Master ABA

Program and BIP Implementation

Creating a plan is only the first step for helping your clients realize their full potential. Without successful implementation of that plan your clients won’t see the gains you expect. These posts will help you effectively implement ABA interventions


Understanding Consequence Interventions: Punishment vs Reinforcement

A consequence is anything immediately following a behavior in which we are interested. Often, the consequence makes the behavior more or less likely to happen in the future. Consequences occur frequently without intention or planning. A consequence intervention can be used to intentionally reinforce desired behaviors. This post covers the following topics:

  • Understanding the Categories of Consquences
  • The Difference between Reinforcement and Punishment
  • Is the Distinction between Positive and Negative Reinforcement and Punishment Necessary?
  • What’s Better, Punishment or Reinforcement?
  • Choosing Effective Consequence Interventions
  • Effectively Reinforcing Target Behaviors
  • Ethical Considerations of Reinforcement and Punishment
  • The Distinction between Positive Reinforcement and Bribery

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Choosing Reinforcers: Reinforcer Assessments or Preference Assessments

Selecting reinforcers that are sufficiently motivating for your learner is critical to the success of your reinforcement strategy. Preference for a reinforcer is often fluid. These assessments will help you determine what will be most effective with your client.

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Differential Reinforcement: A Complete Guide

Differential reinforcement (DR) is an effective ABA intervention when used correctly. With this strategy, therapists reinforce one topography of behavior while putting all other responses on extinction. Five main varieties offer options for behaviors to reinforce:

  1. DRO-Differential reinforcement of other behavior
  2. DRA-Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior
  3. DRI-Differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior
  4. DRL-Differential reinforcement of lower rates of behavior
  5. DRH-Differential reinforcement of higher rates of behavior

This complete guide will help you understand each DR strategy, how to implement them and when to use each one.

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Matching Law: Practical Applications in ABA

The Matching Law is a behavioral principle that states that behavior occurs in proportion to reinforcement available for each behavior. By intentionally applying this law, you are able to manipulate concurrent schedules to influence behavior. This strategy is an especially effective alternative to extinction. Learn more.

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Token Economy: Examples and Applications in ABA

Token economy is a reinforcement strategy where generalized reinforcers (tokens) are exchanged for backup reinforcers (something the learner wants). Research shows that this intervention is effective across environments including home, school, and in-patient programs. Due to its versatility, it’s important to consider how you might include a token economy in your plan. This post includes examples to give you ideas.

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ABA Interventions

Antecedent Interventions: Complete Guide

Collecting ABC data helps us understand behavior in context. Reinforcement and other consequence interventions are a cornerstone of ABA (see Understanding Consequence Interventions: Punishment vs Reinforcement). Here we dive a little deeper into using the first part of the 3 term contingency – Antecedent interventions. This post includes the following interventions:

  • Visuals
  • Behavioral Momentum
  • Shared Control
  • Errorless Learning
  • Environmental Modifications
  • Priming
  • Task Interspersal
  • Noncontingent Reinforcement

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Understanding Assent and Assent Withdrawal in ABA

We all know that we must get informed consent from parents or caregivers to provide treatment, but are you getting assent from the learner as well?  In the BACB’s Code of Ethics updated for 2022, the BACB requires BCBAs to obtain assent as a part of obtaining informed consent (2.11 Obtaining Informed Consent)

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Behavior Chains: Using Task Analysis for Chaining

Like many things related to behavior, behavior chains exist whether you’re aware of them or not. Understanding how behavior chains work, then using a task analysis to create intentional behavior chains is an effective intervention when working with children with autism.

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Should I Use Natural Environment Teaching (NET) or Discrete Trial Training (DTT)?

Choosing the right teaching format directly impacts the success of your clients. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) provides a wealth of resources and interventions, so how do you choose the right one? Two common interventions utilized by professionals include Natural Environment Teaching (NET) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT). While research supports both methodologies, choose carefully based on the needs of your client.

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Errorless Learning: Complete Guide

Errorless learning is an effective intervention using prompting to reduce the occurrence of errors, which can be especially beneficial when your learner is easily frustrated when making mistakes. Here are 4 important things you need to know before using this strategy:

  1. Errorless learning is an antecedent intervention
  2. There are many advantages and disadvantages
  3. Errorless learning isn’t appropriate for every learner
  4. There are 4 steps to implement errorless learning

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Prompt Hierarchy: A New Perspective

Using prompts is an effective approach for teaching new skills and reducing challenging behaviors. However, fading prompts is a critical piece of using this intervention effectively. Although professionals often refer to this prompt hierarchy as one sequence of prompts that can be followed in ascending or descending order of intrusiveness, in reality, there are 3 distinct hierarchies. Prompts from one hierarchy may naturally be included during prompt fading when using one of the other hierarchies. This post explains more.

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What is Pivotal Response Training (PRT)?

Pivotal Response Training (PRT) focuses on improving skills in 4 pivotal areas that, once learned, help the child acquire other skills more rapidly. These areas are:

  • Motivation
  • Initiation
  • Multiple cues
  • Self-management

This post goes into detail for each area of learning.

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Premack Principle: A Guide to Using the First/Then Rule

The Premack Principle, or First/Then, states that a behavior an individual chooses to do on his own will reinforce a less preferred behavior. While this intervention is commonly used to reduce demand refusal, this post explains 5 other ways you can use this strategy to help your learner.

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FCT: 7 Things You Need to Know about Functional Communication Training

Due to deficits in effective communication, children with autism often rely on challenging behavior as a form of communication to get their needs met. Functional Communication Training can help provide tools these learners can use to get their needs met in place of these behaviors. This post explains 7 key points from the research you should understand before including FCT in your plan.

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Behavioral Momentum for Children with Autism

Children with autism often exhibit challenging behavior, including refusal. Behavioral momentum allows you to turn potentially negative interactions with your learner into positive ones. By eliciting a series of positive responses from your learner you are essentially warming him up and preparing him to respond positively to requests that follow. Once he completes a series of easy tasks he is much more likely to complete a more challenging one. Here’s how!

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Compliance Training: Teach Cooperation While Preserving Individual Rights

This post covers a valuable strategy, but let’s make sure we are all on the same page first.  Compliance Training sometimes gets a bad reputation from people who are trying to preserve the dignity and rights of individuals with autism (for more on the debate about ABA read our post Understanding the Debate About ABA).  When done carelessly, Compliance Training can appear degrading and controlling.  It’s critical to be aware of this before getting started so you ensure to carefully implement the strategies we are going to talk about.

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Parent Engagement

Generalization: How teaching strategies and environment affect generalization

Engaging parents in treatment leads to more effective generalization at home with less intervention from professionals. Behavioral skills training (BST) provides a framework for teaching parents (Lafasakis & Sturmey, 2007), yet fails to offer a way to ensure parent participation. Five of the best strategies you can use include:

  • Build a Rapport
  • Assess the Parents’ Reinforcers
  • Be Flexible about Training
  • Set Realistic Goals
  • Use a Homework Calendar

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