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The Symptom of Behaviour - Positive Reinforcement VS Bribery

Behaviour is never a child’s "fault" it is merely a “symptom” of life experience (trauma, poor role modelling) or the challenge of a brain process (ASD, ADHD, FASD, IED). If you can shift your perception to view it this way it is much easier to step back and see the big picture. Managing it and changing it is a about understanding the function the

behaviour serves, and the needs that are going unmet to create it. Once you understand the behaviour you can begin to meet the needs of its function so that we are teaching socially appropriate ways to get out needs met.

When we begin with, “You need to do your job appropriately or you need to follow the rules and behave” - we loose sight of the fact that many "behaviour" children have no idea what “appropriate” is. It is up to us to teach them what it looks like, sounds like and feels like to be appropriate. We make the difference everyday. What we do matters. What we model matters.

No child is truly lost.

So where do we begin? People often comment to me that they feel their challenging student is "getting away with it" when we begin to implement positive reinforcement. This is not the case. When introduced properly positive reinforcement is key motivator for children who lack intrinsic motivation or are cognitively challenged/complex needs or due to life circumstance. So how do we know the difference?

Postitive Reinforcement: The "appropriate" behaviour must occur to receive the motivation.

-follows a target behaviour and results in an increase of that behaviour

-strengthens, maintains or increases positive behaviour

-reinforcement increases the likelihood of the desired behaviour occurring again

-learned behaviours are followed by reinforcement

-Reinforcement predicts the future probability of behaviour

-Reinforcement is implemented once the "target" desired behaviour occurs

-Reinforcement happens in a set pattern based on a target

-Reinforcement is consistent - 100% predictable

-Reinforcement is paired with consequence for actions

Bribery: Is a response to negative behaviour in an attempt to stop it.

-Is the act of offering a preferred object or activity to influence behaviour in the moment

-Is inconsistent

-Bribed behaviours occur once the item is received

-Bribery only influence the behaviour in that moment

-Bribery does not result in future increases of the desired behaviour

-Bribery is accidental rewarding

-Often in bribery the motivation is given before the behaviour occurs

Implementing postive reinforcement programming, working collaboratively with your student or child will decrease negative behaviour and increase positive ones.

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