Phone: 718.554.1027 Email: info@brooklynautismcenter.org    

Teaching Toleration

Tip of the Week:  TEACHING TOLERATION

This week’s tip is teaching toleration of new or non-preferred tasks or activities.  Many of our students (as well as the rest of us!) have difficulties when tasked with experiencing something new (e.g. wearing a mask) or non-preferred (e.g. eating vegetables).  Below outlines the steps to take when trying to get your student to tolerate these situations.  These tips can be applied to any new or non-preferred experience, but I have outlined a few in more detail below.  If you have any questions or would like advice tolerating specific situations, please feel free to reach out to your clinical supervisors or myself. 
 
General Steps:

  1. Determine the goal (e.g. wearing a mask for 1 hour, going to the dentist, eating a full plate of a new food)
  2. Determine reinforcement that will be provided for tolerating the steps of the new or non-preferred activity (praise, snacks, tokens, etc.)
  3. Break the goal down into small teachable steps (see below for examples)
  4. Introduce each step one at a time
  5. If the individual tolerates the first step without challenging behaviors, provide reinforcement.
  6. After the individual is consistently tolerating the first step, move on to the next.
  7. Continue moving through each step as the steps before are being tolerated.
  8. Generalize the skill by making sure the individual can do it across different environments and with different people

Helpful Tips:

  1. Visuals can be used (e.g. social story with pictures of the activity, token board, timers)
  2. Video models to show someone actually going through the same steps
  3. Don’t move too quickly to the next step as this may scare the individual off trying it
  4. Pair the activity with something preferred (watching a video, playing a game, playing music, etc.)
  5. Have the individual help prepare the new activity (e.g. make the mask, prep the food etc.)
  6. Imitation can be helpful to teach toleration.  So, you complete the action and have your child copy.
  7. Practice skills first in the home or school setting before going to the final destination (e.g. hair salon)

 
EXAMPLES OF STEPS FOR TOLERATION
 
Wearing a mask:

  1. Allow the mask to be out next to the individual
  2. Touch the mask
  3. Hold the mask while counting up to 5
  4. Bring the mask to touch the face
  5. Hold the mask against the face while counting up to 5
  6. Put one ear strap around the ear
  7. Put one ear strap around the ear and hold the mask against the face while counting to 5
  8. Put the second ear strap around the other ear
  9. Put both ear straps around the ear and hold the mask against the face while counting to 5
  10. Wear the mask for 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 min, etc.
  11. Generalize wearing the mask across different environments and with different people 

Eating new food:

  1. Allow the food to be out next to the individual
  2. Touch the food
  3. Hold the food while counting up to 5
  4. Bring the food close to the face while counting up to 5
  5. Touch the food to the lips
  6. Lick the food
  7. Take one tiny bite of the food
  8. Take a larger bite of the food
  9. Eat one half of the food, etc.

Getting a haircut:

  1. Walk into the salon
  2. Wait in the waiting area
  3. Sit in the barber chair
  4. Wash hair
  5. Brush hair
  6. Cut hair
  7. Dry hair