While the word “punish” often conjures up bad thoughts for parents and professionals, punishment and reinforcement are key when looking at behavior change through ABA. Punishment in ABA decreases the chances that a particular behavior will occur again, as opposed to reinforcement which increases the likelihood of behavior.
Let’s look at the behavior analytic definitions of punishment specifically:
- Positive punishers may occur naturally in one’s environment. A child pets a strange dog and gets bit on the finger causing pain. After this occurs, the child does not pet strange dogs. That is considered a positive punisher because the bite/pain (presented stimulus) decreased petting strange dogs (outcome).
- A parent can use positive punishment as well: siblings are fighting; mom yells “stop it right now!” and the kid’s reaction is to end the fighting. Mom provides the stimulus of yelling, which decreases future occurrence of fighting.
- A negative punisher would be when the removal of a toy ends the fighting between two children. This removal decreases chance of it happening in future.
- “Time out” is also considered a negative punishment. When used correctly, it removes all reinforcement from the immediate environment resulting in a decrease in future occurrence of the punished behavior.
Providing the weekly Medical Blogs are the team of professionals, doctors, occupational and behavioral therapists at San Antonio’s premiere Autism Diagnostic Clinic, the Autism Community Network.
Executive Director Dr. Loree Primeau
Medical Director Dr. A Patricia Del Angel
Training and Research Director Dr. Berenice de la Cruz
Carrie Alvarado, OTR, PhD©, DIR/Floortime-Certified
Lupe Castaneda, MS, BCBA
Adriana Sanchez, MA, BCBA
Dr. Gayla Aguilar, OTR, OTD, C-SIPT
Megan Kunze, MA, BCBA
The ACN teams works to maximize the potential of children with autism through their administrative, clinic, training and development departments. Their expertise on Aspergers Syndrome is offered to you through aspergers101.com.
Dr. Temple Grandin on DISCIPLINE
“I cannot emphasize the importance of consistency. When I was in elementary school, the penalty for having a tantrum was to have no TV for one night. That was the rule and it was always enforced. It is essential for the rules to be consistent at BOTH home and school. Parents and teachers must work together otherwise the child may manipulate the parent against the teacher and vice versa. Kids need to learn that “No” means No and be rewarded when they do things right. You also need to determine if a behavior problem is caused by pain or sensory over sensitivity. Hidden painful medical problems must be ruled out. Some common ones are – acid reflex (heartburn), constipation, yeast infections, toothaches, and earaches. A child may fear going into a room where a smoke alarm had previously gone off, because it hurt his/hear ears. After these biological causes of behavior problems are ruled out, then the behavioral motivation can be figured out.
The three main behavioral causes of tantrums and other problems behaviors are:
- Get attention
- Frustration because communication is difficult
- Escape from a task
Each one of these motivators needs to be handled in a different way. Often the best way to handle behaviors motivated for attention getting is to ignore it. If a non-verbal child is frustrated because he/she cannot communicate, he/she should be given a means to communicate, such as a picture board or picture exchange. There are many new apps available for I Pads and other tablets for communication. If the child is trying to escape from a task, you need to make sure the task is not stupid. An example of a stupid task would be making a brilliant 8-year-old do baby math drills. He/she should be given the more advanced math book.
All children in the autism spectrum should be expected to do daily living tasks that they are capable of doing. Some examples are making their bed, being on time for the school bus or helping with household chores. When I was a child, I was expected to have good table manners and to say “please” and “thank you.” When I made a mistake with table manners, mother did not say No. She told me the correct behavior. For example if I ate mashed potatoes with my fingers, she said, “No, use your fork.” She gave me the instruction, instead of just saying NO.”
-Dr. Temple Grandin
The above and other Q & A from Dr. Temple Grandin was provided by is posted at: http://www.templegrandin.com/faq.html
After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome.
The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.
Oftentimes aspies exhibit challenging behaviors just like any other child. However, aspies have other factors when it come to learning and emotions that render most traditional disciplinary methods ineffective; whether the discipline takes place in school, at home, or anywhere else.
This blog outlines some important considerations for effective aspie discipline.
Reese Eskridge is a Production Technician with Fairville Products who is passionate about working in the sciences (biology) and wishes to take his work experiences further into the fields of Educational Neuroscience; Science Fiction; Freelance Writing; Disability Advocacy; Public Speaking; Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Aspergers101 is proud to offer the insights and perceptions of the talented Mr. Eskridge to our team of bloggers as he is a great example of living life on the spectrum to it’s fullest!