As you move through the course, please start thinking about the Final Project, which is due by the end of Unit 9. Your Final Project will consist of an analysis of questions related to two separate case studies. Each case presents a problem that you, the future ABA professional, will need to assess. You will design an effective behavior modification program as well as a plan to evaluate this program. Each case covers the theories, concepts, and research discussed this term. Your answers to the questions should consist of information from the text and supplemental readings.
Your primary sources should be the readings assigned for the course,. These
�Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
�Miltenberger, R. G. (2012). Behavior Modification Principles and Procedures; 5th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
The reading material may be located in both the Cooper and Miltenberger textbook.
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This will help you demonstrate your mastery of the material covered this term.
After reading each case, please fully answer the questions below. Responses to the questions should be typed in a Word document, double-spaced in 12-point font and submitted to the Dropbox. Most students will need to write 3-4 typed pages for each case in order to address all required parts.
Please make sure to provide proper credit for those sources used in your case study analysis in proper APA format. Please see the APA Quick Reference for any questions related to APA citations. You must credit authors when you:
1.Summarize a concept, theory or research
2.Use direct quotes from the text or articles
Case Study 1: William
Ms. Tooley contacts you, an ABA analyst, to assist her with a child in her classroom named William. William is a healthy 6-year-old boy who has been terrorizing his classmates. The problem has been occurring since the beginning of the school year. William pushes, kicks, hits or bites other children in the class. This has often happened during recess time. Ms. Tooley first addressed the issue by scolding William. That did not appear to reduce the behavior, so she then required him to visit the principal’s office whenever an episode of hitting/biting occurred. These visits also had little effect in reducing the negative behaviors.
1.What is the target behavior(s) that you will plan to address? Write a target behavior definition using terms that can be observed and the appropriate behavior analytic language.
2.How would you first assess William? Discuss the rationale for your choice of assessment.
3.Discuss one reason why the teacher’s original methods of behavior management may have failed.
4.Design an effective behavior modification program for William using a combination approach treatment package(two or more behavior techniques from the relevant literature).
5.Discuss your rationale for selecting the combination approach, drawing upon behavior theory.
6.Explain how you would evaluate the modification program.
Discuss issues related to spontaneous recovery of behavior, extinction and maintenance of desired behavior.
Case Study 2: Annie
Hospital Administrator Rodriguez contacts you because she is experiencing difficulty with an ABA program that you designed for one of her psychiatric patients, Annie. The patient, a 40-year-old schizophrenic female, has been exhibiting a great deal of difficulty with a few daily care routines, including brushing her teeth and making her bed in the morning. The program that you originally designed was a token economy system in which she would earn one token for each completed activity and then collect a reward (extra time in the courtyard) once 10 tokens were obtained. Ms. Rodriguez reports that Annie is not completing the tasks and then as a result, not earning any tokens. She asks you to revisit the hospital to determine what is not working.
1.What are three possible issues that can occur with a newly implemented behavior change program? Discuss what aspects of the program you would want to check on first before making any changes.
2.Choosing one of the three potential issues, elaborate on how this may be negatively impacting the program and how you could address the problem to increase the likelihood that the program would work.
3.Provide a step by step alternative behavior modification program (instead of the one presented) for Annie. Your new plan must include the following:
a.A description of the data-based intervention that you have chosen.
b.Your rationale for using the intervention as supported by relevant literature (your text and Journal articles)
c.The overall behavior goals associated with the use of the plan
d.The step-by-step procedures that the staff will take to implement the plan
e. How data will be collected
f. How progress will be monitored
Case study 1: William
The target behavior that I will plan to address is: violent, aggressive behavior. In this case study, four kinds of behaviors exhibited by 6-year old William that qualify as violent or aggressive include pushing, kicking, hitting and biting other children in the classroom. William has often exhibited these kinds of behaviors during recess. This aggressive, violent behavior that the child shows is the target behavior primarily because it is the behavior that I will target to change. After knowing what is feeding William’s aggressive behavior toward other children, positive proactive choices would be implemented for making the target behavior unnecessary.
I would first assess William by using Functional Behavioral Assessment method. This assessment method is basically used in identifying and describing the target behavior or problem. It is also seeks to identify the factors which contribute to it; that is, events which immediately come before the behavior that serve to set the stage for it, as well as the outcome which follow the behavior, which reinforce it (Acuna, 2011). Basing upon the information collected, a hypothesis would be formulated regarding the cause of that particular behavior, and I will try to provide answers to these important questions:
- Why does William engage in aggressive behaviors against other students in the class?
- What are the purposes which the target behavior serves for the child?
- How do the behaviors of the child relate to the environment?
- Where and when do the problem behaviors take place?
The Functional Behavioral Assessment method will include observing the child in school and at home, and information collected from teachers and the student. Data would be collected from several sources for instance checklists, behavior rating scales, interviews, and standardized assessments (Miltenberger, 2012). FBA method is appropriate in this situation especially because the child’s behavior places other students at risk of injury or harm; William bites, kicks, pushes and hits other students. Obtaining a clearer picture will entail manipulating the environment to place the youngster in several situations in which his behavioral changes could be closely monitored.
The teacher’s original methods of behavior management may have failed because the teacher did not address the main causes of the behavior problems in William. Oliver, Wehby and Reschly (2011) stated that it is vital to understand the root causes of behavior problems in children since this is crucial to ensuring proper, effective treatment and management. It is noteworthy that every child is unique and every child has to be treated as such. What might explain behavior in one child might not explain behavior in another child. Simply put, what treatment works for one child, might actually fail to work for another child (Acuna, 2011). Considering that William is a healthy six-year old, the root cause for his aggressive behavior is certainly not because of a neurological disorder. His overly aggressive behavior might in fact result from the following legitimate reasons: lack of discipline, a need for attention, a feeling of inadequacy, anxiety, conduct disorder, bad parenting, depression or even revenge (Miltenberger, 2012). If William’s teacher truly understood the underlying cause and the reason behind his aggressive behavior, then she could have easily explained and managed using the right approach. The teacher should have simply asked herself: why is William behaving this way?
An effective behavior modification program will entail the use of positive reinforcement techniques such as: (i) the use of rewards and praise; and (ii) assisting the child to replace aggressive behavior with healthier problem-solving skills. Positive reinforcement will not only encourage, but also strengthen the appropriate behaviors basing upon the desired consequences. Negative reinforcement technique will help eliminate inappropriate behavior and encourage appropriate behaviors (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007). (iii) Isolating the child when possible, is the negative reinforcement technique that would be applied. (iv) Extinction procedure will also be utilized.
The use of rewards and praise: using this particular technique, the child will earn tokens, stickers or points for positive behavior. The appropriate behavior would be rewarded as soon as possible, and the pay-offs would be small but attainable. The rewards would be made cumulative, a reward would never be taken back once offered, and the element of surprise would also be utilized by offering the child a double reward unexpectedly. In essence, when the child is caught being good and when the child handles a period of anger or frustration without pushing, hitting, biting or kicking other students, he will be rewarded and praised for that (Miltenberger, 2012). Help the child replace inappropriate behavior with healthier problem-solving skills: When a child uses abusive and aggressive behavior in solving his/her own problems, it is vital that they learn a way of replacing that particular behavior with healthier problem-solving skills (Oliver, Wehby & Reschly, 2011). I will have problem-solving conversations with William so that next time he is faced with situations that cause him to be aggressive towards other students; he will be able to ask himself what he can do in order to solve the problem in a different way other than hitting, biting, kicking or pushing other students. The child would be spoken to in a respectful, assertive and calm manner. The child will also be listened to since this might be a possible way of finding out how the situation developed or the way that the situation might be resolved (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007). Extinction procedure: extinction helps to reduce the behavior by abruptly terminating or removing the positive reinforcer which has been maintaining the inappropriate target behavior resulting in extinction/stopping of the behavior. By applying this technique, attention will be given to desired/appropriate behavior, and the child will learn that the attention of the teacher is selectively available. It is not the child who would be ignored, but his inappropriate behavior (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007).
Punishment-oriented technique: this technique includes the use of time-out. The child will be informed that his inappropriate behavior has consistent and clear consequences, and failing to behave well would incur consequences. For instance, if the child hits others in the yard or playground, then he will have to leave the playground. If the child is aggressive to other students while in the classroom, then he will have to work away from the other students. If the child is too aggressive toward others, then he will have to be isolated for instance by being exited from the class (Oliver, Wehby & Reschly, 2011).
The combination approach is appropriate because it focuses on correcting and controlling inappropriate behavior exhibited by the child. Moreover, it also helps to prevent and treat the problem. When applied consistently and efficiently, a combination approach leads to desired change (Miltenberger, 2012).The modification program would be evaluated by using a graph in measuring levels of behavior before and after the treatment. Graph is essential since it will help in documenting changes in behavior during the period of treatment and make vital decisions regarding whether or not to continue using the treatment. The results for the graph would be obtained by assessing whether the treatment goal has been attained or not.
There are a number of issues related to spontaneous recovery behavior, extinction, as well as maintenance of desired behavior. With the extinction procedure, ignoring the child with inappropriate behavior may make others to imitate him/her and the undesired behavior is likely to increase initially. The child might become aggressive as she/he attempts to get attention (Acuna, 2011). With spontaneous recovery, a behavior that appeared to have been stopped or extinguished for a time might be exhibited again by the individual. Basically, the child would be trying to check whether the same rule still applies within a new environment, or after a period of time. Since many people are involved in living and learning situations where others are around them, they might be influenced by those people who are in those situations, and this may affect maintenance of desired behavior (Miltenberger, 2012). For instance, a child might continue an inappropriate behavior in the class because other students laugh every time that she belches, although the educator ignores it.
Case study 2: Annie
The 3 possible issues that can take place with a newly implemented behavior change program include:- (i) the individual being uncooperative and/or being resistant to the behavior change program; (ii) the behavior change program might fail to serve its purpose by not being implemented consistently and effectively; and (iii) not making follow-up on the individual to check his/her observance to the program. Before making any changes, the aspect of the program that would be checked first include: how many tokens has Annie obtained so far since the beginning of the program. This will help me to know how many activities she has completed given that Annie earns a single token for each completed activity, and if she has collected any reward, that is, more time in the courtyard. Tokens are essentially generalized reinforcers given that they could be exchanged for various reinforcing events known as back-up reinforcers. In a token economy, tokens are earned and utilized in buying back-up reinforcers (Acuna, 2011).
One of the three possible issues is certainly the fact that the individual might choose to be uncooperative to the behavior change program, or they might be resistant to it. Being uncooperative and resistant to the behavior change program might be because unrealistic expectations have been placed on the individual such that he/she is unable to attain the set goals of the program, thereby negatively influencing the program (Oliver, Wehby & Reschly, 2011). This problem could be addressed by simply placing realistic, attainable expectations on the individual; expectations that are easy to attain with little effort and this will greatly increase the likelihood that the program would work.
For Annie, the alternative behavior modification program that will replace the token economy system is modeling. Modeling technique is basically when an individual learns by observing and modeling the behavior of other people. This process highlights the social components of the learning process (Oliver, Wehby & Reschly, 2011).Rationale for using modeling technique: the behavior of an individual usually changes because of watching both the behavior as well as behavior consequences of another person. What is observed in this technique is the behavior of the model, in addition to the results of this behavior, as well as the model’s instructions and verbal cues (Acuna, 2011). The token economy system previously applied on Annie relies on reinforcement to change behavior, but it has shown to be ineffective. Instead of relying on punishment or reinforcement, modeling approach will allow Annie to learn desired behaviors simply by watching another person exhibiting those acceptable behaviors (Miltenberger, 2012). The desired, acceptable behaviors in this case include performing a few daily care routines such as making her bed every morning and brushing her teeth. With this plan, the overall behavior goal is: to allow Annie to learn the desired behavior of brushing her teeth and making her bed every morning when she wakes up.
To implement this plan, the following procedure is necessary:
- A therapist/nurse will model the desired behavior that Annie will watch and model for a period of 14 days.
- A nurse at the hospital whom Annie considers as significant to her would act as the model.
- The influential model would exhibit the desired behaviors every morning by making her bed and brushing her teeth.
- Annie would watch and model the acceptable behavior as exhibited by the model.
- After 14 days, it is expected that Annie would have modified her behavior and the behavior change program would be seen as a success.
In this modeling technique, data would be gathered by observing the patient and taking notes. In essence, Annie would be observed if she is modifying her behavior to the desired, acceptable behaviors, and progress would be monitored by observing her adherence to the desired behavior, that is, how she is sticking to those acceptable behaviors.
Acuna, M. T. (2011). Better Choices: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Behavior Management Programs. Online Submission
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Miltenberger, R. G. (2012). Behavior Modification Principles and Procedures; 5th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Oliver, R. M., Wehby, J. H.,& Reschly, D. J. (2011). Teacher Classroom Management Practices: Effects on Disruptive or Aggressive Student Behavior. Society For Research On Educational Effectiveness,