Intervention: Escape-Maintained Behavior

June 03, 2015 by Heather

This year we at Project Autism are going to help you reduce problem behaviors. Problem behaviors are inarguably the biggest issue discussed in parent trainings and you, as a parent, are the person who is in a position to intervene on problem behaviors the greatest percentage of the time. Aggression and highly disruptive behaviors need to be reduced immediately and you NEED to dedicate the time to making that happen. This series is not designed to make you disregard the interventions designed by your BCBA. If you do not have access to a BCBA to design a behavior intervention plan, we are here to help.

Today we are discussing intervening on one type of behavior: Escape-maintained behavior. This behavior is functioning to get out of something, like a work task. Behaviors can be used to get out of a range of situations, including work, social situations, and unwanted sensory experiences or environments.

So how do we intervene on these behaviors? Teach an appropriate replacement behavior. If the child doesn't know the appropriate behavior, you can teach it. If the child does know the appropriate behavior but is not currently using it because the inappropriate behavior is more effective, shape the behavior you want to see!

Ways to teach the appropriate way to escape:

  1. Social story
  2. Verbal Prompts
  3. Script
  4. Break card

How to shape the appropriate way to ask for an escape:

  1. At first, give the child a break EVERY time he asks
  2. Once the child is consistently asking for a break appropriately, you can start fading back or limit the opportunities to ask for a break. You can do this by only offering a set number of breaks per task.

You can also use overcorrection to intervene on escape-maintained behaviors. There are a few types of overcorrection.

  1. Restitutional overcorrection: the child must return the environment to it's original state as well as perform some extra work. If Jennifer tore up her worksheet, she has to remake all of the copies for the class and clean up all of the mess.
  2. Positive practice: Practicing the correct behavior over and over. If Keisha runs in the hallway, she has to walk the hallway 5 times.