Pairing is a strategy I talk about on this blog post and I dedicate a whole chapter to in Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity
Pairing means that we pair something reinforcing (in this video, they call it fun) with something that is not so reinforcing or fun. We are trying to transfer the reinforcing properties of the fun thing to whatever is less desirable.
Check out the video below. The goal was to increase the behavior of using the stairs (instead of the escalator). The strategy was pairing. They paired the stairs themselves with the fun activity of the interactive piano. Pretty cool, right?
In real life we can do this as parents (or interventionists) as purposefully pairing an un-fun activity with something that is reinforcing.
A simple example from my own life: My little used to hate having her fingernails clipped. But she loved(s) playing outside. So every time I trimmed her fingernails, I did it outside. For months. Now, the reinforcing properties of being outdoors have transferred to the nail trimming activity and I can do it wherever. No problem.
Pair something not so awesome with something awesome. Do this intentionally and consistently. Watch the magic happen. JK- it's not magic. It's behavioral science!
Read more about pairing and other behavior analytic strategies for parents in my book, Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity.
Find more video clips to demonstrate behavoiral principles over at bSci21!
I am always open to new avenues to help disseminate behavior analysis. I am honored to be a guest blogger over at aha-now with this article:
Top 5 Behavior Management Strategies for Parents!
Read all 5 and see what you think!
I'm pleased to welcome back Tameika Meadows, BCBA, from www.iloveaba.com to share her second installment in this series: What BCBAs Wish Every Parent Knew! If you missed the first one, check it out here!
Next up in the series, let’s talk about Behavior Plans. If you just felt a surge of anxiety, confusion, or general unease, then definitely keep reading!
Your BCBA may use the term Behavior Intervention Plan, Behavior Reduction Plan, etc., but no matter which term is used many parents find Behavior Plans to be very intimidating and confusing.
Just so we are all on the same page, here are 3 quick points to remember about WHY BCBA’s create Behavior Plans:
See, aren’t those Behavior Plans already becoming less intimidating? No? Okay, then keep reading…
Both before you receive the Behavior Plan, and once it is in place, you might feel overwhelmed and anxious about the process…. because behavior management is absolutely a process. Just because the BCBA puts a Behavior Plan in place, that doesn’t mean it won’t change.
The main concerns I hear from parents before, or after, the Behavior Plan is completed are summarized below:
The BCBA you are working with should be able to simply explain the Behavior Plan process (both before and after) so you can understand what to expect, how to make changes in the environment, and also so you can learn the basics of behavior change.
So why do you still feel anxiety? Behavior change is stressful! It is hard work to dig deep into an established behavior pattern that your child may have been engaging in for years.
Give yourself a break, and allow a brief time of panic (notice I said brief ). Then roll up your sleeves, and lean heavily on your BCBA to help you change your own behavior in order to change your child’s behavior.
Until next time,
Tameika Meadows, M.Ed., Board Certified Behavior Analyst, has worked with young children on the Autism spectrum for over 12 years. Ms. Meadows currently serves families, organizations, and schools both locally and internationally as a BCBA Consultant.
Ms. Meadows is the owner of the blog & resource website www.Iloveaba.com, and the author of three introductory level ABA books: “101 Ways to do ABA”, “From A to Z: Teaching Skills to Children with Autism”, & “A Manual: Creating an Autism Intervention Program”.
Do you guys remember my posts about using social stories to help my little survive being dropped off at child care? She used to cry the whole time I was gone. I got paged at the gym to come pick her up every single time we went. For months. Every. Time. It was so stressful for both of us!
We used her social story and she has it memorized. We watch the Daniel Tiger episode about “Gro-own ups come back” regularly.
Well today I got the best reinforcement for all that hard work on my part. I got to speak to an awesome group of moms about ABA at a church I had never been to before. My little girl went to their childcare. A new place, new teachers, new everything.
We talked all about ‘new big girl class’, watched that singing tiger, recited our social story, and told her she could watch Mickey Mouse on the way home if she did a good job at her class.
When I picked her up she was smiling and happy. Her teachers were complimentary. I asked them if she had a hard time because she struggles with the whole separation anxiety thing. The teacher’s response floored me. She said, “This kid. Separation anxiety? No. She had a ball! She was wonderful. She didn’t cry at all. She just played and had fun.”
I nearly cried.
ABA works you guys. It WORKS!! Positive behavior supports work. They WORK!!! I am over the moon at our major success this morning. AND bonus- I had a great time sharing some positive behavior supports with some cool moms. Win-win-win. Boom. Drop the mic.
My little one has been putting her hands in her mouth all the time lately. I’m hoping a molar or two appears to explain this but until then, we want to keep her healthy by keeping dirty/germy hands out of her mouth.
The other night she was hanging out with her dad in the living room while I was in the kitchen. I watched an interchange and then my BCBA heart beamed with pride. My husband said “Hands out of your mouth” and then instead of repeating himself, moving her hand out of her mouth, or getting into a struggle of wills, he gave her something to hold in her hands. By holding that toy, her hands were occupied and the ‘out of your mouth’ situation wasn’t an issue for the moment.
In the parenting world we hear so much about consequences. There will be consequences for that choice…if you don’t take your hands out of your mouth….and on and on. It’s a breath of fresh air to watch a situation just dissipate by redirecting and preventing problem behavior from happening in the first place.
Prevent the errors.
Offer choices of alternatives.
Reinforce the good stuff!
Find strategies for parents in my book, Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity!
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA