Function-Based Interventions

Directions: For each of the following scenarios, state whether the intervention being implemented is function-based or not function-based. Provide rationale for each of your answers.

1. Your client engages in frequent self-injurious behavior whenever she goes to the grocery store with her parents. Functional assessment data suggest that this behavior is maintained by socially mediated positive reinforcement in the form of access to attention. As a proactive intervention, you teach her parents to provide 20 minutes of high-quality continuous interaction with her immediately prior to going to the store.

2. Your client engages in frequent elopement during your in-home sessions. Functional assessment data suggest that this behavior is maintained by socially mediated negative reinforcement in the form of access to escape, specifically from the very difficult work tasks you have him complete during your sessions. As a proactive intervention, you noncontingently give him a Skittle (his favorite candy) every 10 minutes during your work session.

3. Your client frequently emits loud vocalizations (i.e., screaming) when his teacher diverts attention to another student. Functional assessment data suggest that this behavior is maintained by socially mediated positive reinforcement in the form of access to attention. As a proactive intervention, the teacher provides the client with free access to his most preferred activities whenever she has to go work with another student so he will be distracted.

4. Your client frequently emits loud vocalizations (i.e., screaming) when his teacher diverts attention to another student. Functional assessment data suggest that this behavior is maintained by socially mediated positive reinforcement in the form of access to attention. As a proactive intervention, the teacher provides the client with free access to his most preferred activities whenever she has to go work with another student so he will be distracted.

5. Your client engages in hand biting. Functional assessment data suggest that this behavior is automatically maintained. Specifically, the way his hand feels when he bites it is functioning as a reinforcer. As a proactive intervention, you provide with free access to chewing gum to give him something else to do with his mouth.

6. Your client has frequent tantrums while working in the clinic whenever they are not able to play with their favorite toy. Functional assessment data suggest that this behavior is maintained by socially mediated positive reinforcement in the form of access to preferred tangible items (i.e., the favorite toy). As a proactive intervention, you provide them with free 5-minute access to the toy every 15 minutes.

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