Target

Eliminating deviant behaviors

Participants

Elementary grade students described as emotionally disturbed

Technique

Deviant behaviors, such as temper tantrums, speaking without raising hand, name calling, uncontrolled laughter, making disruptive noise and fighting, may be eliminated from the classroom by using a token reinforcement program. To initiate this behavior modification program, a clear set of classroom instructions or rules must be communicated to the students by posting them in the classroom. Next, the token procedure is explained to the children. The tokens are ratings the students receive that reflect the extent to which they followed the instructions. The points or ratings could be exchanged for a variety of back-up reinforcers, or small prizes, such as candy, comics, gum, etc. The number of ratings made per day can gradually be decreased while the number of points required to obtain a prize can gradually increase. Initially, tokens can be exchanged for reinforcers daily, then every two days and so on until the reinforcers are used only once a week. By requiring more appropriate behavior to receive a prize and increasing the delay of reinforcement, transfer of control from the token reinforcers to the more traditional methods of teacher praise and attention will occur. Teacher praise and recognition of positive progress on ratings is an essential part of the program. The teacher ignores deviant behaviors while praising appropriate behaviors. In addition, group points based on total class behavior can be given and exchanged for popsicles or other treats at the end of each week.

Evaluation

Chart the number of tokens each student receives daily and monitor progress. Compare improvements in behavior to academic performance.

Source

O'Leary, K.D. & Becker, W.C. (1967) Behavior modification of an adjustment class: A token reinforcement program. Exceptional Children, May, 637-642.

Developer

Karen Dayton, ETSU


Target

Eliminating disruptive behaviors

Participants

Elementary grade students described as exhibiting undesirable classroom behaviors

Technique

Undesirable classroom behaviors, such as wandering around the room, aggression, disturbing another's property, disruptive noise, turning attention away from the teacher, inappropriate verbalization and inappropriate tasks during a lesson may be eliminated by using a token reinforcement program. The program begins by establishing and posting classroom rules, and instituting a consistent schedule. Praise should be given for appropriate classroom behaviors while undesirable behaviors are ignored. The token system is introduced to the students with an explanation that they would receive points or ratings ranging from 1-10 at specified intervals during the day. The points would reflect the extent to which they followed the rules posted in the classroom. They could also receive points for quality participation in class discussion and for the accuracy of academic work. (If a child is absent, no points are earned.) The points or tokens can be placed in small booklets on each studentís desk and are exchangeable for back-up reinforcers, such as candy, gum, etc. A variety of items ensures that at least one item would be desirable to each child and thus serve as a reinforcer. Initially, reinforcers are given at the end of each day, then every two days and so on until they are awarded only once a week. More desirable reinforcers can be earned by students for increased amounts of appropriate behavior. Once the token system is successful, control of behaviors can be shifted from reinforcers such as candy to reinforcers existing within the natural educational setting, such as stars on classroom charts and peer prestige.

Evaluation

Chart the number of tokens each student receives daily and monitor progress. Compare improvements in behavior to academic performance.

Source

O'Leary, K.D., Becker, W.C., Evans, M.B., & Saudargas, R.A. (1969). A token reinforcement program in a public school: A replication and systematic analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2,(1), 3-13.

Developer

Karen Dayton, ETSU


Target

decrease disruptive behavior

Participant

three teenagers with autism

Technique

The teaching of students with developmental disabilities to be able to follow a schedule of activities. Normally developing students attend classes for a certain amount of time. At the end of the class period, a bell sounds and the students move from one class or activity to another. The stimulus controlling transitions will shift from a bell to a clock and /or some other type of time-keeping device. The children were given tokens and at the end of the next-to last period are told to take six tokens from his back pocket, and transfer them to his front pocket, and trade them in for favored gym activities. If the student verbally indicated the next activity to begin within 2 minutes, an activity score changed. If the student disrupted other students by calling out before the 25 minute mark, the transition scored an incorrect.

Evaluation

An independent observer recorded the accuracy of transitions make by each subject at the end of every activity. Only Peter consistently transferred tokens appropriately. Both Scott and Alex varied in their accuracy of self-reinforcement, with responding ranging between 20% and 100%.

Source

Newman, B., Buffington, D. M., O'Grady, M., McDonald, M E., Paulson, C L., & Hemmes, N. S., (1995). Self-management of schedule following in three teenagers with Autism. Behavioral Disorders, 20 (3), 190-196.

Developer

Mary K. Gibbs, ETSU


Target

increasing positive responses

Participants

two elementary grade students with behavior disorders and severe disabilities

Technique

Positive responses of children with emotional and behavioral challenges may be increased by making easily achievable, high probability requests initially. Before making a request that the child has been known to deny and/or act out because of, make three to five high-probability requests and give positive reinforcement after the achievement of each one. For example, ask the student to take something to the office for you. Upon the student's return, tell the student that you are glad you can count on her/him to take care of important matters as such for you. This initiates the momentum of positive behavior. Five seconds after giving positive reinforcement for the last high-probability request, make the low-probability request. In the event that the child does not follow a particular request, simply ask the child to perform a more easily achieved task rather than giving a reprimand. By using this positive reinforcement behavior momentum technique, children with emotional and behavioral challenges may be able to generalize by following requests from other adults and teachers who use this technique.

Evaluation

Observe students' responses to requests without first giving easily achieved requests and without giving positive reinforcement afterward. During days 1 through 4 of the experiment, one student's responses to low-probability requests were consistently low. The student steadily increased positive responses after low-probability requests as they now came after high-probability requests on days 5 through 11. On days 12 through 16, the student's responses to low-probability requests increased to 80 percent.

Source

Davis,C. A., Brady, M.P., Williams, R.E., & Hamilton, R. (1992). Effects of high probability requests on the acquisition and generalization of responses to requests in young children with behavior disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, 905-916.

Developer

Nicholas R. Wilson, ETSU


Target

Decreasing behavior problems

Participant

Four children with severe disabilities and severe problem behaviors

Technique

The first phase consisted of a structured teacher interview and a set of direct observations to identify what specific instructional tasks cause problem behavior (lower preference tasks or on-task appropriate behavior (higher preference task). In the second phase, the effects of these higher and lower preference tasks on the rate of problem behavior were evaluated. This phase allowed the students to choose the tasks. In the third phase, they evaluated if letting students choose from two lower preference or two higher preference tasks decreased problem behavior as compared to teacher selection of the same tasks.

Evaluation

The interview and observations accurately identified tasks that caused problem behavior. With all four students, every lower preference task was associated with higher rates of problem behavior than with the higher preference task. Choices tend to increase motivation and reduce problem behaviors.

Source

Vaughn, B.J., & Horner, R.H. (1996). Identifying instructional tasks that occasion problem behaviors and assessing the effects of student versus teacher choice among these tasks. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, pp.299-311.

Developer

Latasia Hawkins, ETSU


Target

Decreasing disruptive behavior

Participant

An eight year old boy in the third grade with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Technique

The researcher began by assessing the boy's behavior in order to make plans for behavior intervention. Using the data collected and intervention methods that were constructed through the assessment, the teaching staff, which consisted of three teachers and three teacher's aides, implemented the intervention strategies. They used a system called functional analysis. Functional analysis is a method that is designed to discover the functional relationship between the behavior and the variables that control it. In this case, the group of teachers used the following procedures: positive reinforcement, such as giving attention or tangible items to the boy; and negative reinforcement. These two procedures are all dependent on how often the behavior occurs.

Four intervention methods were used in this study. Again, take into consideration that all of the boy's teachers worked together to modify his disruptive behavior. First, the boy had to do all of his individual assignments away from all of the other students. Second, when doing cooperative group work, the boy was only assigned to those groups that didn't contain any of his friends. Third, the boy was told that he could ask for a break at any time he wanted to. This one to two minute break was given instantly. After the break, the boy was to be in his seat continuing his work. Finally, any disruptive behavior that the boy displayed during the implementation of the intervention was ignored by the group of teachers.

Evaluation

The data was collected daily for a seven week period, then one day a week for another seven weeks. Data was collected in thirty second intervals, using an audio tape that contained cues to tell the observers when to start recording data and when to stop. The observers recorded the number of times the disruptive behavior occurred, the appropriate behavior occurred, if the teaching group followed the correct process, and the number of times the boy asked for a break during the intervals. Disruptive behavior was essentially eliminated and appropriate behavior began to occur frequently. Any requests for breaks from the boy were eventually extinguished.

Source

Umbreit, J. (1995). Functional assessment and intervention in a regular classroom setting for the disruptive behavior of a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Behavioral Disorders, 20 (2), 267-278.

Developer

Brigitte Spratlin, ETSU


Target

decreasing undesirable behaviors

Participant

7- year-old boy with ADHD in the second grade

Technique

The behaviors of the participant included disturbing classmates, daydreaming and not doing his work, not staying at his desk, and noncompliance. In order to reduce the undesirable behaviors which occurred the most between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. the teacher gave the student a choice of assignments that he could perform during that time frame. These assignments were not always the same (for example, silent reading, grammar and punctuation, spelling lists), but the length and level of difficulty for each choice were the same.

Evaluation

The researchers evaluated the students progress by calculating the percentage of time intervals containing undesirable behaviors before and during the intervention. The level of undeniable behaviors decreased when he was given a choice.

Source

Powell, S., & Nelson, B. (1997). Effects of choosing academic assignments on a student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 181-183.

Developer

Nancy Williams, ETSU


Target

decreasing externalizing behaviors

Participant

15-year boy with moderate mental retardation and seizure disorder; 12-year-old boy with pervasive developmental disorder, ADAD, mild to moderate retardation, and seizure disorder

Technique

For both participants mands (a verbal response that specifies its reinforcer) were used to identify the reason for destructive behavior. In study number one two conditions were conducted: a test condition and a controlled condition. The participants were asked what they wanted to do, and how they would like to do it. The therapist then complied with all mands for 2 minutes before sessions started. When the session begun the therapist begun to deviate from the activity that the child had requested. Following a destructive behavior the therapist complied to the mands for 30 seconds. In study number 2 compliance to the child's mands were met only when the child requested appropriately ("Please play my way", or "please play by my rules"). These phrases were taught through verbal prompting and reinforcement. Compliance to mands were terminated when the child used destructive behavior.

Evaluation

The researchers evaluated the progress of the participants by using laptop computers to record the frequency of targeted destructive behaviors per minute. Also the praise responses were measured and recorded per minute. For both participants the rate of destructive behavior decreased markedly. For participant #1 the mean rate of destructive behavior was 2.4 (range 1.4 to 3) which decreased to in the first 19 sessions. His disruptive behavior was reduced by 80 %. For participant #2 the rate of destructive behavior was 1.9 and decreased to 1 for the first 20 sessions. His behavior decreased approximately 26.5%.

Source

Bowman, L. G., Fisher, W. W., Thompson, R. H., & Piazza, C. C. (1997). On the relation of mands and the function of destructive behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 251-265.

Developer

Nancy Williams, ETSU


Target

Decrease out-of-seat behavior and inappropriate talking

Paricipants

3 children between the ages of 7 and 9 and who had at least average intellectual functioning and met the diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Technique

Two of the children were seated at desks faced approximately three meters away from other students. For one child, this condition was conducted in another room because she attempted to interact with peers from any location in the room. Participants were given "easy" math worksheets and instructed to stay in their seats and work quietly. The teacher ignored the participants except to provide a reprimand (brief statement related to the target behavior) contingent upon the target behaviors which were out-of-seat behavior and inappropriate talking. A peer helper was privately instructed: "(name of participant) has a hard time getting all of his (her) work done. Pay attention to what he(she) is doing and say something to him(her) if you see him(her) get out of his seat or if he(she) talks." Participants were allowed to earn time, signified by coupons, with a peer of their choice contingent upon the nonoccurrence of the target behaviors.

Evaluation

Observers recorded the percent of intervals during which target behavior occurred. The target behaviors occurred less often when the peers addressed the behavior than when the teacher addressed the behavior. The results suggest that the use of peer confederates appeared to be an efficient method of directly manipulating peers and also that peer attention can function as a form of positive reinforcement.

Source

Northrup, J., Broussard, C., Jones, K., George, T., Vollmer, T. R., & Herring, M. (1995). The differential effects of teacher and peer attention on the disruptive classroom behavior of three children with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 28, 227-228.

Developer

Sarah Hall, ETSU


Target

reducing aggression, blaming, bossing, tattling

Participants

thirteen male and nine female kindergartners

Technique

This study explored the use of conflict resolution skills to decrease aggression, blaming, bossing, and tattling in the classroom. At the beginning of the school year, the teacher introduced to the students the six steps used in conflict resolution: identify the problem, focus on the problem, attack the problem, not each other, listen with an open mind, treat other people's feelings with respect, and to be responsible for one's actions. The teacher began teaching the conflict resolution skills through role plays. At first, the teacher plays a big role in the resolution process and gradually fades her role out.

Evaluation

After the students were taught the conflict resolution skills, naturally occurring student conflicts and the strategies used to resolve those conflicts were recorded using naturalistic observation. Naturalistic observation is observing and manually recording the results. The results showed that using conflict resolution skills helped the students to solve their own conflicts and improved their social skills. Some parents also reported that their children were using the conflict resolution skills to help them solve problems at home.

Source

DeMasters, R. H. , & King,S. (1994). Conflict resolution: Teaching social skills. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 373905.

Developer

Leanne Whitson Crawford, ETSU


Target

Increasing compliance in task performance

Participants

Six people from 4 to 39 years of age, with severe mental retardation

Technique

Participants were given five choice items that had previously been identified by stimulus preference assessments. The experiment was set up to have a choice and a no-choice test. In the choice test the participants could choose their preferred item, but in the no-choice test the experimenter chose the item and gave it to the participant. The participants were tested on task response rates and were given an item when they responded to the task they were asked to do. In the first test the participant was allowed to choose his own item when he responded, but in the next test the experimenter chose the item for him.

Evaluation

They calculated the number of responses per minute and found that providing tangible reinforcement increased task response. Because all of the items were reinforcing to the participants, they would respond whether it was choice or no-choice items. These tests seemed to indicate that by giving the participants tangible reforcements they were more apt to stay on task for longer periods of time.

Source

Kerman, D., Iwata, B., Rainville, B., Adelinia, J., Crosland, K. & Kogan, J. (1997). Effects of reinforcement choice in task responding in individuals with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 411-422.

Developer

Shirley Dunn, ETSU