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  • Introduction to ABA and

    Targeting Challenging Behaviors

    By: Kirsten Powers

    Trumpet Behavioral Health

  • Introduction to ABA

    What, why, who

    Common Myths

    Principles and targeting challenging behavior

    Taking a functional approach

    Basic strategies for challenging behavior

    Identifying high quality ABA

    Barriers to Accessing Services

    Topics

  • Behavior Analysis

    The scientific study of behavior and the environmental events that affect it.

    Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    (EAB)

    -Examines and identifies basic principles of

    behavior

    -Both animals and humans participate in

    experiments

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

    -Approaches/techniques are developed and evaluated

    from results of EAB studies

    -Focuses on improving socially significant

    behavior and quality of life

  • Approach to understanding and changing human

    behavior

    Looking at environmental variables that can influence

    behavior through observation and measurement

    We can systematically change behavior to improve lives

    Reduce/change unwanted behavior

    Increase appropriate behavior

    Teach new behavior

    Evidence based: Means that the strategies and

    techniques we use have been verified by others

    (researchers) and have shown promising effects.

    Applied Behavior

    Analysis (ABA)

  • ABA is the only treatment for ASD that is endorsed

    by

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    the US Surgeon General

    the American Medical Association.

    ABA is the most clinically-supported therapy for

    ASD, and no other intervention has been shown to

    have the magnitude of success as intensive ABA

    services.

    Howard (2005)

    Why ABA?

  • Use reinforcement across structured and natural

    environments to establish and maintain new skills.

    Breaking complex skills down into simpler tasks

    Emphasis on making learning fun for the learner.

    Withholding reinforcement for inappropriate behavior, but

    teach replacement skills.

    Rely on data collection and analysis to guide and determine

    effectiveness of treatments and interventions and make

    timely appropriate modifications.

    Individualized

    Why is ABA an effective tx

    for autism?

  • What the research has shown.. ABA is effective for learners with autism

    Children with autism who participate in early, intensive ABA-based programming learn many new skills and reduce their challenging behaviors substantially

    Children with autism who have not learned from typical

    educational environments, may learn a great deal when the

    environment is appropriately constructed

    Behavioral interventions are most effective when they are

    intense and start at a young age

    Strategies have been used successfully with older students

    and adults across a wide range of behaviors and skill levels

  • Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

    40+ hours training

    Competency assessment and exam

    Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

    Masters degree or higher

    Supervised fieldwork hours

    Assesses, development treatment plan,

    monitors progress, supervising

    Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB)

    Family, client, other providers

    Who is involved?

  • Misconceptions of ABA ABA = Discrete Trial Teaching

    There are many teaching procedures for children with

    autism that are based on the principles of ABA

    Relies on punishment

    Uses bribes

    Ignores the real causes of behavior, just treats

    the symptoms

    Behavior modification only works with kids and

    people with intellectual disabilities

    ABA creates rote, robotic skills

  • Early

    Intervention?

    ? ?

    Variety of Applications

    Matching

    Making sounds

    Functional

    communication

    Receptive/expressiv

    e language

    Imitation

    Play

    Group skills

    Food expansion

    Toilet training

    Self help skills

  • Early

    InterventionSocial Skills

    ? ?

    Variety of Applications

    Initiating

    conversation

    Responding to

    others

    Group interactions

    Appropriate

    greetings

    Perspective taking

    Identifying social

    cues

    Safe vs. unsafe

  • Early

    InterventionSocial Skills

    Independent

    Living Skills?

    Variety of Applications

    Money Skills

    Community skills

    Laundry

    Cooking

    Grocery shopping

    Dressing

  • Early

    InterventionSocial Skills

    Independent

    Living Skills

    Behavior

    Reduction

    Variety of Applications

    Self injurious

    behavior

    Aggression

    Non-compliance

    Pica

    Property

    destruction

    Elopement

  • Discrete trial teaching

    Structured

    Many learning opportunities

    Naturalistic Teaching

    Contrived or spontaneous

    Motivated setting for child

    Child initiated

    Verbal Behavior

    Applies principles of behavior to language

    Separates language into categories of function

    Examples of interventions

  • Core Philosophy of ABA

    All behavior happens for a reason

    Behavior is a function of its consequences.

    Learning occurs as a result of an individuals

    experiences within the environment and it is the

    experiences that shape future behavior

    All behavior is changeable

    By understanding the impact that the environment has

    on an individuals behavior, we can learn how to change

    the environment to change behavior and enhance

    learning

  • Terminology

  • What are Reinforcers?

    Reinforcers are not simply things

    Reinforcers are stimuli that, when used as

    consequences for a behaviors, increase

    future occurrences of the behavior

    Can change over time

    Different for everyone!

  • How do I Identify

    Potential Reinforcers? Interview: parents, other service provides, the

    individual if appropriate

    Observe: what does the individual seem interested in

    Informal Preference Assessment:

    present two items and let the individual pick

    present several choices, allow time to choose and

    interact with one, the sequentially represent the rest

    of the items until you have gone through all of them.

    Keep track of the rankings.

  • When Do I Reinforce

    Behaviors? Generally: Immediately following the response

    Schedules of reinforcement:

    Usually based on how difficult the responses are and

    how difficult it is to keep an individuals attention

    Fixed (set schedule at -time intervals or number of

    responses)

    Intermittent (most powerful -slot machine example)

  • Differential Reinforcement: Give smaller/lower quality reinforcers for easy

    responses (e.g., mastered items, highly preferred tasks/activities, prompted responses)

    Give reinforcers less frequently for easy responses

    Give bigger/higher quality reinforcers for difficult responses (e.g., new targets, unknown targets, independent responses)

    Give reinforcers more frequently for difficult responses (e.g., new targets)

    When Do I Reinforce

    Behaviors?

  • How do I Deliver

    Reinforcers? Immediately

    Vary them, switch them up

    Pair tangibles edible items, toys, activities with praise

    Be creative

    Try out social games, songs, silly handshakes, winks

    Be smart.

    Do not give reinforcers that will make subsequent

    responding difficult

    Dont give a whole gummy bear in the middle of a verbal imitation program

  • Reinforcement

    Reinforcement occurs when something following a behavior makes the behavior more likely to occur in the future This is the most important principle used in behavior

    change programs. All behaviors that we exhibit and that others exhibit are

    contacting reinforcement.

    Unwanted behaviors may be being reinforced too! Even if we dont see it or want to admit it.

    If the behaviors were not contacting reinforcement they would not be occurring.

  • Examples

    Positive Reinforcement Negative Reinforcement

    a correct response is

    followed by praise, treat, or

    access to a toy and the

    behavior is more likely to

    occur in the future

    a screaming child is given

    the thing s/he wants and the

    behavior is more likely to

    occur in the future

    appropriately asking

    someone to move away from

    you is followed by the person

    moving away and the

    behavior is more likely to

    occur in the future

    a tired parent gives their

    screaming child candy, the

    screaming stops and the

    giving behavior is more likely to occur in the future

  • Addressing

    Challenging

    Behavior

  • WHY IS HE/SHE DOING THIS???

  • Behavior is

    a function of its environment.

  • Challenging Behavior

    AKA: problem behavior, negative behavior,

    inappropriate or aberrant behavior

    Generally, any behavioral excess or deficit that

    falls outside the typical range for a given

    behavior

    Challenging behaviors are those that present a

    safety concern, prohibit learning, or reduce

    social opportunities or independenc