The ABC Model of Behavior
Children may engage in maladaptive behaviors due to different functions. The ABC model refers to the process used by Applied Behavior clinicians to decrease maladaptive behaviors. First, the clinician would observe a targeted behavior within a natural environment, the antecedent that directly precedes the behavior, and the consequence that follows a behavior. Then, the ABCs data provides direction to determine the appropriate consequence interventions that decrease such behavior and increase positive alternative behaviors. Taking good ABC data can be a difficult task in a busy environment. Check out this post for tips on how to take great ABC data, as well as more detailed ABC model sheets.
BCBA clinicians use consequence interventions to minimize reinforcement for maladaptive behavior while increasing reinforcement for desirable behavior. Understanding why a child is engaging in a problem behavior helps to implement interventions that modify environmental factors that trigger a maladaptive behavior and teach replacement skills that achieve the same outcome as the problem behavior for the child.
Positive Reinforcement and Negative Reinforcement
‘Reinforcement’ is a specific type of consequence intervention used to elicit a positive behavior change. It should be tailored to each child's needs and given immediately after the desired behavior to increase the occurrence of a specific behavior. Positive reinforcement refers to adding something to the child’s environment, whereas negative reinforcement refers to removing something from the child’s environment. Using a reinforcer checklist can help identify specific reinforcers that are tailored to each individual.
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If you are looking for more tips, check out AIA’s clinical director, Rula Diab, monthly blog posts!