Sequencing strategy in applied behavior analysis

Sequencing Strategy In Applied Behavior Analysis

Getting ready to go out may seem simple to most people: “Get dressed and go!” , But on the other hand, such an activity may seem complicated to some learners, and performing such an activity may take more than the expected time. Therefore, some individuals may need more instructions on how to wear clothes (such as long pants, shirts, (socks and shoes) and others may need more step-by-step instructions for each of these tasks, All of these tasks can be considered an example of a behavior sequence.

What is the sequence of behavior?

Behavior sequencing is a type of teaching procedure used to link and group individual behaviors into more complex responses. Therefore, any procedure that requires the individual to produce more than one response or behavior can be taught through a serial procedure, and this is called the behavior sequence.

Complex behavior such as washing hands, tying shoes, or brushing teeth consists of many small individual steps. These small individual steps can be taught using the sequencing strategy, and this strategy enables the learner to complete complex behaviors to a greater degree.

Why do we use a sequencing strategy?

Behavior sequencing makes more complex tasks more achievable. When it comes to teaching new tasks like “how to tie a shoe,” It may be difficult for some individuals to complete all the new steps given.

When using a behavior sequence to teach the “tie the shoe” sequence, The specialist or teacher must focus on smaller, manageable teaching steps by building skill and confidence in the learner, Therefore, the child will be taught to do each step independently every time. While receiving assistance during the other steps of the sequence, There are some exceptions to this rule.

Types of behavior sequencing strategy

There are different types of sequencing procedures and these procedures include:

Forward sequence

In the forward sequence, the specialist teaches the first step of the sequence to the learner, Where the learner applies the first step in the sequence, The specialist will then complete the remaining steps in the sequence.

Once the learner has mastered the first step of the sequence, He is taught to complete the two steps, after which the specialist completes the remaining steps. This pattern continues until the sequence is performed completely and independently by the learner.

Overall sequence

Total chaining is a type of forward chaining, The specialist teaches the learner each step in the sequence of behavior or complex tasks.

The overall sequence gives the learner an opportunity to practice each step one at a time in the sequence.

Back sequence

The backward chain is the opposite of the forward chain, Where the specialist performs all the steps in sequence, Except for the last step of the sequence.

Once the learner has mastered the final step of the sequence, The specialist completes all steps except for the last two steps in the sequence, which are completed by the learner. This pattern continues until the sequence is performed completely and independently by the learner.

Sequence with steps forward

Some individuals may require extensive education on each step in the chain, While others may have some stored steps, Therefore, when teaching individual steps, the teacher or specialist can skip some teaching steps to increase the effectiveness of teaching complex behavior.

Sequence with a specified period

The learner must complete some activities within a specified period of time to deliver reinforcement, This procedure can be used to increase the effectiveness of the learner’s performance during the sequence.

Example: Eat ice cream before it melts.

Behavior chain interruption strategy

After a series of behavior has been taught, The learner can complete all steps of the sequence independently, There are some times when there is an interruption, Some individuals can complete tasks where they left off.

The trainer can add some interruptions during the sequence to see if the learner can complete the remaining steps in the sequence from where they left off.

Example: While washing clothes, The phone rings and the phone here is interrupting one’s routine work, Once the call ended he finished doing the laundry.

Note The sequence can be used with shaping procedures.

How do we choose the sequence type?

With so many different types of sequencing procedures, It comes to mind, how can we choose among them and what is the best choice for the skill and for the learner?

When it comes to acquiring skills, Backward sequencing is usually used in this way the learner accesses reinforcement immediately after completing the step.

Example: Use the backward sequence when teaching the skill of tying shoes. The specialist completes all the steps until the last step (pulling the lace until the knot is tightened), Reinforcement is provided to the learner immediately.

When it comes to removing something like an allergy, Forward chaining is usually used and in this way the learner can build on their existing skills.

Example: Use the forward sequence when visiting the doctor, The learner only needs to complete the first step in the series (walking to the waiting room), Once you have mastered and completed the first step independently, The specialist works on the first two steps (enter the waiting room and give your name to the reception staff).

The learner is not expected to have to go to a doctor’s office, wait, and sit on an examination table while the skills do not exist in the individual to begin with.

The role of reinforcement in sequencing

The specialist must provide immediate reinforcement to the learner while the steps of the sequence are completed by the learner.

When sequencing behavior, Where each step is the discriminative stimulus (SD) for the next step in the sequence, And the reinforcer (SR) for the previous step.


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