For example, say you want to increase a child’s socially significant behavior of following directions at home. In order to do this, you change the environment by giving the child a bite of his favorite strawberry candy after he follows your instructions with toy clean up. You then see that the child begins following directions more often after this. You have just changed the child’s behavior by changing the environment.
2) Behavior is learned and continues because it serves a purpose.
We all behave the way we do for one of the following four reasons.
In ABA we call these reasons the Functions of Behavior, each of which fulfills a specific need we have.
Escape/Avoidance- We behave the way we do in order to remove ourselves from a non-preferred environment or to get out of doing something we don’t want to do.
Attention- We behave the way we do to gain attention, this can include ‘acting out’ in order to receive negative attention from someone.
Tangibles Items/Activities- We behave the way we do to gain access to a preferred items or activities such as a favored food, toy, iPAD, etc.
Sensory Stimulation/Automatic- We behave the way we do because the action in itself feels good, helps us cope with stressors or has a calming effect internally.