Applied Behaviour Analysis
Applied Behaviour Analysis or ABA is the study of human behaviour as a science. This means that we can predict and change behaviour by observing and influencing what happens before and after an event. How does this work? We all know that the best time for our kids to get in an argument with each other is NOT after we have had a bad day at work.
|Setting Event ||Antedecent or Trigger || |
|Bad day at work ||Kids fight ||Send them to their s with no supper ||Quiet|
|Good day at work ||Kids fight ||Talk to them about getting along and play a cooperative game together ||Quiet|
ABA has many tools that we use every day. We use Positive Behaviour Support. There are three components of effective classroom management. The first component is antecedent control. These preventative measures prompt appropriate behaviors and minimize disruptive ones. Antecedent control techniques include making sure that the work is appropriate, the rules are clear, the materials are appropriate and relevant, routines are identified and taught, the schedule is predictable, seating arrangements are appropriate, lessons are carefully planned and implemented, teacher-student interactions are positive, and peer modeling is appropriate.
Consequence control techniques include increasing appropriate behaviors through social reinforcers, activity reinforcers, behavior contracts, token systems and group contingencies and decreasing inappropriate behaviors through extinction, reprimands and time out.
The third component is careful teaching of each skill - expressive and receptive language, social skills, motor imitation, self-help skills and routines. Most important is taking data and making observations that lead and support all decision making.
All of our students have language acquisition deficits. Some are very obvious, others quite hidden. These deficits mean that our students do not learn very well from the environment around them. They must be taught each skill explicitly and have those skills expanded.
Verbal Behaviour emphasizes that words have many meanings depending upon their function and each meaning must be taught. Initial training begins with “mand” or request training. Students learn to ask for items, activities and information that is important to them. The adults involved in the student’s program pair themselves with reinforcement, making learning a positive experience. It is important that teaching often occurs when the motivation to learn is at its highest – when the student wants something.
Students progress to “tacting” or labelling objects and actions and intraverbals – answering questions or carrying on a conversation. Also taught are FFC’s or “features, functions and classes” of items and groups. Students learn receptive, tact and intraverbal responses so that they can answer questions and talk about things when they are not present.
Utilizing a Verbal Behavior approach, we teach each word/object across all functional relations. We cannot teach these all at once, but with some requesting, simple labels and receptive responses in a student’s repertoire, it is possible to build these various language components.