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Imitation1

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  • 1. The Use of Imitation in Learning aka: modeling, observational learning
  • 2. Imitation (definition) Any physical movement that serves as a novel model, that is similar to model, and follows occurrence of model immediately. Imitative behavior is new behavior emitted following novel event.
  • 3. Immediacy Why’s it important? Imitation occurs immediately after a response. A delayed behavior is not an imitation. Delayed responses are a learned behavior, not an imitated behavior. A child may imitate to learn how to ride a bike. But, any time after that he is not imitating the riding behavior, he has learned how to ride.
  • 4. Children Learn Through Imitation Most of children’s important physical development milestones occur through modeling. Children observe parents performing novel events Children attempt to imitate parents actions Successful completion earns them praise (positive reinforcement) Imitation now becomes differentially reinforced (parents reinforce all actions that resemble event being imitated)
  • 5. Shaping and Chaining Use Imitation Shaping and chaining are two methods that teach children to perform novel task, using differential reinforcement Shaping-Producing a behavior through a series of successful approximations that resemble behavior being taught Chaining- Procedures that teach behavior chains Shaping is used to teach smaller units that lead to a large behavior chain. But how is imitation used?
  • 6. Shaping, Chaining, & Imitation cont… Imitation is used to present novel model of behavior. The big picture: Behavior chains are made up of different classes of actions. Each class is shaped, which sometimes uses imitation to model each small approximate unit until it resembles terminal (final) behavior.
  • 7. What if your child cannot imitate? Developmentally disabled children and infants cannot, or do not, imitate. What’s this mean? Without an imitative repertoire, they have difficulty with anything beyond basic skills. When this happens we use IMITATION TRAINING
  • 8. Imitation Training In imitation training it is not important what behavior is being modeled. Only important the person learns to imitate the behavior of the modeler. Taking the emphasize off of behavior we are attempting to enable the children to generalize the behavior of imitation. (Generalize- what is learned or reinforced is applicable in all settings, and across all behavior classes)
  • 9. Imitation Training Guidelines  Brief and Active Sessions  10-15min sessions  Multiple times daily  Only a few seconds between trials  Reinforce Imitative and Prompted Responses  No matter whether it was a prompted or imitated response, reinforce all instances of imitative behavior that occurred 3 to 5s after model
  • 10. Pair Tangible Reinforcer with Verbal Praise/Attention When reinforcing imitative behaviors, pair the tangible reinforcer presented with praise or attention Children more likely to participate in training when followed by preferred activity Progress breaks down, back up and move ahead slowly When progress breaks down, move to the last successful step. When the last step is achieved move ahead slowly. Break downs occur because of satiation, distractions, or to complex task.
  • 11. Fade Prompts and Physical Guidance Throughout most of the training you will be using verbal prompts, and possible physical guidance to assist in mastery of a step. Now is the time to fade those out. Slowly remove the prompts/guidance. Goal is for the child to imitate task on their own. End Training When imitation begins to occur without any prompts, it is time to stop the training. Hopefully, with successful training, children will imitate on their own, and develop skills far beyond a basic level.
  • 12. Imitative Behavior vs. Controlling Response Now is a good time to discuss the difference between an imitative behavior and a controlling response These behaviors are very similar and are often times confused. A controlling response is a behavior that is evoked that is similar to the behavior of the model, but not the same. An imitative behavior must follow immediately after and be a complete replication of model’s behavior.
  • 13. Imitation Reminders It is not imitation if it does not follow the behavior of the model. If it occurs in the absence of the model it is not imitative behavior, it is a learned response. Imitative behavior accounts for how children learn to do almost everything. If not properly modeled difficulties may arise that could lead to difficulties developing an appropriate imitative repertoire.
  • 14. How children use imitation When learning to speak children imitate sounds that parents and caregivers make. Doing so allows them to develop and expand their vocabulary. Children learn to smile, clap their hands, and make silly faces by observing the actions of their mothers and fathers.
  • 15. In closing, take a look at the following video of possibly the cutest baby ever and decide, imitation or not? www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa5rNwtJB_Q
  • 16. References Berk, L., (2008). Infants, Children, and Adolescents. 6th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., Heward, W.L., (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis. 2nd edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Education, Inc.