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Why Does My Child Do That?

ABA Parent Training Module 10: Autism, ABCs and ABA therapy

Megan Kirby

on 30 July 2015

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Transcript of Why Does My Child Do That?

Why....It's all about the Antecedents & Consequences, Baby!
What is Behavior?
behavior has its Functions:
immediate results
Behavior can be:

Behavior = a-b-c

A: Antecedent
B: Behavior
C: Consequence
Why Does My Child Do That?
2015 Parent Training Module 5- ASD and the ABC Contingency
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
The Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), has been available for clinical use since May 2013. Based on the most recent diagnostic criterion, individuals with ASD must present with impairments in both of the following categories:
Communication, Social Interaction
Restricted Interests and Repetitive Behaviors

Levels of impairment in either category can vary, and are defined by the amount of support needed (Example: "...requiring very substantial support for deficits in Social, Communication..." versus "requiring support..."
Applied behavior Analysis (ABA)
ABA therapy is an empirically-supported, data-driven, behavioral approach to the treatment of ASD. ABA targets the reduction/acquisition of socially-significant behaviors, resulting in meaningful improvements in the individual's communication, behavior, social, play, daily living/self-care, and academic skills.
Antecedent Interventions
Presentation by: Megan Sullivan Kirby, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Director of Intensive ABA Services
Spectrum Transformation Group
Richmond, Virginia

Consequence-based Interventions
Communication, Social Interaction:
-Conversation revolves around topics only of his/her interests
-Difficulty making and keeping friends
Restricted Interests, Repetitive Behaviors:
-Rigidity of thought
-Difficulty coping with change
External behavior occurs when there is an interaction between an organism and it's environment. It is observable and measurable.

Let's get scientific!
Internal behavior, or "private events," are one's thoughts and feelings. ABA considers thought to be a behavior, as it is the result of an interaction between the nerves and synapses and can be learned, modified, and measured (but only by the individual engaged in such behavior).
Looking at your watch.
Breathing, swimming, smiling
"Dead Man's Test":
If a non-living thing can do it, it is NOT a behavior.

Examples: Not moving, not listening, not working
Antecedent: What happens in the environment
before the behavior
Examples: Parent tells child to clean room; Thunderstorm results in power outage
Behavior: Observable, measurable response emitted
after the antecedent condition is presented
Examples: Scream; Cry; Initiate work
Consequence: Changes made to the environment, social attention provided immediately following the response; Increases, decreases or maintains the future likelihood of behavioral occurrence
Examples: Parent yells; Game controller breaks; Teacher reduces the number of math problems required for completion
Joe played an extra game of solitare on his work computer, resulting in his leaving the office 5 minutes later than usual.
Joe drives home, speeding 5 MPH above the posted limit.
Joe gets a speeding ticket.

Break it down!
Antecedents can establish or abolish motivation to engage in a behavior. They "set up" the conditions for behavior to occur/not occur.

Consequences only affect the future likelihood of the behavior occurring again.

Paying a $$ fine $$ will most likely lead to Joe's use of cruise control when driving, at least for a few months! He may even avoid leaving work later than usual, too!
To get others' attention
To get an item or activity
Avoid or escape an aversive,
non-preferred condition
To get sensory input (pain attenuation or sensory stimulation)
Behavioral characteristics of Autism spectrum disorders
Deficits in Social, Communication Skills:
Difficulty communicating wants and needs
Challenging behaviors
Problems getting along with, developing friendships with same-age peers
Lack of generalization across people, settings, activities
Difficulty maintaining learned skills
Restricted Interests, Repetitive Behaviors:
Does not cope well with unexpected and/or planned changes in routine
Self-stimulatory behaviors
Sensitivity to sensory stimuli in environment (tactile, auditory, visual)
Lack of interest in or has small repertoire of age-appropriate activities, topics of discussion, leisure skills (i.e., Joe likes to play the same video game alone each afternoon, rather than watch the popular afternoon television show his classmates were excitedly talking about in the cafeteria)
In summary, treatment should involve the
reduction of problem behavior
by teaching a child to engage in a more
(and hopefully, functionally-equivalent)
replacement behavior
. Dedicate more time and attention to the acquisition of pro-social replacement skills, rather than solely focus on the display of problem behavior.

ABA therapy is
most effective
recommended procedures are understood by all persons
involved in that child's life, so the
plan is consistently implemented across all settings
of care. As a team member:
Know the ultimate goals and desired outcomes of treatment
Ask questions, discuss barriers, seek assistance
Share progress often
Acknowledge the hard work and efforts made by the child and each other. ABA is not "easy"... it's a clinical science AND performance art!

A child's success in treatment is enhanced by the involvement of his/her entire treatment team.
Questions, comments?
Thank you for allowing Spectrum Transformation Group into your home to work with you and your child. We appreciate your interest in our Intensive ABA Services and your willingness to learn strategies to support your child's progress. We are dedicated to providing high-quality services in order to improve the quality of your child's and your family's lives!
11311 Business Center Drive, Suites C & D, Richmond VA 23236
Phone: (804) 378-6141 Website:
ABA Therapy always begins with a comprehensive evaluation of a child's developmental skills, interests, and presenting behaviors. Results include problem behavior definitions, hypothesized functions, and display rates. Attempts are made to identify functionally-equivalent positive behaviors needed for instruction to replace problem behavior permanently.
the future likelihood that the behavior will occur again

the future likelihood that the behavior will happen again
Positive reinforcement: Providing social attention or some reward
stickers, teacher verbal praise

Negative reinforcement: Removal of social attention or non-/less-preferred item/activity/demand
Being sent to principal's office
You can't get rid of a problem behavior unless you find a more appropriate skill to teach that will replace it!
What routinely evokes problem behavior? When is a problem behavior least likely to happen?
Plan to PREVENT problem behavior. Rarely do children WANT to "act out" and be in trouble. They would much rather receive praise than reprimands, but if attention is only given to problem behavior, it will occur more often than appropriate behavior!
Examples: If a child is sick, reduce the usual amount of demands. Talk less, help more. If a child has trouble following verbal directions, use visual supports (i.e., schedule, picture directions). Allow frequent breaks from seated work tasks BEFORE problem behavior occurs. Know what drives the child- Motivation is key, and preferences change often!
Positive punishment: Addition of an aversive (pain, embarrassment)
teacher's pet is reprimanded in front of entire class

Negative punishment: Removal of preferred social attention or item/activity
Video game taken away
Director's Note: Spectrum's Intensive ABA Services program aims to rely solely on the use of reinforcement. We believe in a trauma-informed approach to care, honoring our clients' dignity and respecting their rights to fair and appropriate treatment. Punishment procedures, when used alone, do not teach the child a more desirable skill for display in lieu of problem behavior. Reinforcement of pro-social skills and behaviors is key to the success of every ABA treatment plan!
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