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A Is For Apple’s Behavior Management Strategies
Article Number: 12 | Rating: Unrated | Last Updated: Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM
A Is For Apple Inc.’s treatment program, emphasis is placed on acquiring new and appropriate behaviors. When children have a repertoire of constructive behaviors, problem behaviors often occur less frequently. Therapists are trained to ignore undesired or disruptive behavior but to promote compliance and other positive behaviors through the use of reinforcers. Reinforcers are chosen to be whatever the child desires most that is appropriate for use in such contexts as modified Discrete Trial Training (DTT). Many young children initially respond to tangible or concrete reinforcers such as candy, or perhaps the chance to play with a favorite toy. Such tangibles are extrinsic in the sense that they do not occur in natural settings (e.g. teachers do not normally allow a child to go play or have a piece of candy for giving correct answers). Concrete rewards are faded as quickly as possible and replaced with social rewards such as praise, tickles, hugs, or smiles.
The purpose of our program is to teach these children how to learn through acquiring academic, language, social, and appropriate behavioral skills. Behavioral methods enhance learning not only by teaching the child but also by replacing challenging behaviors with more appropriate ones. The child’s success is closely monitored by detailed data collection. Skills that have been mastered (successfully performed with some stated frequency, e.g. 80% or better across two or more therapists) are placed on maintenance so that the child does not regress in those skills as new skills are introduced. A maintenance schedule is created to allow for periodic revisiting of learned skills to keep them fresh while the day-to-day progression of new skills continues.
A Is For Apple’s treatment program involves a range of different skills that are taught to each child, using a range of locations in which to conduct the treatment sessions, which allows for generalization, and particular strategies to cope with challenging behaviors where necessary. As the child masters these skills, it becomes important to deliberately increase variability in order to facilitate generalization to all individuals and settings in the child’s natural environment. Changes in instruction are made if the collected performance data indicates that modification is needed for the child to achieve successful mastery of the skills.
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