The behavior chain interruption strategy

A review of research and discussion of future directions

Mark Carter, Julie Grunsell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Citations (Scopus)


This review examines research studies that utilize the behavior chain interruption strategy (BCIS) to teach communication skills to individuals with severe disabilities. The BCIS is a naturalistic teaching procedure that uses an interruption to a behavior chain (i.e., a routine) as the point of instruction. The BCIS has been successfully applied to the teaching of communication skills to individuals across a wide range of ages and of levels of disability, including learners with multiple disabilities. It has been employed to teach a range of communication forms, including pictorial communication systems, natural gestures, signing, and a switch activated communication device. However, a number of questions remain regarding the BCIS. In particular, it is questioned whether the type of interruptions employed in the procedure are likely to occur outside a training context and whether communication taught with the procedure generalizes to out-of-routine contexts. Implications for practice are considered and suggestions are offered for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2001


  • behavior chain interruption strategy
  • interrupted behavior chain
  • naturalistic teaching strategy
  • establishing operations
  • routines
  • communication skills
  • requesting

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