A behavioral cusp is any behavior change that brings an organism's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have far-reaching consequences.
When creating Individual Treatment Plans or Individual Education Plans for the population we work with, what criteria helps determine the target behaviors to add as goals or objectives? Generally we use our assessment tool (ABLLS-R, VBMAPP) or educational standards (Common Core Standards, TEKS). Another thing we need to consdier is are are adequately training other social behaviors that could open up whole new worlds of reinforcement and interaction for our clients?
I live in a very small community where we mostly bike or walk to get anywhere. A very important social behavior here is greeting others as you pass on your bike. A smile, wave, eye contact, head nod, or verbal greeting is an expected behavior, whether you know the other person or not. Ofthen times, I may be worn out from a long day at work and be in a hurry to get home but I better put a smile on my face anyway as I pass by others. If I did not engage in these social beahviors, I would quickly get a reputation for being unfriendly and it would hinder my social and work relationships.
Is greeting others while riding a bicycle a necessary behavioral cusp for people everyhwere? Absolutely not! We as practitioners need to be able to identify expected behaviors specific to each client's environment that may serve as a behavioral cusp. But how do we determine what behaviors are necessary? Are there some basic social behaviors all people need in order to have access to more opporunities for reinforcement?
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA