Objectives: To induce positive behavior changes and life-skills acquisition in ASD individuals with problem behaviors using Un-Prompted Differential Reinforcement strategy.
Methods: The population for this study consists of three non-verbal individuals of different age groups and genders diagnosed with ASD These individuals attend an after school program at the Kelly Autism Program, Western Kentucky University. Problem behaviors identified in all three were targeted for gradual extinction. Six tasks, three involving life skills and three involving behaviors, previously heard or seen by participants have been included in the lesson plans for these individuals. Tasks are being facilitated by trained professionals from Exceptional Education & allied majors by applying the guidelines of Un-Prompted Differential Reinforcement strategy using Positive Behavioral Supports with the help of High Autism Interest objects which stimulate individuals to accomplish tasks and achieve their goals (Sasson, Turner-Brown, Holtzclaw, Lam, Bodfish, 2008). Documentation has been collected regarding the type of tasks administered and performance graphs of all participants. Functional Analysis & Screening Tool (FAST), developed by the Florida Center on Self-Injury (2002) and Behavioral Observation Frequency Recording, Caveland Educational Support Center were used to perform frequency analysis of problem behaviors. Positive Behavioral Support (PBS), developed and updated based on consecutive assessment report, has been implemented successfully.
Results: All the participants exhibited positive changes in at least two tasks from each category. Behavior changes (e.g., respecting personal space) were quick to occur, while skills (e.g., tying shoe lace) developed later. Frequency of targeted problem behaviors reduced by 30% over a period of 2 months.
Conclusions: This strategy was effective in bringing the desired positive changes in skills & behaviors of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which was evident from a reflection on their improved academic, communicative and social interactions.
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