Today we kick off our series of Episodes on Reinforcement. Reinforcement is NOT just a reward or an arbitrarily selected item. It's NOT just a bribe, although bribes can occur. It's the FUEL to behavior change when properly applied. If you want desirable behavior to increase, you must reinforce it! We've included a clip from Cultivate’s 40 Hour Registered Behavior Technician Training for the KI 100 Episode today. We lost the video file for today but that's not stopping us! Enjoy!
Keepin' It 100 is a practical web series by Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education designed to help parents and practitioners learn and apply the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Keepin' It 100 is designed to be a series of 100 videos, each roughly 100 seconds in length over 100 days.
Reinforcement is the FUEL to behavior change. If you want desirable behavior to increase, you MUST reinforce it. All behavioral repertories exist because of the reinforcement that’s at work. This means that reinforcement is a natural part of our lives. We do what we’re reinforced for doing. The reinforcement contingencies at work largely select our behavioral repertoires.
As a parent or practitioner, start to think through the behaviors that you’d like to increase. Whether it’s completing homework independently, sitting down at the table during mealtime, trying new foods, washing hands independently, drinking more water, reading more books, using manners, doing laundry, making a bed, or attending to instructions, reinforcement MUST be a part of the planning and programming if we’re to make progress on increasing these behaviors. This requires us to be intentional with how we approach these situations. The good news is that it’s not that difficult to start experiencing change. Check out what I wrote below.
I’ll tell you a story of how this has worked in our household just in the last 2 days. July in Central Texas is BURNING HOT. We’ve been hitting up the neighborhood pool daily. My sweet wife does a lot for our kiddos and I noticed that she was literally carrying EVERYTHING for the pool. I call my sons and daughters out and basically say “Look, if you want pool toys, you need to carry them to the pool and bring them back home when we’re done.” They learn from the prompt/feedback that I provided and they started helping to carry the load of things for the pool. I then provided a comment or two in the form of praise (“Thanks for helping out, that really does make a difference when we’re trying to carry everything-plus I know mom really appreciates it”) and they we're reinforced by the pool toys that they then had access to. All it required was one instance of feedback, and a leveraging of reinforcement to our advantage, and behavior changed.
It can be that simple! Be encouraged by the simplicity-little changes making a huge difference.
Contact us if you’d like more individualized support! We serve clients throughout Central Texas, including Austin, Bee Cave, Buda, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Lakeway, Leander, and Spicewood.