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What is Behavior?

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  1. What is Behavior? Benjamin R. Thomas, M.A., BCBA Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

  2. Behavior • Behavior is anything people: Do or Say

  3. Behavior • Behavior is: • Verbal: communicates with another person • Nonverbal: interacts with environment only

  4. Appropriate Behaviors • Communication (asking for wants/needs) • Play and leisure skills • Social behaviors with family and friends • Following directions/listening • Etc.

  5. Challenging Behaviors • Looking away, non-responding, non-compliance • Self-stimulatory (rocking, mouthing objects, etc.) • Falling to the floor, running from adults • Climbing on tables, counters, bookcases, etc. • Screaming, yelling, crying, loud noises, etc. • Hitting, biting, kicking others • Self-injurious behaviors • Refusal to eat

  6. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) • The three-term contingency (ABC analysis) AntecedentBehaviorConsequence Child wants juice Says “Juice” Parent gives child juice AntecedentBehaviorConsequence Child doesn’t want Runs from adults Delays taking a bath to take a bath and gets chased

  7. What Causes Behaviors? • Recognize the cues for the behavior (antecedent) • Where and when a behavior is likely to occur • Recognize the events that follow a behavior (consequence) • What happens immediately after a behavior occurs?

  8. What is Reinforcement? • Reinforcement is a consequence (follows a behavior) • Reinforcement is anything that increases a behavior • Reinforcement can be getting good things (e.g., attention, toys, food) – positive reinforcement • Reinforcement can be delaying or making things go away (e.g., demands, bedtime, noisy toys) -negative reinforcement Activity

  9. Both appropriate and challenging behaviors are strengthened by reinforcement

  10. What Consequences are reinforcing? • Attention, reaction, reprimands, etc. • Access to items/activities/food • May help someone avoid/escape undesirable situations • May be used to liven up a non-stimulating environment (bored= self-stimulatory behaviors) *Many behaviors are reinforced naturally/unplanned (i.e., inadvertently)

  11. What Causes challenging Behaviors? • Your child may not have the appropriate skills to achieve the same consequence (i.e., Expressive language) • May be more fun than appropriate behaviors

  12. Identifying causes of behaviors ABC Analysis • Antecedent • When is the behavior most/least likely to occur? Specific cues (people, words, situations, absence of something they like/presence of something they don’t like)? • Behavior- what does your child do/say? • Consequence (reinforcer) • What typically follows a challenging behavior? Does your child get something? Does something go away?

  13. Changing BehaviorsTeaching Appropriate Behaviors • First identify the cause and frequency of the behavior • Reinforcers are your behavior change tools: Identify and control them • Three parts to the intervention • Prevention/change cues (antecedent intervention) • Teach and reinforce (appropriate) replacement behaviors • Change the consequence after the problem behavior (reduce challenging behavior) (Mark Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA)

  14. Escape Behaviors • Why won’t your child do it? • Too hard • Uncomfortable sensory input • No reason to do it (nothing in it for him/her) • Prevention • Start small- introduce a little bit at a time • Change the task- reduce uncomfortable input (ex. Gloves for water, headphones) • Appropriate behavior • Teach to say “No,” ask for a “Break,” or a way to make it go away • Strengthen • Offer incentive for compliance- access to preferred item/activity • Honor appropriate requests to terminate situation

  15. Behaviors that Get Things • What does your child want? • Prevention • Have items/activities available at all times or regularly at scheduled times • Appropriate behavior • Teach to ask nicely for what s/he wants (i.e., “juice” to get juice when thirsty) • Teach waiting, accepting “no”/ “not right now” • Strengthen • Honor all appropriate requests for things • Ignore challenging behaviors (inappropriate requests) that get things

  16. Behaviors that Get Attention • How does s/he want you to pay attention? • Prevention • Pay attention regularly/on a schedule- use a timer to remember • Enrich environment with other fun things to do so you are not the only source of fun during specific times • Appropriate behavior • Teach to ask nicely (i.e., “Hug, “Pick up,” “play with me”) • Strengthen • Honor all appropriate requests for things • Ignore challenging behaviors (inappropriate requests) that get things

  17. Self-stimulatory Behaviors • What kind of feedback/input does your child get from the behavior? • Prevention • Enrich environment with other fun things s/he enjoys • Structure daily routine to minimize periods without appropriate activities • Appropriate behavior • Teach play skills, leisure skills- how to do appropriate things that give similar feedback (*that may also help make friends) • Strengthen • Reinforce absence of behaviors • Provide incentive to play appropriately -(why should they do something new when they already know an easy way to entertain themselves?) • Block inappropriate behaviors to the extent possible- the only way to get the sensory input will be the appropriate way

  18. How to use Reinforcementto Reduce challenging Behaviors • Make sure you really have a reinforcer • Deliver the reinforcer immediately after good behavior • Set up lots of opportunities for good/correct behavior (Don’t just wait for them) • Use a variety of reinforcers • Deliver some reinforcers free (pairing) • Some kids will require lots of reinforcers per hour (30-50) • Engagement usually is reinforcing! • *Lack of reinforcement for appropriate behavior may increase challenging behavior

  19. Examples of Reinforcers that Many Children Like • Social/physical reinforcers: attention, smiles, hugs, praise, funny faces, high fives, tickling, rough housing, chasing clapping hands, praise, a good laugh together, thumbs up, pats on the back, etc. • Activity reinforcers: playing a game, going to the park, reading a book together, pushes on a swing, riding a bike, wagon rides, swimming, adventures, put up a tent in the yard, watching a DVD, helping cook, etc. • Material reinforcers: food, drink, toys, bubbles, balloons, crayons, musical toys, playdough, cars, sand play, etc. (Mark Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA)

  20. Ignoring Bad Behavior: Extinction • Be prepared for an extinction burst • Eye contact is often attention (reinforcement) • Don’t show facial reactions • Don’t argue, scold or talk (attention) • Don’t show anger (attention) • Act absorbed in some other activity, walk away • Give your child attention shortly after the bad behavior stops (Mark Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA)

  21. Ask Nicely! • Appropriate communication is often difficult for people with ASD • Children who cannot communicate basic needs may have very frustrating lives • Many children can learn inappropriate ways to request things or to make things they don’t like go away, like whining to get attention

  22. Ask Nicely! • Teaching the MAND • A mand is a verbal behavior (communication) that specifically REQUESTS or REJECTS. • Mands are controlled by antecedents and consequences. • The item/activity, attention, or escape is the REINFORCER • Your child is the “SPEAKER” and you are the “LISTENER”/the one who provides the reinforcer AntecedentBehaviorConsequence Child wants juice Says “Juice” Parent gives child Parent has juicejuice AntecedentBehaviorConsequence Child doesn’t want Child screams Delays taking a bath to take a bath

  23. Ask Nicely! • Appropriate/acceptable ways to Mand • Point to what is wanted • Say the word of what is wanted • Exchange a picture of what is wanted • Use a computer/voice output device (iPad, etc.) • Write the word of what is wanted • Use a gesture (sign language) • In the presence of what is wanted • When thinking about what is wanted

  24. Ask Nicely! • Teaching appropriate Mands • Determine the best way for your child (words, pictures, sign, etc.) • Set up opportunities for your child to practice • Capture naturally occurring opportunities AntecedentBehaviorConsequence SEE IT SAY IT GET IT! SEE IT Don’t say it Don’t get it

  25. Ask Nicely! • Teaching appropriate Mands • Motivation to Mand • Deprivation: the amount of time your child has gone without a reinforcer is a power influence on the mand • Your child will try harder to get the reinforcer • Behaviors related to the reinforcer are likely to be increased (i.e., what has worked in the past)

  26. Ask Nicely! • Teaching new Mands • Your child may not know the name of what s/he wants • A. When your child shows interest (reach, approach), say the name of what s/he wants, but don’t give • B. Your child repeats you (or approximates) • C. You give your child what s/he wants After time/practice, don’t say the word

  27. Ask Nicely! • Teaching new Mands • Your child cannot say the name of what s/he wants: • Accept approximations in the beginning, gradually accept the full word • Match words/sounds they can say with the things they like (i.e., can say “Bah” and likes “Balls”) • Any appropriate attempt is more acceptable than a challenging behavior • Start with an easier form such as pictures (PECS) to get the communication ball rolling