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Step 3 – Understanding Reinforcement & Function
Reinforcement immediately follows a behavior and increases the likelihood that a behavior will occur in the future. Think of reinforcement as “strengthening” the behavior.
Two Key Points
1) Reinforcement occurs for desired behavior and challenging behavior
2) It does not matter if YOU think the consequence is desirable or undesirable; only what the individual presenting the behavior thinks
SO WHAT’S THE FUNCTION?
Four main functions for a behavior are as follows:
Why not just guess the function?
If we don’t know the function, we might respond in ways that make the challenging situation even worse! Example: the function of the child’s behavior is to get attention. As a parent, you sit down and discuss the situation with the child, thereby giving them the attention they seek. In this example, you’ve accidentally reinforced the function, making it more likely for the situation to reoccur in the future!
Step 4 – Identifying Ways to Prevent the Challenging Behavior from Occurring
Below we will offer a variety of strategies for each of the functions of behavior.
Be sure to start out by using antecedent information to come up with strategies. General strategies include:
Strategies for Attention/Tangible Maintained Behavior:
Strategies for Escape/Delay Maintained Behavior: