Task Analysis and Task Chaining Procedures in ABA

forward chain backward chain total task chain behavior chain interruption strategy

Understanding Task Analysis and Task Chain Strategies

Task analysis in applied behavior analysis play a crucial role in teaching complex behaviors by breaking down complex skills into smaller, manageable steps which we call behavior chains. This blog explains the creation of of behavior chains, the methods for teaching behavior chains, and selecting chaining procedures. Whether you’re a registered behavior technician, behavior analyst, parent, or other educator, task chaining is an effective method to teach complex skills.

How to Conduct a Task Analysis

A task analysis is what occurs prior to teaching a behavior chain. When a task analysis is conducted, a particular behavior is broken into steps. These steps are then used to create a behavior chain. The number of steps, the difficulty of the steps, and the intensity of the steps are all dependent on the individual needs of the learner. There are multiple ways you can conduct a task analysis including: 1) observing a competent individual performing the behavior 2) observing yourself performing the behavior or 3) observing an expert performing the behavior. If you work with young learners, or impacted learners, then observing individuals of the same age or development level can lead to an ineffective or inaccurate chain.

What are the Different Types of Task Chains?

Task chains can be taught in multiple ways. The main idea behind task chains is you want to reinforce the target behavior upon completion. The first way you can teach a task chain is through forward task chaining. Forward task chaining involves teaching the first step in a chain first, reinforcing when that step is done independently, and then moving onto the second step. Forward task chaining is the most common way to teach. Backwards task chaining occurs when you start with the last step in the chain, and work backwards. The learner is reinforced for completing the last step, and then the last two steps, and so on. This is a good method to use to prevent escape. You can also use total task chaining to teach the entire chain all at once. This is good for highly competent learners or learners who know most of the steps in a chain already. As always, the teaching method is dependent on the learner’s needs and your goals as a RBT or BCBA.

What is a Behavior Chain Interruption Strategy?

A behavior chain interruption strategy (BCIS) is a method of evoking novel behaviors from learners. A BCIS involves intentionally interrupting a task chain while a learner is performing the chain. The idea is that the learner will now have to engage in a different, novel behavior to complete the chain. Before using a BCIS, the learner should have mastered all the essential steps in the chain. A behavior chain interruption strategy is an excellent way to promote generalization of behavior chains.

The Importance of Task Chains in Behavior Analysis

Behavior chains and task analyses are essential parts of any good treatment plan in ABA. Whether you are a RBT or a BCBA, you will work with task chains on a regular basis. Task chains are an excellent way to teach individuals with disabilities or without disabilities complex skills.

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