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Who uses positive re-inforcing behaviour or what do you use??

15 replies

Bagpipes · 15/11/2003 22:06

Hi everyone - Well, I am just going over in my head what I want to do regarding DS's behaviour (what strategies to use??) As I told you all my pyschologist (won't be will us for much longer - I will be telling her goodbye) to continue with timeout!! I did tell my psychologist last Tues. night - that I have a weak back, and have 3 worn out discs (my neurosurgeon told me 4 years ago - my back is similiar the age of a 65year old!!!!) So, I really need and want to stop this lifting all the time - DS weighs 16.3kgs, plus my 11mth old weighs 10kg!!

My early intervention said on the phone - to try positive re-inforcing. Their suggestion is:
When DS1 is sitting nicely beside DS2 and not hitting, pushing touching etc.. re-inforcing good behaviour by giving him a wee bit of potatoe chips (crisps) keep this up for 2 weeks and you should see a huge improvement. The said I would be running in and out feeding him up with potatoe chips(or if the case was he didn't sit nicely etc.. he wouldn't receive any chips) My questions to you 'clued up mums' Could this work, or will I just be buying bags of chips and having to feed all three children (they all eat chips) just to keep the peace. If you mothers are not using time-out, or this type of re-inforcing - WHAT are you using?? I want to take it back to clinic and say "Look other parents I write to use this......etc... Maybe we should give this a try instead of potatoe chips !!!!
Any thoughts greatly appreciated - still very disappointed and fed up with my therapists!!

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saintshar · 15/11/2003 23:36

I wouldn't use crisps - as i call them! I have a seven year old, and a 19 month old. The baby used to bite, kick, pinch etc, etc, my ds1 all the time.
I felt SO sorry for him. In the end, when he did something 'naughty' i would totaly ignore my ds2, hug and kiss ds1. If he was ever nice i.e hug or kiss ds1, i would go totaly overboard " oh, you are such a GOOOODDD boy being nice to your big brother!!!!!!!"
it is hard work, especially trying to convince your eldest to play along. If they react to the bite, kick etc, then you might as well give up.
The best advice i EVER had, was to try to teach empathy. i.e if your Son falls over and hurt his leg, say "oh, you have got a sore on your leg." Evey time they hurt themselves say the same..."oh you have a sore leg, arm, whatever."
Soon they will realise that the word sore = something not nice. When they hit someone else say "oh, that is sore," and they will start to realise what it means.

Bagpipes · 16/11/2003 06:28

Thanks saintshar - I really appreciate your useful and very thoughtful ideas on how to deal with the behaviour at present. At present, we are over the top with huge praise etc.. when he does do anything nice - but we have never chosen to introduce sweets, or chips as such as the reward. My DS can say the word 'sore' too - but unfortunately, can tolerate huge amounts of pain. When he does really hurt himself - boy do we hear about it LOL. Thanks again - I will be certainly using the word 'Sore', alot more - great advice!!

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Jimjams · 16/11/2003 09:27

This is really hard- and Davros is probably your person to ask as she's good at this sort of thing. I'm not sure this method by itself would work very well with ds1 - did you say before that your ds1 doesn't mean to be nasty? he thinks he;s being friendly? In which case I;m not sure he'll understand.

i do use crumbs of chocolate buttons when ds1 gets something right- but not rally in this way. he has to do something then gets a chocolate button (have you used pecs- that's the way I mean).

Just a thought - does your son have enough understanding for simple social stories? Whatever strategy you do use maybe you could back it up with a social story as well.

DS1 did have a go at ds2 when he was first born (kind of experimentally) - luckily at the time we had a punishment that he hated- which was being put outside the room- and it worked very quickly. I have no idea what I would do now as he doesn;t care if he's put outside now- just wanders off and fiddles with something.

The trouble I would have with the crisps idea is that I would have to give ds2 something as well- as he;s too young to understand, so ds1 wouldn;t reaslise he was being rewarded for good behaviour. I could see this could be a problem in you case as well.

Eulalia · 16/11/2003 19:21

I also think that crisps are a bad idea, he would probably focus too much on the crisps and forget the reason why he was given them. Personally I've not gone over board with positive reinforcing - just praise really. Also if I want him to do something like get dressed for example I say "we can't go out till you are dressed" - he loves going out so that encourages him. I think it is difficult for an autistic child to see an absence of something, ie that they are NOT hitting... the problem is that he probably doesn't fully understand what being 'good' is yet and doesn't connect not hitting = being good. He would only understand a reward for actually doing something, not for NOT doing something if you see what I mean.

My ds still hits dd regularly but fortuntaly not hard and I've really just had to wait for her to grow up and get a bit tougher. I think also as she started to walk and become more like a 'human' to him he started to respect her. He will walk round her instead of pushing her out of the way now. Lots of explanation may be required about the consequences of his actions. I still can't get ds to tell me why he hits dd as he doesn't understand the word "why".

Bagpipes · 17/11/2003 03:26

Thanks Jimjams and Eulalia for your comments. I am attending my early intervention tomorrow afternoon - to discuss the report with my therapists. Today, on the phone my therapists - yes, and we will get this 'behaviour stratedgy with the reward of chips started too' -
Gosh, I feel so 'out of control' at the moment. We arrived at kindy for afternoon session today - first thing he did was rush ahead of me, and push the living daylights out of some child standing by their parents. I just never know from one day to the next who or how he will be - with regards to other children.
I would dearly love to tell the therapists tomorrow - 'hey I don't think these chips are going to help or work' - but at the moment I am not sure what else I can suggest to them.

Will let you know how my meeting goes tomorrow. Not expecting much

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Davros · 17/11/2003 22:54

Yes, we use positive reinforcement sometimes but its tricky as reinforcing NOT indulging in a behaviour is harder to convey that trying to encourage or establish a tangible behaviour. I think its a bit trite of someone to tell you to use Positivie Reinforcement by giving him crisps whenever he's not behaving a certain way. In a way that could really be redirection as it could be PREVENTING the behaviour. I also think that Positivie Reinforcement in isolation will not work, you also would need to think about prompting, modelling, redirection, extinction of undesirable behaviour, providing appropriate substitutes etc etc. You must have a clear target behaviour that is conveyable to the child, possibly if their language is good enough or using pictures, symbols, tokens etc.
I was a bit alarmed when Time Out was mentioned as, IMHO, this is completely inappropriate for ASD or AS children as it is not a bad thing as far as they are concerned, just an opportunity to be alone. No matter how high functioning, I also think letting them know you don't like something or something upsets you has limited power. Less verbal kids may perceive it as attention and it is therefore reinforcing, "hf" kids may just not get it. If someone is going to recommend Positivie Reinforcement they need to be a lot clearer about what this means specifically for your child and for a specific behaviour, they need to support you to implement it systematically, to observe and track the true effects and to decide on adjustments. Here is a quick run down on some types of Reinforcement, DRO seems to be the most relevant to this issue:

DIFFERENTIAL REINFORCEMENT OF ALTERNATIVE BEHAVIOR (DRA): Reinforcing a more appropriate form of a behavior then the one the individual is currently engaged in. DRA is often used in conjunction with redirecting behavior.

DIFFERENTIAL REINFORCEMENT OF INCOMPATIBLE BEHAVIOR (DRI): Reinforcing a response that is topographically incompatible with a behavior targeted for reduction.

DIFFERENTIAL REINFORCEMENT OF OTHER BEHAVIOR (DRO): Delivering reinforcement when the target behavior is not emitted for a specified period of time. Reinforcement is contingent on the non-occurrence of a behavior.

DIFFERENTIAL REINFORCEMENT OF LOWER RATES OF BEHAVIOR (DRL): Delivering reinforcement when the number of responses in a specified period of time is less then or equal to a prescribed limit. This maintains the behavior at a predetermined rate, lower than as its baseline or naturally occurring frequency.

Bagpipes · 18/11/2003 08:42

Hi Davros - I have eagerly been awaiting for your response - Many thanks for taking the time to do this too - What you have said makes an awful lot of sense. Are there any url's you know of that - I could tap into and take a more indepth look at of how to apply/use them??

I had my meeting today - with two therapists - basically we never got around to discussing the re-inforcing with chips - I had so many other issues to discuss (moan about LOL) and I had to leave just on 3pm to pick up my daughter.

I have been attending this early intervention for 4 years now - and finally today, they admitted that they 'painted a rosy picture' for the families who attend there. They didn't want parents to think there are no opportunities out there for our children. BUT they forgot to inform us, as our child grows - problems and issues may arise and we then need to learn how to deal with them. I told them straight - I have had lots of issues arising over the past two years - but no one has bothered to listen or support me. Not sure if I made any progress - just let off a bit more steam!!!!

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Bagpipes · 18/11/2003 08:47

HI Davros Ignore the bit about sites - I have found some already YIPEE!!!!!!

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Eulalia · 18/11/2003 16:27

Davros ? interesting ? I think I am applying these some of these techniques without actually knowing the names of them. However I am still often stumped and always looking for ideas.
I think that AS kids need a lot more incentive to do something for others than NT ones as they just don?t get the point. Rather than consciously thinking ?I will try to get ds to do X (or more difficult NOT do x)? I?ve just tried to provide scenarios where ds can be kind towards others, ie getting things for dd such as her clothes or a biscuit/toy. And I try not to keep them apart (although the temptation is strong when he is hitting dd) and just be constantly overseeing the situation and telling ds that it is not good to do x, y or z. Usually it is because dd is doing something ?wrong? and he does need explanation as to why it is not wrong (in my terms) or of it is wrong, ie she has a hold of something she shouldn?t have that it is best just to take it away rather than snatching or pulling at her. And it seems to be working ? I always thank him for this. However it has taken time and a lot of it is just because he is more aware now and also he isn?t ?strongly? autistic ... and not necessarily due to my good/bad/indifferent parenting skills!

BTW would be interested in those sites if you can give me the URL?s Bagpipes.

Davros · 18/11/2003 19:55

Eulalia, I'm sure you are using some of these techniques as I think a lot of it is just normal/sensible parenting techniques but as the parents of kids with SEN we have to do things in a MEGA way!! Also, once you see these methods systematically organised and given names, they become a "methodology" with its own "jargon" which doesn't mean its anything different to your spontaneous and effective parenting. Professionals like to rename these things and pretend they invented them

Eulalia · 18/11/2003 19:58

I did think the terminology sounded a bit contrived but didn't want to poo poo your comments ...

Davros · 18/11/2003 20:06

Oooh, wouldn't want to be poo pooed, I need positive reinforcement

Bagpipes · 19/11/2003 09:40

Hi there - Here are the url's I have found useful!!

These are the first 3 I have come across - sure there are plenty more!!!!

By the way - My psychologist rang tonight - I said thanks for the assessment - but sorry, I don't agree with whats in it, but it was nice to meet and work alongside you - but I don't think we will be requiring your services anymore!! Feel alot better tonight now I have told her LOL

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Eulalia · 19/11/2003 18:18


Thanks Bagpipes, will have a look.

Eulalia · 19/11/2003 18:19

Oh and glad you sorted things out with your psychologist.

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