Understanding the 3 B’s of Behavior tutorial

Understanding the 3 B’s of Behavior tutorial


Hello, this Bobbie Vaughn. It’s
not uncommon for many children
with autism spectrum disorders to have behavior problems that
are puzzling to understand, as well difficult for their parents to
address. So this tutorial will guide your understanding of the basic beliefs and concepts that
are a starting point for building a positive, effective and long lasting behavior supports for your child. You can think of the ideas we’ll be discussing as the three Big B’s — Beliefs, Behavior and Building supports. In each Big B area, there are 3 separate concepts or smaller B’s, altogether will be addressing three
foundational beliefs about behavior three basic concepts that are critical
to understanding behavior and three starting point for building
behavior supports the first big belief about behavior is that it is rule governed this means it is always organized in a way that allows
patterns of occurrence to be observed therefore the
relationship between the behavior in circumstances can be understood behavior can also be learned. All
children learn that certain behaviors will consistently result in predictable outcomes. As they grow and develop, they acquire
other new and often more sophisticated behaviors associated with the same desired results.
While children have a wide range of learning styles and capacities, they all learn to make associations between their own behavior and the result it has on the world around
them. Because children with autism spectrum disorders often experience developmental delays,
behavior problems often reflect underlying deficits in cognitive, social and
communication abilities. For example, a child who doesn’t have
the cognitive and communication ability to anticipate or problem solved
a sudden change in routine can easily become frightened or upset
when something out of the ordinary occurs. Lastly, this statement
encompasses a belief that as the child grows, matures and learns, behavior can and will change over time. Another foundational belief about
behavior is that it is related to the context our situation in which it happens. Behavior
doesn’t take place in a vacuum nor does it occur out of the blue. On a
very simple level, there are some situations that are more likely to set up
or cause a behavior to happen. it’s also more likely to occur in
situations where its previously been successful, or rewarded in some way. If we follow this belief, then we can begin to understand the patterns that surround a behavior, thus determining the answers to the questions ” under what conditions is the behavior most likely to happen in?”, and “What are the things that reward its occurrence?”. The answers to these questions then provide direction about the things that can be done to change the behavior. It often takes some work to determine the factors that influence a behavior, but it never occur randomly. Because of this, problem behavior is thought to always have a purpose, or function, in that it occurs as a means to an end for the child. To the extent that the behavior is successful in achieving that end, it works effectively — it’s functional. Behavior is also always communicative in nature. Behavior by nature expresses information about feelings, reactions and internal states as well as in response to a particular situation. As observers
we can interpret many of these subtle expressions
of behavior as well as see the things that set it up
to happen and witnessed the way the environment
changes as a result of the behavior. Okay now we’re gonna talk about function. Lets really talk about functions
and behavior. There’s two broad categories. The first one we’re going to talk about is
behaviors allow the person to access or obtain
something that they really what, these outcomes can generally
fall into the following categories: social outcomes, we all learned at a very
early age that we can rely on certain behaviors because they always result in a desire social outcome such as a
reaction from apparent our friends or other people children
with autism often resort to problem behaviors because they understand that doing so will create a big reaction from adults resulting in a lot of attention or
excitement or maybe even access to favorite toys, foods, or other items. Some problem behaviors also occur as an attempt to access a preferred activity such as watching a
favorite video or jumping on a trampoline, other problem behaviors allow access to a favorite item or object including toys, food, and
drinks and items that provide interesting sensory feedback like fans, radios, or light switches occasionally children with autism will also engage in some behaviors that provide direct sentry feedback or regulation. This sort
of behavior most often looks like a repetitive or continuous motor movements such as
hand clapping or finger waving or maybe toll walking or twirling hair. It’s important to understand that behaviors occur for this purpose to provide direct sensory feedback, in that sensory feedback reinforces its occurrence. The second broad category is really to
get away from things are to avoid things, so home here can at times serves a purpose of allowing avoidant or scape of undesirable or
difficult outcomes these outcomes may include avoiding or
escaping and uncomfortable social situations like not wanting to give
grandma big hug, or to share a play space with other
children or share toys. Many problem behaviors are
a result of not wanting to engage in a difficult or undesirable activity. This can range from tantrums that result when required to brush teeth to whining that often occurs when it’s time to do homework or chores. Occasionally problem behavior serve the function of avoiding was perceived as a undesirable item or object. Many children resort to problem behaviors when presented with a food they don’t like or don’t want to try for the first
time. Other times the object may have some
quality or aspect that the child fines distressful such as vacuum cleaners and loud noises and even pets that jump or bark unexpectedly can cause children to avoid them or try to get away from them. Finally some problem behaviors result in an effort to avoid or escape certain sensory information, for instance
children may make loud noises or covered her ears in an effort to regulate other sounds are troublesome for them and
therefore they may not want to enter into environments where they’re loud
noises are where there’s too much stimulation, too many items, too much
color for instance, some children have
difficulty with grocery stores because of all the items on the shelves
it may be too much or crowded department stores such as
a Walmart where the aisles are narrow and there’s lots and lots a people as well as lots of things on shelves. So those kinds and situations may be troublesome for some kids you may be wondering at this point about a specific problem behavior your child often engages in and feeling like sometimes
its purpose is to escape or avoid unpleasant situation and other times the same behavior occurs because a child may want something, may want access to something and you’re thinking what is this all about? While you’re on to something important because the exact same behavior, regardless of what it looks like or sounds like when it happens can often serve one function in one situation and another function in a different situation. So if the behavior looks exactly the same in different situations how do you determine what it’s function is? well the answer is that we have to look at not at the behavior but at the situation or the context
itself because that’s really what’s different. So we can look from one situation to the
next and in this case either the antecedent
which are the things that set the behavior up to happen, the things that trader the
behavior, or the consequences ,which are the things that happen right
after the behavior, which may be your reaction to the behavior will be
different, they’ll be different in different
situations. We’ll talk more about these variables the antecedents and the consequences in a few minutes, but let’s just leave it
for now that understanding them in the context of behavior will give us
a much better insight into why the behaviors happening. So why
is understanding the functional behavior so important? Well if we can understand the function or the purpose of the behaviors serves, it will give us a much better understanding of what to do about it like what kind that things might we do to interrupt, or stop, or eliminate, or minimize the behavior? It also gives us a wider range options for interventions, for instance understanding what triggers or sets our
behavior up to occur especially when we believe
the function is to escape guides us to determine if there are ways the behavior can simply be prevented from occurring to begin with along the same line in other situations we may not be able to prevent it completely, but we can prepare better for and sometimes even minimize how often it occurs, or how long it lasts or how hard it is when it happens. having a good idea about the function the behavior also can indicate what replacement skills or what replacement behaviors we can teach the child that will serve the same function as the problem behavior that will fit the situation in a more appropriate way and this is what we really want we want kids to learn a better way to communicate their feelings then using problem behavior. Lastly if we know what the goal of the behavior is we can use that same outcome as a powerful reward for the new behavior we’re gonna teach that will be better than the problem behavior for example, if we suspect that a persistent problem was crying and pushing at the end of a meal is all about trying to get away from the table being given permission to leave the table can be used as a reinforcement for saying I’m all done now let’s take a minute now to summarize the three belief statements that comprise the first Big B. Feel free to state the beliefs about the behavior that we’ve just discussed. The first one is that behavior’s rule governed. The second is behavior is related to its contacts, and the third is behavior is purposeful and communicative. Okay we’ve just ended our talk about behavioral believes now let’s look at the second Big B. Lets learn a little more about the three basic concepts that are critical to understanding the occurrence of the behavior. So here they are, the
three most fundamental behavioral concepts. They truly are the ABCs of behavior every behavioral episode or incidental behavior consists of environmental events that come before
the behavior or trigger it and events that come immediately after the behavior. The first concept is called the antecedent, this is something that happens before the behavior actually occurs to either immediately trigger it or at least make the chances of that happening much more likely. What happens next is the actual behavior in reaction to the antecedent and behavior is always and external expression of a reaction, meaning that another person
could see or hear it in some way and be able to describe it in concrete terms to another person. The last concept is called consequence, meaning what happens after the behavior occurs. This could be anything from another person’s reaction to the behavior or the way the environment has changed as a result of it. if the consequence increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur again in the same or similar situation it is called a reinforcer. Now that we’ve covered the sequence of how behavior occurs let’s learn a little more about each of the components. As was explained in the previous slides an antecedent is an event that causes the behavior to occur, however antecedents can also be considered as
either a fast trigger or immediate antecedent or a slow trigger, a
distant antecedent. What do these terms mean? Sometimes antecedents are intermediate, meaning that as soon as they happen the
behavior follows directly after them. We sometimes think of immediate antecedents as fast triggers. Because the behavior occurs immediately after the antecedent they can usually be identified. Speaking broadly antecedents can take the form of denial or refusa,l such as being told no. Placing in demand or an expectation that is unwanted or a part of the transition from one activity to another. Other antecedents are fast triggers involve a tension directed toward another person or invent and away from the child. think about your own child in the last time you found yourself addressing a problem behavior what were the fast triggers just before the behavior occur they’re also some antecedents that are considered slowed triggers or distant antecedents, that is they
aren’t directly linked to the media occurrence of the behavior but are still considered an antecedent because they increase the likelihood that the behavior will eventually occur. Think about your own child, chances are there are certain things or conditions you know of that are going to increasing the likelihood
of a problem behavior occurring even if it doesn’t happen immediately, these things could include being tired, hungry, thirsty, or bored it might be that
something stressful happened that day at school or the night before but whatever it is
as a result your child is more likely to have a strong reaction to an immediate antecedent like a demand are a refusal because the slow trigger has previously set the wheels in motion why is it so important to understand fast and slow triggers well if we understand the antecedents to a behavior we can do a number of things to create
better behavioral supports for the child. We can identify situations in which
the behavior is most likely to occur, this gives us a chance to look at all
the influences or triggers that lead to behavioral occurrence, antecedents also provide us
with a better understanding of situations in which the behavior is not as likely to occur, having a better understanding antecedent to a behavior behavior allows us to minimize or prevent the behavior from happening, and to also prepare for situations when it does happen. Triggers that lead to escape could be just about anything your child will actively seek to avoid by resorting to the problem behavior of concern. These could include things like unpleasant, sudden, or loud noises, TVs, or boring tasks, sitting on a place or location especially for long periods of time when it’s unclear to the child how long they will have to stay in that spot, and being required to complete difficult or non-performing activities, such as chores, or homework especially when starting them means having to stop an activity that is preferred. other triggers lead to behaviors that allow or promote access to something the child really desires. Being told no
whether as a command to start doing something or is in a denial of a request often immediately triggers problem behaviors. Similarly problem behaviors often occur
as a way of getting or maintaining attention from an adult. Sometimes behavior happens when a child asks for something or attempts to obtain it for themselves and they have to wait for it. sometimes there are physical barriers in place at present access to a desired place or activity. Behavior problems occur when the child is unable to resolve the access issue on their own or can’t get help for it. Many
times children with autism have a hard time playing in social situations especially when expectations about
sharing space, toys, or materials are in place. Problem behaviors often result when the child is expected to share and doesn’t fully understand the expectation or know how to do so. Whatever the particular trigger might be, understand the circumstances of it and its relationship to the ensuing problem behavior allows us to have a better idea of the function the behavior serves. Now let’s discuss the basic concept of behavior, what do we mean by that term? Behaviors is a term we use to identify the observable activity a person, animal, or organism. In order to meet this definition behavior must be observable either as witnessed or heard by an observer. If a behavior must be observable it is then measurable in one way or another. This
means we can gauge its occurrence either by counting it, timing how long it lasts, or how intensely it happens. Defining behavior according to this definition allows us to communicate with others more clearly and to track changes in the occurrence with more precision. now let’s look at some examples of
behavioral definitions. Here are two that describe Davis behavior. The first one says that David has a meltdown every time he has to sit at the table. While this description is specific about where the behaviors taking place the term “meltdown” doesn’t provide good
information about exactly what David is doing. One observer’s idea what a meltdown might look like can be very different than another’s. So behavioral descriptions need to state exactly what the observer will see. Here’s a much better definition for the exact same behavior. David squirms, cries, and knocks his chair against the wall when he has to sit at
the table. Let’s take a look at another example. Matthew drives me crazy when we’re in the car, most parents can probably relate to the statement at one time or another but really what it’s providing is reflection of the emotional reaction of the observer rather than a specific description of what Matthews is actually doing in the car. For instance, this would sound a little bit better, Matthew sings loudly, repeats the same question, and removes his seat belt when we’re in the car. Once again the second description is a
much better one because it’s facing clear measurable terms, three things that Matthew does in the car that are so problematic. Why is it important to define a behavior? in clearly observable and measurable terms? first off doing so promotes clear specific communication. If we define behavior in these terms even other people that have never actually witnessed or been in the presents of the behavior understand it and have a precise idea of what it looks like when it occurs. This in turn allows us to measure the behavior more accurately because the definition of the behavior remained steady across multiple observers and settings. This then allows us to measure with precision and accuracy changes in the patterns of the behaviors occurrence before and after the interventions are put into place. We have to be able to measure behavior in order to know for sure whether or not our interventions are affective. There are several ways in which this might be done depending on the behavior itself and on the situation is happening in. Here are some questions to answer if you’re having trouble deciding the best way to measure a certain behavior. Can you count it? This measurement approach works best for behaviors with a definite beginning and ending point. Can you see it or hear it? be sure to clearly describe the behavior in specific concrete terms. can you time it? This approach would be best if you need to capture the length of time the behavior lasts. Can you gauge its intensity? This means
can you objectively rate how strong the behavior
is when it happens. We just talked about
behavior the “B” in our ABC’s, now we’re going to talk about the “C”. What happens after the behavior occurs? The “C” in the behavior ABC concept stands for the term consequent, which is whatever happens after or as a result of the problem behavior, this means everything from how the environment is change to how another person reacts as long as it follows the occurrence of the behavior. So the question we have to ask the next is “Is their payoff for the behavior?”, in other words how successful is the behavior at achieving its goal? Therefore we have to determine if, as a result to the behaviors occurrence, a results in reactions from other people, the avoidance delay or skate current unpleasant situation, or immediate or better access to something that is desired. This is important to understand because the consequence that follows the behavior may reinforce it or increase the likelihood of it happening again in similar situations. Identifying the consequences and reinforces for a behavior will increase our knowledge of this function and steers toward potential functional reinforcers for teaching more successful alternatives to the problem behavior. let’s review the behavioral concepts one more time. An event that triggers the behavior to occur is known as the antecedent. The individuals observable reaction to the trigger is the behavior. The way the environment changes in response to the behavior is understood as the consequence They’re also three starting points for building behavior supports. Another way to think about the ABCs of behavior is to picture them as a dynamic cycle in which one component has an impact on the other. If we can change any one of those components, a subsequent change in at least one of them will follow. If we really believe that behavior is dynamic and that one event impacts another in the behavior cycle then there are also three different aspects in a cycle for supporting the development of a positive behavior. We can first alter the triggers, second we can teach an alternate behavior that achieves the same outcome as a problem behavior but is more socially acceptable and better suited to the context or setting, and third change our or others responses to the problem behavior in ways that minimize reinforcement of the behaviors and strengthens the positive alternatives. Ask yourself is there something about the environment or the setting the behavior occurs in that can be changed as a preventive strategy? Perhaps a highly desired and distracting toy can be stored safely on a site for the time being, or possibly a visual support such as a picture schedule or calender can be developed and placed in an easily access spot as a means of clarifying routines and expectations. It could be something about the social interactions is setting a child up for behavior problems. Look closely at interactions from one person to the next as some may be more successful than others. Is it the tone of the voice or the number demands being placed? Is the child being expected to respond too quickly? or in a way that presents an issue for them? You may find it helpful to also observed successful interactions as this will emphasize the differences and the factors that influence the outcome of the interaction. It may also be the activity itself but setting up the behavior. what is it? Is it something the child doesn’t enjoy doing? Is it difficult for them? Can the activity be shortened or organized differently? Perhaps its ending needs to be clarified. Whatever it is, altering the trigger may be all that’s necessary to bring about a change in behavior. Behavior problems are often the result
of the absence of skill or complete skill acquisition. Children use problem behaviors because they don’t have a wider range of cognitive communicative or social skills to meet
their needs more successfully. In this situation, another starting point for intervention could be to teach in a behavior or skill that will serve the same function or purpose as the problem behavior but will fit the circumstances of its setting and other people in better ways. Ideally we want children to meet their needs by using alternative positive behaviors rather than problem behavior. Two other important things to keep in mind, one is for children learning new skills you’ll want to be sure to support other adaptive skills and behaviors they may need to use with them. Also keep in mind, but it may take some time for the child to learn a new skill and use it quickly and efficiently in a
range of situations. So don’t give up too soon. The third starting point for building interventions is to change the responses that happen after a behavior occurs both with problem behaviors and new alternative behaviors to replace it. Think carefully about the consequences that happen after problem behavior has occurred. Can they be used as a functional reinforcer for new replacement behavior? also try to be mindful that problem behavior may continue to occur from time to time. They will become increasingly less likely if they’re not rewarded or reinforced. When reinforcing a new skill or behavior, always pair it with specific praise or label. This strengthens the connection between the behavior and the reinforcer and also adds a new word for the child’s functional language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it may likewise take some time for new skills and behaviors to be learned Lets sum thing’s up, here you’ll find the before situation in which the antecedent to Amy’s behavior is when she experiences difficulty opening the cellophane of the straw for her juice box inserting inside Amy reacts to this frustration by whining and banging her fist on the tabletop. In response to Amy’s behavior her mom opens the cellophane, puts it in juice box, and gives it to Amy. Amy is then able to drink her juice. Think about this, what could mom have done differently? So we’re going to alter the trigger, so mom opens the cellophane before giving Amy the juice. When she’s about to give her the straw, mom prompts Amy by saying “help please.”. Amy repeats the “help please.” phrase and Amy followers moms demonstration for inserting the straw. So instead of whining and banging her fist Amy imitates mom spoken phrase by repeating “help please.”, this is a new behavior that may take time for Amy to learn and use without prompting. Amy’s mother then shows her how to put the straw in the juice box and Amy follows through. Finally we have some resources, we have some web sites that you can go to that we think you’ll find helpful. If you still find that you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact CARD at the University of South Florida directly for additional support in this
area.

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