General information about Fred
The student under consideration is a boy, Fred. He is eight years old, and he is a student of elementary school. Fred has a grade level “3”, his disability is autism. During the class activities, the boy takes everything lying in front of him and chews or damages things. The target behavior occurs when the boy is not under the supervision of teachers or parents. The behavior is a problematic factor during the classes: Fred takes things from his peers or a teacher and damages them. Another negative factor is that the boy may cause harm to his organism by taking different things to his mouth. Moreover, Fred’s behavior disrupts the discipline during the classes.
Summary of the data from the observations
According to the observations data, the boy damages things (pens, pencils, erasers) more than sixteen times per day. It should be pointed out that the observations took not more than three hours per day. Consequently, one may suppose that the target behavior occurred more than sixteen times a day. In other words, the target behavior occurs approximately four or six times per hour which is rather often. All in all, when the boy was not alone and was supervised, his behavior was not problematic.
Hypothesized Function of the Behavior
Only on conditions that Fred stayed alone or unwatched, he chews small things of students who set close to him or his own. We may conclude that the target behavior occurred only when the boy was not in the center of attention and when there was no feedback from a teacher. By the way, Fred likes to spend time with his nephew and other relatives. He enjoys watching other students playing soccer. Another activity the boy likes is swimming in the school pool. Perhaps, Fred’s behavior is connected with the problem of attention deficiency.
According to the hypothesized function of the behavior, the boy would use the things he was accustomed to chewing and damage in compliance with the intended application: Fred would use pens and pencils for drawing but not chewing.
Description of the intervention chosen
The conductor of the behavior invention plan chose a strategy according to which the target behavior was to be replaced by adequate behavior by such methods of the behavior intervention as reinforcement and use of visual aids. In other words, according to the plan, the boy was given chips and candies if he used the things appropriately. And there were pictures hung on the wall of the classroom which demonstrated the right application of the things: the eraser is meant to erase something written, the pencil and pen are meant to write or draw with, etc. Apart from positive reinforcement, the conductor used negative reinforcement: all small objects which Fred was accustomed to chewing were covered with a bitter and sour flavor. Such a method was applied to make the boy understand the negative effect of chewing things. Moreover, verbal praise was also used during the intervention. If the boy acted as he was expected, his actions were evaluated with such words as “good boy”, etc. a great role in the praise of the child played his family: everyone participated in the intervention, and it took place not only within the school but also within the family.
Summary of the intervention data
The behavior intervention plan was held from June, 4th till July, 2nd. During one month the conductor of the plan tried to change the target behavior to the replacement one. After the first month of the intervention, the behavior changed for the better and had a generally positive effect. First of all, the problem behavior decreased in frequency and intensity. Secondly, the boy used the replacement behavior. Finally, the student generalized the replacement behavior.
In the middle of the intervention, other general positive effects of the intervention were observed: the boy realized the purpose of pens and pencils and organized them accordingly, his attention during the classes improved. Finally, during the last week of the intervention, the boy stopped biting and chewing things. During the last week, there were no signs of the target behavior at all.
All in all, it should be pointed out that the intervention was successful because the target behavior was replaced by the replacement behavior. Within four weeks negative aspects of behavior were reduced to a minimum. The conductor of the intervention highlighted that the intervention should not be stopped and replacement behavior is to be consolidated by further influence. Still, the conductor pointed out that spicy should not be used to create a positive behavior without fearing spicy.
One more method of the intervention the conductor used should be praised. The thing is that the usage of candies and praise words can be explained by the necessity of positive motivation creation. “The proactive sense of motivation is very similar to the concept of reinforcement. We are motivated to perform a behavior to gain (or avoid losing) a reinforcer r to avoid (or escape from) an aversive event” (Carlson et al., 2010, p. 405). Each time the boy used pens, pencils, and other things according to their intended purpose, he was praised by candies, positive words, and favorite activities.
Of course, the reinforcement should be held and continued not only within the school but also within the boy’s family. The implementation of the intervention should be continued further but in a milder form. In this aspect, family plays a great role in the development of the boy, his skills, and behavior. It is understandable from the report that all members of the family are very important for the child. he likes to spend time with his mother, grandmother, and nephew. So, the main level on which the intervention should be held in the boy’s family. Still, this aspect is stipulated in the report.
Evaluation of the intervention
The main thing that one may learn from the report about the intervention of Fred’s intervention is that the target behavior may be changed into desired one, replacement behavior due to the successful combination of positive and negative reinforcement, verbal praise, and introduction of the correct motivation.
The report of the intervention was very helpful and informative in the aspect of successful work with a child who suffers from autism. In another word, the intervention described in the report may be an example of similar interventions. The report helped to create a general idea about the ways the problems with children who have similar inadequacies in behavior may be solved.
The report under consideration may be a model of functional behavioral assessment in the future. It means that the structure of the report reveals the essence of the intervention in every aspect. In other words, the report will be helpful for other FBA projects in the future because of its clear and logical structure, and approaches which may be beneficial for other projects in the sphere.
The practical value of the intervention
The methodological and informational value of the intervention and report about it lies in the simplicity of the intervention. It means that implementation of the intervention does not require much. It is not difficult to create a picture that would demonstrate correct behavior, and offer positive and negative reinforcement. The most interesting positive reinforcement was the praise of the boy by stars, and the specification of the activity: if a child does everything correctly, he/she receives a certain amount of stars; if the child fails to do it in some aspects, he/she receives fewer stars. It is easy to make a child understand what he/she does correctly, and what he/she should change to receive all-stars. So, it would be rather easy to apply it to the classroom if there is any necessity for it.
Carlson, N. R., Heth, C. D., Miller, H., Donahoe, J. W., Buskist, W., Martin, G. N., & Schmaltz, R. M. (2010). Psychology: The Science of Behaviour, Fourth Edition. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.