What is it?
Functional mediators are cues or prompts that are used to teach a new skill/behavior and can be easily transferred across different settings where the skill/behavior is used. This assists the student in being able to generalise his/her learning. For example, teaching the student to use a quiet voice using a rules card (functional mediator) in the classroom and using the same rule card (functional mediator) in the library.
Four types of functional mediators are described:
- physical stimuli (such as rules cards across settings)
- social stimuli (such as peers who are in both settings and can provide peer mediated intervention. See the Peer mediated intervention factsheet.
- self-mediated physical stimuli (such as a self-monitoring sheet). See the Self-Management factsheet.
- self-mediated verbal stimuli (such as the student reminding themselves of the rules and consequences before going into a new environment).
How do I use it? Planning
- Identify the behaviour/skill to teach. This would be a skill or behaviour that applies to multiple contexts e.g. quiet voice inside, walking feet. Spend time observing what behaviours student/s find difficult to remember. Are these behaviours used in different contexts at school?
- Select the functional mediator. This has to be transportable from context to context (e.g. rule card, peer).
- Using the functional mediator (e.g. rule card - quiet voice) teach the behaviour in the classroom.
- Reinforce the student’s behaviour with specific praise (e.g. Jordan, you are following the rule card quiet voice. Great job).
- Take the functional mediator to the new environment (e.g. library). Show this to the student.
- Immediately reinforce the student as soon he/she engages in the desired behaviour/skill (e.g. Jordan, you are following the rule card quiet voice. Great job).
Where can I learn more?