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Implementing Effective Behavior Management

Implementing Effective Behavior Management

Author: Capella Partnered with CARD

This lesson covers:
RBT C-2 Prepare for the session as required by the skill acquisition plan.

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what's covered
This lesson will explore how to implement effective behavior management by defining and discussing the following:
  1. Behavior Management Tips and Techniques
  2. Behavior Intervention Plan Components

1. Behavior Management Tips and Techniques

One of the most important things we can do in ABA is to be prepared for behavior management. We can do this by making sure we are familiar with the behavior plan, including the behavior itself, the interventions, etc.

We can also do this by looking at the physical environment and making sure that we eliminate distractions and place objects appropriately in the treatment area.

Also, make sure you are “dressed for success” and your clothing and attire do not include anything that could obstruct your ability to safely handle situations that might arise.

Here are some behavior management guidelines to review:

  • Be familiar with the patient’s specific BIP; you need to know the tailored procedures that have been prescribed.
  • Behavior plans must be implemented according to specific instructions of the BCBA.
  • Enable consistency, such as a consistent message and techniques from all staff.
  • Remain calm and neutral during challenging behaviors.
  • Behaviors are communication, often arising from the patient’s skill deficits and needs. Realize that the behavior is not a personal attack or insult to you, but is a result of their skill deficits to communicate wants and needs.
  • Remain calm to effectively redirect behaviors; keep in mind that behaviors can escalate if a patient receives an emotional response.

Video Transcription

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We added a new program, gaining attention, because we've been noticing that he wants our attention but he'll throw things or doesn't know properly how to get your attention. So we're going to be teaching him to tap our shoulder as well as call our name when he wants our attention.

It is also important to avoid reacting to new behaviors. Remain calm and neutral and redirect the patient to the original activity to avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. When these behaviors occur, make sure you document and report them to the BCBA.

Another helpful strategy is to offer the patient choices during sessions. This increases motivation by allowing the patient to act on their MOs and gives the patient some control during the session and may proactively avoid certain challenging behaviors.


What to write with, where to sit, what to do first, etc.

You can also have options ready to go for down time activities. Some patients are more likely to engage in problem behaviors during unstructured time; helping the patient to engage in activities during breaks may prevent those behaviors.

Video Transcription

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One of the most important things you can do when managing any behavior is to remain calm. The individual is not mad at you. So there is no need to take the behavior personally.

Keep in mind that many behaviors you will encounter are just a method of communication for that individual. Another way to be proactive with behaviors is to consistently throughout the time with the individual praise them for the good behavior that you see them engage in, especially if you know that they usually engage in some kind of problem behavior to get the same thing. Above all, you want to make sure that you are consistent the entire time that you are caring for an individual.

So for example, have the same expectations of Johnny every single time he asks if he can play a video game. Did you get your homework done, or have you eaten all of your vegetables? whatever your expectation is that you have in place, make sure that you stay consistent with it.

Make sure that every single time you're consistent and that you don't give in at one point in time just because you had enough and you're done dealing with the behaviors. As we've been saying constantly throughout our talk today, consistency is going to be key in making sure that you help these individuals live more successful lives. Do you want the rug?

Where's the rug?

OK, you need to sit here. No. You need to sit right here. Sit down.


Sit right here. You need to sit here, buddy. No, set up. OK. You're going sit on a chair then, dude.

There you go. Thank you. You got one sticker for that.

High fives. Very good. What do you went after the one sticker?


iPhone. OK. Let's see. Touch your back. Very good.

See. You got it. High fives. I'll get it for you. OK, cool.

2. Behavior Intervention Plan Components

Components of a behavior intervention plan include

  • Operational definition
  • Function of the behavior
  • Antecedent interventions
  • Replacement behaviors
  • Consequence interventions
Remember, it is important to be proactive with behavior management! Prompting and reinforcing replacement behaviors will help to reduce and prevent challenging behaviors; it is critical that the patient sees an alternative way to get their needs met.

It is also important to know how to collect ABC data, as new behaviors can occur at any moment. ABC data is collected to determine the function of new behaviors:

  • A – Antecedent
  • B – Behavior
  • C – Consequence
We must identify the function of each behavior in order to implement interventions that are appropriate and effective! Here are some common functions of behavior:
  • Attention: Social attention or reactions from others as a result of the behavior
  • Tangible: Access to a reinforcing item or activity as a result of the behavior
  • Escape: Avoid or escape a nonpreferred task as a result of the behavior
  • Automatic: The behavior itself produces reinforcement.
You may want to discuss behaviors that occur during specific tasks with the BCBA to see if you can reserve a specific, highly preferred reinforcer for more difficult or challenging tasks. You could also consider changing the physical environment to prevent behaviors.


If the patient engages in elopement, it may be beneficial to place them further from the door or place yourself between the patient and the door so you can block or redirect.

Video Transcription

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[MOVIE PLAYING IN BACKGROUND] We're watching Happy Feet right now, and it has helped us in into his feeding. As per a suggestion, we stop it and make it fun for him to take his next bite.


Take a bite.

Take a bite. Yay!


Not only did he feed himself his applesauce and laughed the whole time, he fed himself six or eight bites of soup, which he's never done. He's done that two meals in a row, so looking forward to today.

In this lesson, you reviewed tips and techniques for implementing effective behavior management in your therapy sessions with patients in ABA. Remember that one of the most important things you can do in ABA is to be prepared for behavior management by making sure you are familiar with the behavior plan, looking at the physical environment, and eliminating distractions or considering the placement of objects within the treatment area, and "dressing for success." You reviewed some behavior management guidelines, the components of a behavior intervention plan (BIP), collecting ABC data, the common functions of behavior, and what to do with behaviors that occur during specific tasks.