Backward chaining is a technique which is most often used in teaching children with special needs. Instead of doing a process in a chronological order from first to last, it begins with teaching a series of behavior in reverse and is practiced cumulatively. Thus, the procedure should start with the last element in the chain. All phases are initially completed by the trainer, except for the final behavior, which is done by the student. After performing the final behavior in the sequence, reinforcement is given. The goal is for the child to feel that he can finish the task successfully.
For instance, the process of making a simple peanut butter sandwich is broken down into the following steps:
1. Getting 2 pieces of loaf bread. 2. Getting the peanut butter jar. 3. Getting a spoonful of peanut butter. 4. Spreading the peanut butter on the loaf bread. 5. Putting the bread slices together.
The teacher will then perform steps 1 to 4 and let the child put the bread slices together. Afterwards, the teacher will again perform steps 1 to 3 and will let the child continue from step 4 until 5. The process goes on until the child is able to learn and perform all of the steps.