ABA Technique: Behavior Chaining

Behavior Chaining

One of the ABA Techniques used for children with difficulties is Behavior Changing. Behavior chaining is a technique where there is a specific sequence of responses in which the completion of each response provides a cue to engage in the next response.


Behavior chaining breaks down complex skills or behavior into smaller units for easier learning. Following the completion of each unit, a reward is given.


For example, the skill you wish to teach is handwashing. To achieve it, we break down the process into small steps like:

  • Going to the bathroom
  • Turning on the faucet
  • Putting soap in your hand
  • Rubbing your hands with soap
  • Rinse with water


There are also 3 types of behavior changing namely: forward chaining, backward chaining, and total task chaining.


Forward chaining is teaching a behavior chain beginning with the first step. It’s recommended that the child can successfully complete more steps at the start of the behavior chain.


Backward chaining teaches the step first. Once learned the second to the last step is taught. Then the third to the last step is taught. The advantage of this is for the learner to always “know” what the next step is whenever a new step is learned.


Lastly, the Total Task Chaining. The child is guided or prompted through the entire behavior chain without requiring that each step is learned before proceeding to the next. As the child learns each step, guidance or prompting is removed.