Targeted Topics in ABA

Watch the Unit 4 Lecture. (Transcripts)
Read the following scenario.
Setting the Scene:

Frank is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who works with Changing Directions, an agency that provides community-based mental health services. The agency received a behavior analysis referral from a pediatrician for a 10-year-old boy named, “Michael.” Michael’s mother, Katherine, has been having some significant problems with his behavior for as long as she can remember, but these problems have increased over the past two years. Michael engages in verbally aggressive behavior at home, including yelling/arguing with his mother and siblings, as well as property destruction in the form of breaking toys, breaking household items, and kicking holes in the wall. Michael has begun to display similar behaviors in the school setting, which has resulted in his mother having to leave work to pick him up. Katherine received a promotion at her current job over a year ago, which has required a significant increase in her work hours and less time with the children. In an initial interview, Katherine reports that she has spanked Michael when he has “acted out” and has tried to reward Michael when he has “behaved well,” but nothing appears to work. Frank conducted a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) that indicated that much of Michael’s behavior appeared to serve the function of positive reinforcement in the form of social attention from his mother.


How are antecedent interventions used as a behavior intervention strategy?
Define Differential Reinforcement of Alternative (DRA) behavior; Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible (DRI) behavior; Differential Reinforcement of Other (DRO) behavior; and Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates (DRL) of behavior.
Based upon the probable function of the target behavior, as determined by the Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), select the Differential Reinforcement approach that you feel would be most appropriate to address Michael’s target behavior and explain how you would implement this behavior intervention plan (BIP).
Discuss some ethical considerations that might impact your choice of intervention in the current scenario, based upon your readings.
Guided Response Posts:

Respond to a peer’s primary post by critiquing the choice of Differential Reinforcement (DR) approach selected to address Michael’s target behavior. Was the most appropriate DR approach used? If so, was the DR approach applied correctly in the BIP? If the most appropriate DR approach was not chosen, identify the best approach and detail how this approach should be implemented.

Respond to a second’ peer’s primary post by selecting an antecedent intervention that would best address Michael’s target behaviors. Provide a rationale for your selection.

Reading and Resources
Read the following:

Chapter 26 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd edition): “Antecedent Interventions”

Various strategies derived from the fundamental principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are presented and explained. These strategies include antecedent interventions; non-contingent reinforcement; high-probability (high-p) request sequences; and Functional Communication Training (FCT).

Chapter 25 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd edition): “Differential Reinforcement”

Differential reinforcement is explained in terms of its ability to reduce or extinguish unwanted behaviors and to increase and maintain desired behaviors. The various differential reinforcement strategies and their applications are explained.

Chapter 7 in Ethics for Behavior Analysts (3rd edition): “Behavior Analysts’ Responsibility to Clients (Code 2.0)”

Chapter 7 focuses on Code 2.0: Behavior Analysts’ Responsibility to Clients. Code 2.0 admonishes the behavior analyst to operate in the best interests of the client. Chapter 7 breaks down the Code’s sub-sections that provide further guidance in behavior analysts’ obligations to clients. Real world scenarios are utilized to build understanding of how this code is applied in practice.


Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. (2019). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.)

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