Early Intervention Services 0-4 yrs.

Pre School Readiness Skills 4-6 yrs.

School for Special Education 6-16 yrs.

Pre Voc & Vocational Centre 18+ yrs.

Recreational & Activity Club 5+ yrs.

Remedial Teaching Services Speech, OT,

Mental Disability

Management of Behaviour Problems

Management is based on a thorough understanding of the antecedents and consequences of the behaviour, for the purpose of controlling specific problem behaviours in children. Hence, for the same problem behaviour of 'beating others', management technique can be different depending on the antecedents and consequences. The teacher may decide overall programme consisting of various techniques to be used for managing problem behaviours as per the requirements. If 'before' factors are more important in determining specific problem behaviour, the management technique is to gain control over these situational factors triggering the problem behaviour. And, if 'after'' factors determine specific problem behaviour, techniques have to be used which help to eliminate reward. Techniques to reduce the occurrence of Problem Behaviour are broadly divided into two categories.

Non - punishment Techniques.
Direct-punishment techniques.

Punishment is a behavioural technique, used for controlling/reducing/preventing the occurrence of an undesirable behaviour. Punishment is presentation or withdrawal of an event followed by behaviour to decrease the occurrence of that behaviour. Punishment is a behaviour technique used for controlling /reducing / preventing the occurrence of an undesirable behaviour.

Negative reinforcement is removal of an aversive or unpleasant stimulus to increase /strengthen the occurrence of a desirable behaviour.

Punishment involves:

a. The techniques to control the antecedent factors influencing the undesirable behaviour.

b. The techniques to control the undesirable behaviour by removing / taking away the consequence or by awarding    / presenting an unpleasant stimulation, immediately after the occurrence of the undesirable behaviour.

Non-punishment techniques are the first choice of management plan for reducing the undesirable behaviour. Non-punishment techniques simultaneously aim at the reduction of the undesirable behaviour and the occurrence of a desirable behaviour. The principle used in achieving this is the differential reinforcement techniques. Differential reinforcement is the procedure of the application of reinforcement to one of the two alternatives. There are four types of differential reinforcement :

1. Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behaviour (DRI):
This is also called as Differential Reinforcement of Opposite Behaviour. The technique involves the reinforcement of the exactly opposite behaviour to the undesirable behaviour. For example, a child who is overactive, if sits at a place for a specific period / duration, it is reinforced.

2. Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behaviour (DRO):
It is the process of reinforcing a desirable behaviour when an undesirable behaviour fails to elicit. For example, a child who beat others for minor reasons, does not do that on a particular day or for a specific period of time and is engaged in some other activity that is not problematic, is reinforced.

3. Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behaviour (DRA):
It is the process involving the diversion of a probable undesirable behaviour by presenting a desirable behaviour and reinforcing it. For example, two children who fight frequently for trivial reasons are given an opportunity to work together to do something which both of them like very much and are frequently reinforced for their joint effort. In reality, the frequent fighting behaviour is replaced by a desirable behaviour of joint completion of a task.

4. Differential Reinforcement of Low rate of response (DRL):
This technique is used to control behaviour in its low frequency. The technique involves reinforcing the behaviour in its low frequency level and ignoring it in its high frequency level. For example, a child who repeatedly asks the teacher whether it is a holiday the next day, despite telling him every time, that it is not a holiday. Here, asking this question once is reasonable and a desirable behaviour. But asking the same question every now and again despite receiving an answer, is an undesirable behaviour. DRL can be applied here by responding to his question only once and not paying attention to his question when it is repeated. This, over a period of time, will make the child maintain the desirable behaviour in its required frequency.

Direct Punishment Techniques:
Involves the methods to diminish the occurrence of the undesirable behaviour. Following are the commonly used techniques :

I Restructuring of the Environment (Environmental Manipulation) :
If it is established that both, before and after factors, (Removed form here) have immediate environmental influences for the undesirable behaviour, restructuring the environment could control the occurrence of that undesirable behaviour. For example, it is established that

Mangesh always makes a shrieking noise during the class due to the antecedent factor that,

whenever Jayesh sits next to Mangesh, he always tickles Mangesh;

And due to the consequence, everybody laughs when Mangesh makes the noise, which gives him a pleasant feeling.

Here, changing the seating position of Mangesh and Jayesh can restructure the environment.

II Extinction :
This is the technique of re-arranging the consequence of an undesirable behaviour so that attention or activity rewards do not follow. It is also known as ignoring. This includes non-presentation of a reward-attention. Ignoring involves not looking at him or not noticing the child. Ignoring is the easiest technique to describe, yet one of the most difficult technique to implement effectively. For example :

a. Some problem behaviour cannot be ignored, for instance, if the child is harming others or himself to get attention, immediate intervention is essential.

b. The problem behaviour may initially show an increase before it actually comes down while using extinction method.

c. If one person uses extinction, then all others concerned with the child have to apply this technique. Otherwise, if one person does not give attention, the child may obtain it from others thereby continuing the problem behaviour.

III Time Out:
Is the process of weakening of undesirable behaviour pattern by removing the individual to a "no reinforcing area". It is essential to establish that there was reinforcement for the occurrence of the problem behaviour. During Time Out, a child is put in a situation where any possibility for reward is removed entirely for a short period of time (2 to 3 minutes). For example, standing in the corner of the room facing the wall, immediately following the problem behaviour, or keeping the head down on the desk etc.

IV Response Prevention:
Is the prevention of the undesirable behaviour even before its occurrence. For example, holding the hand of the child before he/she hits, thereby preventing it to occur. Response prevention may elicit an immediate and forceful repetition of the undesirable behaviour. However, the intention here is not to indulge in a physical conflict with the child. Hence response prevention should be implemented after carefully analyzing the behaviour, which is to be modified.

V Physical Restraint :
Is restricting the physical activities after the occurrence of an undesirable behaviour. Mild physical restraint is helpful in bringing down aggressive behaviour. This includes restriction of the physical activity of the back for a short period of time (2 to 3 minutes) or holding the hands gently to the sides and saying assertively not to repeat the behaviour when biting self, thumb sucking, tearing papers etc occurs.

VI Response Cost :
Is a technique in which an already awarded reinforcement (as part of strengthening the occurrence of a desirable behaviour) is taken back, following an undesirable behaviour. This method is generally used when tokens are being used for increasing the desirable behaviour, following a particular problem behaviour the tokens earned by the child are taken back. Here, the child pays the cost of doing a particular undesirable behaviour.

VII Restitution/Restoration :
Refers to a procedure that requires a change in the environment. That is, restoring the disturbed environment back to the normal condition. For example, a child throwing paper on the floor is made to pick up the same and put it in the waste basket.

VIII Over Correction :
This is a technique, involving a combination of procedures. It not only teaches what the person should not do but also educates what the person should do. It is of two types :

a. Restitution over correction:
Refers to restoring the disturbed environment back to more than normal conditions. The person following problem behaviour, for example, throwing food on the floor is asked to clean not only that area but also the entire room.

b. Positive practice:
Refers to romanticizing an appropriate behaviour as a consequence for inappropriate behaviour. It means stopping all activities, whenever an error occurs and then carefully performing the correct behaviour several times. No reinforcement is awarded after the positive practice or restitution is implemented. It may happen that at times, the child may refuse to obey the instructions involved in positive practice or restitution. In that case, he has to be physically guided to do so (not by applying force). Even after this, if the child refuses, his preferred activities (example, playing, watching TV, wearing a particular dress etc.) or materials, or even most preferred food items like papad, sweet etc. (not the essential food) can be withheld.

IX Aversive Therapy:
Is a technique that reduces the frequency of the undesirable behaviour by associating it with real or imagined aversive stimuli during a conditioning procedure. The procedure involves application of mild shock (between 10 to 60 volts) to induce a painful stimulus or the presentation of a strong and disgusting smell to follow an undesirable behaviour. This method is used very rarely and when all other techniques fail to give results. For example, in conditions like severe head banging or other similar type of self-injuries behaviour. It is suggested that a trained clinical psychologist monitor this technique.

Management of undesirable behaviour requires close observation. The problem behaviour and its management strategies are basically influenced by the environmental factors, which may go un-noticed by the teacher or the person responsible for implementing the programme. Some times the management technique selected could be inappropriate or the functional analysis inadequate. Monitoring of each session and its evaluation will help to re-plan the strategies by changing the management techniques or other variables, which influence the behaviour. Using a combination of methods as a package programme normally helps tackling problems better rather than just one method. Priority should be given to the differential reinforcement techniques as it has the potential to increase a desirable behaviour while reducing an undesirable behaviour.