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    Teaching New Behavior Using Shaping

    One of my most favorite ABA-related topics is “How to introduce and teach new behaviors using shaping procedures and positive reinforcement.” This is a concept that can not only be used in an autism treatment facility but also as an antecedent strategy for caregivers to use in-home. Shaping is the process of providing reinforcement for successive approximations towards the targeted behavior; now to say it in English  We want to provide positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise (good job, nice work, great try!) physical reinforcers (such as their favorite toy, food, or manipulative activity) and many other ways to help the learner better understand the expectation of what they are being asked to do and relate their efforts or “successive approximations” to the presence and availability of FUN also known as positive reinforcement! There are four types of reinforcement but we will focus on POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT for this post. Positive reinforcement; simply put; means rewarding the learner with something or someone that they enjoy after they have attempted or completed the target skill to increase the likelihood that the target skill will continue to occur and increase in an appropriate frequency in the FUTURE.

    Shenika Walker, MBA-HA, RBT , MS