When parents come to us, they often ask what precision teaching means and why we use it.
Precision teaching heavily emphasizes driving progress by continuously reviewing how each child is doing. One of our most important features is the philosophy that “the learner is always right.” When things aren’t going as expected, we don’t blame the child (or learner). As clinicians, we assess the environment and each child’s skill set and reflect on the directions we provide and the child’s reaction. It’s our responsibility to make changes to our program to create the experience the child needs to learn. Each child is unique, and it is our job to make learning fun.
Sometimes, it is clear that the learner is telling us something is wrong with our therapy program or that they just don’t want to do it.
But isn’t it bad if the child refuses or says no to participating? Absolutely not! We at Bierman Autism Centers believe that the learner is always right, so if the child is communicating to us that they do not want to participate or something is too hard (assent withdrawal), we will then pivot in a new direction. Our job is to determine why they didn’t like it and make the appropriate changes.
We never want the therapy we provide to be cookie-cutter and one-size-fits. It is our responsibility to create individualized goals and strategies that align with each family’s needs and future goals. Each child is unique and should learn in the best way for them.
Precision teaching creates a positive and supportive environment to create appropriate behavioral changes. We can track the rate of change as each child learns a new skill. This allows us to constantly make changes to ensure we make progress meaningful to the children and families we work with.
So let’s dive into an example of this:
We are working on completing a puzzle. The child starts to become visibly upset and pushes the puzzle away. Instead of continuing to try that same puzzle, we might check to ensure that we didn’t try a puzzle that was too hard. If we determine that they do have the skills, we might teach them to ask for help, maybe it was that they couldn’t figure out just one piece or find the piece that they needed. We could even find puzzles that have some of their favorite characters on them to make the activity more enjoyable.