Unit 9 assigment ABA 2 What is the target behavior(s) that you will plan to address? Write a target behavior definition How would you first assess William? Discuss the rationale for your choice of assessment.

1. What is the target behavior(s) that you will plan to address? Write a target behavior definition.

(a) The target behavior is William's hitting biting and kicking of other children in the class.

(b) Aggression: physical contact that includes the pushing, kicking and biting of another person. William demonstrates aggression that often happens during recess time.

2. How would you first assess William? Discuss the rationale for your choice of assessment.

William could first be assessed by conducting an interview with him and his parent(s) to observe and identify the target behavior, and through other collection of data such as time and intensity and/or occurrence of behavior. The data could be collected through a questionnaire such as the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach, 1991a as cited in Sattler, 2002) measures internalizing and externalizing problems in children and adolescents. The CBCL is designed for parents of children and adolescents ages 4 to 18 years old. The rationale for conducting the interview is to observe the target behavior. The rationale for utilizing the CBCL is that it includes a Teacher's Report form (TRF, Achenbach, 1991as cited in Sattler, 2002). According to Sattler, the TRF has satisfactory validity.

3. Discuss one reason why the teacher's original methods of behavioral management may have failed.

The teacher's punishment may have reinforced the aggressive behavior. Research suggests that punishment for aggressive behavior, if not followed by non-aggressive behavior, will result in increases in antisocial behavior, delinquency and aggressiveness. For instance, a study was conducted to show that children imitate behavior exhibited by an adult model in the presence of the model (Bandura, Ross & Sheila Ross, 1961). Applied to the current case, further research demonstrated that when two groups were presented with situations when there were punishment reward as to no punishment rewards, children preferred to have as their model (i.e., to emulate) the model who was the aggressor over the non aggressive model (Bandura et al., 1963). These studies show that the continued punishment of William for his behavior may actually reinforce his aggressive behavior.

4. Design an effective behavior modification program for William using a combination approach (two or more behavioral techniques).

The following combine behavioral models are proposed: Individual Incentive and Rewards Incentive Program.

*Program: Basic Design

A. Individual Incentive - includes the following steps:
(a) Identifying (or pinpointing) the problem - focused on what it is that you want to change. Pinpointing the problem helps to delineate the boundaries of the problem
(b) Pinpointing behavioral assets - note both the strengths and limitations that can be built upon. The objective is to develop a management program to maximize the students' assets. If one focuses only on the elimination of appropriate behavior, appropriate behaviors are left to chance.
(c) Recording target behaviors - record base - line data on key problems and key assets before and following an intervention.
(d) Pinpointing critical reinforcers - when building a reward program the reward must be attractive enough so that the student will consistently work for it. A study must be enticed to forgo forms of rewards that reinforce inappropriate behaviors.
(e) Intervention - focuses on changing the setting (presence of people, expectations, or pressures to perform); events that precede the problem, events following the occurrence of the problem (e.g. consequences, or contingencies, positive and negative events, and altering the consequences of a target behavior (positive classroom discipline).

B. Reward Incentives Program

Rewards can be given in the form of special commendations that elevate peer status, affirm the student personally, or inform parents of special achievement. Such commendations are designed to make the students feel proud of them in the hope that such pride and good will then translate into improved participation at school. The most common kinds of awards are (1) special awards given in awards assemblies, (2) commendations sent home, or (3) honors and awards within the classroom (positive classroom discipline).

5. Discuss your rationale for selecting the combination approach, drawing upon behavioral theory

The rationale for having the combined incentive and reward program is that it has several advantages that could aid in the success of an incentive system. For example, preferred activities can serve as rewards in the place of tangible reinforcers. For instance, research has shown that preferred activities "can carry enough clout" to effect the radical alteration of the student's behavior. Thus, in Williams' case study, the preferred activity could be earning rewards in a learning related activity (e.g., positive classroom discipline).

6. Explain how you would evaluate the modification program.

A simplified system is provides as appropriate to evaluate the most common classroom problems [e.g. talking out, being out of the seat, not focusing or paying attention, disruptive behavior] Behavior can be evaluated through observances based on 15-second intervals, if the behavior occurs more than once, a single notation (figure 4.5) is made for the desired behavior (See, Figures 4.5 and Figure 4.6, Mathers & Goldstein, 2001, n.p.n.). Research is presented on the expectations from an incentive program as proposed to address William's case study (See Hobert's article).

7. Discuss issues related to spontaneous recovery of behavior, extinction and maintenance of desired behavior.

Spontaneous recovery refers to a return to the preferred or desired behavior. If the behavior is performed in order to obtain a reward, and the child never earns a reward, he or she may become discouraged or lose interest. The resulting behavior is described as an extinction, or cessation of the behavior. Extinction is an operant conditioning concept that refers to the "gradual weakening and disappearance of a response tendency because the response is no longer followed by reinforcement" (Weiter, 2005, p. 170). In the maintenance stage of behavior modification, change has become a part of the individual's life for at least six months.

Case Study: Annie

1. What are three possible issues that can occur with a newly implemented behavioral change program? Discuss what aspects of the program you would want to check on first before making any changes.

Token economies are based on principals of operant conditioning and the Token Economy is a system of behavior modification through positive reinforcement derived from the principals of operant conditioning. A token economy is a system where something, a token, represents a unit of value that can be exchanged for an item or service equal to the value of tokens exchanged (Token economy: What are token economies).

First, one possible issue is that point economies are time consuming, and secondly, teachers are reluctant to use them and may use them incorrectly. In addition, "For most normal school children a tangible reward is one of the least appropriate and efficient types of rewards, because they are expensive and cumbersome. Finally, token programs tend to produce boredom and rapid dissatisfaction (Basic design).

Before making any changes, you should review the behavior at baseline to check for improvement and/or change. Others concerns would be whether the problem is being administered properly and the reasons why the program is not working of William. Reducing the time between behavior and receipt of reinforcement will increase performance, and using more powerful incentives (See Hobert, Target Incentives., p. 4' Behavioral analysis, p.5) for more suggestions.

2. Choosing one of the three potential issues, elaborate on how this may be negatively impacting the program and how you could address the problem to increase the likelihood that the program would work.

Mather and Goldstein (2001) assert that some students are only off tasks and distractible when presented with tasks they find uninteresting. Others are distracted because of specific subject. They suggest that a child's behavior varies depending on the task, the type of activity, the setting, and the classroom management. Thus, an issue of concern in which the child does not respond to the reward system suggests that they may be bored with the program. Therefore, the problem could addressed with more reasonable expectations could be established, and provide backup reinforcers. Mather and Goldstein (2001) suggest that positive reinforcement should follow immediately after good behavior, and it should be specific and continuous leading to an intermittent schedule. Mather and Goldstein offer the following suggestions for improvement by applying positive reinforcement effectively as presented by Shea and Bauer, 1987 as cited in Mather and Goldstein, 2001).

-- Select a target behavior to increase, define the behavior, and choose a reinforcer.
-- Observe the child and watch for the behavior
-- Reinforce the target behavior every time it is exhibited.
-- Comment in a positive way about the behavior when providing reinforcement
-- Be enthusiastic and interested.
-- Offer assistance
-- Vary the reinforcer

3. Discuss the concept of response priming and whether this might work to facilitate behavioral change in the above case study.

Response priming occurs when an exposure to a stimulus influences a response to a later stimulus. For instance, prior exposure to a stimulus can facilitate its subsequent identification and classification, a phenomenon called priming. This behavioral facilitation is usually accompanied by a reduction in neural response within specific cortical regions (repetition suppression, RS). They present research that suggests that both behavioral priming and response stimulus is determined by stimulus-response associations (Homer & Henson, 2008). Their findings suggest that task changes modulate the amount of behavior priming. Thus, as the research presented indicates, a change in the task. For example, one form of priming that has been shown to persist across considerable time intervals is repetition priming, that is, a processing benefit (faster response times and/or increased accuracy) when a particular stimulus has been processed before. According to Bruce, Carson, Burton, & Ellis (2000), repetition priming of recognition is the advantage obtained from early exposure to an item. It was demonstrated for word, face and object recognition, including the exposure needed to recognize an item, and the speed, or recognized the primed object.

4. Describe an alternative modification program (instead of the one presented).

An alternative modification program could be based on Cognitive therapy. Research suggests that Cognitive-behavioral interventions (CBI) can be an appropriate method to mediate behavioral deficits that can aid students in taking control of their own behavior. A CB strategy consists of helping the child/student to modify behavior by teaching him or her how to think. For instance, the student is encouraged to develop "newly learned behaviors". Thus, a proposed cognitive strategy to be applied to this case includes incorporating the following cognitive processes: (a) modeling, (b) feedback, (c) reinforcement, and (d) cognitive mediation (e.g. think-alouds) to build new coping strategies. For example, "not hitting or pushing a peer when teased can be mediated by inner speech such as "That makes me mad, but first I need to calm down and think about this. The cognitive process involves modifying underlying cognitions that affect overt behavior (Smith, 2002.)


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