A spoon full of discrete trial helps the medicine go down

We have been working with our boys with discrete trial for 2 1/2 years. Discrete trial consists of a discriminative stimulus, the instruction or cue to what you would like the child to do. Prompting stimulus-put ball in cup. Response, the skill or behavior that you are working on. Reinforcement stimulus, a reward or treat to motivate the child to respond correctly. For more information visit http://www.polyxo.com/discretetrial/

The boys have made tremendous gains in skills and behaviors. It is hard work, but we have become believers in the discrete trial method. This just shows how effective discrete trial can be with children on the spectrum. It may take many trials and reinforcement, but they respond to the trial and meet the goal.

We have many nutritional deficiencies between both the boys. So, getting all those supplements into 2 kids is a challenge. Tristan will take anything in a drink. Hunter, however, is a master at detecting hidden tastes in his drinks. He often refuses to drink a tainted drink. Then a battle arises and ends with everyone losing. Money is wasted when the drink is dumped down the drain.

We have prayed for the day when Hunter will actually swallow a pill. Recently, he has more of his supplements wasted than ingested, so I decided to try a pill. Now, I did this knowing that it might come right back out, but I gave it a shot with an empty capsule. I had read about parents placing pill in a small medicine cup with a drink of the child’s choice. Pretty much like taking a shot with a pill.

I was prepared for projectile vomit, but, to my surprise, he swallowed the pill like a champ. I was so excited at this triumph. One trial had been successful. So, I decided to try with a few more real capsules. He also swallowed those with very little gag reflex. I praised him and let him pick his treat out of treat box. This was a major deal for a kid with oral sensory issues. We felt like we conquered the world.

The key for us with discrete trial training is finding the most wanted reinforcers for our kids. Also, finding a small box to put them in and giving out children a sense of control of the reward has helped reach goals. Any reinforcers can be used, some choose food, candy, small trinkets, or stickers.

The sky is the limit with reinforcers. Try to keep certain reinforcers for special things. I used popsicles as a reinforcer for potty training our oldest son. For Tristan, I used Starburst. This helped them crave that most wanted prize even more and want to work for it. Hunter loves to get a sticker for one thing and a quarter for school. Whatever works best for your family. There are many options for therapies. Find what works best for you and good luck.


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