Beyond the B.A.S.I.C.S. Blog
Lesson of the Month: ABCs of Behavior
June 6, 2011
The “ABC’s” (Antecedents, Behaviors and Consequences)
-A Antecedents are the events that happen before a behavior occurs
-B Behavior is an observable and measurable thing a person does
-C Consequences are the events that happen to the client immediately following the behavior
-What is Behavior?
-Anything we do or say
- examples: walking, talking, eating, sleeping, etc
-Behaviors are all done for a reason
-In order to change behaviors they MUST be well defined
-Good definitions break behaviors down small, clear parts.
Bad definition: Bobby throws a fit when he is mad.
Good definition: Bobby sits dawn on the floor, kicks his legs, and screams when I say “no ” to him.
-Good definitions of behavior are important so we can measure the behavior.
-Measuring behaviors allows us to determine whether or not a behavior is increasing, decreasing or staying the same.
-What is an antecedent?
-An antecedent is the event that happens IMMEDIATELY before a behavior
-Why is the antecedent important?
-It allows you to predict when the behavior may occur
-By changing the antecedents, you can change the behavior
-A SETTING EVENT is something that makes an antecedent more likely to cause a behavior
-What are Consequences?
-Consequences are events that follow a behavior.
– Reinforcement: Increases the probability that a behavior . will occur again
–Punishment: Decreases the probability that a behavior . will occur again
–Neutral: does not effect the behavior
-People engage in behaviors for 4 reasons
-Punishment is not preferred
-I have eliminated aggression without punishment
-It is typically ineffective to yell, berate, or criticize a student (often . reinforcing)
-It is not best practices to use physical punishment on a child
By looking at antecedents and consequences, we can increase positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors
Changing the Behavior
-Change the antecedent
-Is the task too difficult?
-Is the environment overstimulating?
-Is the environment understimulating (boring)?
-Is the child hungry? Tired? Sick?
-Make sure instruction is clear, uninterrupted and child is paying attention.
- Make sure to include tasks the child has already learned (maintenance tasks) when teaching new skills.
-This increases motivation, decreases frustration
-Child’s choice (within reason) increases motivation
-Teach the student an appropriate way to get their need met
-Skills to be taught may include: Communication (verbal, non-verbal), self-help skills, play skills, academic skills underlying more complex skills
-Reinforce these behaviors whenever you see them!!!!
–Contingent: The therapist should give reinforcement right away . and only when the child engages in the appropriate behavior.
–Reinforce Attempts: Any goal directed attempt should be . . reinforced.