Behavior Modification 

    The laws are changing and changing and are demanding more inclusion.  Inclusion as described by Ryndk and Alper (1996) is the practice of educating students with moderate to severe disabilities in the same classroom as age peers without disability.  For teachers this is a tremendous challenge to teach disabled as well as non disabled students.  This section is intentioned to provide ideas that teachers can use with all children.
    Before starting to apply any behavior modification, it is necessary that the teacher keep records of the behavior exhibit by the student.  This is called a baseline.  For example: a child is out of her/his seat during class.  You will count how many times she/he does this.  Then you will think of the reasons why this behavior is being exhibited.  Is the student near somebody that he/she does not like?  Is this behavior all day long or only during a particular class?  Is the student having problems at home?  Also, a good thing to keep track of is what kind of reinforcements the student likes and what kind of behavior modifications work for this particular student.  This can be kept as a record and will also save time when the student starts acting out again.

Here are some suggestions from the book Behavior Modification: What it is and How to do it by Martin and Pear (1992).

    Positive Reinforcement
 The goal of positive reinforcement is to have the student repeat the appropriate behavior.  A reinforcement is a reward for doing something good.  For example, a student finished all his work so he can have free time.  There are five  kinds of reinforcement:
1) consumable, 2) activity, 3) manipulative, 4) possessional,  and  5) social.
 

1) Consumable reinforcement is the kind of reinforcement that can be eaten by the student.
Example: a candy, cookies, or fruit.
2) Activity reinforcement is the reinforcement when the student gets to do an activity.
Example: watch t.v. or look at a book.
3) Manipulative reinforcement is the reinforcement that involves the student using something to play or to spend time.
Example: a toy, color , ride a bicycle.
4) Possessional reinforcement can be something that the student can posses.
Example: a favorite shirt or dress.  The student can posses this article temporarily.
5) Social reinforcement- is the reinforcement that is affectionate.
Example: smiles, praises, or path on the back.
    EXTINCTION
    This is to simply ignore the behavior that is being disruptive. There are several things to keep in mind when doing extinction:
 
Select a behavior that is not going to hurt or damage the student's well being. Example: A
     student does not do his/her homework or gets in a fight every day and  you just ignore it.
Make sure the behavior is not reinforce by other person.  Example: you ignore a child
     when he screams instead of talking, but  another teacher pays attention.
The people involved in the behavior program should know  exactly the behavior that you
     want to decrease.
It gets WORST before it gets better- The behavior that you want to decrease may
     increase before it disappears.
If only once- If you  pay attention to the student the 40th  time he/she screams at you,
     chances are he/she will scream at you another 40th more times.
Be patient but keep in mind another possible solutions for the disruptive behavior.


   SHAPING
Shaping is when the behavior desired is not quite there yet.
Shaping is like a piece of clay.  You shape the behavior until is the one you like.  You shape it by praising the closest behavior to the goal.  The things to keep in mind when using shaping are:
 

Select the behavior that you want to change.  Make sure you select a behavior that can be
    changed.
Select a pace that is not so fast that the student can not master the first steps before
    going to the next.
Break down the behavior into small enough steps.  You will move along as the student
    progresses.
Reinforce every close attempt of the behavior even though it might look too small.
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   You have questions, suggestion of comments about the information of this page, send a message to:
Ivonne Pérez De la Rosa: ivonnepz@hotmail.com