Client Story 6.1.15

Posted on June 1st, 2015

When we get a chance, we like to share about our clients and their successes. This client story is brought to you by Trisha, a BCBA:

I had been working with a client for a couple months when self-injurious behaviors (SIB) began escalating at school and then at home. The behaviors changed from one tap on the head in a session to five or more forceful hits with an open hand. We were extremely worried that the behaviors would continue to escalate to potentially dangerous levels. It was also really upsetting to see this major change in my client's behavior; she was typically happy, energetic, bubbly. So, after careful planning and discussion with her parents, we decided to put the current skill acquisition programs on hold to focus solely on behavior reduction and teach appropriate replacement behaviors.

In general, we first determine the function of the behavior (or why the behavior occurs) and then we change the things that happen before and after the behavior. This means that engaging in appropriate behaviors will access whatever the challenging behaviors used to access, and the challenging behavior will no longer access that thing. AKA appropriate behaviors get all the best things, and inappropiate behaviors never do.

It was amazing to see such rapid changes in behavior!! We saw decreases in behaviors and by session 10 there were no instances of SIB. In under 20 sessions, we were able to transition back into skill acquisition without seeing any instances of SIB!

The best part is, she is back to her bubbly self again!

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