Video Transcript: Maximizing Motivation and Earning Instructional Control
- We've titled this Maximizing Motivation and Earning Instructional Control, An ABA/VB Approach to Cooperation in Learning.
I am Robert Schramm.
I am working both for my Institute Knospe ABA, which is Germany's largest ABA/VB service and also for Meridian Rehabilitation Consulting Incorporated in BC, Canada.
So we're gonna have, we're gonna go through some specifics about how to best engender cooperation in the children that you're working with, and our goal for the webinar is to teach participants an approach to earning instructional control with unmotivated or otherwise challenging learners that does not employ traditional escape extinction procedures such as forced physical prompting or physically holding the learner in the teaching setting.
Through the Seven Steps to Learning Instructional Control, participants will be given an easy-to-teach and therefore reproducible path to earning learner motivation while avoiding some of the potentially behavior-escalating procedures common in behavior analysis.
I'm not sure about the audience, how many of you are perhaps behavior analysts yourself or work with children in applied behavior analysis.
I'm assuming there may be some parents involved here that are working with children with autism as well.
If there's any guidance on that, I'd be curious in knowing.
- [Host] Sure, yeah, I can just give you a little bit of an overview Our audience is very diverse.
We're mostly educators, so classroom teachers, special education resource teachers, itinerant autism resource teachers who work among a number of schools, providing consultation and support.
We also have some partner professionals in health and mental health professions and also a couple of parents as well.
So we're a diverse group.
- Perfect, perfect.
Yeah, so all of you will have access to the need for this information.
I've worked within a clinical setting with this.
I've worked in a school setting.
I've worked in home settings.
We've worked pretty much in just about any setting that you might find yourselves in, and we're able to earn instructional control through this technique.
And it helps us to really avoid some of the more difficult or challenging parts of trying to engender cooperation from children who are not always motivated to want to participate in the skills you want them to be engaged in.
As you see here on the screen I have, I did write this book, Motivation and Reinforcement: Turning the Tables on Autism.
It is a full teaching manual on the verbal behavior approach to ABA.
It's about 400 pages.
There are three chapters that I'll go into, the topic we're gonna be talking about today.
So if you'd like to do any further research or reading on this, that would be a great opportunity for you, and the link to the best place to purchase it is at the bottom there.
So we're gonna talk about instructional control today.
Instructional control deals with the likelihood that presented instructions will lead to a desired behavior.
The more likely it is that an instruction will lead to the intended response, the better the instructional control is.
Often when I come into work with a new family or in a new setting, instructional control is gonna be well below 50%.
It is sometimes as low as 5%.
What we would consider to be an appropriate response to initial demand is about 75% of the time, you want to have the child that you're interacting with doing their best to give you their best answer.
So what that ultimate means, about 70-75% of the time to minimum, you want that child to be able to answer your requests on the first attempt.
I would say that in applied behavior analysis, there is a current standard of care.
And considering Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior and Michael's motivating operations have revolutionized the ABA community's ability to work with unmotivated learners.
I don't really like the term unmotivated learners, because it's really, it's not the child who's unmotivated.
They're very motivated, and they're very motivated for a lot of things.
It's that it's our inability to find a way to motivate them to participate in the things we want them to be interested in or learning.
But in many VB programs, compliance is often gained through a pairing effort of the teacher and the teaching setting with reinforcement, trying to make that teaching setting as fun as it can be and then fading in of instructions involving the motivating operations in an ongoing teaching process.
Much of this type of work was highly publicized by some of my favorite behavior analysts, like Dr Vince Carbone, Mark Sunberg, Patrick McGreevy and others.
And so it was this process of make yourself and your teaching setting as fun as it can be and then slowly start to sneak instructions in, building and fading them into an instructional setting.
However, observationally, even in some of the best ABA and VB clinics, you see the use of traditional escape extinction procedures are really still in common recommendation.
Whenever attempts to increase the value of teaching setting beyond the value of escape condition fails, you'll see the recommendation, "Well, I need you "to hold the child into the teaching setting.
"I need you to keep repeating the instruction, "not let them escape that instruction." In an attempt to increase the ethical use of ABA in schools and homes, my personal goal for the past, well, it's more than 10 years now, probably 15 years now, has been to find a behaviorally valid approach to earning instructional control across many different learners without needing the traditional escape extinction procedures.
Now some of you may be thinking to yourselves, "What is escape extinction?" If you're not versed in ABA and verbal behavior, you may not be familiar with that term.
So again, the things that we're talking about are detailed in my books, and we're gonna get into, so escape extinction, we're gonna be talking about that in just a moment, but I want to give you a little bit of background.
I know I was given an introduction with some of my background, but I have been working for the last 15 years, here in Germany, and we've been supporting the education of over 250 children at one time in several different countries, mostly based in Germany and surrounding countries.
And we work in the homes and the schools of these children, not usually working in a clinic setting, but we work where the children live and learn.
And we use their current staff for the daily implementation of the ABA programs.
And what I would like to share with you is that we're successfully meeting, or at least in the progress of working towards instructional control criteria with over 95% of the cases that we work with, and we're doing it without the need for these following three common procedures.
They are traditional escape extinction procedures.
One, blocking a child's attempt to escape teaching, you are sitting with a child with a child, and you are giving them an instruction, and they are trying to pull away from you.
So you reach your arms around the back of their chair, and you pull their chair in.
Or you maybe push the table up against them so that they can't pull away.
Or maybe you've blocked them back into a corner, so there is no escape from your demands.
Forced physically prompting to complete a task, you've asked the child to do something like to write his name or to place a block in a box or to touch his nose, and he's refusing to do so, and you give him the instruction and then ultimately take his hand and hand-over-hand prompt him to complete it, and then try to throw some kind of reinforcer at him to see if you can make it worthwhile.
And then the third procedure for escape extinction is paced prompting.
That's repeating your instructions to the child over and over again in kind of a nagging procedure, trying to annoy them into following your instructions.
And as a teacher in a classroom, you may not be purposefully trying to use these procedural recommendations.
It may not be something you're actively trying to do, but you might find that in order to be successful in maintaining cooperation, you do have to work in some of these procedures.
You may have to block a child's escape to other parts of the room, or you might be physically kind of walking a child through going somewhere that you want them to go, because they've refused.
Or you may have to repeat your instruction several times, or the other option is to just give in on the instruction, showing the child that they don't really need to be following your instructions.
Our goal with this webinar is to teach you a way to get better cooperation without having to resort to these traditional escape extinction procedures.
Now having said that, the value of escape extinction is not really in question.
The benefits of escape extinction have been well-supported in the literature.
There are a lot of studies in ABA research that suggest that using escape extinction can be successful in earning better instructional control.
If you teach a child that you will not give in on your instruction and that they will not have access to leave, ultimately the decision to cooperate and then have access to the reinforcement you're offering may take root in being the more preferred option for that child.
So you can be successful with escape extinction.
The problem is there's gonna be some children that make it impossible for us ever to be able to move beyond the escape extinction phase, where we're consistently having to try to hold them in or repeat our instructions over and over again.
And to do this over long periods of time without ever really helping the child to become more interested and more motivated to want to participate.
There are a lot of problems associated with those procedures, the potential to establish the teaching setting as an aversive stimulus and increase the value of escape as a reinforcer, an increase in the amount of attention given to escape behavior, the escalation of the teaching setting towards physical conflict.
These are all things that have been identified in literature as being problems associated with escape extinction.
There's also a lack of willingness on the part of parents, teachers, therapists and administrators to use these procedures consistently or sometimes at all.
And then there's the inability of interventionists to consistently use the procedures with a variety of clients.
If a child is older or stronger or more self-injurious or aggressive to others, it could be difficult to continue to hold that child into the teaching setting or to physically force them to participate.
So what we're gonna be talking about today, the seven steps to instructional control, is a way to extend the use of motivating operations in the development of instructional control.
So instead of traditional escape extinction procedures, we're instead gonna use the motivating operation, the MO, to increase the value of teaching.
Then we're going to allow escape when the child chooses it.
But by using extinction and/or negative punishment in the escape condition, we're gonna create what is known in the science as a CEO reflexive, a conditioned establishing operation reflexive.
I'll explain what that means, so don't worry.
As students are allowed to experience the difference between motivating teaching settings that you're offering where it's lots of fun to learn and to participate with you, there's lots of games and activities, lots of positive praise involved in the teaching setting, and then they're able to also see the alternative, they're able to experience the alternative, of an escape condition where they've now escaped that teaching setting, but we've created a setting where that escape is void of reinforcement.
Students will begin to escape less and cooperate more, leading to an increase in motivated participation.
There has actually been quite a few studies that have been done that let the children decide between positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement would be they can earn access to items that you can do with them, things you can play with them, games, activities, or they can just earn escape as what they're working for.
And in almost every case that's been studied, once both of those options are made available to a child, they almost always will choose positive reinforcement, activities, actions, things that are fun, rather than just escape itself.
So how is this done? Well, what we're gonna do is we're gonna use alternative procedures to those escape extinction procedures I discussed.
Let's go through them one after another.
One, the alternative to escape blocking, instead of using escape blocking, or physically not allowing the child to leave the teaching setting, we're gonna be using a comprehensive restriction of reinforcement in the escape condition.
So what that means is before we start to teach, so let's say you're in a classroom, and you want to spend some time, during the day, working with an individual child or several children in your classroom, before you start working with them, you have to identify what are the potential or the known reinforcers that are available in that environment.
What are the things that your child would like to work for, would they like to have access to? What are the things that are gonna be drawing their attention? And before you start teaching, you have to get those items under interventionist control, meaning you have to be able to control access to them, whether that means taking them from the floor that they're on or in the cabinets, the open shelves that they're on, and putting them into boxes with lids or putting them up on shelves that are too high for the child to reach on their own, putting them in a way that you could easily control when the child has access to them and when they don't.
And then the second thing you're gonna do is that when a child escapes demands or chooses to leave your teaching setting, you're gonna allow that to occur.
You're gonna say, "Okay, you can go, no problem.
"I'm not gonna stop you from leaving.
"You don't have to participate in what I'm offering you." But when you do escape, when you do choose to leave, all forms of reinforcement, after the escape begins, are gonna be fully restricted until the child returns and complies.
So I've got a little video example here.
I'm hoping that this video will work without having to do anything to it, but I'm gonna start this for you.
This is myself teaching the basics of instructional control.
I'm going through the first couple of steps of the seven steps of instructional control with a family, and I'm teaching him that instead of physically holding your child into the teaching setting and kind of forcing them to participate, you're much better off maintaining and controlling access to the reinforcers.
One of the things you'll notice is that in the room around behind them, there's not a lot of toys lying around.
There is a box with a blue lid on the left that has some toys in it, but that's been blocked off, and we could easily stop the child from accessing that.
The only toy available in the environment is the toy the child wants to be playing with and is the one that Dad is in control of.
This is just a video of my process of teaching Dad these basics.
If he wants to get up, he should be allowed to get up, but then you just take the toy back and say, "Oh, you can leave."
- [Robert] "But the toy stays with me.
"So what do you want to do?"
- [Robert] And then when he chooses to sit back down, now he's made a choice.
He could take the toy, okay.
- Wait, wait, wait.
- Okay, good.
- [Robert] Now tell him, "If you want to play, "you have to sit."
- [Dad] Sit down, sit, sit.
Sit, sit, there.
- Good job.
Now you can play.
- [Robert] You see, now he's not gonna be pulling away from you the whole time.
Now he's made the choice to sit, because you restricted the reinforcement.
Does that make sense?
- [Robert] The last thing I want you guys doing is pulling him in.
- [Robert] Let's see if he tries it again.
- Again? (child grunting) Yeah, okay, button, G.
- [Robert] Okay, take the toy back again.
(child grunts) Okay, you can get up if you want.
Oh, you want to stay?
- Stay, oh good.
- [Toy] G, that is G.
- [Robert] Yeah, he's clapping, because he, uh-
- (horn honks)
- Sit, sit.
- [Robert] It's okay.
We can handle the tantrum.
Good, the rule is if you want to play with this toy, you play with Daddy.
If you want to go by yourself and play, then you can, but you can't take the toy with you.
It's that simple, and instead of manipulating him, (child babbles) we just manipulate the toy.
- That's right.
- So that he decides to stay.
Now children are not always going to accept this right away.
I mean, all beings are used to their status quo.
We have developed a system of expectations with the environment around us.
When I go in, and I sit down, and I want to watch TV, I have the expectation that I can just reach over, grab the remote control, push a little button, and the TV will turn on.
There'll be lights.
There'll be sounds, music, everything that I want.
I'll have the ability without even moving a muscle, to be able to just, just by flicking my thumb, I can change to a different channel.
I can make it louder.
That's an expectation that I grow to develop.
Now if I think back to when I was a child, it wasn't that way.
I'm old enough now that, I'm probably dating myself, for many of you, but when I was a kid, there were no TVs with remote controls.
I was a five-year-old remote control.
My parents would, when it was time to change the channel, they would say, "Bobby, go put on channel two." And so I'd have to get up and run over to the TV and turn the channel, and then I would come back and sit down, and the next time it was "Bobby, "go make it louder." And I have to get up and go do it.
I was the remote control.
So at that point in time, we had an expectation that a TV worked a certain way.
But now, that the technology is developed, we have an expectation that we should be able to sit on the couch, lean back, relax and just move our thumb and get everything we want.
And as long as that continues to happen, we're perfectly fine.
But what's gonna happen is, is in the case where we're gonna start changing the way that we teach, now that we're gonna control access to this reinforcer, we're gonna change the expectation.
Suddenly, the child's gonna reach up and push that button, and the TV's not gonna turn on, or it's not gonna be louder, 'cause we now want to teach them to go to the TV themselves.
They're not gonna do that willingly.
They're not gonna do that immediately.
It's not gonna be something they're gonna be happy to do.
They're going to want to try to maintain the easier life that they've already had.
And I think that's similar as any human would do.
What I'm trying to get at is the expectation that we have in life is something that we want to hold on to.
We don't like to just take on more work for less pay.
However, that's often what we, as teachers, are asking our kids to do.
They've set up an environment in which they get everything they want when they want it, the way that they want it.
They've got the parents running around, trying to keep them happy, and they have skills that allow them to maintain that easier lifestyle.
And our job, as teachers, is to get in the way of that, to make it a little bit uncomfortable so that they have to step out of what's easy and learn new skills.
And so what we're doing here is we're asking this child to no longer be able to play with the toy when he wants, where he wants, the way he wants, but that if he wants to play with that toy, he has to play with Dad as part of it.
And the goal here is to get Dad to be able to pair himself with that toy so that Dad and the toy are seen as a positive thing worth engaging with.
And again, you're gonna see some reneging in the child to begin with.
They're gonna fight it a little bit.
But we can follow through with blocking access to that reinforcement when they don't follow the instruction and show them that the remote control is no longer available to you.
If you would like to watch TV, you're gonna have to get up and go to the TV.
And eventually, once the child's tried everything they can do to get us to give them the remote control back, once they realize the remote control is not coming back, if they do really want to watch that TV, they will go to the TV, and they'll turn the channel.
And that's the learning process.
So that's the first alternative.
The second is the alternative to forced physical prompting.
Even when using escape blocking to keep a child in a teaching setting, it is not always easy to get them to perform the required task without forced physical prompting.
So instead of obtaining the behavior with forced hand-over-hand prompting and expecting that the reinforcement to follow will allow us to fade the need for forced prompting over time, we have been putting every behavior, other than the behavior of interest, on extinction.
So the behavior of interest is the behavior that we want to see the child do.
And once they've refused everything else that they do, we put that on extinction, meaning we don't allow reinforcement to follow it.
Now it's a little bit different than escape extinction, where we don't allow them to escape.
They're allowed to escape, but we're not going to allow other forms of reinforcement to follow that escape.
So in doing this, we wait for the child to engage in the required task without the inclusion of unnecessary prompts.
We are able to prompt the child for help.
Prompting has always beneficial when a child doesn't know what they can do to achieve a skill.
But once the child knows what they're supposed to do and is choosing not to, prompting isn't really gonna help us.
So rather than trying to prompt the child through, it's better to go to withholding the reinforcement and then not allowing any reinforcement to follow all of the other behaviors the child attempts and waiting out until we get that one behavior that we're looking for.
The third, I don't know why there's a number four there.
It should be three.
The third alternative to paced prompting is the SD presentation, or nagging.
Instead of paced prompting, or nagging, which is giving the child the instruction over and over and over again, until they just give in and do it, we're gonna avoid, in the seven steps, we're gonna avoid giving any unnecessary attention to the child in the escape condition.
So we do this by only repeating our instruction or making eye contact or even engaging in an interaction with the child, once he's refused the task if they're demonstrating some kind of a motivation for a reinforcer that we are able to control.
So we don't want to be giving the child instructions in what are called low-probability times, under low-probability situations.
So the child has decided, "I'm not gonna follow your instruction.
"I'm gonna try to walk away." Well, the traditional escape extinction that is taught in applied behavior analysis in most cases would be to follow the child around and keep repeating the instruction over and over and over again.
The problem I have with that is that our goal is cooperation, instructional control.
We want that the child hears an instruction, and they follow it.
So why are we giving instructions over and over again at a time when the child's likely to not follow.
It makes more sense to withhold the reinforcement, wait until the child demonstrates that in the moment they want something, they want something from us, they want access to something we can offer them, they want to play some more, they want more access to the toys, and in those moments of high motivation, only then will we then repeat the instruction, at a time when they're gonna be more likely to actually follow.
So those are the three alternatives to what we traditionally see taught in ABA programs.
And the next video I'd like to show you is a boy named Carlin.
Carlin was three years old, diagnosed with autism.
At the time of our first initial consultation, which this video was taken from, he had spent the last pretty much two years of his life refusing to drink anything but chocolate milk.
He wouldn't drink white milk.
He wouldn't drink water.
He wouldn't drink anything.
This video was taken on the second day of our initial consultation and successfully identified and paired ourselves with reinforcement.
So we had identified a lot of reinforcers, things he loved to do.
We had paired ourselves with those things so that he was really willing to follow instructions.
We had already successfully implemented a Give Back program and a Waiting program so that when we said, "Wait," he knew that if he just put his hands down for a second and waited, that he would have access to things, that if he started reaching and grabbing, we would just take that item and put it away, and he wouldn't have access to it.
So he was now starting to be willing to wait for longer and longer periods of time.
When he was holding a toy, and we said, "Give it back," he knew that giving it back to us would mean that he would get it back again very quickly.
Maybe after following a simple instruction, he would get it right back.
But if he didn't give it to us and tried to run away with it, then we would take it.
We'd put it away, and he wouldn't see it for a while.
So having done those programs with him through the first day-and-a-half, we had already seen a lot of success.
And we went to lunch.
And when we came back from lunch, Mom said to us, "I really like what you guys are doing.
"Honestly, I've seen him do things for you "that I haven't seen him do for any other teacher before.
"But if you really want to impress me, "please get him to take a drink of water.
"I'm so freaked out about the fact "that I'm brushing his teeth five times a day, "'cause of all the sugar.
"We're doing everything we can, and he just refuses "to drink any water.
"He refuses to drink anything but chocolate milk." So we decided that we would go ahead and work on that for them.
Normally, we don't recommend working on food issues early in a program.
We want to develop better instructional control first.
In this case, he was really motivated in what we had.
We had seen such good progress so quickly that we thought we could give it a try and be successful.
And I'd like to show you that process.
Again, this is where we give him an instruction.
He refuses the instruction.
And then we allow him to escape.
We don't hold him in.
We don't repeat the instruction over and over.
We allow him to escape, but then we put every behavior he attempts on extinction, except for that behavior of interest, of taking a drink of water.
That's the only behavior that's gonna find itself getting reinforced.
(speaks in foreign language) Now you've noticed that this is a video in German.
That is my wife, Nadine, working with Carlin.
We do have the words on the screen.
I've been talking to a computer screen for the last 20 minutes now.
Can someone just let me know that you're all still hearing this?
- [Host] We are.
It seems to be going fine, the audio and video, and I see folks typing the same in the chat room, so all is well.
- Perfect, good, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't talking to an empty screen here, and no one could get in touch with me to let me know (laughs).
So yeah, this is in German.
But you can see that we wrote the translation at the bottom in white.
My wife is going to do something in the very beginning of this example, that I would consider to be a teaching mistake.
She's gonna offer him a drink of water.
He's gonna refuse.
She's gonna very carefully and calmly start to put away the reinforcer, which is all good.
But once he starts to stand up, she's gonna tell him to sit down, and for some reason, rather than just ignore him, or not ignore him, but other than just not reinforce these other behaviors, she starts to give him the instruction, "Okay, sit down, just sit down, sit down," over and over again, and this kind of goes against what we want to do, and when we do this, you're gonna see that it doesn't cause him to come back and participate.
If anything, it gives him a clue as to what he can do to escalate the behavior.
And so very quickly my wife realizes, "Oh, you know what, why am I repeating this? "This isn't making any sense." And she's like, "Okay, fine, you don't have to sit down.
"We'll just leave the chair.
"We'll just do it as it is." And once he realizes that he no longer has that to battle with, he has to come back and make a different choice.
So let's go ahead and let you watch this, before I explain it to death.
(speaks in foreign language) (Carlin grunting) (speaks in foreign language) Give him some water.
Yeah, I'll take you up.
(speaks in foreign language) That's the right response when he does it.
Now Nadine's gotten him right back to where they started.
He hasn't gained any access to anything.
He hasn't gotten more toy.
He hasn't been able to play.
He has been able to escape for a period of time.
So if you view it as him winning, because he's escaping, I can understand that, but the problem is is he may have been escaping our task, but he hasn't truly been getting what he wants.
What he wants is access to the toys, access to playing with us again.
What he really wants is to be able to make that puzzle into a track and then let that car go running.
And he hasn't gotten any closer to that through his escape behavior.
But every time he sits down and cooperates with her, she does get him closer to that.
But now that she's back where she started, she's gonna go ahead and repeat that instruction.
But she's gonna wait for him to show that he wants something first.
(speaks in foreign language) (Carlin screams) (speaks in foreign language) Now that we're not reinforcing the behavior that he was hoping to have reinforced, you know, we've taken the remote control away, and he can no longer just sit back and watch TV, he actually has to work to get the TV turned on, he's gonna start using all the behaviors that have ever been successful for him in the past in getting his way and getting Mom to give in.
He tried to say no.
He tried to fight.
He knocked the chair down.
And he's thrown himself on the floor.
He's run in the other room.
And as long as we don't follow after him and reinforce him, we want to keep him safe.
We want to make sure that he's not able to harm himself.
If he starts to bang his head or something, we would be protecting him, but we would do it without adding additional reinforcement to it.
We want to show him that these behaviors will not be successful.
So during the escape condition, we use a comprehensive extinction of all behaviors, other than the behavior of interest.
And let's see how he reacts when people don't come running to him.
(speaks in foreign language) (Carlin cries) When we use this procedure, Steve Ward, another behavior analyst that I really like and work with, he calls it a wait-out.
I don't believe that you can just wait out a child.
I don't think that just waiting them out works.
You have to have a lot of other things in place, and to me, waiting out is part of the seven steps, which we're gonna be getting into.
But you need to have all seven steps in place for waiting out to work, to be successful.
But in this instance, that's what we're doing, is we're waiting him out.
We're letting him see what life is like when you do not follow instructions versus how amazing we make life when you are following instruction.
One of the things that tells us if what we're doing is working, there's two things that tell us if what we're doing is working, volume and proximity.
If the child is continually getting louder and trying to get our attention through volume, or if they're coming closer to us, coming to where we are, then what we're doing is generally working.
We've got a motivational pull.
We're like the sun, and they're a planet.
And if they keep their orbit, it's closer and closer and closer to us, then what we're doing, we have a strong enough pull.
If they're off playing in something else or doing something else in another area, and we find that we're chasing after them, then it's now working.
Then waiting out, in that situation, is not going to work.
We haven't done a good enough job of blocking all forms of reinforcement.
So about 10 minutes has passed, since he threw himself on the floor.
Let's see how this plays out.
(speaks in foreign language) So he asks to blow his nose, which was, we are told by Mom later, that that was the first time he's ever used that kind of language before.
And we do often see kids start to use more language in situations where they're not able to get what they want the easy way anymore.
But he didn't really want to blow his nose.
What he wanted to do was find a way to get this over with.
And so he started to use language.
He started to ask Mom if she would blow his nose, because in the past, whenever they've had a tantrum or a problem, once Mom blows his nose and gives him a hug, that's when everything goes back to being fun again.
So he's trying to find his way back to that fun, engaged activity that we've been doing with him for the last day-and-a-half.
And so now, we're in a situation where he's altering his behavior.
He's trying to identify what he can do differently to get us to engage in the fun things, to get us to allow him to have access to these fun toys that he really wants to be a part of engaging with.
(speaks in foreign language) He still responds to wait, just because we've been practicing it, and he learned in a day.
And look at that.
(all cheer) (speaks in foreign language) Now as long as it takes for him to wait him out, in this case, it was 20, 25 minutes.
Some kids it's gonna be longer than that.
Some kids will wait three, four hours before we finally get them to make the decision, "You know what, it's just not worth it.
"I'm much happier when I'm engaged and playing "with my parents, with my teachers "than I am doing this escape, where they're blocking access "to all of my favorite things." But once you get to that positive resolve, once the child makes that decision, "You know what, I'm just gonna go for it "and follow that instruction," we have to make sure that immediately the result is high-benefit reinforcement.
We want there to be lots of fun, lots of play, lots of activity.
We want them to have access to anything that they want to get.
That's when the toys come back out, the hugs, the cheers.
Whatever we think is gonna be most valuable to that child has to happen immediately, because he's just spent 25 minutes of missing out on all kinds of fun, and now he's made what has been a really difficult choice for him, something he did not want to do for whatever reason, but he made that choice.
We have to make sure that it pays off, that it's worth it, and that he'll want to do that choice again, the next time he's put in that position.
(speaks in foreign language) (Carlin growls) (Nadine growls) Let's see what happens if we do it again.
(speaks in foreign language) Now why do you think he took that drink? Why would he have done it so quickly? It doesn't always happen this quickly, where like, right away (snaps), they would start following the behavior.
But he just went through 25 minutes of trying all of his favorite escape behaviors and none of them worked.
And ultimately, he decided if I'm gonna get back to having fun, I'm gonna have to just take this drink of water, and he did.
And sure enough, he started having fun again.
So now when we ask him to take a drink, he has this immediate reaction of no, but then he thinks to himself, "Well, what's the benefit? "I've already decided I would rather take a drink "than escape, so I might as well just go ahead "and take my drink and move on." Nadine did want to check and make sure that he was really taking a drink and not just putting it to his lips, and you'll see her in the future leaning over to make sure.
But it can happen this quickly, once the child has made that decision, that they would rather participate in the fun activity of teaching with us than be in an escape condition where they're having access to nothing.
Once they've made the decision to do that, quite often you will see that escape time start to drastically decrease, and I can show some data regarding that a little bit later.
So let's see the end of this.
(speaks in foreign language) That was also a food item Mom told us he wouldn't eat, previously.
(speaks in foreign language) She gets a drink, makes sure he does.
Now he asks for the item back.
(speaks in foreign language) And she's already asking for a second drink before he gets his reinforcer.
We're already starting to thin the variable ratio of reinforcement.
(speaks in foreign language) Lots of positive praise and fawning he gains when he's following instructions.
Okay, so that's one example of how that can look, that comprehensive extinction of all behaviors, other than the behavior of interest.
And so now it's time for me to get into the actual full seven steps of instructional control.
I would like to ask a quick question.
And maybe we can ask this of the group.
Because we started about 15, 20 minutes late, would you guys like me to try to finish within the scheduled time of 8:30 here, 30 past the hour, or should I add an extra 15 minutes and give you the full information?
- [Host] That's a great question.
If folks want to just type your preference in the chat box, we'll do a quick poll.
- Yeah, I'd like to know if I should kind of speed through this a little bit and make sure that we get it all in, or if I should go through the way I planned and take us an extra 15 minutes beyond our scheduled time.
- [Host] It looks like the general consensus overall is that folks are okay to extend it an extra 15 minutes or so.
And I'll just remind folks, too, that we are recording the presentation.
Mr Schramm has generously agreed to let us put it on the AIE website until the end of March.
So we will have the recording up there from about the 12th of February through the end of March if folks do have to leave and can't catch the end of it, then that'll give you an opportunity to tune in and do that.
So we should be okay to continue.
- All right, great, sounds good.
Okay, so let's get into the seven steps to earning instructional control.
This is the process by which you can start to control the environment, not the child, but the environment around your child so that you put them in the strongest motivational position to want to cooperate, and it gives you the opportunity to then respond in ways when they don't that make them less likely to want to respond that way in the future.
We're gonna go step by step.
I don't want you to think of these steps as something that happens first and then second and then third.
That's not really how it is.
Maybe steps are not even the best way to describe it.
But we're gonna give you seven rules, and all of these rules need to consistently be in play as you interact with the children you're working with, whether it's a classroom or an individual child in the home, the school, whatever setting you're in.
Step one, show your child that you are the one in control of the things he wants to hold or play with and that you will decide if or for how long he can have access to them.
What we're dealing with here is the concept of comprehensive control of all reinforcing items.
And we want to do this before teaching, so it allows us, in the teaching setting, to always be the giver of good things and not the taker.
If you're trying to teach your child in your living room, and there's toys lying all over the place, and you say to your child, "Oh come on over here and do this," and they walk away and ignore you and start to grab a toy, what you end up having to do is start to pull those toys away from your child, and the more that you pull things away, the more you get paired as a negative, the more you get paired as an aversive.
Conversely, if they don't have access to any of those toys, except through you, suddenly, you're the one who's always delivering those things.
You become paired as the positive, as the giver of good things.
You become the fun dispenser, which not only allows them to want to cooperate, to be with you, but actually wants them to seek you out and spend more time with you as their teacher.
So step one is really important for this to occur.
We really need to be able to, A, identify the reinforcers, and we're gonna do that in one of the later steps, but for step one, what we really want to do is have good comprehensive control over all the reinforcers in the environment.
Now it may mean that you need to shut a door.
You may need to close a door or block a door so that the child doesn't run off into an area that you can't control.
It might mean that you need to have a closet that you can lock where the toys can be put in, or if you're in a classroom, maybe you need to have an area where the toys are all sectioned away behind shelving units so that you can go into that area and play with the child, but if they're refusing to cooperate, you can just remove them from that toy area.
But you have to have comprehensive control of reinforcement so that during the extinction condition, you can keep that child from having access to those toys.
Step number two is you have to show the child that you are fun.
You have to make every interaction you have with this child as enjoyable an experience as possible, so they will want to follow your directions to earn more time, sharing those experiences with you.
If you are not a fun dispenser, you are going to have a hard time keeping a child motivated in what you want to present to them.
There aren't a lot of people who do things just because they're told.
There aren't a lot of children with autism that I've ever met who will do something just because they're told.
If they're doing it, it's based upon some form of reinforcement or the avoidance of some form of punishment.
And so if we can make ourselves really reinforcing and really fun and someone that the child would want to be with, and if we can be an entertainer, slash, teacher, that makes it so much easier for us to get our learning across.
Step one says we control the access to the reinforcement, but step two says that if you come along with me, and you trust me, I will make your time with me so much fun that you would rather be here with me than anywhere else.
And pairing is really a principle of behavior.
It's whenever two objects are paired together over time, the value of one tends to wear off or gravitate on to the other.
And so you could come in as a neutral person to a child, but if you pair yourself with all of the child's favorite things, you will become valuable over time.
Here's a couple of important things to think about when you're doing your pairing.
And a lot of teaching goes bad, because people think they're pairing.
They think they're doing step number two, and they're really not.
So think about this when you're doing your pairing, no instructions at all.
If you have given any instructions, it's no longer pairing.
It's now on to another one of the steps.
You are purely playing with the child, with what they want, the way that they want to play it.
For example, if you want to play cars with a child, and he just wants to line those cars up, but you keep taking the cars out of line and going, "Vroom, vroom, vroom," and showing him how the car drives, you're not pairing.
You haven't made that fun activity more fun, because you're a part of it.
In fact, you're just taking the fun out of the item.
So you're doing the opposite of pairing.
Don't try to pair with an item that the child is already holding or playing with.
It's really hard to do something better with an object that a child already has access to.
If they have the toy in their hand, they're already doing exactly what they want to be doing.
Anything you do to interrupt is going to be seen as taking away from that.
Rather than trying to play with something they're holding, I prefer to take out other items that I know that they like.
And I try to make them as fun and interesting as possible, and you'd be surprised how quickly the child will drop the toy he has and will try to come over and engage with you for the one that you're holding that's his that he really wants.
Then you have the opportunity to give that to him and share that with him for a few moments.
When he does take that item from you, you can scoop up the item he was playing with previously, put that back into your closed-off box and use that one to pair with again in the future.
Sometimes, for some kids, just sitting with the child and not interrupting while he plays is gonna be a form of pairing that might be necessary in the beginning.
Some kids are gonna find adults as being aversive.
They've already learned throughout their experiences that adults don't make things better.
They make things worse.
So just getting the child to accept you in their environment might be the first step to good pairing.
It's always easiest to pair with consumable reinforcers, things that you can give to the child that go away.
Obviously, food is a consumable reinforcer.
You give the child food, it goes away.
They need you to get more of it.
But there are other things that are consumable in that way, that work really well.
Bubbles is something that are awesome.
You can blow the bubbles.
The child gets to pop them and have fun, but the bubbles go away on their own.
And you never have to take them back from the child.
You just get to be the giver, giving more and more bubbles.
You can do that with spinning tops, where you need a special crank to get the top spinning.
As long as you've got the crank, you can be the one who gets that top spinning.
The child gets to enjoy it.
They have to bring the top back to you to get it spinning again.
Whenever possible, find physical reinforcers that are social in nature.
They're much easier to pair with than toys, and if our goals are going to be, if a third of everything we want to teach a child relates to social interaction and social desire, then if we can find social, physical reinforcers like tickles and hide-and-seek and chase games, all of that is gonna be much more valuable for us in the long run as a teaching tool.
And also things that are easier to control access to are gonna be the easiest to pair with, things like music and videos and tickles, anything that you can easily control access to and don't have to always be grabbing.
Playing Legos with the child can be really difficult to control.
Once there's 30, 40 Legos down on the floor, and the child refuses, scooping up and blocking access to all those Legos is really challenging.
I wouldn't suggest engaging in Legos as a reinforcer in teaching setting until you've had a lot of practice, and you've already paired yourself with a lot of different types of things.
But swings are easy to pair with, and you can control, music, TV, videos, anything that you add to the child, like tickles or chase.
That's step number two.
Now I'm gonna move on to step number three.
Show your child that you can be trusted.
Always say what you mean and mean what you say.
If you instruct the child to do something, then do not allow access to reinforcement unless they've complied with your request.
Now this step does allow for prompting to completion if necessary.
Again, if the child doesn't know how to respond to your instruction, you should always be willing to give them a prompt, some kind of helper, so that they can achieve it.
But if they're refusing the prompt, if they're pulling away, if they're complaining, if they're fighting, then we're dealing with a behavior, and then we have to go to a different step to deal with that, but this step tells us that if we're gonna say something, we mean it.
If you say to a child, "Up, come on over here.
"I need you to come here," then if the child walks away, you can't just let them walk away and start having fun again.
You have to follow through.
I don't want you to say, you know, "It's time to go to PE.
"If you don't get up off that floor, "I'm gonna leave you here.
"Okay, we're leaving.
"We're walking out the door.
"Bye bye, we're leaving you." It may scare the child into getting up the first time you try it, and they may come with you, but at some point, they're gonna be motivated enough to really wait you out and see if you really are willing to leave and when you're not.
When you're not willing to leave them, and they see that, "Oh, if I lay here long enough, they'll come back," the child's not gonna be able to trust you.
They're not going to hear when you say, "You're gonna have to do this first, before you get that." They're not gonna believe that if you're not always consistent with it.
So you can't prompt them during this, but you need to always say what you mean and mean what you say.
This really deals with carefully selecting your SDs, and an SD is an ABA term for instruction.
It's a discriminated stimulus, something that the child can respond to.
So carefully selecting your instructions in all situations and then following through with appropriate consequences is key to earning trust and instructional control.
Step number four, show your child that following your directions is beneficial and the best way to obtain what he wants.
Give your child easy directions as often as possible and then reinforce his decisions to participate by following them with good experiences.
What we're talking about in step four is fading in of instructions, like we talked about before, just kind of slowly starting to sneak in instructions into your pairing from step number two but then using a high, continuous schedule of positive reinforcement, offering lots of positive things to the child's environment after good behavior choices and also avoiding the use of negative reinforcement where possible.
Let's take a break for just a moment and talk about what positive reinforcement is versus negative reinforcement.
I hear this mistaken all the time on TV.
People mistake the word negative reinforcement for what's actually something called punishment.
Positive reinforcement, or reinforcement in general, is anything that increases a behavior.
So if I'm using reinforcement, whether it's positive or negative, I'm trying to increase a behavior that this item is following.
So if I see a child follow an instruction, and then I offer something of value to that child, that's gonna make them more likely to want to follow that instruction in the future.
Now if I can connect that reinforcer to things that are gonna maintain in the natural environment, that's even better, because if the child is starting to see social things that you can do as reinforcers, then those are gonna be the same kind of things that they're gonna get in the environment when you're not there.
But ultimately, as a teacher, we need to show the child that working for positive reinforcement is always better than working for negative reinforcement.
Negative reinforcement is not the addition of something to increase a behavior but actually the removal of something that increases a behavior.
And what's tricky about this is that when you're using negative reinforcement as a teacher, most often what you're removing, the aversive stimuli that you're removing from the environment, is yourself.
You put yourself in a position of "I'm a negative.
"I'm in the way.
"I'm a problem." So the child is sitting there and you say, "Put your name on the paper, put your name.
"Go ahead, put your name on the paper.
"Do it, put your name on the paper, "or I'm gonna keep talking at you, "or I'm gonna make you sit in the corner." And the child is getting nervous.
They're getting upset.
They're being bothered by your aversive nature.
Then when the child puts his name on the paper, and you turn and walk away, removing yourself is the reinforcer that increases that behavior in the future.
And if you have a child who's consistently working for negative reinforcement, then the only reason they're working is to get away from you, to avoid you, to spend more time alone, and then they start using all kinds of behavior that allow them to be alone.
We want to be using positive reinforcement as much as we can.
When teachers tell me they don't use reinforcement, what they're really saying is is "I don't use positive reinforcement.
"Oh, I use a lot of negative reinforcement.
"I will tell a child what they have to do, "and I will expect them to do it, "and I will give them a hard time until they do.
"I will embarrass them if they don't, and then ultimately, "I'll leave them alone once they're doing it." That's what we ultimately do if we don't use positive reinforcement.
But if you could be the one who says, "Okay, write your name on the paper.
"Oh my God, that's amazing, what you just did there," tickle, tickle, tickle.
"Here's something to play with," or "Here, now you can take a break "and do this for a little bit with me, "and we can have fun, and now we'll go back "and do the next problem." That positive reinforcement, following those behaviors, is gonna start to snowball, and it's gonna cause the child to start looking out for "Hey, "what other positive things can I do, "and what can I do to get more positives from you?" When we start working with children who are really early learners, nonverbal, we start giving them some instruction, and we show them very quickly that hey, if you touch your nose, or if you can touch your head, or if you can stand up or sit down on request, that something good is gonna happen, very quickly the child will start coming to us and touching their head or touching their nose as a request, "Hey, play with me.
"Show me, give me some more of that stuff, let's do it." And sometimes we don't have to give the instruction.
And so positive reinforcement is an extremely powerful tool, not just for increasing skills but for also increasing relationship development in the child.
We want to be avoiding negative reinforcement as much as possible, and in step number four, we want to give simple instructions as often as possible, and we want to make sure that there's lots of positive reinforcement that follows those when they are achieved.
Step number five, we're gonna provide consistent reinforcement, like I said in step four, in the early stages of earning instructional control with the child.
We're gonna reinforce after each and every response.
However, eventually, over time, we're gonna start to increase to a, we're gonna change to an ever-increasing, variable ratio of reinforcement.
This means that, and this is, you know, it's been looked at and scientifically shown that when you use a variable ratio of reinforcement, children are gonna give you better effort consistently than they will if they know that you're gonna reinforce them every third response.
So what we're saying is instead of giving them reinforcement after each and every response, we're gonna start suddenly trying to ask for a second response or a third one.
You saw us do that with Carlin.
Nadine did that with the water.
She gave him tons of reinforcement after the first water drink.
She continued to give him reinforcement after each drink, but at some point, she started to ask for a second drink before she gave the reinforcement again.
And we're gonna start to increase that variable ratio over time, where now we're gonna ask for two or three things before we reinforce and eventually work our way up to four or five or six or seven.
The one thing we do is we don't want to be consistent.
We don't want to always reinforce every third response, because kids won't try very hard in the first two, and they'll only really try when they know that reinforcement is coming.
We don't want reinforcement to be why a child is working.
We want a child to be working, because they know that if they do, they can trust you, the teacher, that the things that they want to do will come consistently enough to make it worth their while or that life will be better.
So what this step is dealing with is just slowing thinning the variable ratio of reinforcement over time.
Now can we ever thin ratio of reinforcement out to the point where we no longer use reinforcement.
Ideally, you would like to say yes, but that doesn't really understand what reinforcement is.
Reinforcement is something that happens after a behavior that causes that behavior to continue to occur.
And nobody, no human being anywhere does any behavior without some form of reinforcement for it.
It may not be reinforcement from another person.
I may chew gum, just because I like the way it tastes, or it just feels good, but I wouldn't chew gum if it didn't offer me something of value.
I wouldn't make eye contact with someone I'm talking to if it didn't offer me better attention from them.
So the things that we do regularly in life, we do them because they offer us something of value.
So we can't just eventually get to the point where we no longer reinforce.
What we have to do is thin out the reinforcement so that we can go longer and longer before we have to deliver it and then we try to change that reinforcement to become more social, to become more along the lines of things that typically reinforce behavior, like grades or positive praise or stickers on their notebook or smiley faces or just good, you know, trying to please Mom and Dad.
Step number six to instructional control is demonstrate that you know your child's priorities as well as your own.
And what we're dealing with with this step is the use of differentiated reinforcement levels.
So depending upon the response quality, how well the child is responding to you, you're gonna want to make reinforcement decisions based upon the current priorities of your program.
So if your child is just kind, let's say, just for an example, you're using, you've grabbed some cookies.
The child has asked you for some cookies.
And you're like, "Yeah, well, okay, we've got cookies.
"It's okay to have some cookies now." But we're gonna use them as a teaching tool, because I'm gonna take advantage of your motivation to get you to learn something.
So you ask the child, "Oh, you want a cookie? "Sure, do this," or "follow this instruction, "write your name on your paper," whatever the instruction might be, and the child does an okay job.
Well, you might want to give them a cookie or a half a cookie for that.
But if a child does something exceptionally well, like they've said some word they've never been able to say before, or their writing was much clearer than it ever has been, or they really stayed between the lines, something you've been working on with them, you might want to give them the full cookie or even to say, "You can have two cookies for that.
"That was amazing." You want to blow their mind when they're doing really well.
If the child's just kind of slowly, lethargically going through it and not doing a very good job, you might just crack a tiny, little piece of that cookie off and say, "Well, there you go.
"That's what you get for that kind of performance." Step six wants us to make sure that we can demonstrate to the child the better you work, the harder you try, the more successful you are, the more you're gonna gain from that.
And I think that ends up being a really good lesson in life.
It's something that we all need to know and learn that the harder we work, the more we're gonna be reinforced for things from other people, in our jobs, in our relationships and everything.
Also, we want to know what our priorities are.
If you said to a child, "Say 'Mama'," and the child says, "Ma," and then reaches out and grabs the reinforcer out of your hand, do you want to reinforce that, yes or no? It's a tough question to answer.
My answer is always always, "It depends." And what it depends upon is, what is the priority in the moment? Is this child capable of saying, "Ma?" Is this something you've never heard before? Have you never gotten the child to say anything on command? If so, I probably won't care that they grabbed the reinforcer.
I'll let 'em have that one.
I might give them more, and I might give them hugs and tickles, too, because I want them to see that that "Ma," which is so important, I want to have to reinforce that, because if I don't get the "Ma," I'm never gonna get the "Mama." Secondarily, if the child has the ability to make that sound, but also has a problem where grabbing for reinforcement has become something we've identified as an issue, you might wan to pull that back and say, "No, no, no, no, no, you don't get it for that.
"Say it again.
"Now, wait, put your hands down.
"I will deliver the reinforcer "the way I want to deliver it." Anyway, that's step six, knowing your priorities as well as your child's.
So if we go through these six steps, let me reiterate them again.
Step one, before you start teaching, you control access to the reinforcers.
Step two, make yourself so much fun the child would want to be with you rather than be alone.
Step three, always say what you mean, mean what you say, follow through, let the child trust that if you say something, you will follow through on it, and it's in their best interest to make good decisions based upon what you're saying and doing.
Four, use positive reinforcement in large measure early on so that the child sees, "Every time I follow an instruction, "something good is gonna happen.
"Life is better when I listen, "when I attend, when I try." Step five, start to slowly spread out that reinforcement so that you don't have to do so much, and you can get more and more responding for the same amount of reinforcement.
Step six, know your priorities as well as your own and give better reinforcers when the child is giving better effort.
If you're doing all six of those steps in whatever measure they're needed in the moment, you're gonna put your child in a position where he's gonna be as motivated as possible to want to participate in the goals that you're working on.
He's gonna see every reason to want to cooperate, every reason.
Now that doesn't mean they always will.
There's still gonna be that aspect of well, now I'm taking away the remote control, and now I'm asking you to go to that TV, and you're gonna want to fight to keep the remote control, because that's easier for you.
And so sometimes, your child's gonna say, "Hey, this is still too much work.
"I don't want to have to do this.
"I don't like the way this relationship is going.
"I'm having to do work.
"I know you're fun, but for some reason or another, "I'm just gonna fight at this moment in time." And when they do, when they refuse, that's when you need step seven.
Step seven is showing your child that ignoring your instructions or choosing inappropriate behavior will not result in the acquisition of reinforcement.
So what does this allow for? Well, it allows for escape.
Remember, we talked about this earlier.
I'm not gonna stop the child from walking away from my teaching setting, because, A, I've already done step number one.
I've already controlled access to all the reinforcers.
So I'm gonna let the child leave.
But when they do, all behavior, other than the behavior of interest, following my instruction, is gonna be met with full extinction, no access to reinforcement.
That's gonna be the principle of extinction, is gonna be used there.
We're just not gonna reinforce it.
Additionally, we may use a form of punishment.
Just like I talked before about the difference between positive reinforcement being better than negative reinforcement in building skills, the same is true with punishment, only it's the opposite.
Positive punishment and negative punishment are two different forms of punishment.
Punishment itself, in our science, it doesn't mean you're gonna go to jail for something bad that you did.
We're gonna punish you.
It just means that when a specific behavior is occurring, something has to occur to cause that behavior to happen less in the future.
That's a punisher.
That's what punishment means in the science.
And there's two ways to do that.
I can add something to your environment that will reduce a behavior after it.
So let's say you yell in the classroom, and I slap you across the face.
Well, if slapping you across the face causes you to be less likely to yell in the future, then you could say that slapping is a positive punisher.
But if I'm slapping you, does that make you more likely or less likely to seek me out in the future, to want to engage with me, to want to play with me, to want to participate with me? It's gonna make you less likely.
So using positive punishment has the negative effect of pushing the child away from you.
And to teach children, especially with autism, we have to have access.
We have to have maintained, consistent access.
So another thing that we can choose to do in those situations is we can use negative punishment.
We can remove access to something fun that the child wants to have as the punisher to the behavior.
Now the child yells out and screams.
Instead of slapping them or yelling at them, I walk over, and I just take a toy out of their hand, and I walk back away to my desk.
And the child realizes, "Oh my gosh! "I just lost access to this toy I had." If they want access to that toy, and they realize that every time they scream, they're gonna lose access to their toys, then screaming will likely reduce, just like it would've if you had slapped them.
The difference is when they want access to that toy again, if they now want to have more access to something, what do they have to do? Do they run away from you? Or do they come to you? Using negative punishment, they have to come to you.
And so, as part of step seven, we're gonna use extinction.
We're gonna withhold reinforcement for a lot of inappropriate behavior during the escape condition.
But we're also gonna use a form of punishment called negative punishment, and we're gonna use it in what I call mini-consequences.
You might have remembered back from the video with Carlin, my wife used the mini-consequences one time.
She tried to give him the food to eat, the sandwich, and he said, "No," and he was holding the ventilator, the fan, in his hand, and she reached up, and she grabbed the fan.
She just put her hand over it.
And he said, "No," and he pulled away.
So then she took the fan out of his hand and took it back.
That was using the punishment procedure.
That was negative punishment in the form of a CMO or CEO reflexive.
She removed access to something he wanted when he wasn't performing and that caused him to change his behavior in the future.
So that's step seven.
When the child stops responding, you stop offering reinforcement, block reinforcement and to some degree, take back any access to reinforcement the child has.
So what does that look like in practice? I wonder if I have time to show this video.
I think I'm gonna skip this video, just because, well, let me go ahead and start it.
Let's do it real quick.
I'm not gonna tell you too much about it.
We're starting with the child, and we're giving him his first instructions, and he's very, very averse to any instructions at all.
He doesn't want to engage in any activity, any learning.
He just wants to have his food the way he wants it.
And here you go.
(Anton screams) Give him one for sitting if he sits.
(speaks in foreign language) Mini-consequence, he hits.
She pulls back, pulls the food off.
(Anton whines) He starts to get quiet.
She moves back in.
(Anton screams) He starts to scream.
She pulls back away.
Pulls the reinforcer away.
(Anton screams) If he starts to behave too inappropriately, she's just gonna move him away from the reinforcer and the whole teaching setting itself.
You don't have to do this.
You can't always do this.
But in a situation, you may.
(speaks in foreign language) Anything that shows him we're not trying to get him, but we're just not gonna let you have access to the reinforcer is valuable.
(speaks in foreign language) Now he did something there that happens.
He went over and started to bang on the big screen TV.
And that's what Carlin didn't do in the last video.
Carlin didn't start to mess with things that would've gotten him away, like he didn't knock over a plant or start to threaten to jump out a window.
If the child does those sort of things, like I said, you do have to go over and protect them.
You have to go over and protect other items.
But you don't want to give it any additional reinforcement.
You don't want to give it any attention.
So Nadine walks over quietly.
She doesn't look at him.
She doesn't talk to him.
She just stands between him and the TV.
And very quickly, he moves on and actually starts to try to find his way back to the reinforcer.
(speaks in foreign language) You want reinforcement? No problem, follow our instructions, you'll have full access to it.
(speaks in foreign language) (all cheer) (Anton cries) I'd like to skip ahead a little bit.
(speaks in foreign language) Only because I want to make sure we have time to get through everything.
This was our first visit with him.
It was the first time we got him to do any kind of cooperation at all.
It's hard to get him to follow a simple instruction even as we prompted him.
Yeah! But when we came back to see the family two months later, they did all the work after that.
That's how our system is.
(speaks in foreign language) We don't do daily interaction with the child.
We do parent training.
We taught Mom and Dad over that three-day initial consultation, how to work with their son, and then we let them do it for two months, in this case.
And when we came back, this is what we saw.
(speaks in foreign language) And so now, he's sitting down.
He's trying to respond.
He's not concentrating as well as I would like.
He's not really listening to her instruction.
She's also not prompting as well as we would like.
There's a lot of (mumbles), but they're engaged, and she's got a longer form of engagement with him.
She can have more influence on his learning.
(speaks in foreign language) So let me skip ahead a little bit again here.
After that two month visit, we spent two more days with the family, and we explained to them all the things that they were currently doing well, all the things that they can improve upon, how they could teach better.
And then we went away again, and they invited us back out, four months later, because they were ready to move forward, and after four months after this, this is six months from when we first met the child.
I'd like you to see the difference in the cooperation, the behavior, the level of language, the learning, all of this, and it was done with a total of five days of service from us.
(speaks in foreign language) One of the things that was hardest for him was motor imitation.
(speaks in foreign language) And I'm trying to get her to show us how much better that is.
(speaks in foreign language) (hands clap) (knuckles bang) (speaks in foreign language) You'll be amazed at how much a child can learn when they've decided that learning with you is more valuable to them and what they would rather do than avoiding you.
If you're consistently pulling a child to want to work with you, and you're pulling them back to work, and they're pulling away, it doesn't matter how good of a teacher you are, you're never gonna get anywhere near the quality of responding, the quality of the progress level that you're gonna want.
But if you can get the child to make the decision, "You know what, I would rather be here, "working with you and doing my best for you "than be off by myself, because you've shown me "that being by myself isn't any fun, "but here is a lot of fun," you would be blown away by the rate in which children can start to learn.
For me, this is the absolute most important thing, is finding a way to earn instructional control where the child isn't forced to participate or choosing to want to participate to the fullest of their ability, because then and only then can you really see the types of outcomes that you really hope for for most kids.
There are some advanced considerations.
I don't have a lot of time left.
But I'll go through this for a little bit.
And feel free to speak up when you think I have to end in the next two or three minutes.
But yeah, so assessing competence, the real challenges to behavior analysts using the seven steps, this is the process that I've just been teaching you about, usually will come from failures to step seven, which requires not reinforcing inappropriate or uncooperative behavior.
Sometimes children will use a lot of self-stimulating behavior during that step seven.
Sometimes they use destructive behavior, aggressive behavior, self-abusive behavior.
You have to be able to find a way to limit these things, protect the child, protect yourself without them finding reinforcement within it.
If they're able to gain reinforcement through that process, then you're really not doing step seven.
Step seven says no reinforcement once the child has made those bad decisions, those inappropriate choices.
So if the child is still finding some form of reinforcement, it's not that the seven steps aren't working.
It's that you haven't really been able to find step seven.
So how would you handle self-stimulating behavior in the extinction condition? Well, the first thing we want to do is ignore it, because a lot of times, kids will engage in self-stimulating behavior when there's nothing else to do, but compared to having fun with you, the self-stim can become rather boring, rather quick.
And they will start coming back.
If you're hearing volume, if you're seeing them come proximity to you, then you can ignore it, and the chances are you're still gonna win.
You're still gonna get what we need.
If not, if they're really, truly gonna be happy to just sit and stim in the corner for the next three hours, then you may have to go over to that corner and block the stim or disrupt it in some form.
How do you handle destructive behavior in extinction? The first thing you would do is just protect, try to make sure you do what Nadine did, stand in front of the child and the big screen TV.
Don't let 'em have access to the thing that they might destroy.
However, if there are certain things that you might have to remove from the environment, maybe you need to take all the pictures off the wall, because the child runs over and has learned that if he knocks those pictures over, it's really gonna hurt you, and you're gonna give in on your instructions.
But if, worse-case scenario, the child is really capable of getting into all kinds of trouble, and you can't just withhold reinforcement and wait them out, then you might have to do some form of a removal procedure, removing them into an area that can be protected and safe where there's gonna be no access to those kind of things, whether it be into a bathroom, off of your classroom, or be a little area in your room that is void of toys and access to windows and other things that the child can be brought to, and you can sit there with them while you're waiting for them to make a better choice.
Now that's not always the case, that we need to do this removal procedure, but it is something that is an advanced technique.
For certain kids, it does become necessary.
How to handle aggressive behavior in extinction, first thing, and foremost, protect them and yourself, and then, if necessary, you remove them to that location again, do a removal procedure where you can keep yourself safe, in a safe distance, while they're going through their emotions, while they're going through all of their extinction burst behaviors, trying to decide what they would like to do while you're waiting them out.
You might want to choose to wear your hair a different way, use longer sleeves, that kind of thing, keep yourself moved away from the child.
But you want to restrict access to aggression by removing the child from the environment or the adults from that environment.
If the child is self-abusive, you just have to protect, protect, protect, protect, blocking themselves from hitting themselves.
Maybe, if a child is really hitting himself in the nose, rather than just give in and give them what they want, and then they never learn or never grow or never develop, find a way to keep them safe in those situations where you can, whether you put a glove on them or put a helmet on them or block their arms down, or if they're slamming their heads, put a pillow back behind their head.
If they're biting or pinching themselves, put clothing on over the parts that they like to bite or pinch.
Give them something else to bite or pinch that they might prefer, or they might use as well.
But you have to be very careful.
It's really important that we keep the kids safe, during this process.
So let's talk about the representative data real quick.
This is something that's important for you to know, is that when you do this process of the seven steps, you're not gonna see an immediate change in, the behavior's not gonna immediately get better.
If you look on this, the blue line are the total problem behaviors, and before this black line here, that's the intake.
This is what the child was doing on a regular basis in the classroom with the teacher.
They were getting very few instructions, able to give very few instructions to the child, and the number of problem behaviors were fairly high, 10 or 12, and they were only getting between five and zero instructions during that time.
Once we implemented the seven steps, remember, we allow escape, and so for the first time, the child has the ability to just walk away and ignore us.
And so in the beginning, you're gonna see an increase in behavior.
The child's gonna say, "Oh well, "if I can just escape, I will." And they're gonna come over here, and they're gonna use all of their extinction burst behaviors, everything that they've ever tried to get us to give in on following through with our reinforcement withholding.
But once they get to that point where they make the decision, "You know what, "it's not worth it.
"I would much rather be with them teaching "and having fun and pairing and doing all of that "than trying to avoid it." We start to see very quickly the problem behaviors go down, and then once the problem behaviors go down, the amount of instructions that are followed goes way up.
And as you can see, we get to this point now where it's been a complete reversal.
Problem behaviors remain very low, and the instructions become much, much higher than they were before we started it.
This was another child who we were doing some work with, and this was the baseline.
The duration of non-compliance was here.
The duration started to go down, but we were looking at it, and we were kind of surprised that it came down, went back up, down, back up.
It didn't have that very clean example like this one did, where it went to a certain point and then crashed, which is what we normally expect.
And it was going up and down.
And so what we did is we went back over the videos, and we checked the integrity.
How well were the teachers really using the seven steps? And it was really interesting.
What happened is the red is the integrity line.
So in intake, they didn't know the seven steps, so they weren't following it very well at all.
And they had a lot of non-compliant behavior.
Then we taught them the seven steps, and as they started to use the seven steps better, behavior started to get better.
But then suddenly, here, they didn't do a very good job of following the seven steps again, and behavior got worse.
Then they did a much better job, behavior got better.
Then they didn't follow them, again behavior got worse.
And then eventually, enough training was done where they were doing the seven steps really regularly, hence the behavior began to stay low again.
To some degree, what we ended up getting was an experimental reversal design, where we didn't have the intervention.
We did have it, we didn't have it, we did have it, we didn't have it, we did have it, and you can see that the behavior adjusted accordingly.
If this had all stayed right along here, I'm pretty confident we would've seen this crash to here and would've stayed really low as well.
So to finish up, can we have about three or four more minutes? Everybody okay with that?
- [Host] Yeah, sure, that's fine.
- Okay, so the potential benefits associated with this approach to instructional control are many.
It's been reported by parents, teachers and therapists that the seven steps are easier to manage and maintain in the home and the school settings and are often more acceptable to their administrators and other staff members, because you're not having to physically pull or hold the child in.
You allow the child their freedom to make their decision, but you just control the access to reinforcement, so they make good decisions.
Two, it appears that for children whose escape behavior also has a strong attention component, our ability to avoid giving lots of attention during escape condition might really help increase success rates.
Consistent motivated learning might be better achieved when teaching settings are not paired with physical restraint or forced participation as this gives the child a perceived choice between learning fun and extinction.
By avoiding the use of aversives within the teaching setting, it may become easier to pair that teaching setting with reinforcement, which allows the teaching setting itself to become the child's most preferred activity of the day.
This quick video is only just a minute long, but it shows you what happens when we start to use this.
We get this thing, where I call in my book, the turning the tables on autism, where instead of chasing the child, trying to convince them to learn from us, what we can start to do is just refuse to teach them when their behavior level goes too low.
And if we refuse to teach them, and they would rather be with us learning than be by themselves or be escaped, then suddenly just the refusal to teach can start to be a reflexive motivation to start behaving better.
Check this out.
(breath hisses) I'm trying to do a little bit of pairing with him.
He's got a toy.
I'm making the toys more fun and better to the best of my ability.
(speaks in foreign language) I'm giving him an instruction, "Which one do you want?" I'm waiting for the proper response.
He says, "Green ball." He has the green ball.
I'm getting ready to teach some more.
I'm giving him a little bit more reinforcement, to make being with me much more fun.
Now I've asked for the ball back.
That's an instruction, and he's not responding.
Now I'm gonna reach for the ball, but he pulls away.
This happens to you as a teacher all the time.
The child has access to his toy.
You want them to give it back, so you can teach.
But the child refuses.
So what do you do? Well, instinctually, a lot of teachers in ABA, in a lot of general ABA, the idea would be don't let the child leave, keep giving him the instruction, and eventually take the toy out of his hand.
But watch what I do instead.
He doesn't give it to me.
So I pack up my teaching material, pack up my reinforcers and threaten to walk away.
And that alone motivates the child to say, "Well, wait a second, "I don't want to lose access completely.
"You're the most fun I've had all day.
"I would rather be with you, "so I'm gonna give this right back to you." And then there's another example of this happening again.
(speaks in foreign language) I get up, I'm gonna walk away.
And sure enough, he starts to hand it right back.
(speaks in foreign language) What the child learns is that the best way to maintain fun in their life is to maintain access to their teacher.
Once they want us as a social partner, as a learning partner, we can start to teach them the social skills necessary to maintain a partner.
Now teaching social skills is that much easier, because the child wants to have access to us, wants to be able to repair the relationship with us so that we will continue to engage with them.
And there's nothing more valuable to us for teaching social skills than to have created social desire in a child.
So once again, this webinar is a great introduction.
It's an opportunity for you to understand the benefits and the value of the seven steps.
I'm happy to share the PowerPoint with you.
You can just email me, email@example.com I'll have it on the last slide.
But if you really want to understand it better, or if you want to understand the ABA with verbal behavior approach better, and how you can teach without that traditional, strict, rigid ABA style of discrete trial teaching but more in a natural environment, how to use the behavioral principles in your everyday teaching, your everyday lives, then I would recommend my book, Verbal Motivation and Reinforcement, Turning the Tables on Autism.
I also have a second book that I wrote more for professionals, which focuses in just on The Seven Steps to Earning Instructional Control.
I recommend this book for people who are gonna want to use the seven steps and then teach it to others.
If you're gonna want to teach other people to use the seven steps with kids that you're working with, I would recommend that you go through this book.
It has a lot of things in there that will benefit that.
And that's really it.
That's what I had to share with today.
I'm happy to answer questions if that works.
And then also, there's my email address, for those of you who might want a copy of this presentation.
Yeah, is there any way that we can do questions? You know, the examples I have are the ones that I just happen to have the best video of.
That last boy was, I think, 12 or 13 years old.
We've worked with adults.
It's not really my specialty.
It's not where I've been most interested.
I really like working with young kids.
That's been my passion.
But we work with people that are 16, 17, 18 years old.
And it can be just as successful.
It really, really comes down to can you control access to the reinforcers.
Well, with older kids, here's some examples.
What if you have a child who has, previously would've been diagnosed as maybe having Asperger's and has a lot of behavioral and social issue? Access to the computer might be limited or restricted.
You may be able to take the mouse away.
Or the internet password might be something that has to be earned, that can be given and taken, depending upon the child's making good behavior choices.
Access to reinforcement means access to whatever the reinforcers are that the child is motivated for, or that person is motivated for.
And all of us want something.
All of us are consistently behaving in ways to gain things that we want, whether it's just relaxing to TV or playing on the internet or Minecraft or whatever it might be.
So the principles themselves apply across all levels to all people.
I use the seven steps with my two daughters, who are perfectly typical in the way that they're developing.
I can use it with friendships and people at work.
I'm quite confident my wife has used the seven steps with me, many a time (laughs), in our relationship.
It's just a way of interacting with other people that causes them to see us as being worthwhile, worth being with, so that they're gonna want to make some important choices to be able to continue that access.
I don't know if that answers your question, other than to say that we've used it across the board with all different types of individuals with high levels of functioning, all the way down to early learners, and it can be just as successful across the board.
- [Host] That's perfect, thank you so much.
There was another question as well about how might your first book compare to a program such as the VB-MAPP?
- Okay, well the VB-MAPP is a curriculum guide.
It's a way of assessing what a child knows in language.
And we use the VB-MAPP.
We use the VB-MAPP, and we use the ABLLS, and we use the AFLS as our curriculum guides.
That helps us know what to teach.
Additionally, the VB-MAPP was supported, because it has things like the barriers assessment, which gives people an idea of what things might be getting in the way of a child's ability to make progress.
So we're not in competition with that in any way.
In fact, I know Mark Sundberg fairly well.
Over the years, we've gotten to know each other.
And I know that he's recommended my book in the past.
He's also recommended the seven steps in the past to people.
At least, I've heard this from his wife.
And the reason is is that what I'm talking about is how do we get a child to want to cooperate with us.
But once we have their cooperation, once we have their best effort, then what are we gonna teach them? How are we gonna teach them? Then you'd look at things like the VB-MAPP, the ABLLS, the AFLS and other more assessment-guided targets, that way.
So they work together really well.
They're all different strategies and techniques that come out of this verbal behavior approach to ABA that Mark Sundberg is a big fan of as am I.
- [Host] Great, thank you.
And there's one last question.
It's a two-part question.
So what would you tell parents who say that they can't find motivators and reinforcers at home, and/or parents who say that they can't maintain control or get a hold of the goods, since their child keeps fleeing to something else in the home?
- Yeah, there's two different, yeah, it's two different issues.
Everybody wants to do something.
And sometimes, you need to be more creative in the way that you look and think about the motivations of your child.
I'll be told all the time that a child may have very few motivators, and it's true.
There are some children who have less motivations than others.
But unless your child is waking up in the morning and laying in bed with their eyes closed and spending the entire day there, and then going back to sleep, if they're making any behavior choices at all, then they have desires.
They have motivators.
If they're getting up, if they're opening their eyes, if they're going for food, if they're looking out of a window, if they're rocking back and forth, all of these things are things that they're motivated for.
So if we start to see those motivators, even self-stimulating behavior, if we start to see that as having reinforcing value, we can start to allow access to those things after good choice-making and block it at times when they're not.
So I think if you open up your view of what is a motivator, and you have somebody who has some experience doing this come in and really look at your child throughout the day, you'll find that there's quite a bit that your child might be interested in doing that you could easily control.
Now on the other end of that, wants to do a lot of things, but guess what.
He'll do almost anything.
He can play with the window shade.
He can pick up sand off of the floor and play with that.
Or he can run around and have fun.
This child is gonna be challenging in a different way.
So steps one through six are all the same.
You control access to all the reinforcers you can control.
You teach, you make things fun, but when step seven comes in, when the child's escaping, then you're gonna probably have to find yourself in one of those removal procedure situations.
Now I'm gonna have to move that child away from access to jumping on the bed or running around the house.
We may have to go into a closed-off area in the house or in the room where I can just stand there with the child, and there's nothing else that they can do that's of any fun, and we can sit and wait it out there.
That would be the way that you would probably have to address those types of kids.
I hope that answers both of those questions well enough.
- Perfect, it does.
Thank you so much, and we want to thank you for your time this afternoon and evening.
- Yeah, no problem.
- And thanks so much for so much great practical strategies and video examples so that we could see what those strategies look like.
And at some point, hopefully, you might be interested in doing a follow-up webinar for us and exploring this a little further.
- Sure, I'd be more than happy to and try to get the timing right, next time.
- No worries, not a big deal at all.
Thank you so much and have a great evening.
- Yeah, no problem, I do appreciate all of you guys for participating and hanging in there.
And I can see some of you are saying some nice things.
So yeah, I really do appreciate that and check out my book.
Oh, one other thing, I have a lot of my presentations on a YouTube channel.
So if you want to find out more about this, you can email me for the PowerPoints.
You can go to YouTube, put my name in there, Robert Schramm, BCBA, and you'll see a list of presentations that I've given.
I've got quite an extensive thing on YouTube.
So there's a lot of opportunity for you to share this with others, as well as coming back and seeing this webinar on your site.
- Perfect, thank you so much, and I'm sure we'll all look forward to reviewing it as well.
- [Robert] All right.