Disruptive Incident Barometer
When analyzing inappropriate behavior excesses the first step is to determine if the behavior interferes with the person’s ability to function or interact appropriately in typical environmental conditions. To do this observational data needs to be taken for an extended amount of time to determine whether the behavior is disruptive. This is a very important part of the process because if the behavior only has occurred once or very infrequently then it would not be considered a disruptive behavior which needs to be altered. When observing a new behavior evidence has shown that if you do not bring attention or acknowledge the behavior, it may not re-occur because the person exhibiting the behavior has not achieved the desired reaction they had hoped for.
Once observational data has determined that a target behavior is considered disruptive then you must operationally define the behavior. For example a tantrum behavior of a specific individual could be defined as: Crying with or without tears, screaming loudly, making statements like “no, no, no”, pounding fists on the table, swiping lesson materials, getting up and running from their desk, and falling to the ground. When you are defining a behavior and also writing a descriptive analysis of the behavior, it must always be specific, observable, and measurable. Based on these principles an example of a descriptive analysis of a self injurious behavior it would be: “Tim stood up and hit the back of his head on the wall four times then dropped to the ground, rolled over, hit his forehead on the carpeted area three times, then with his right hand closed in a fist he hit his forehead five times.” Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) works off of this theory because it is strictly a scientific approach to analyzing behavior. When taking descriptive analysis of a behavior a person should be able to read about the behavior as described above and close their eyes and visualize it. With this approach speculation is taken out of the equation. It strictly pertains to what you are observing not what may be causing a behavior such as internal conditions. In descriptive behavioral analysis data that is taken statements such as “He seemed tired today”, or “I think the student is in a bad mood”, “Tommy seemed really mad that he had to do his work“, and “He doesn’t seem to be feeling well today” are not included because those are interpretive statements not behaviors that are specific, observable, and measurable. To attempt to change or maintain a behavior you must operate off of the concrete behaviors you are observing. Additionally a crucial part of changing or maintaining a behavior is to determine the antecedents prior to the behavior and the consequence that follows the behavior and how that impacts the behavior itself. For example after a week or so of taking descriptive analysis you should be able to determine patterns of the behavior. For example it could produce a pattern of every time you tell a student “My turn” (the antecedent) and they are asked to give up a reinforcing item, the student begins screaming and drops to the floor, and exhibits self injurious behaviors (the behavior), then the person either asks the student to sit down or possibly ignores the behavior (the consequence). This data would enable the teacher to create a prevention behavior plan where either you use a different phrase instead of “my turn” such as “can you please put the toy over here” or “can I see that toy?” etc. and also teach an alternative behavior to replace the tantrum behavior. A replacement behavior could be “I want more time” or “I’m not done playing with this”. This is an extremely important part of the process because the replacement behavior needs to be a direct replacement of the inappropriate behavior and meet the needs of the individual in a more appropriate manner. Analyzing and determining the function of a behavior is a very fascinating process and for...
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