Target

Decrease self-injurious behavior

Participants

Thirty-two year old female with profound mental retardation

Technique

Self-restraint is a behavior that occurs in response to self-injurious behavior. Persons who exhibit self-injurious behavior will often use self-restraint as a means to stop self-injury. However, self restraint has become a form of self-injury in itself in persons with severe disabilities due to the extreme muscle contractions and prolonged periods of inactivity that it may produce. Persons¤who engage in self-injurious behavior often exhibit the behavior of self-restraint as well. Self restraint may cause muscular atrophy and may interfere with the acquisition of adaptive behavior¤skills. The female subject in this study was presented with three methods of access to self restraint: (1) self-restraint was continuously available, (2) self-restraint was presented as a consequence for self-injurious behavior, (3) self-restraint was unavailable. When access was granted to continuous self-restraint, self-injurious behavior never occurred but self-restraint occurred continuously. During this phase, no one interacted with the subject and she was allowed to self-restraint at will. When self-restraint was presented as a consequence to self-injurious behavior, the experimenter guided the subject's arms and only allowed her to self-restrain for one minute after a self-injurious behavior took place. This method was found to increase self-injurious behavior. The final method in which no access was granted to self-restraint was accomplished by the experimenter guiding the subject's arms and not allowing her to self-restraint when the self injurious behavior occurs. This method exhibited a substantial decrease in the occurrence of self injury.

Evaluation

Monitor student's progress on a daily basis to determine if self-injurious behavior increases or decreases. Record percent of time intervals when self-injurious behavior and self-restraint occur. Denying access to self-restraint when self-injury happens produces lower amounts of self-injurious behavior. In many cases, self-restraint is a positive reinforcer for self-injurious behavior, meaning that the person who engages in this type of behavior receives a sort of stimulation that is rewarding.

Source

Lerman, D.C. & Iwata, B.A. (1996). Self-restraint as positive reinforcement for self-injurious behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 99-102.

Developer

Angela Mounger, East Tennessee State University


Target

Decrease aggression and self-injury

Participants

Adolescents ages twelve to fourteen with both mild and severe mental retardation

Technique

Aggression and self-injury during instruction are found to be reduced by using interspersed requests. In order to implement this technique, the teacher must know the individual's strengths and weaknesses. The teacher must identify tasks that the student accomplishes with ease as well as tasks that are hard for the student to master and that prompt aggression and self-injury. To implement the interspersed request procedure, the teacher begins the lesson with a short task that is easy for the student to accomplish and which will produce strong positive reinforcement for the individual. For example, the teacher may ask the child to put his/her pencil on top of the desk. By beginning with simple tasks and praising the student for his/her accomplishments, the teacher prepares to move onto a harder task because the child has experienced some degree of success and has been rewarded. An example of a more difficult task is following two-step instructions. Thus, although there is a good chance that the student will have a higher rate of failure at the harder tasks, by interspersing simple requests with complex requests the student does not become frustrated or agitated and, therefore, the aggressive behavior and self-injury are less likely to occur. After introducing the hard task, the teacher may revert back to the easier task in order to provide the student with praise and reinforcement, and then try the hard task again.

Evaluation

Monitor students' progress on a daily basis to determine which tasks they are mastering. Record percent of time intervals when aggressive or self-injurious behavior occurs. Interspersing requests produces lower amounts of self-injury and aggression with students who have mild to severe-disabilities. The effects of this technique have been proven not to diminish over time.

Source

Horner, R., Day, H., Sprague, J., O'Brien, M., & Heatherfield, L. (1991). Interspersed requests: A nonaversive procedure for reducing aggression and self-injury during instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 265-278.

Developer

Angela Mounger, East Tennessee State University 1997


Target

Decrease self-injurious behavior

Participants

Three adult females with developmental disabilities

Technique

Self-injurious behavior was found to be reduced by differential reinforcement of other behavior and noncontingent reinforcement. During the differential reinforcement of other behavior experiment, the subject was given attention for ten seconds at the end of an interval in which no self-injurious behavior occurred. However, if self-injury was exhibited during the interval, a timer was reset and no attention was given to the student. The primary goal of this experiment was to establish a five minute differential reinforcement of other behavior interval while maintaining low levels of self-injurious behavior. During the noncontingent reinforcement study, attention was given at a fixed interval. Even if self-injury occurred during the period, attention was still given at the scheduled time. Subjects were observed alone, when given attention, when demands were being made, and at play.

Evaluation

Monitor students daily to determine what reinforces their behavior. Record percent of time intervals when self-injury occurs. Both noncontingent reinforcement and differential reinforcement of other behavior are effective strategies for reducing self-injury.

Source

Vollmer, T.R., Iwata, B.A., Zarcone, J.R., Smith, R.G., & Mazaleski, J.L. (1993). The role of attention in the treatment of attention-maintained self-injurious behavior: Noncontingent reinforcement and differential reinforcement of other behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26, 21.

Developer

Angela Mounger, East Tennessee State University