Understanding Problems
Learning Social Rules
Establishing Relationships
FAR Ideas
Using FAR at Home
Getting Started & Intro
Find the Key
Clean the Room
Activity Sheets
Library of Activity Sheets
GoFAR Forms
Do2Learn Resources

Session 5 - Using Far at Home

How Do We Use FAR at Home?

To use FAR at home, we have to decide on Behaviors that need to be changed.  We call these Targeted Problem Behaviors.

When picking a problem behavior to target, start with the most important. Here are some ways to prioritize a behavior problem:

  • Behaviors that threaten the child’s well-being.
  • Behaviors that threaten other people’s well-being.
  • Behaviors that are disruptive and cause havoc for the family.
  • Small behaviors that changing would make the family and child feel things are getting better.

You can use the Problem Behavior Identification Sheet and the Task Analysis Sheet to help you with this part. 

Problem Behavior Identification

This Problem Behavior Identification Sheet can help you figure out the steps to change your child’s behaviors. 

  1. First, describe the Problem Behavior (Column 1).  You have to be specific for this to work. You may be unhappy that his room is always a mess or that he won’t make his bed or that he teases his sister, but you have to be clear about what you want changed.  You could say on the form ‘Make his bed in the morning’.  This is very specific.  It says what you want him to do and when you want him to do it.  Other examples are ‘Dress himself for school’, ‘Eat his dinner’, or ‘Pick up his toys after he plays with them’.
  2. Next (Column 2), decide why he is not doing the right thing.  Read the section about “Can’t Do”, “Doesn’t Do” and “Won’t Do.” You have to figure out which one is going on.  To fix it, you need to know if he can do what you want him to do, if the situation is making it easy not to do it, or if he is actually refusing to do something that he can do.  You cannot assume that he can do it.  You have to look at the behavior carefully.
  3. Priority (Column 3) is how important this problem behavior is to you.  You want to start with the most important, but it might be better to start with something small and work up.
  4. Figure out Supports Needed (Column 4) for your child to modify this behavior.
  5. Finally, what are the Barriers (Column 5) preventing him from learning?

Getting Dressed in the Morning Example using Problem Behavior Identification Sheet

Problem Behavior

Can’t, Doesn’t, Won’t Do


Supports Needed


Dress himself for school

Can’t pick the clothes himself or remember the order to put

1st put on clothes correctly, 2nd pick out clothes

Lay out clothes and give visual schedule showing steps to check off

Easily distracted. Turn off tv in his room

Every day, you tell your child to get dressed and come down to breakfast when ready for school.  And every day, he doesn’t come down and you go upstairs to find him back asleep or playing with toys.  Then you get mad and yell at him as you are getting him into his clothes.  This gets everyone upset and makes it hard to catch the school bus.  How can we think about this problem?

  1. In the Problem Behavior column, write, ‘Dressing himself for school’.
  2. In the Next column, you have to use your head a little to decide what is happening here.  Is your child able to dress himself?  Have you ever seen him do it without your help?  Does he do it on weekends or when he is excited about going out?  If he has not been able to dress himself in the past, then you may be in a ‘Can’t Do’ situation.  If he has shown that he can dress but is just sleepy or easily distracted, then you may be in a ‘Doesn’t Do’ situation.  If he has shown that he can get dressed and doesn’t want to go to school or likes to see you get upset, it may be a ‘Won’t Do’ situation.  You have to know what is going on to change things.  Make a list of the things your child ‘can’ and ‘cannot do’ that are required for this task to figure out the support needed in Column 4.
  3. In the Priority Column, decide what behavior you want to work on 1st, 2nd, and so on. You might start with the simplest behavior and then move to more complex variations.
  4. In the Supports Needed Column, based on what you decided about ‘Can’t, Doesn’t, Won’t Do’, this is where you plan what will be needed to help change behavior.  Does he need to pick out his clothes the night before and lay them out so he doesn’t get distracted? Do you need to bring him and his clothes down to the kitchen so you can watch him dress? Are there other supports like schedules you can use?  If he can’t do it, do you need to teach him how to put a T-shirt on right side out? 

    When determining Behavior Support from the ‘can’ and ‘cannot do’ list in step 2, offer:
    • Supported help when child cannot quite do it yet and needs to learn. (Can’t Do)
    • Reinforcement when child can do it but needs to be rewarded for trying. (Doesn’t Do)
    • Consequences for negative behavior that needs to be unlearned. (Won’t Do)

    Level of physical support can vary:

    • Most intense. Needs physical guidance and prompts, such as placing the child’s hand in your hand and physically moving it to an object (shirt) to pick it up.
    • Moderately Intense.  Stay in the room with the child and remind him/her of steps needed to complete the task.
    •  Least Intense.The child can manage the task with occasional supervision.

    As the child learns the task and becomes better at it, you can gradually decrease the level of support until he/she is able to function independently.

  5. In the Barriers Column, think about what seems to be interfering with getting things done.   Is he/she distracted by toys in the room or TV?  If so, turn off the TV or bring your child into the same room with you so you can watch him/her dress. If you are having problems figuring out barriers, watch what happens when your child is attempting a task and make a list of when he/she looks up or stops doing the task.

Developing an effective GoFAR strategy depends on understanding the problem that you want to solve.

Task Analysis

Most tasks we do can be broken down into steps.  This sheet is designed to help you analyze the steps of the task your child is having problems with. This form has 5 steps, but there could be more or fewer for a particular task.

Pick a task that you want the child to work on.  It could be ‘Cleaning his room’, ‘Feeding the dog’, ‘Setting the table, or any problem behavior.  

Setting the Table’ Example using Task Analysis Sheet

It is dinner time and you want help so you say to your child, “Please set the table for dinner.”  However, the child doesn’t do it or does it badly.  What is going on?  The first question to ask is, ‘Does he/she know how to do it right?’  You need to answer that before thinking the child is behaving badly.

How do you find that out?  Well, you could watch the child do it or you could ask him/her how to set the table. Many tasks are more complex than we remember, and you may need to break down this simple job into steps the child can understand.

After you analyze the task, find out if the child understands all these steps.  If not, then teach the child what he/she needs to know and what questions to ask.  (Are you having soup? Then you need a soup spoon.)

Children can often handle only a small number of simple tasks, 2 to 5 steps, when learning a new behavior.  Use multiple Task Analysis Sheets to separate steps into shorter and easier sub tasks if a child has problems.  As an example, ‘Cleaning a room’ may need 2 Task Analysis Sheets of only 2 steps each. Sheet 1: 1. Pick up clothes and 2. Put clothes in a hamper. Sheet 2: 1. Pick up Legos and 2. Put Legos in a box.  Simplify tasks into subtasks until the child can easily follow.

Isn’t it amazing how many things are involved in this simple task? Don’t assume your child understands all the steps in a task before analyzing it.

Identify the Forces Involved in Behaviors You Want Changed

When understanding a child’s behavior, consider both their internal state (arousal) and the forces being placed on them by the environment.  Regulate these as much as possible to control the demands that can lead to undesirable behaviors.

  • People involved?
  • When does the behavior happen? (what time of day)
  • Where does the behavior happen?
  • What is the child’s Arousal Level in relation to these things?

Computer Games to Practice these Ideas

After you have tried the resources in this Teaching the Concepts section with your child, use the next section, Game Practice, to play short, simple computer games designed to teach impulse control using F (focus and plan), A (act on your plan), and R (reflect on what you just accomplished).