The following information is taken from chapter eight of Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities, 4th ed.
Seven Tips for Generalization Programming (p.202-203)
- Teach relevant skills
- Modify environments supporting challenging behaviors
- Recruit communities of natural reinforcers
- Use sufficient stimulus exemplars
- Use sufficient response exemplars
- Use indiscriminable contingencies
- Use common physical and social stimuli
General Case Programming (p.206-208)
"The general case method, or general case programming, has proved to be one of the most successful methods for promoting generalization by persons with severe disabilities...The strategy requires that the practitioner undertake a process to ensure that the skills acquired can be demonstrated in any environment or under any condition in which they are needed...Although the process is complicated, it provides the most empirically validated method for achieving generalization" (p.205-206, 208). The following steps are taken mostly verbatim (but abridged) from Westling and Fox's text.
- Define the instructional universe: determine all the locations, persons, conditions, and/or other situations in which the student is expected to demonstrate a particular learned skill and also what type of variation in the skill may be necessary.
- Define the range of relevant stimuls and response variation: considr all relevant aspects of all the settings or conditions in the instructional universe in which generalization is to occur and also the variations in actiions that may need to occur. There must be an identification of aspects of the environement that are likely to influence the successful performance of the learner, how these will vary, and the ways in which the learner will respond to the different stimuli. Substeps: identify generic responses, list all discriminative stimuli that could prompt the target responses, list variations of stimulus classes, oultine ways in which learner might respond, and finally generate a list of anticipated problems, errors, and exceptions.
- Select examples for teaching and probe testing: having identified relevant stimuli and response variations, the teacher must select one set of examples from the instructional universe for use in teaching and one set for probe testing. Both sets must reflect the range of conditions that exist within the universe and all behaviors that may be required...In teaching the generalizationof some skills, it is important to have two tpyes of teaching examples: positive examples and negative examples. Positive: when the behavior should occur. Negative: when the behavior should not occur. Start with greater range of difference and then gradually reduce to build discrimination skills.
- Sequence the teaching examples: sequence examples in an appropriate order. Here are five guidelines from Albin: teach multiple components of an activity within an instructional session, present variations within individual sessions, juxtapose the most similar positive and negative examples, use cummulative programming to build in new examples, and teach the general case before teaching exceptions.
- Teach the sequence that was developed: use the methods of acquisition described earlier. Use the appropriate stimuli to ensure proper generalization.
- Test using the nontrained probe examples: determine whether generalization has occuredy by examing the student's performance under each relevant condition initially identified.
Six Strategies for Teaching Skill Maintenance (p.208-210)
- Skill overlearning
- Learning through distributed practice
- Intermittent reinforcement
- Building on learned skills
- Using a maintenance schedule
- Using the skill at home and elsewhere