I am in dire need of a replacement behavior for eating lobster rolls. We have been in New England visiting good friends and eating some amazing lobster. Every day. Boiled lobster, cold lobster rolls, warm lobster rolls, lobster mac n cheese, lobster amazingness....
So I either need a new behavior contingency or new pants.
We are en route to NYC- new pants it is! ;)
Aba nerd alert
I went to a casino today for the first time in years and all I could think about was the schedules of reinforcement on the slot machines! I was trying to count how many spins between wins of any size to determine if it was on a variable ratio schedule and to find the smallest VR number to mean more winnings for me. I finally found a machine that I surmised was on a VR-3 schedule but I still lost some money. (Only a few dollars- I don't take risks gambling.) What was the kicker? The quantity of the reinforcer! I may bet 45 cents and win back 35 cents. But I still considered it a win. If you consider those losses since they actually are the schedule of reinforcement would definitely have a higher ratio.
When working with clients, a potent reinforcer is crucial. How do you determine what is reinforcing to your clients? (Please say you do a reinforcer assessment/ survey for every client.) I like to try to find new and creative reinforcers for myself, my husband, my dogs, my clients, you name it!
How do you use reinforcement contingencies in your life? My friends and I like to go to the pool when we can BUT lately we've been going to the gym together first and then directly to the pool. First work out, then you can go relax. The pool is a very strong reinforcer for us! I also really like shopping (shocking, I know). So after I accomplish something major, I cruise the internet stores for a
For my puppies I recently found that they love asparagus. I was trimming off the yucky ends and demonstrating to a friend how they can roll over (I know they are so smart and talented. They can roll over.) They went crazy for a bite of asparagus. Why do I give them expensive treats? They like some vegetables! I've since done a reinforcer assessment with them by just trying different veggies as I use them for our human food.
For small children- do they really need edible reinforcers? No. Find an activity that is new and exciting to them based on their interests.
How about some fun activities as reinforcers and not just a toy or snack. Ideas: physical activity like dancing, jumping, swinging; singing songs, listening to music, playing instruments; art work, drawing in chalk, marker, crayon, painting, play dough, clay; games with turn taking, board games, computer or iPad games, physical activity games.
Do they like cars? Then pretend to be a car or be in a car and act it out. Now the kid likes pretend play. What?! That would be great if we could teach kids to engage in typical play patterns. We can- make them reinforcing.
I've started to digress into developing new reinforcers, but I'll save that for another day.
A behavioral cusp is any behavior change that brings an
organism's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have far-reaching consequences.
Last week I thought about myself riding a bicycle- something I do every day. Now, let's try a little harder. How do you identify these crucial behaviors for clients you work with? The gold standard as always is direct observation. You should directly observe your client in all environments across their day for a week. Uh, yeah right. If you are able to pull that off- more power to ya! But let's try to be a little more practical.
If feasible- ask the client what they do, where they go, who they talk to, etc. Have them describe a typical day to you. Unfortunately, though, this is not always a feasible option.
Talk to other stakeholders: parents, siblings, teachers, peers, etc. Does this child go to inclusion at a certain time of day or during specific routines? Have you taught the child all the correct responses to actively participate in these routines? Simply joining in a daily routine that may seem mundane and unimportant could open up opportunities for increased social interaction with peers.
What about social activities? Does this child play video games? Is there certain game lingo or ways to play the games with others that need to be taught? I am not a gamer, but I could easily find someone who is (ahem, my husband) and have them brainstorm gaming behavioras that could lead to more social interaction.
What about greeting others? We often work on greeting the people in the client's every day life- but let's work beyond that. How do their peers greet each other? It's probably not "Hello. How are you?" Let's work on more age appropriate greetings: hi, hey, what's up, the chin up head not weird thing that too cool for school pre-teens always do, etc.
We are good at identifying general social behaviors to teach, but we need to put in a little more time and effort to find those behavior changes specific to that child's life that very well may have far-reaching consequences.
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA