Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar


  • Mary Jane WeissEmail author
  • Samantha Russo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_1907-3


Chaining refers to a variety of procedures for teaching behavior chains. A behavior chain is a series of responses in which each step serves both as a reinforcer for the previous step and as a discriminative stimulus for the next step (e.g., Cooper et al. 2007). The reinforcer delivered at the end of the chain maintains all of the previous responses in the chain.

It is important to teach behavior chains for complex sequences of responses that must be maintained at independent levels. Chaining procedures are used to teach many multistep skills, including self-help and daily living skills. The most common variations of chaining are forward and backward chaining. Task analysis is an essential component of chaining. The determination of steps in a chain that will be taught sequentially is complex and must be done competently.

In forward chaining, the sequence of actions is taught in temporal order. The learner is prompted and taught to perform the first step in the chain; the...

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References and Reading

  1. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral StudiesEndicott CollegeBeverlyUSA
  2. 2.Endicott CollegeBeverlyUSA