Introductory Principles of ABA
DISCRETE TRIAL TEACHING
This technical terms means to break down a task into smaller more teachable components and to teach each component separately.
A discriminative stimulus is given (Sd)--the child responds (R)---a reward is given for a correct response (Sr)
An everyday example:
CHILD 1: What's your name? (Sd)
CHILD 2: Ben (R)
CHILD 1: Let's go play, Ben! (Sr)
This type of situation happens everyday however for children with autism there are frequently several skill deficients so that the child cannot or is not motivated to engage socially with other children. Discrete trial training breaks down a skill into distinct discrete parts so that the weak areas can be strengthened and used effectively.
A behavior when followed by a reinforcing stimuli is more likely to increase over time. Each child's reinforcement (items, activities) vary widely so all ABA programs should include a reinforcer assessment and these reinforcements should be reviewed often to capture changes in the child's preferences. Reinforcers are built on items or activities that are movitating to a child. There are positive reinforcements which are presenting a desired item or activity and negative reinforcement when something already present is removed as a result of a behaviour and the behaviour that led to this removal will increase in the future because created a favorable outcome.
Example of negative reinforcement:
Mom places carrots on Jimmy's plate.
Mom eventually takes carrots off Jimmy's plate
Jimmy will now scream if he doesn't want carrots
Example of positive reinforcement:
Eddy does his homework
Mom praises him