Behavior Plan Procedures

There are many designs for behavior programs. Treatment procedures can be either accelerative (those designed to increase the frequency or duration of a target behavior), decelerative (those designed to decrease the frequency or duration of a target behavior), or complex (those having characteristics of both accelerative and decelerative programs).

Accelerative programs involve positive programming, shaping and chaining.

1. Positive programming is nothing more than teaching an individual new skills through the use of reinforcing consequences. Activities of daily living, functional communication, and social skills training are all examples of positive programming.

2. Shaping teaches gradual approximations of a target behavior. For example, teaching someone to just be able to get his arm into the sleeve when learning to put on a shirt.

3. Chaining involves teaching the whole sequence of steps to a task. For example, teaching each step of the sequence required to put on a shirt.

Decelerative programs involve several different reinforcement procedures.

1. Differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviors (DRI) involves reinforcing behaviors that are different from, or incompatible with, the target behavior. For example, keeping one's hands in one's lap is incompatible with hitting oneself.

2. Differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO), reinforces any behavior other than the target behavior for a specific interval of time. For example, reinforcers are given for a specific time interval during which physical aggression is not exhibited.

3. Differential reinforcement of low rates of behavior (DRL), reinforces behaviors if a specified period of time has elapsed since the behavior last occurred, or if there have been only a specified number of episodes during a particular interval. For example, if the behavior is yelling, the client is rewarded for each 15-minute interval that passes since yelling occurred, or for each interval in which yelling occurs below a certain rate.

There are two types of over-correction procedures, restitutional and positive-practice.

4. Restitutional over-correction requires that a person return the environment to a state better than before his behavioral episode.

5. Positive practice over-correction requires repeated practice of an appropriate behavior.

6. Stimulus change is a sudden introduction of an unrelated stimulus that results in a temporary reduction of the behavior. For example, clapping once, loudly, while a client is yelling will redirect his attention and temporarily stop the yelling.

7. Stimulus satiation allows the person unrestricted access to the reinforcer of the behavior.

8. Time-out procedures are either nonseclusionary or exclusionary. Nonseclusionary time-out involves withdrawing attention from a person while remaining in his presence. Exclusionary time-out involves removing the person from the environment following behavior episode.

Complex behavior programs involve contracting, stimulus control and token economies.

1. Contracting is a written agreement between the client and another person.

2. Stimulus control brings the target behavior under the control of a specific stimulus or set of conditions. Behaviors are brought under control by reinforcing the target behavior at the time and location where the behavior should naturally or acceptably occur. For example, urinating in the bathroom rather than in public.

3. Token economies use reinforcers that the client earns and which can be traded later for something of value to the client. For example, poker chips awarded for positive behaviors can be traded for a trip to the movies.

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