FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy

The FAB Rainbow goal strategy is useful for helping children and families develop goals and plans for goal achievement.  The child or family begins by drawing a star at the top of the rainbow by brain storming what they would choose if they could earn anything in the world.   Next, they draw five separately colored rainbows beneath the star that describe the steps needed to earn their goal.  The rainbows describe the specific steps they need to take to achieve their goal, described positively as what they need to do rather than what they need to avoid doing.  The final rainbow is what they need to do immediately, and is paired with a sticker system and tangible reinforcers.

Rainbow Goal

The rainbow goal shown in the link above was done by a child in middle school with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, who demonstrated aggressive behavior.  He was initially unable to list any goals he had for the future and I could find no affective reinforcers for changing his behavior.  This child reported that his goal was to stay at home, rather than again being sent to another group home or juvenile detention facility.  The FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy enabled him to use a fun activity to develop a visual representation of his goal and the steps for achieving it.

His sequential rainbow steps were: “I can talk to Mom when upset, Stay in control , and Do what Mom asks”.  His final rainbow step was that he would now go back and “Today work hard in school”.  I learned from his mother that he loved toy cars, and developed a car sticker system that I paired with his step “Today work hard in school”.

He received one car sticker when I visited his class each time I observed that he was working hard in school.  If he was not working hard (or initially if he was acting aggressively), I pointed to his rainbow goal step and explained I still liked him but could not award him a sticker because he was not working hard in class.  I usually visited his class six times daily, and gave him the opportunity to cash in his stickers for prizes at the end of each day.  One sticker earned a racing car card and stick of gum, six stickers bought a toy race car.

The FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy is useful for motivating children and families to set goals, an action plan, and develop a reinforcement schedule to improve behavior.  It also promotes goal directed behavior, which research significantly correlates with decreased aggression.  The FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy empowers parents, teachers, and therapists to help children and families develop and visually represent their goals, so they are motivated to achieve them.  It is often helpful to pair the immediate goal with a tangible reinforcer.


Kazdin, A. E. (2008).  The Kazdin Method for parenting the Defiant Child.  NY, NY: Mariner Books. http://childconductclinic.yale.edu/

Seifert, K. (2011).  CARE-2 Assessment: Chronic Violent Behavior and Treatment Needs.  Boston, MA: Acanthus Publishing.  www.drkathyseifert.com

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