Chapter 4: Environmental Arrangement to Prevent Contextually Inappropriate Behavior
This chapter focuses on the prevention of challenging behaviors, described as “contextually inappropriate” behaviors. Contextually inappropriate is the term used to describe what we commonly think of as challenging behaviors, because of the fact that context plays a key role in one’s definition of challenging behavior. For example, a student who screams for their team at the football game would not be engaging in a challenging behavior because in that context the behavior is acceptable. Thus, this chapter challenges teachers to consider the context in which a behavior occurs in determining its nature. The role that prevention plays in addressing contextually inappropriate behaviors is critical. One must begin by identifying the underlying cause of the behavior, the motivation behind it. To do this, teachers and other professionals conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and then develop a behavior support plan from the results of the assessment.
In conducting an FBA, it is recommended that a team approach be used for collecting data, analyzing data, developing hypotheses as to function, and developing the support plan. An Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence (ABC) chart is recommended as a reliable systematic observation procedure to identify potential functions of behavior. While other direct and indirect methods of assessment may also be considered, the ABC chart provides the greatest detail about the context of the challenging behavior; details that can later be used to both identify function and develop appropriate support plans.
Once the function of the behavior has been hypothesized, a behavior support plan, or behavior intervention plan (BIP) is developed to address the challenging behaviors. The plan should include antecedent interventions designed to a) teach functionally equivalent replacement behaviors to address the motivation behind the behavior and b) prevent the occurrence of the challenging behavior. Functionally equivalence is important because the newly taught behavior must meet the same purpose as the challenging one and be as efficient and effective as it was. Additional consequence strategies, such as extinction, may be incorporated to further reduce the challenging behavior.
Seven specific antecedent strategies are recommended. These include:
- Using learner preferences: used to decrease need for escape by making materials or content more interesting
- Embedding demands into reinforcing activities: using naturally occurring activities or those that the student finds enjoyable and taking advantage of teachable moments, or setting up embedded learning opportunities, is used to decrease escape motivated behavior
- Increasing predictability of environment: again, used to decrease the need for escape, predictable routines and use of visuals (such as a visual schedule) or timers can increase on task behavior and decrease escape behaviors
- Providing opportunities to make choices: found to be an evidence-based practice for students with autism, offering choices also aids in reducing behaviors that are motivated by escape
- Modifying features of instruction: identifying and modifying issues that may be aversive to the student in terms of the instruction (e.g., use of handouts when they dislike writing) can also decrease escape behaviors
- Eliminating or decreasing pain or discomfort: for behaviors that occur as a result of something internal to the student, teachers should seek to identify the issue and make a change
- Creating a positive atmosphere: to decrease both attention and escape behaviors, teachers should seek to create a learning culture within their classroom that is accepting and collaborative
- Understand how concepts of motivation, including states of deprivation, satiation, and aversive stimuli, impact contextually inappropriate behaviors.
- Explain the rationale and steps for completing functional behavior assessment of contextually inappropriate behavior.
- Describe the various ways that antecedent conditions contribute to contextually inappropriate behavior.
- Synthesize several antecedent-based interventions to increase the preventative effects on contextually inappropriate behavior.
- Analyze the benefits and limitations of embedded instruction on the learning of various academic, social, and communication behaviors of students with autism.
Chapter Focus Questions:
- Explain three limitations and/or problems related to exclusive use of consequence strategies to modify the behavior of students with autism.
- What are the steps for completing functional behavior assessment: why should it be conducted and who should be involved in the process?
- Give five examples of antecedent-based strategies that may be effective for addressing one of Bob’s, Mitch’s, or Peyton’s behaviors.
- In pairs or groups, create an activity matrix for teaching a behavior to Bob, Mitch, or Peyton. Be sure to choose activities and behaviors that are derived from the case examples.
- Explain why contextual fit is important for developing and implementing behavior support plans for students with autism.
Behavior support plan
Contextually inappropriate behavior
Functional behavior assessment
Functionally equivalent replacement behavior
Instructional Strategies and Activities:
|Strategy||Rationale||Description/Steps||Modifications/ Alternative Options|
|Practice FBA data collection||To help students apply concepts such as anecdotal recording and ABC data collection and to see the importance of detail in identifying function||1. Using a video or other source of information, have students complete an anecdotal recording and and ABC data sheet (Handout 4.1).
2. Once both sets of data have been collected, have students, in teams, attempt to identify possible function based on data from each.
3. Have students discuss which data collection system provided greatest detail and thusly may be more useful at determining function.
|Instead of watching a video, students may select to conduct real-time observations/data collection in their place of work, with a member of their family, or other individual.|
|Research review: Antecedent-Based Strategies||Provide students with opportunities to become familiar with the literature on evidence-based practices designed to reduce or eliminate the need for challenging behaviors in the classroom||1. In teams, assign students to conduct a literature review on one of the seven antecedent-based interventions discussed in the book.
2. Have teams share their findings with members of the class and discuss practical uses and examples of each strategy found in the literature.
|Instead of teams, students can work independently and read one assigned research study to share with members of the class or smaller groups.|
|Behavior intervention plan development||Allow students the opportunity to consider strategies for prevention of challenging behavior, using an antecedent-based intervention||1. Independently, ask students to think about a contextually inappropriate behavior of their own, that they would like to decrease (e.g., using smart phone while drive, etc.).
2. Have students conduct a personal ABC chart (if necessary) and consider what they believe to be the function of their own behavior.
3. Ask students to develop a behavior intervention plan for their own behavior that includes antecedent strategies, and where appropriate, functionally equivalent replacement behaviors.
|Students may work in teams to create behavior plans for hypothetical issues unrelated to themselves.|
Suggest Chapter Readings/Resources:
Alberto, P. A., & Troutman, A. C. (2008). Applied behavior analysis for teachers. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.
Savner, J., & Myles, S. B. (2000). Making visual supports work in the home and community: Strategies for individuals with autism and Asperger Syndrome. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
Scheuermann, B., & Webber, J. (2002). Autism: Teaching does make a difference. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson.
The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI): http://www.ocali.org
This web site has a wealth of information on autism. Resources such as parent guide, services database, internet training modules, and service guidelines are available to the public.
U.S Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBS): http://www.pbis.org/
This website contains a description of PBS and its use in the public schools. Research articles and training modules on this topic are available on the site also.
Chapter 4: Environmental Arrangement to Prevent Contextually Inappropriate Behavior
- Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement
- Data Collection Methods
- Developing Behavior Support Plans
- Antecedent-Based Interventions
- What do we mean by “_______________ Inappropriate Behavior”?
- Behavior can be classified as appropriate or inappropriate
- This distinction is based on _______________
- Why is this important?
- Once we understand the contexts of inappropriate behavior, we can begin to make changes to the _______________ to prevent its occurrence
- Changing the environment prevents inappropriate behavior and promotes appropriate behavior
- All behavior serves a _______________
- In applied behavior analysis (ABA) motivation goes _______________ someone’s “will” to do something
- If we say a child had a tantrum because he wanted to does not tell us the reason he wanted to
- We should not rely on _______________ phenomenon (e.g., feelings) as explanations of motivation
- If we say a child did something because she was frustrated or bored, it does not tell us the _______________ she was frustrated or bored
- Identifying the reason for a behavior as lying solely within the child (e.g., feelings, personality, disability) _______________ to consider the context, and as such, prevents us from addressing the contextual reason for the behavior
- People behave in order to get something (reinforcement) that has historically been received following a particular behavior
- Environmental antecedents begin to be associated with either _______________ reinforcement is available or establishing a need for the reinforcement
- Two types of reinforcement:
Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement
How Does Reinforcement Influence Motivation?
|_______________ Reinforcement||_______________ Reinforcement|
|• Situation: Student has a need (for example, has not eaten in a while, has not had 1:1 attention for a while, or has not played with a favorite item in a while)
• Results: Behavior that historically accessed the desired item or activity will occur, with the expectation of getting what they want
|• Situation: Student is placed in or finds him/herself in an unpleasant situation or potential for unpleasantness, thus they need to escape or avoid the situation (for example, if a teacher asks them to read aloud, which they find aversive)
• Results: Behavior that historically avoided or accessed escape from the aversive situation will occur, with the expectation of getting what they want
- Understanding _______________ (antecedents and consequences) can help us identify a student’s underlying motivation for a particular behavior
- In other words, what was s/he trying to get when they engaged in that behavior? Was it access to something (attention, tangible, activity) or was it escape or avoidance?
- Once we have identified the underlying _______________, we can _______________ the environment and antecedents so that the student has less need for the behavior
- Once we reduce the need for a behavior, we effectively prevent the behavior, meaning less need for suppressive consequences such as punishment
- Once we have identified the underlying motivation, we can _______________ the student more acceptable means of getting their needs met/getting what they want
- Underlying motivation can also be thought of as the function of behavior
- _______________ refers to the purpose of the behavior, or what the student wants/needs/intends to get by engaging in it
How Can We Identify Underlying Motivation/Function?
Functional Behavior Assessment
- Establish a _______________
- Identify the behavior for assessment
- _______________ behavioral data
- Develop and test hypotheses
- Develop behavior support plans
Data Collection Methods
- _______________ methods:
- Review previous records
- Behavior rating scales
- _______________ observation:
- Anecdotal data collection
- Scatterplot data
- _______________ data
- Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence charting
- Emphasis is on _______________ environmental details that can aid in hypothesis development
- Recording environmental variable information _______________ and _______________ the behavior, to identify possible antecedents to and maintaining consequences of the behavior
- Objective _______________ of the behavior as it is observed (e.g., avoid value statements or stating internal issues such as “boredom”)
- Teams will seek _______________ of behavior (repeated occurrence of the same antecedents and consequences with certain behaviors) to generate a hypothesis about function
Developing Behavior Support Plans
- Manipulate environmental variables to prevent the _______________ for the challenging behavior in the first place
- For example, for Bob, we could make the task less difficult, more enjoyable, less lengthy, or we could provide Bob with scaffolding or other supports necessary to ensure he understands, and therefore is less likely to engage in the challenging behavior
- Teach the student a _______________ _______________ replacement behavior
- Replacement behavior must serve the _______________ function as the challenging behavior
- Replacement behavior must be as effective and efficient as the challenging behavior
- Consider additional Antecedent-Based Interventions
- Interventions designed to create _______________ need for escape and/or that provide greater or more frequent access to attention, tangibles, or activities the student prefers
Instructional Activity Handouts
Handout 4.1: ABC Chart
Handout4.2: Behavior Intervention Plan
|Behavior||Hypothesized Function||Preventative Procedures/ Antecedent-Based Strategies||Replacement Behaviors|