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  • Huntsville Behavior Assoc

Non-contingent Reinforcement

In the world of Applied Behavior Analysis, you'll hear a lot of things about "contingencies" (such as our 3-term contingency post a couple of weeks ago). But, did you know that reinforcement can also be very effective when delivered NON-contingently? It's best to pair this practice with other behavior-change methods, and, as always, we recommend consulting with a professional if there are any recommended behavior change strategies you're currently using. But, at the end of the day, a little extra, "just because" lovin' goes a long way:)

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If you are unfamiliar with our posts on "functions of behavior" we recommend digging back through and reading about 1) what the 4 functions of behavior are, and 2) how to identify a hypothesis (we recommend seeking a professional for certainty) of the function of your child/student's behavior.

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After identifying the function of the problem behavior(s), Noncontingent Reinforcement (NCR) can be delivered on a time schedule so that the individual can access the reinforcer (that they access when engaging in the problem behavior) MORE FREQUENTLY than the problem behavior. The idea is to get them to realize that they don't have to engage in that problem behavior in order to access what they are needing/wanting. You are "ahead of the game" and providing that for them, from a place of love (and research☺️).

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1. Identify function of problem behavior

2. Identify the reinforcement that is THE SAME (or as similar as possible) to what they receive from engaging in the problem behavior.

3. Select a time schedule (i.e., every ~20 minutes)

4. Identify a tracking device to hold you accountable (i.e., cell phone, microwave timer, egg timer)

5. Deliver reinforcement at or around that time NO MATTER WHAT happens in between (exception: if problem behavior is occurring at that exact time, hold off on reinforcement and wait at least 60 seconds before delivering the reinforcement).

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On a spiritual note, this strategy can be a real exercise of grace. It can be hard to "swallow your pride" and give in moments of frustration. We are so blessed to be able to love freely, and amazing things can come from it! This is quite literally a reflection of the Gospel. The Lord will be faithful to do amazing things with a practice like this! We have to admit - Galatians 5:13 is the best part of this post, no doubt about it.

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We hope you are having a very happy Tuesday!

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Have questions or want to learn more?📩info@hsvba.com //www.hsvba.com


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