Common Components of Applied Behavior Analysis
The vast body of scientific knowledge that exists in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) today evolved through countless research projects, controlled studies, refined theories of applied behavior analysis (Graziano, 1971; Maurice, Green & Luce 1996). ABA involves taking a task or skill and breaking it down into small discrete components of learning. These skills are taught in a hierarchical fashion building on previously gained knowledge. ABA is highly structured, with close checks on what works, and what does not (Maurice et al., 1996). This methodology can successfully shape or teach many skills from playing with toys, sleeping, learning social skills to decreasing self injurious. These skills can range from rudimentary self-help to complex social interactions. ABA is more than correcting behaviors, it entails a comprehensive program that is uniquely individualized (Lovaas & Bucher, 1974; Maurice et al.,1996). Analysts in this field, believe in addressing both behavior reduction and skill acquisition, with the use of strategies that are proactive and reactive, reports Cooper et al. (1987). These skills and strategies are developed using the rules and procedures of scientific methodology.
The scientific method is employed in ABA. Drew, Hardman, and Hart (1996), report that this method relies on direct objective observation, systematic arrangement of events, observation and measurement of phenomena, along with procedures to rule out alternative explanations. These methods according to Drew et al., are repeated by individuals working independently to show reproducibility (replication) of results. They must also under go rigorous objective evaluations, before providing valid and useful information (Maurice et al.,1996). The scientific method relies on critical peer reviews in professional research journals. ABA can stand the test of time, through the scrutiny of peer reviews, objective validations and continues to provid many effective interventions for problem behaviors, maintains Drew et al. (1996).
Behavioral scientists employ several techniques to increase the objectivity of evidence for data collection and decrease their own personal biases in what they observe. The first technique is the use of operational definitions. The behavior in question is defined as specifically as possible using only observable terms (Maurice et al., 1996). "Misbehaving" according to Maurice and her colleagues, is not a clear definition, while " out of seat " is much more specific. The method used for measuring the behavior is also clearly defined. An important step is to have individuals trained in observing and record keeping, not involved in delivering the treatments. The recording of information includes data such as; how often it occurs, how long, what is the intensity, and under what circumstances does it occur. These would be according to the specifically defined operational definitions (Drew et al., 1996). Drew and his colleagues suggest independent recordings by two or more trained observers at the same time help to collect reliable and accurate data. At the end of each session the recordings are compared and calculated to the degree of match between trainers. When two or more trained observers record data that correlates to a high degree, only then are the data considered reliable. Drew and his colleagues also suggest that whenever possible it is in the best interest of the data collection, if the individuals delivering the treatments are kept unaware of the researchers hypotheses or what the expected outcomes might be in the research settings. Maurice, Green & Luce (1996) report the use of multiple measures can test the bias of observers, by using direct observation, parental ratings of behavior and standardized test administrated by others; one can determine if the effects are authentic and not simply a bias of the recorder or set of recorders.
The fundamental components of a behavioral approach are implemented by scientists, researchers and behavioral specialists. When setting up an intervention, the first step involves assessment; determining the needs of the individual. Assessment is on going, not used just at the beginning, but continuous throughout treatment and data collection (Iwata, 1994; Repp, 1994). Then goals and objectives developed for teaching the individual are based on these assessed needs. According to Iwata (1994), the behavior is then analyzed as a function of its environment ( i.e., what variables - people, events or places play a role in establishing and maintaining these behaviors). Cooper and his colleagues (1987) suggest that those using ABA techniques believe maladaptive behaviors are acquired and maintained according to the same principles as adaptive behaviors. Analysts can modify most maladaptive behaviors through the ABA process (Maurice et al.,1996).
There are times according to Lalli and Kates (1998) when a functional analysis is required to determine the useful function of the problem behavior. The functions of the behavior can include attention seeking, task avoidance, escape motivation, or access to tangible items, to name a few. A functional analysis requires an expert in the field to assess the environment and behavior. The expert will manipulate the environment to test the response to different stimuli. Therapists have used functional analysis methodology to help develop treatments for the targeted behaviors.
Drew and his colleagues (1996) report that most analysts prefer to start with a baseline. This is a period representing the " pre-intervention" status, the period prior to the new intervention. According to Drew et al., the baseline data allows one to compare the individual to himself/herself, rather than a group of similar individuals. The length of a baseline will vary case to case. The baseline should include enough data points to reflect a reliable trend. Drew et al., report that the trend may suggest the targeted behavior is getting worse or improving. In the case of improvement an intervention may not be needed. After reviewing the baseline results, applications of teaching methods with proven effectiveness are implemented. These methods have been evaluated in peer review scientific research journals and have demonstrated effectiveness in homes, schools or community settings (Maurice et al., 1996).
With the application of teaching methods is the collection of empirical data. The collected data are analyzed on each skill or behavioral intervention being addressed. This is part of the on going assessment process (Maurice et al., 1996). Another assessment process involves discovering what is reinforcing or a reinforcer to the individual student. One of the most useful and powerful tools available to behavioral therapist in confronting challenging behaviors is the use of reinforcement in a teaching program. The core concept of ABA evolves around the application of reinforcement. Rewards are used to reinforce desired behaviors, or redirect, or discourage inappropriate behaviors (Lovaas & Bucher,1974; Lovaas, 1981; Cataldo, Cowdery Iwata, Kalsher & Pace, 1990; Lovaas, 1993).
There are several types of reinforcers including positive reinforcement ( SR+), negative reinforcement (SR-), differential reinforcement of other behaviors ( DRO), noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), and differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors (DRA), (Cooper et al., 1987; Fischer, Iwata, & Mazaleski, 1997). Reward is sometimes mistaken for a reinforcer. A reward may not have a reinforcing properties, it may not increase the likelihood of the wanted behavior. A reinforcer is described as always affecting the behavior, making similar behaviors more likely to occur in the future. Reinforcement can be both positive or negative, not to be confused with good and bad. Both of these kinds of reinforcers increase the frequency of the desired response (Cooper et al., 1987). A positive reinforcement is described by Cooper and his colleagues (1987) as the presentation of any consequence (reward) contingent upon a behavior which increases the frequency of that behavior. Cooper et al.(1987) report that a negative reinforcement is any stimulus event whose removal increases a specific response. The event is removed immediately after a particular behavioral event. The term negative reinforcement is a procedure for increasing operant behaviors, but has been misinterpreted as a punishment procedure or a use of an aversive procedure (Cooper et al., 1987). Every day examples of negative reinforcement include, a break from work, hitting the snooze alarm, or closing a window on a cold day. (Reinforcers DRO, DRA and NCR are further explained in Appendix A). Many analysts employ the use of reinforcement in their intervention strategies. Under the umbrella of ABA are literally thousands of different strategies that can be employed to help challenging behaviors. The following descriptions of behavioral procedures, are but a few of the techniques available for the therapist to draw upon. One method used by many behavioral scientists is the ABC method or sometimes called discrete trial instruction. In this method A=antecedent, meaning the instruction given, such as "touch nose". B=behavior, it is the response elicited from the instruction, " touch nose". The B response can be one of three choices, a correct response, touching nose, an incorrect response, doing some other response, or no response to the instruction. C=consequence, the feedback to the student (Rettig, 1975).
This method can teach many skills by breaking tasks down to the simplest unit, then building on previous skills. When teaching a new skill the instructor gives the antecedent (A) also called discriminative stimuli (SD), then takes the students hand and shows the desired response in a hand over hand method. The instructor and students actions are the behavior (B), which are correct because it is directed by the instructor. The consequence (C) to the correct behavior is a reinforcer. This reinforcer could be social praise, edible treats, or other rewarding tangibles. The reinforcer is what ever the student regards as highly rewarding (Lovaas, 1981; Rettig, 1975 ). When teaching a new skill, the hand over hand method is repeated three time, then the student is given the antecedent and allowed to proceed without assistance or prompting by the instructor. The elicited behavior is followed by the consequence. A reinforcer is used with the correct behavior. An incorrect response is met with a monotone "no", with the same intensity than the antecedent was delivered. The antecedent is again given to the student, if the behavior is correct it is followed by a rewarding reinforcer, if it is incorrect a monotone "no" is again delivered. After saying no two consecutive times, the skill is again taught with the hand over hand method. According to Rettig (1975), some skills are learned quickly and remembered at follow-up session, while other skills require longer periods of instruction and repeated sessions.
The discrete trial method can help teach some communication skills through the same procedures. Some students learn imitation skills by repeating sounds and mouth movements of the instructor (Cooper et al., 1987). For students who have difficulties with making verbal imitation sounds, this method can teach communication through an exchange of pictures. Through a long and gradual process the student learns to identify the pictures and attach meaning to them. Once the student can look into the picture and identify the object, they then learn to discriminate between pictures, make choices and communicate.
Discrete trial instruction works well with a token economy, which has shown to be helpful with improvements in behaviors when less structured systems have been ineffective (Ayllon & McKittrick, 1982). In this system, a token is given after a correct response (behavior). It's a reward for that behavior. The tokens are exchanged later for desired activities, toys, privileges or items that are rewarding to the individual. Ayllon & McKittrick suggest when establishing a token system many times you need to start with one token, and one immediate exchange for an item and work up from there. Tokens may be poker chips, stamps, play money or anything that can be used as a tangible symbol. According to Ayllon & McKittrick, the student learns the value of repeating the behavior to receive more tokens to exchange for the desired reward. Cooper et al. (1987) report that a token system works well when paired with social reinforcers. The social reinforcer is a statement of praise for a specific behavior, e.g., " Here is your token, good work Tom" (Ayllon & McKittrick, 1982). Plans for how to remove a token economy should be established before the program begins (Ninness & Glenn, 1988). Descriptive verbal praise should be delivered with the token, reinforcing the token. According to Ninness &Glenn (1988) the number or responses necessary to earn a token should be gradually increased. The length of time the token economy is used should also gradually decrease.
Behavior chains and backward chaining are other behavioral strategies for teaching appropriate behavior. A behavior chain establishes all the steps in a procedure and list them so all the instructors are using information. In addition chaining provides a means of linking several discrete behaviors to a more complex series of responses (Cooper et al., 1987). Behavior chains are usually established after observing the steps of the event several times and work well when trying to teach self-help skills such as brushing teeth (Cooper et al., 1987).
The behavior chain should be followed by praise for work well done (Cooper et al., 1987). The instructor should verbalize each step in the chain as it is being completed.
When using backward chaining all the steps are laid out the same as forward chaining except the steps are done hand over hand with the last step done by the student, after being taught. Next all the steps are done again with instructor and student except for the last two steps are for the student to try alone. When this works well more and more steps are taught and done by the student until the whole chain can be done alone. An example of backward chaining would be learning to tie your shoe. All the steps are done together with the last step, pulling the bows tight is left for the student, after being taught. Then all the step are again repeated with assistance except for the last two steps. This continues up the chain until all the steps are learned (Cooper et al., 1987).
High probability requests to facilitate low probability requests for compliance is another technique administrated by behavioral therapists (Cooper, McComas, &Wacker, 1998). In the high probability (high-p) method, several requests are made of the student that are very likely to be completed successfully, then followed by a low probability (low-p) request. Ninness & Glenn (1988) suggest that when a low-p request is quickly preceded by several high-p requests the chances are greatly increased for the success of the low-p request. Ninness & Glenn advise that for every high-p request correctly preformed, be rewarded with social praise or a tangible item. Several high-ps are done in a row, followed by the low-p. If the low-p response is incorrect, no attention is given to the student. The high-p requests are again introduced, followed by the low-p request. When done a few times one can quickly determine if this is going to be a helpful strategies or not for the individual. The high-p method can be implemented in many settings or environments. When a high-p method is ineffective, researchers Ninness & Glenn suggest trying a behavioral contract.
Behavioral contracts work well in school settings, but can also be effective in homes. The behavioral contract is a document that specifies a behavior and access to a specific reward. According to researchers (Cooper et al. 1987; Ninness & Glenn, 1988), there are two major parts of a contract, a description of the behavior and a description of the reward. In most contracts, the contingent reward is something that is not immediate, so uses of tokens or marks on a calendar help reinforce the contract. According to Cooper et al. (1987), a contract of this kind must be used with individuals who have an understanding of language and comprehension, and is not usually effective with individuals with severe or profound mental retardation. Sometimes instructors use a method of suspense in their contract keeping the reward a surprise until the assigned time to reward, as the suspense is a more powerful motivator than the actual reward. The reward must still be something that is highly rewarding to that student. The termination of a contract many times happens automatically as the naturally occurring reinforcers maintain the task. Cooper and his colleagues (1987) suggest another way of ending the contract is to turn over the management of the contract to the student.
Newly tested procedures and methods are being added to the body of knowledge daily. According to Lovaas (1993), ABA is not a fad or a trend that will fall out of favor with the scientific community in due time, but continues to grow. Many falsely believe that ABA is based on the works of one individual, Lovaas, Skinner or Watson, but in truth many individuals have added to the information that is now called applied behavior analysis. ABA is but one type of treatment model available for people with special needs.
A current list of treatment options include the following: auditory integration therapy, drug therapy, vitamin therapy, facilitated communication, sensory integration therapy, music therapy, gentle teaching, diets, patterning, deep pressure, dolphin therapy, rhythmic drum therapy, holding therapy and applied behavior analysis (Maurice et al., 1996). Of all the therapies listed, the only therapy that meets the requirements of the scientific method is the applied behavior analysis method (Maurice et al., 1996). According to Maurice and his colleagues (1996) it is the only one with objective data to support its claims, with thousands of independent researcher projects carried out by others, and endures the critical peer reviews in professional journals.
Some of the misconceptions of ABA include a false belief that a behavioral intervention emphases control and exclusively utilizes punishment. According to Cooper et al. (1987), other disciplines suggest that students are bribed by the use of reinforcers, or that students are programmed robots, with no choice or control. Others feel ABA is based solely on animal research, and is cold and mechanicalistic. While other misinformed individuals believe it is only for those with severe impairment or only appropriate with pre-school students (Cooper et al., 1987; Maurice et al., 1996; Ninness & Glenn 1988). Education today has many different approaches and theories to draw upon when teaching children and confronting behaviors. Some teacher prefer the cognitive approach while other may prefer the humanistic approach.
According to Tomei (1998), behaviorists of present day view the environment as the primary key to learning. The environment is the stimuli, while the resulting behavior is the response and is referred to as S-R psychology. Teachers who adopt this perspective agree with pioneers, like B.F. Skinner, that all behavior is learned, and students react in response to their past and present environments (Santrock, 1998). Teachers need to construct an environment in which the opportunities for reinforcing correct behavior is maximized (Tomei, 1998).
In contrast to the behaviorist's theories of environment, stimuli and response, the perspective of cognitive psychologists put the emphasis on the individual as active participants. Cognitive-developmental psychologists such as Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner or Erik Erickson developed theories of developmental stages that one must pass through during childhood and adolescence (Santrock, 1998). These psychologists stress the various steps in children's thinking and thought processes. According to Santrock (1998) cognitive developmental psychologists believe that children's thinking is different from that of adults, and emphasize that teachers need to understand these thought processes when planning a curriculum.
According to Santrock (1998) teachers with this orientation believe they are more effective when they take into account the students' prior knowledge and how that knowledge is processed. Cognitive based teaching strategies help students grasp more information by including methods that take into account the students' stage of development (Santrock, 1998).
Humanism, according to Tomei (1998) is another approach to learning that stresses the importance of how that person feels as well as thinks or behaves. Humanistic psychologists believe in describing behavior from the viewpoint of the student (Tomei,1998). These psychologists are concerned with the growth of the person to achieve self-actualization, and individual satisfaction. Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers each hold a humanistic approach and believe teachers need to create educational environments that foster cooperation, self-development, positive communication and personalization of teaching (Tomei, 1998).
Behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic learning theories are the major schools of educational psychology (Tomei, 1998). Each of these schools have helped develop new and distinct teaching strategies for the classroom. Each school of thinking has merits and shortcomings, and may not work well in all situations (Tomei, 1998).
According to Tomei (1998) all three methods have their critics. The critics of behaviorism feel two basic problems exist. One problem may occur when using rewards for learning; some feel this will hinder the student from learning for his own sake. Others feel rewarding or giving attention to one student with a behavior issue takes away from the other students' time with the teacher ( Tomei, 1998).
Tomei (1998) reports that critics of the cognitive perspective question the "age stages" purposed by Piaget and Erikson. Critics feel that the psychologists fail to explain how one moves from one stage to the next. They question how the stages are tied to maturation. Tomei (1998) feels a major criticism of Piaget's work is the lack of social influence in his theories of learning.
The humanistic approach has criticisms also, some feel this approach leaves many basic skills in jeopardy. Tomei (1998) suggests that there is an absence of clear design or direction in the classroom. There is also a lack of structure for information to be delivered.
The applied behavior analysis, cognitive or humanistic approach all have successful strategies to their credit. But it is the method of applied behavior analysis that can be used in many everyday situations, with just about any person. We are confronted and influenced by methods of ABA almost every day without ever giving it a thought.
Examples of Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis has many forms and can be used in many way and settings. In the past ABA designs were from a laboratory research setting and moved to institutions. The designs of ABA can be complex with many variables or very simple and straight forward. The following section gives several examples of ABA and the different approaches to the science.
Cooper, McComas and Wacker (1998) explore the application of increasing compliance with a toddler during medical treatments by using the high probability request procedure. In this study, the researchers suggest developing a behavioral momentum by requesting several high-p tasks in a row. The authors imply that the momentum will help with compliance of low probability requests.
Cooper et al. (1998) assisted with a child's noncompliance behavior a medical procedure. Aaron, their subject, was a 22, month old with developmental delays, self-injurious behaviors, and a variety of medical conditions needing treatment. Aaron continuously interfered with the cleaning of his sterile central line (c-line) site, which put him at great risk for infection. He would turn away, kick his feet, touch and try to pull out his c-line. He would refuse to comply with the request "hold still".
Compliance involved 5 or more seconds of holding still, lying flat and not moving torso, arms or legs. During the 5 seconds the mother would proceed with the cleaning of the sterile site. The cleaning procedure was broken down into several 5 second intervals.
The researchers used several simple one-step high-p requests they felt Aaron would respond correctly to such as; " touch your nose", "blow kisses" "clap hands" followed by "hold still". Compliance with the high-p was met with praise and delivery of the next high-p request. All incorrect responses were ignored and again follow by several high-p requests. Cooper and his colleagues suggest that the level of compliance increased over time using the high-p procedure through differential reinforcement and extinction. The researchers didn't formally assess the non-compliant behaviors ( turning away, kicking etc.) through a functional analysis but were thought to be escape motivated by the child trying to avoid the c-line procedure. According to Cooper et al. (1998) the high-p treatment was effective with the toddler and has many other application in medicine, school and home. The researchers also feel others should develop clinical studies and replications of their work. Sometimes more than compliance needs to be addressed, abstract concepts such as sharing can be taught be ABA.
Bryant and Budd (1984) used discrimination training with abstract concepts in their study of verbal and physical sharing. Bryant and Budd suggest that methods of modeling behavior and addressing what is (the concept) as well as what is not (the concept) need to be demonstrated. Their study involved six children with past histories of behavior problems. The children experienced demonstrations by the researchers on examples of what is and is not sharing as well as having examples of why sharing is important explained. The researchers modeled the sharing behavior with other children to demonstrated the abstract concepts. Bryant and Budd praised and prompted all sharing behavior. All non-sharing displays by the children resulted in prompts on how to share appropriately. Bryant and Budd contend that five of the six students in the study showed an increase for sharing and a decrease in non-sharing behaviors. The researchers suggest that this method can teach other abstract concepts such as color, honesty, time, empathy for other for example. The praise delivered by the researchers represents a form of positive reinforcement that is the center piece of ABA.
According to Cooper et al. (1987) finding and identifying reinforcers for children with autism has always been difficult, due to the fact that these children respond differently to stimuli than other children. Some children with autism do not respond to social praise, toys or primary (food ) reinforcers which has made implementing interventions more difficult. According to the study by Casey, Charlop and Kurtz (1990), using aberrant behaviors, (their stereotypy behaviors such as echolalia, handflapping spinning, rocking etc.) as reinforcers, was often the child's most preferred activity, when compared to food or social praise. Casey et al.(1990) suggest the aberrant behaviors, even though inappropriate in themselves can serve as reinforcers with no negative side effects, meaning no increased in the stereotypy, when used in brief controlled periods following correct responses. The results support their position, concluding in general, there was an increase in task performance when there were brief opportunities for the child to engage in hand flapping, body rocking, echolalia, or other obsessive behaviors. Casey (1990) and his colleagues suggest using aberrant behaviors with learning new skills instead of trying to eliminate the behaviors. Most aberrant behaviors are extremely difficult to eliminate because they contain specific sensory or perceptual properties and are primary reinforcers to the child with autism, Casey et al., suggest using them to your the instructor) advantage.
The following is a classic study involving the removal of positive reinforcement in which Williams (cited in Cooper et al., 1987) explored the extinction of a previously reinforced behavior. According to Williams, many parents reinforce their children's tantrums and tirades at bedtime. Many children will attempt to get their parents attention though stalling, crying, yelling and full out tantrums when they are put to bed for the night. When parents respond to the yelling and tantrums, they reinforce that behavior, increasing the chances of that behavior happening in the future. Williams suggest that parents maintain the tantrum though the attention they display. The researcher feels the principles of extinction work well to eliminate this problem.
To implement he suggests putting the child to bed in a relaxed calm manor, leaving the bedroom and shutting the door. Williams suggests the data shows the attention seeking behaviors deceases daily, until gone. Many times with an extinction procedure there is an initial increase in the behaviors that you are trying to deceases or eliminates. This according to the researcher this is called the extinction burst. In the bedtime situation, the child may initially scream louder or kick the wall more vigorously if no attention is given. This response is due to the fact that this behavior once worked well to receive attention, and is reinforced by the parent coming into the room. It is at the peak of the extinction burst that is the hardest for parents to wait out, and they may actually reinforce the behavior by giving in and attending to the child. When the child figures out this no longer gets attention from the parents, this behavior decrease until it is eliminated. Parents may have to endure 45 minutes of tantrums the first night, 30 the second night and 25 the third, until the child goes to bed without problem. A child may have problems with self management and may need the guidance of an adult went it comes to setting up a good bedtime routine.
There are many self management techniques we use in very day situations for providing cues for correct behavior. According to Brigham (1980), control of the behavior lies within the individual. Self management is a personal and orderly application of behavior strategies that result in the desired behavior change. Leaving oneself a note, "pick up milk" and leaving it on coat or purse helps provide the extra stimuli to help remember to preform the task of getting the milk. This technique is sometimes followed by dieters by putting pictures of overweight people, or some other cue on the refrigerator or cupboard. When they see the pictures it can help trigger other responses, such as taking a walk or calling a friend instead of eating (Brigham, 1980).
Self management works well when the person is able to restrict the stimulus under which the undesired behavior occurs (Nolan, 1968). Stimulus controls were used in the study by Nolan (1968) in which a woman wished to quit smoking cigarettes. The woman reported that she generally smoked when entertaining, watching TV, or relaxing. The woman would only smoke in one designated area away from others and other potentially reinforcing activities. The woman picked one chair as her smoking chair and told others not to talk to her or approach her when she was in the chair. The position of the chair pointed away from the TV and other seats in the house. Nolan reports the woman started with a baseline of 30 cigarettes per day before starting a self management program. During the first 9 days the woman's cigarette smoking dropped to 12 per day. The woman desired to smoke even less so she made the chair less available. The chair was moved to her basement. The smoking again dropped to 5 cigarettes per day; and after 1 month on the program the woman quit all together.
According to researchers Lipinski, Black, Nelson and Ciminero (1975) from a clinical standpoint self management often changes behaviors, with the change almost always in the desired direction. Behavior therapists have helped clients using this method reduce their alcohol consumption, overeating, nail biting, decrease smoking and increase studying habits of students. Self management sometimes involves making up contracts with oneself to help control behavior.
Writing and setting up contingency contracts will work well in school settings, homes settings and sometimes the use of both a school-home contract is needed. According to Stuart (1971), these kinds of contracts work especially well with juvenile delinquents because of the parent-child interaction problems. The uses of contingency contracts according to Stuart can act as a catalyst to more positive parent-child interactions. The lack of positive reinforcement in the home is one cause of juvenile delinquency reports Stuart. The contract can structure the exchange of positive reinforcements, when other appropriate means have deteriorated in the relationship. Stuart suggests that contracts are not as simple as they sound, but require a process of compromise and negotiation as an intricate component of the contract.
In a typical home-school contract the tasks involve consistent school attendance, completing work on time, and other appropriate desired behaviors. Rewards are not from the school but usually from the home such as, use of the car, money, more privileges or staying up late to watch TV. According to Cooper et al. (1987), the joint effort of school and home support the learning process and also develops a possibility of better parent-child interactions when parents reward the child's efforts.
Definitions Used in Applied Behavior Analysis
Baseline: Process by which information is collected regarding the occurrence of the behavior prior to any intervention.
Behavior: Any overt or covert activity of a person. also: response.
Chaining: Method of teaching a complex behavior involving the systematic teaching of component skills of the behavior and sequencing the skills together.
Consequences: The non ambiguous reaction to whatever behavior is exhibited by the learner.
DRA: Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. Reinforces the occurrence of a target behavior that is an alternative to the behavior selected for reduction.
DRI: Differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior. Reinforcement contingent on emission of behavior incompatible with the target behavior.
DRL: Differential reinforcement of lower rates of behavior. Reinforcement contingent upon low-rate responses.
DRO: Differential reinforcement of other behavior. Procedure in which reinforcement follows any behavior emitted except target behavior.
Extinction: Removal of all reinforcement contingent on target behavior.
Mass prompting: Used with new instruction of a new item; repeated prompts used with fade prompts until independent response is demonstrated.
Negative Reinforcement: (SR) Removal of stimulus which, when removed contingent on response increases the likelihood of future occurrence of the response.
NCR: Noncontingent reinforcement. Reinforcement that is on a fixed schedule and not influenced by subjects behavior.
No - no prompt: Given when behavior following the antecedent is incorrect. The "no" "no" prompt is a consequence for the incorrect response and serves as feedback that no reward (special treat) is forthcoming.
Operant behavior: Behaviors that are influenced by stimuli that follows the behavior.
Positive Reinforcement: (SR) Presentation of a stimulus contingent on a response which results in the strengthening of that response. also: consequence, contingency. ›Positive reinforcement- the use of a stimulus (a reward) as a consequence for behavior, this increases the likelyhood that the behavior will continue in the future.
Prompt: Additional information given to facilitate the probability of a correct response.
Prompt fading: Gradually less physical and verbal cues, until the student is more independent.
Punisher: A consequence for behavior which decreases the frequency of that type of behavior.
Punishment: The contingent presentation of a stimulus or event which results in a future weakening of response rate, duration, or intensity. also: contingency, consequence.
Respondent behavior: Behaviors that are elicited or brought out with stimuli that proceeds the behavior. Reflexes such as blinking or knee jerk are examples of respondent behavior.
SD (Discriminative Stimulus): Stimulus which signals that reinforcement is available contingent upon the emission of a certain response. also: antecedent, command, instruction
Shaping: Method of teaching a complex behavior involving the reinforcement of successive approximations to the target behavior.
Stimulus Control: When behavior is situation or person specific, it is said to be under stimulus control.
Token Economy: Artificial reinforcers given in a specific number upon emission of target behavior to be later used to "purchase" reinforcement. also: positive reinforcement, consequence, contingency.