Description: Differential reinforcement will be used to increase desired behaviors and decrease undesired behaviors. It consists of two basic operations: reinforcing a target behavior (replacement/desired behavior) and stopping the delivery of reinforcement contingent on a challenging behavior.
The different types of differential reinforcement include:
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behaviors (DRA): A reinforcement procedure usually designed to reduce a challenging behavior by increasing alternative behavior while withholding reinforcement for the unwanted response (e.g., a client who usually plays with food while the rest of the family is still eating is instructed to bring the plate to the kitchen or to get dessert)
Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors (DRO): Reinforcement is delivered when the inappropriate behavior is not exhibited during a designated time period (e.g., if the targeted behavior is interrupting, the therapist will provide reinforcement if the client waits to speak, even if other inappropriate behaviors are occurring)
Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behaviors (DRI): Reinforcement is delivered following a behavior that is incompatible with (cannot be performed at the same time as) the targeted inappropriate behavior (e.g., to reduce flapping hands, instruct the client to hold a preferred item in both hands and engage in an activity).
Implementation: The parent/guardian and Direct Interventionist will use differential reinforcement. During a board game, for example, the parent/guardian or Direct Interventionist may use social praise to increase the client’s social play skills. If tangibles are being used as reinforcers, they need to be prepared before the activity starts.
THINNING OF REINFORCEMENT
Description: Thinning is be used for the purpose of maintenance. The schedule of reinforcement will become more intermittent once the client meets criteria specified for the target behaviors. This consequence strategy is an important tool in contingency management and token economy systems
Implementation: The parent/guardian or Direct Interventionist may use this strategy. When the parent/guardian or Direct Interventionist observes that the client is making progress in the target skill area, he or she will systematically increase the ratio or interval schedule of reinforcement.
Description: A token economy will be used to increase wanted behaviors. A client will receive tokens when he/she displays desired behaviors and/or does not engage in inappropriate behaviors. The tokens can then be exchanged for a variety of reinforcers, depending on the client’s preferences. The number of tokens that are given to the client will gradually be reduced and then eliminated, as natural reinforcers for engaging in the target behaviors become strengthened
Implementation: A token economy is usually implemented by the parent/guardian or Direct Interventionist, or can be used as a self-management tool by the adult client. For example, a chart can be created showing the days of the week, the target behaviors, and the type of reinforcers to be earned. The client can self-monitor his/her own behavior and take part in selecting and delivering his/her own reinforcers and rewards.