into one response, then combine the head, eyes, and mouth into one response, until the student is able to imitate drawing the entire face after being given only one SD.
Drawing a Stick Person
The drawing of a stick person consists of a happy face (the head), a long vertical line for the neck and the body, a horizontal line for the arms, and two diagonal lines for legs that stem from the vertical midline. Prior to learning to draw this figure, the student should have learned to draw a happy face as a chained imitation. The other components should be taught as separate imitations before they are chained. Once the student can imitate the separate components, use a forward chaining procedure to combine the responses. The teacher may, depending on the student's drawing skills, teach the student to elaborate upon this drawing by adding simple hands, feet, ears, and hair to the person.
Drawing a Cat's Profile
The drawing of a cat's profile consists of a small circular head, a larger circular body, a vertical line as a tail, one small triangular ear, a happy face with whiskers, and four stick legs. Once the student has learned to imitate the separate components, employ backward chaining procedures to combine the responses.
Drawing a Dog's Profile
The drawing of a dog's profile consists of a triangular head (tilted so that the triangle's baseline makes up the dog's neck), a rectangular body attached to the neck, a tail drawn as a single horizontal line from the corner of the body, one small triangular ear, and four vertical lines (legs) extending from the body. Once the student has learned to imitate the separate components, employ backward chaining procedures to combine the responses.
Drawing a Giraffe
The giraffe drawing consists of an oval head, a long narrow rectangular neck, a large horizontally oriented oval (or rectangular) body, four legs as single vertical lines or long narrow rectangles, a single line as a tail, and a small triangular ear. Drawing a dot and a curved line on the oval head gives the giraffe a happy face. To teach the student to draw a giraffe, follow the procedures employed for drawing a cat and a dog.
Once the student masters imitation of these basic figures, you may add more detail. Novel figures may also be introduced, such as other vehicles (e.g., a car, a bus, a boat), animals (e.g., a snake, a lion, an elephant), and objects (e.g., the sun, the moon, stars, grass, flowers, ocean waves, mountains). These figures may, in turn, be used as prerequisite skills for learning to draw complete scenarios, such as a house with a person and a dog playing in the yard, a boat sailing on the ocean, and a train moving through a landscape on a sunny day with a mountain range in the background.
Once the student learns to draw several figures through imitation, shift the SD from being imitative in nature to being receptively cued. That is, teach the student to draw figures in response to verbal requests (e.g., 'Draw a house,' 'Draw a boat'). Prompt by using the pictures of the figures as models, and then gradually fade these models either by covering more and more of them or by presenting them for shorter and shorter durations over subsequent trials. Later, some students may learn to draw when given non-specific requests such as the SD, 'Draw a picture.' At this stage, it should become apparent whether the student takes an interest in drawing particular pictures. For example, the student may show an affinity for drawing animals or he may show an interest in drawing landscapes (e.g., hills, a sun, and a rainbow). A strong enough interest in drawing is likely to reflect that the student finds the visual feedback from his drawing reinforcing. If this occurs, the student's drawing behaviours may be maintained with little or no extrinsic reinforcement. Drawing may, in fact, prove to be so pleasurable for the student that he may occupy his free time by appropriately drawing pictures rather than engaging in other inappropriate forms of self-stimulatory behaviours. For the majority of students, however, we recommend incorporating drawing into their daily schedule even if doing so requires explicit instructions and extrinsic reinforcement. Consistent with our model, it is to the student's advantage to engage in a higher level form of socially appropriate self-stimulation than in socially inappropriate forms such as rocking, hand flapping, or spinning.
Phase 4: Colouring Inside the Lines of Shapes and Simple Figures
Once the student can draw basic shapes, you may introduce colouring inside the lines of these shapes. Adjust the demand for accuracy to the student's fine motor capabilities. The thickness of the lines around the shapes may be increased to make colouring within the lines easier. You may prompt the student to stay within the lines by saying, 'Colour inside.' To establish the student's response to this verbal prompt, combine it with a manual prompt and then gradually fade the manual prompt until only the verbal component of the prompt remains. Most students need verbal reminders to stay within the lines for quite awhile, but you should be able to gradually reduce frequency of these reminders.
Once the student learns to colour simple shapes, you may introduce colouring books. You should initially choose colouring books with simple figures, avoiding intricate details. If colouring books with few details are difficult to find, create a colouring book by cutting out single figures from overcrowded colouring books and photocopying these figures onto clean sheets of paper.
After the student masters colouring in a nonverbal imitation format, introduce colouring in a receptive instructions format. For example, teach the student to colour a circle when you request, 'Colour the circle.' Nonverbal imitation may be used as a prompt in the receptive instructions format. To teach the receptive format, follow the procedures described in the Early Receptive Language Program (Chapter 15).
As in all other programs, individual differences become evident in that some students learn to colour nicely inside the borders of shapes and figures within a short time and with minimal prompting, whereas others require days or even months to reach the same level of perfection. Many students need a good deal of extrinsic reinforcement for quite some time before the task becomes reinforcing in and of itself. For others, however, colouring, like drawing, provides its own reinforcement from the very beginning.
Areas of Difficulty
For students who experience difficulty in the early phases of learning to draw, using a slanted work surface such as an easel may make it easier for the student to see your drawings as well as his own responses. Some students like to draw on dry erase sheets (clear plastic) or dry erase boards, and some are motivated (reinforced) by erasing lines contingent on correct drawings.
If the beginning phase of the drawing portion of the program (imitating a vertical line) seems too difficult for the student, place this task on hold and introduce the pre-training step of teaching the student to scribble when you scribble. You should scribble on one side of the paper and the student on the other side. Although the student may have already acquired this form of drawing, this pre-training step may teach the student to pay attention to your actions, which may facilitate learning to imitate drawing lines when this task is reintroduced.
When imitation of drawing a vertical line is reintroduced, the student may be reinforced by being allowed to scribble contingent on correct responding. If the student is reinforced by scribbling, use two sheets of paper, one sheet for imitation of straight lines and the other for scribbling. Scribbling used as a reinforcer may be implemented by quickly switching to the scribbling sheet contingent on the student's correct imitation of your SD.
If the student insists on drawing his line over your line, let him do so in the beginning stages. A visual prompt, such as a thick line down the middle of the paper dividing the student's side from your side, may later be introduced.
Cutting with Scissors
Cutting with scissors is an important skill in a preschool student's repertoire. Drawing, cutting, pasting, and painting are interrelated activities and are included in any preschool curriculum. For example, after drawing and colouring a picture, the student may cut it out, paste it onto paper, and take it home to her parents, giving them an important item for the student's first art portfolio.
Like drawing, cutting with scissors is a task at which some students become proficient without much structured training. Most students, however, need a step-by-step curriculum such as the one presented here. In Phase 1 of the cutting portion of the Arts and Crafts Program, the student learns the very basic step of picking up and holding a pair of scissors correctly. In Phases 2, 3, and 4, the student learns to cut on straight, angled, and curved lines, respectively. In Phase 5, cutting out shapes and simple figures is introduced.
In some instances, the student's level of fine motor ability may prevent her from starting with regular scissors, and pre-training with spring-loaded scissors is recommended. If the student's dexterity allows her to use regular scissors from the beginning, use quality scissors (e.g., Fiskars) as it is extremely frustrating for both you and the student if the scissors do not cut properly or do not open and close smoothly. The scissors should have a small loop for the thumb and a larger loop to fit the index and middle fingers.
Some students are reinforced by watching pieces of paper fall to the floor as they are cut. These students should be taught to cut while sitting on a chair facing you and away from the table so they can see the pieces fall. If such feedback holds no special reinforcement value for the student, prepare other reinforcers and sit behind the student at the table until manual prompts are faded. Then sit next to the student, where it is easier to present less intrusive prompts such as pointing.
Phase 1: Learning To Cut with Scissors While Holding the Paper
Begin by teaching the student to hold the scissors correctly. A model prompt should be attempted initially, as some students succeed with this kind of prompt. Most students, however, are only partially successful with a model prompt and need shaping and more intrusive prompting to be successful. If a hand-over-hand manual prompt is needed, you should practice the following prompt procedures on another adult prior to introducing it to the student because the prompt is somewhat cumbersome and takes practice to use effectively.
Position yourself behind the student and help the student hold the scissors correctly with her thumb through the small loop and her index finger, middle finger, and perhaps ring finger through the large loop of the scissors. The back surface of the student's thumb should always face upward when she cuts. Support the student's hand by cupping your left hand under the big loop of the scissors and around the student's hand. With your left thumb wedged between the handles of the scissors, pry them apart. Quickly put a VS-inch wide strip of index card between the blades using your right hand. (Index cards are thick and small and therefore easy to hold and control.) A '/z-inch wide strip should be used in the initial stages because it can be cut in half with a single snip. Immediately shift the position of your thumb from being wedged between the handles to being placed on top of the small loop with the student's thumb inside, and then push the handle down to cut the paper in half. Concurrent with the manual prompt, you may say, 'Open,' while the student opens the blades and, 'Cut,' while the student cuts the paper. Fade the prompt gradually by providing less and less manual assistance on subsequent trials. Remember to probe with unprompted trials to decrease the number of prompted trials if possible and help avoid prompt dependency.
Once the student can pick up the scissors, hold them correctly, and cut a l^-inch wide index card strip in half while you hold the strip, start teaching the student to hold the strip herself. Teach this step as follows: Instruct the student to pick up the scissors, then give her the strip to hold onto with her free hand. Manually prompt correct responding initially. Fade the prompt gradually by providing less and less assistance on each subsequent trial. Once the student can hold and cut an l/2-inch wide strip of index card independently, gradually widen the strip so that two snips, then three snips, and so on are needed to cut the strip in half. When the student can cut a 3 X 5-inch index card in half across the short side (approximately five to six consecutive snips), proceed to Phase 2.
Phase 2: Cutting on Straight Lines
Prior to teaching Phase 2, the student should have learned in Phase 1 to pick up and hold the scissors correctly as well as to cut an index card in half without your help. For the current phase, draw a '/s-inch thick black line across a 1-inch wide strip of index card and teach the student to cut on the line. Place the card strip and the scissors on the table and instruct, 'Cut line.' If necessary, prompt the response by manually steering the student's hand such that the scissors cut on the line. Fade the prompt over the subsequent trials. Once this skill is mastered, gradually increase the length of the line until the student can cut a line drawn across the short side of a 5 x 8-inch index card while holding the card herself. Gradually reduce the thickness of the line until the student can cut on a line drawn with a standard marker.
Phase 3: Cutting on Angled Lines
To cut on an angled line, the student will have to adjust the card as she cuts the angle. Adjusting the card while cutting takes practice. We recommend starting with only one angle, which requires only one adjustment of the card. Draw a '/s-inch thick, black, angled line across the shorter side of a 3 X 5-inch index card. Instruct, 'Cut line,' while manually prompting the student to adjust the card when the scissors reach the corner of the angle. Fade the prompt. Once this skill is mastered, use a larger index card and add a second angle and then a third. Gradually reduce the thickness of the line until the student can cut angled lines drawn with a standard marker.
Phase 4: Cutting on Curved Lines
Cutting on a curved line requires continuous small adjustments of the card. Therefore, we recommend that the student master cutting lines with angles prior to starting Phase 4. Draw a '/s-inch thick black, wide, curved line across the shorter side of a 3 x 5-inch index card, and follow the same teaching procedures described in Phase 3. Gradually increase the bend in the curve after the student has mastered the initial curve. As the student progresses, introduce larger index cards with more compressed curves and then multiple curves.
Phase 5: Cutting out Simple Shapes and Figures
With the cutting skills the student has acquired up to this point, cutting out simple shapes and figures should be introduced. Draw, for example, a triangle in the middle of a 4 X 6-inch index card and follow the same teaching procedures described in Phase 3 for cutting angled lines. Once the student can cut out triangles, teach her to cut out squares, rectangles, and circles. Finally, teach the student to cut out shapes she draws herself. Generalize the student's skills to cutting out shapes drawn onto 5x8-inch index cards, then onto 5 X 8-inch pieces of construction paper, and finally onto thick art paper. Later, teach the student to cut out pictures from magazines.
Gluing may be taught concurrently with cutting or after the student learns to cut out simple shapes. It may be helpful to provide the student with visual prompt by using white (e.g., Elmer's) glue on coloured paper, making the glue clearly visible. Relatively large pictures should be made available for gluing, as smaller pictures may be difficult for the student to pick up.
To teach the student to glue, have the following supplies available: white glue, coloured paper, a paper plate or shallow bowl, and two paint brushes. Begin by pouring some glue onto the plate or bowl, dipping the brush into the glue, and then applying it to the paper. Concurrent with these actions, instruct, 'Brush,' and immediately provide a manual prompt if needed to help the student pick up the brush, dip it into the glue, and apply the glue onto the paper. Next, give the instruction 'Glue' and prompt by giving the student a picture and indicating to her (e.g., by pointing) where to attach the picture. The student may need prompting to position the picture face up on the paper (to some students it is not initially obvious which side of the picture should touch the glue).
It may be easier for some students to glue objects other than pictures onto the paper. If this is true for the student you work with, use materials such as cotton balls, coloured strings, ribbons, confetti, buttons, glitter, feathers, and macaroni. The student may also be taught to use various kinds of glue sticks, starting with the application of glue from coloured glue sticks onto white paper and then progressing to the application of clear glue from glue sticks onto any kind of paper. In addition, the student can be taught to use glue when decorating figures she has drawn herself. For example, the student may decorate a person she has drawn by gluing on cotton for hair and applying glitter to the person's clothing.
Painting is a fun activity for most young students and is in and of itself a loosely structured activity. Students usually apply paint freely onto paper, mixing colours in the paint jars as well as on the paper. To maintain some organization and help the student stay in control of his play with paint, you must usually introduce some structure into the activity. This may be done by, for example, teaching the student to match brushes with paint on them to jars or plates with corresponding colours. This type of discrimination does not come without practice for any individual. You must decide whether each particular student is ready to learn this type of discrimination at the: of this portion of the Arts and Crafts Program, or whether the student should first be taught to use a brush
I apply paint to a sheet of paper. In this section, we derive a way for you to instruct the student to keep the sheet with the paint it was paired with initially and apply the paint to paper.
To teach the student to match brushes to their corresponding paint jars, start with a format similar to that used I in matching colours (see Chapter 12). Place two to three plates or wide, shallow jars containing paints of different colours on the table. Dip the tips of the brushes into the paint jars, present the instruction 'Match,' and give the student one brush at a time to match to each respective plate or jar. After these discriminations are mastered, teach the student to respond to the instruction 'Paint.' Place a large sheet of white paper in front of the student, give the instruction, then prompt the correct response, which is to pick up a clean brush, dip it into the paint, apply the paint to the paper, and return the brush to the correct jar. You may prompt by using modelling (i.e., nonverbal imitation). If a model prompt is insufficient, however, the skill may be taught through backward chaining. To use this procedure, teach each behaviour separately, beginning with the last behaviour in the sequence, placing the brush in the correct jar. Then chain the second and third behaviours, applying paint to paper and returning the brush to the correct jar. Finally, chain the first behaviour to the already combined last two behaviours such that all three behaviours (picking up the brush, painting, and returning the brush to the jar) are cued by the instruction, 'Paint.' If necessary, prompt the student to put the brush back in the correct jar by saying, 'Match' or 'Put with same.'
Once the student masters painting at the table, teach him to apply paint to paper on an easel. Appropriate painting for a preschool-age student is to apply paint freely to the paper, 'expressionist' style. The student may later be taught to paint figures in the same manner he was taught to draw figures.
It is not uncommon for students with developmental delays to show a special interest in letters. Some students enjoy letter puzzles, others line up plastic letters on magnetic boards in the correct alphabetical order without being specifically taught to do so, and still others are fascinated by letters displayed on television or videotapes and in books (in technical terms, certain visual forms possess reinforcing properties). Such students are often more motivated to learn to write letters than students who do not display an interest in letters. However, many students develop an interest in letters as they become directly exposed to them through the various programs in this manual (technically speaking, exposure to the stimuli sensitizes the student to the reinforcing properties of the stimuli).
Note that, although learning to write letters and words is initiated in this portion of the Arts and Crafts Program, learning the meaning of written words is largely postponed until the Reading and Writing Program (Chapter 29) is introduced. We recommend teaching the student to write uppercase letters in the early stages of this portion of the program because uppercase letters are typically easier to write than lowercase letters.
Before beginning the current portion of the Arts and Crafts Program, we recommend that the student acquire the following prerequisite skills: First, the student should learn to attend to and discriminate among the letters of the alphabet as demonstrated through mastery of uppercase letter-to-letter matching (see Matching and Sorting, Chapter 12). Second, the student should master the nonverbal imitation of two-part chains (at least) because you will model chaining separate lines of a letter together in this portion of the program. Third, the student should master the receptive identification of letters (see Receptive Identification of Objects, Chapter 17). Lastly, the student should be proficient at generalized imitation of single behaviours (i.e., the student can imitate novel motions with little or no prompting).
In the phases presented below, the writing tasks are sequenced in order of apparent difficulty, with drawing of straight-lined uppercase letters first (i.e., E, F, H, I, L, T), letters with curved lines next (i.e., B, C, D, G, J, O, P, Q, R, S, U), and letters with diagonal lines last (i.e., A, K, M, N, V, W, X, Y, Z). Many letters of the alphabet may be taught by the use of forward chaining procedures. Prompts that tend to be effective for teaching the student to write longhand are common to all phases of this portion of the program and are described at the end of this chapter in the section 'Areas of Difficulty.'
Phase 1: Writing Letters with Straight Lines
Uppercase letters composed of vertical and horizontal straight lines (i.e., E, F, H, I, L, T) should be taught first. We suggest starting with the letter 'T' and breaking it down into two separate components (i.e., a horizontal line and a vertical line). Present the instruction 'Do this' while drawing a short horizontal line from left to right. Prompt if necessary. Once the student correctly imitates the horizontal line, present the second SD by instructing, 'Do this,' while drawing a vertical line down from the centre of the horizontal line, completing the letter 'T.' Prompt if necessary.
Once the student masters the letter 'T' as two separate imitations, chain the two imitations together by following the procedures described in the section of the Nonverbal Imitation Program on chaining two-part imitations. Specifically, give the instruction, 'Do this,' while drawing the short horizontal line and then immediately draw the longer vertical line down from the centre of the horizontal line. Prompt if necessary and fade the prompt over subsequent trials. Remember to probe with unprompted trials in an attempt to decrease the number of prompted trials and help avoid prompt dependency. Reinforce the student contingent on her completion of both lines. Teach the second letter in the same manner, followed by intermixing the first and the second letters according to the discrimination learning paradigm.
Teach the remaining letters composed of horizontal and vertical lines, focusing on one letter at a time and using the same procedures described above. Once the student can imitate your writing of uppercase letters with straight horizontal and vertical lines move on to Phase 2.
Phase 2: Writing Letters with Curved Lines
By following the procedures outlined in this phase, the student is taught to write letters with curved lines (i.e., B, C, D, G, J, O, P, Q, R, S, U). We suggest starting with the letter 'C.' Present the SD ('Do this' while writing a 'C'). Placing large dots where the 'C' should begin and end may reduce the likelihood that the student will overextend her stroke and write an 'O.' Gradually fade all prompts over trials. Intermix writing 'C' with letters already mastered in Phase 1. Teach the remaining letters in Phase 2 in the same manner, using chaining procedures when necessary.
Phase 3: Writing Letters with Diagonal Lines
In this phase, letters that have diagonal lines are taught (i.e., A, K, M, N, V, W, X, Y, Z). We recommend beginning with the letter 'K.' Start by breaking the 'K' down into three components (i.e., a vertical line and two diagonal lines). Present the SD by saying, 'Do this,' while drawing the vertical line of the 'K' from the top down. Once the student learns to correctly imitate this line unprompted, present the second SD by saying, 'Do this,' while drawing the upper diagonal line down to the centre of the vertical line. After the student correctly imitates this line without prompting, present the next SD, which consists of saying, 'Do this,' while drawing the last diagonal line down from the centre of the vertical line, completing the letter 'K.' Provide the amount of prompting needed for the student to respond correctly.
Once the student correctly imitates the letter 'K' when presented as three separate components, begin chaining the SD. Start this procedure by presenting the SD for the first two behaviours ('Do this' while drawing the vertical line and the upper diagonal line). Once you complete both lines, the student should begin drawing her lines in imitation. Upon the student's correct drawing of both lines completed as one response, present the next SD, which consists of saying, 'Do this,' while drawing the lower diagonal line, completing the letter. Finally, chain all three lines together with the presentation of one SD ('Do this' while writing the entire letter 'K'). Provide reinforcement contingent on the student's completion of the entire letter as one response. Intermix writing 'K' with letters already mastered in Phases 1 and 2. Teach the remaining letters in Phase 3 using the procedures described above, focusing on one letter at a time.
Phase 4: Writing Letters in Response to the Teacher's Receptive Instruction
Prior to the introduction of Phase 4, the student should have mastered receptive labelling of letters (in accordance with the procedures described in Receptive Labelling of Objects, Chapter 17) and writing letters through imitation (as described in the previous three phases). In this phase, teach the student to write letters in response to your receptive instruction (e.g., 'Write A'). Prompt by either modelling the response or by showing the student an 'A' printed on a card. The former prompt may be faded by gradually lightening the letter over subsequent trials; the latter prompt may be faded by providing the student with less and less time to view the card or by gradually sliding a blank card over the letter card until the letter is completely covered.
Phase 5: Writing Words
Teach the student to write words, starting with short words such as 'UP,' 'ON,' and 'TO.' After saying, 'Do this,' while writing a word such as 'UP,' prompt the student to copy the word from left to right. If the student starts with the last letter, interrupt her response immediately and prompt the correct sequence on the next trial by pointing to each letter from left to right or by placing a blank card over the word and uncovering it one letter at a time from left to right. Once the student can copy several two-letter words independently, go on to three-letter combinations such as 'MOM,' 'DAD,' 'CAT,' and 'DOG.'
Phase 6: Writing the Student's Name
Once the student can write letters by following your receptive instructions as described in Phase 4 and imitate writing short words as taught in Phase 5, teaches the student to write her own name through imitation. If, after you give the SD ('Do this' while writing the student's name), the student starts her response by imitating the last letter or any letter other than the first one, interrupt her response immediately and prompt the correct sequence. Provide a visual prompt for the correct sequence of the letters in the student's name by pointing to each letter from left to right. If necessary, cover all the letters in the student's name except the first letter and disclose the remaining letters one by one as the student writes. Fade the former prompt by gradually pointing to fewer and fewer letters; fade the latter prompt over trials by exposing two letters, then three letters, and so on, until the student's full name is finally exposed.
Phase 7: Writing in Response to the Teacher's Receptive Instruction
After the student can copy a number of short words and her name correctly from left to right, teach her to write these words in response to receptive instructions, such as 'Write cat' or 'Write your name.' This skill may be taught by presenting the verbal instruction while visually prompting the correct response through use of a card with the word printed on it. Fade the prompt card using the procedure described in Phase 4.
Once the student masters the writing tasks presented in this section, her writing skills will be equivalent to those of a typical 5-year-old. Procedures for teaching advanced writing skills will be presented in an upcoming volume on advanced programs.
Areas of Difficulty
Many students need visual prompts such as pre-drawn dotted letters for quite some time when they learn to write letters. If the student has problems restricting the size of her letters once the dotted letters are faded, prompt the appropriate size (e.g., 5 inches tall) by teaching the student to write within squares made of thick black lines pre-drawn on the paper. Gradually fade the thickness of the lines to regular pencil lines. Once this skill is acquired, reduce the distance between the lines to 3 inches or less, depending on the student's age and fine motor ability. Eventually fade the lines completely.
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