Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to have Martha join our team of TAGteach Instructors as a Faculty Member. Martha has made a huge contribution to the development of TAGteach for autism.
By Martha Gabler MA, TAGteach Faculty
My name is Martha Gabler. My husband and I are the parents of two boys. The younger one, now 20 years old, was diagnosed at age 3 as having severe autism and being profoundly non-verbal. He had all the common difficult behaviors typical of children with autism, including self-injury and aggression.
By sheer chance, I learned about TAGteach and realized instantly that this method for positive behavior change could be a huge help for us. This turned out to be the case. My son is now a delightful, happy teen who loves life and loves going places. He still has autism, but life is much, much better for us all.
Here is a video that shows my son Doug going for a walk with his friend Anne and listening to his music. I had to teach him the skills for safe walking and sitting still to listen to music; now he can apply these and gain enjoyment from them independently.
When my son was younger, during the time I think of as the dreadful early years, his behavior consisted almost solely of running, screaming, making noises, hitting himself and sometimes others. I was desperate to do something as simple as go for a walk, go to the grocery store, or get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. By the time Douglas was eight we were physically isolated, exhausted and frustrated. As many autism families do, we met with massive bureaucratic and financial obstacles to get the scientifically-based, professional help that we required. I realized that we were on own and it was up to me to figure out a way to help Doug.
I discovered a method called TAGteach (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance) about 10 years ago. I found it to be a simple, inexpensive way for us to implement proven procedures to help Douglas be calm and confident and able to engage in normal family activities.
I wrote two books, created a blog, created an online course and a free video series so that all autism parents can learn to use TAGteach to work with their children at home during those times when a professional behavior therapist is not available. I worked hard, did a lot of research and eventually succeeded in my goal of improving our home life, being able to go out into the community, and enjoying life as a family. I know that regardless of the challenges you face with your child, that you can do it too, using the tools I share in my books, website, course and webinars.
What Others are Saying
“This will be a helpful tool for parents of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum. I found many simple statements to be profoundly impactful and will certainly be recommending this book to parents overwhelmed by the big picture of changing behavior. It is one thing to hear how to break tasks down from a behavior analyst and, I believe, quite another to hear it from a parent that has overcome the obstacles of the daily struggles that autism involves. Thank you!”
Heather Griffin, MS, BCBA
Clinical Director of Northeast Florida Services
Behavior Management Consultants, Inc.
“I am on the Autism Spectrum. I’m both high and low functioning but have achieved a level of integration in ‘normal’ or neurotypical society because of my higher functioning attributes. It has been a difficult path to walk alone though. If TAGteach had been around when I was a kid I may have a had an even more successful, less frustrating, anxiety ridden childhood and been a higher achiever than I currently am.”
Martha’s Free Video Series
Martha has created many resources for parents. The best way to get a quick look and a deeper understanding of how TAGteach works and what Martha has done with her son is to watch her free Video series.