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Behavior Assessment Plan

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Autism Case: Behavior Intervention Plan
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Autism Case: Behavior Intervention Plan

Scenario 3
Johnny is a six-year-old child with autism. His communication skills are significantly deficient and he demonstrates a wide variety of problem behaviors. Most concerning is the tendency for him to demonstrate self injurious behavior that has recently increased in frequency and intensity. An ER visit was necessitated by a recent incident of this behavior. Some of Johnny's more intense characteristics related to autism spectrum disorders include repetitive and ritualistic behavior patterns and an apparent need to collect and acquire a variety of specific tangible items such as Hot Wheels cars and Legos. Johnny is generally only “well behaved” when access to these items is free and frequent.
Introduction
In this behavior intervention plan a case of Johnny who is six years old with autism I presented. This disorder is characterized by impaired communication which involves verbal and non-verbal and also impaired social interaction. This case is associated with restricted and receptive behavior. Johnny is deficient communication skills and demonstrates a variety of problems in the behaviors that he portrays. The most concerning is his tendency to show or demonstrates a self injurious behavior over the recent time. This has necessitated an ER visit due to his recent behavior incident. Autism spectrum disorders are some of his intense characteristics. This includes ritualistic and repetitive behavior patterns. This also includes his apparent need to collect some specific tangible objects or items such as Legos and Hot Wheels cars. He only behaves well when he accesses these objects.
The target behavior
The target behavior based on the information in the scenario is to ensure that Johnny becomes social and interact well with other children and family members. It is also intended that Johnny leave his behavior of finding company in specific tangible items such as Hot Wheels cars and Legos. He should also be taught to speak and communicate well using verbal and non-verbal signs kin which he is deficient. There is no cure for autism but corrective psychological treatments are carried out to ensure that Johnny’s behavior is reversed. These interventions are based on the beliefs of an individual and anecdotes as opposed to data and science. An ER visit will also target to assess the undesirable behaviors and disorders that are associated with autism in children. According to a research done by Groth-Marnat, G, (2003), many impairments and barriers to learning and communication can be corrected through the process of application of behavioral interventions and instructions in a systematic manner. There are two major goals or objectives in the process of reversing the impairment of learning and communication in adults or children living with autism disorders. These goals are:
1. The elimination or decrease of stereotyped, inappropriate and maladaptive behaviors that are known to disrupt the social functioning and the learning process of a child.
2. The increase in the appropriate and the desired social functional behaviors. This will help the child to excel in .the learning environment by developing good communication skills both, verbal and non- verbal skills.

The importance of Antecedent stimuli and conditions in the assessment of the target behavior
According to Dawson, G. (1989), antecedent stimuli are very important in the assessment of the target behavior kin Johnny’s case. An antecedent stimulus is the occurrence prior to a behavior. An antecedent stimulus is a stimulus which is responsible for maintaining an occurrence to become a repetitive be the behavior. The maintained presence or absence and continuous existence or inexistence of an antecedent stimulus is known as the stimulus control. It is the defined as the situation in which a behavior of some which can .be undesirable is triggered by the presence or absence of a stimulus In the case of assessing the target behavior of Johnny who diagnosed of autism, the knowledge of stimulus control and antecedent stimulus is very crucial. The behavior of Johnny to demonstrate self injurious behavior should be assessed to determine the antecedent stimulus behind it. Stimulus control on the basis of his behavioral changes over time should also be developed. This will helps the psychological assessors of Johnny to determine his target behavior in order to find the best behavioral interventions and instructions to use in order to help him recover from these disorders associated with autism.
Motivation operation is a behaviorism concept that is used in psychology of behavior. It refers to process of explaining the effectiveness of consequences of operant conditioning in different situations and moments in which a person is exposed to. Operant conditioning is a type of conditioning in which the behavior of a person modified through antecedents and consequences e.g. through rewards and punishment. Johnny’s behavior of being anti-social and the deficiencies in the communication skills which has drove him to find company in tangible items and objects such as Hot Wheels cars and Legos, can be as a result operant conditioning. This may have been as a result of the antecedents and the consequences that are associated with antecedents.
Discriminative stimulus is a stimulus that discriminates between closely related stimuli and respond positively only in the presence of that stimulus. Discriminative stimulus can be associated with a kind of reinforcement that exerts control over a given form of behavior. Discriminative stimuli are known to influence the occurrence operant response and thus can be describe as the reason behind the change in behavior due the rewards and punishment used to change ones behavior to a desirable one. In Johnny’s case, the discriminative stimulus might contribute well in the process of trying to reverse his undesirable behavior caused by autism associated disorders. The psychiatrist should be concerned on the process of locating and identifying the cause of his undesired behavior and autism disorders. He should try to apply the discriminative stimulus reversed to behavior.
The importance of consequence stimuli and conditions in the assessment of the target behavior
The use of consequence stimuli and conditions are very crucial in the assessment of the target behavior in the case Johnny’s autism disorder. Consequence stimulus and conditions shapes the behavior of someone from childhood and this is influenced by the conditions and the environment the one is exposed to. Dawson, G. (1989) asserts that punishment and reinforcement are the two core tools to influence the process of operant conditioning. Reinforcement is la consequence that is known to cause a particular behavior to occur more frequently. Punishment is consequence that reduces the occurrence of a behavior which has been more frequent before. In Johnny’s case the interplay of reinforcement and punishment must have enhanced the development of autism disorders which caused Johnny to have impairments in communication in both verbal and non-verbal signs. It is also a potential cause of his anti-social behaviors and the behavior of finding company in objects and items rather than his friends and family members.
Reinforcement can be categorized into three; these are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and automatic reinforcement. Positive reinforcement also referred to as reinforcement will occur when a response or behavior is followed by a stimulus that will encourage or increase the frequency of a behavior. Negative reinforcement also known as escape, it occurs when a behavior or a response is followed by the removal a stimulus and thus increases the frequency of occurrence of that behavior. Automatic reinforcement is an occurrence that is evident when a person’s behavior creates an outcome which is favorable without the influence of another person.
In the view of Steege, M., & Watson, T. S. (2009), automatic reinforcement can be categorized into to as automatic positive reinforcement and automatic negative reinforcement. Automatic positive reinforcement is one that occurs when an individual obtains something out of his or her own behavior. Automatic negative reinforcement is an occurrence which causes on to escape or avoids something as a result of his or her behavior. In the case of Johnny’s, automatic reinforcement which is obtained or is a result of his own behaviors defined by cognitive may have developed to form his behavior of being anti-social. The development of autism and its related disorders can also be attributed to automatic reinforcement which can be positive or negative depending on the process of obtaining or avoiding something.
Addressing the components of the SMIRC model in an FBA in the Johnny’s case
The components of SMIRC model are:
1. S – stimulus
2. M – motivating operations
3. I – individual or organism variables
4. R – response
5. C – consequence
According to Cipani, E., & Schock, K. M. (2011), Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) refers to the processes or procedures that are developed to ascertain the reasons and the purpose of the behaviors that are portrayed by individuals with communication impairments and other severe cognitive disabilities. This includes autism which is in Johnny’s case above. Individuals cannot fully explain why they display those behaviors and thus this procedures of assessing the functional behaviors was developed. This is done by collecting date on the environmental variable the influence the behavior of an individual
In the functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is used to address the components of the five components of the SMIRC. These are covered and explained well in the assumptions that taken in the assessment of the functional behaviors of individuals and the organism. These assumptions are:
1. The challenging behaviors that affect individual have a reason for their occurrence and do not occur in a vacuum.
2. A behavior occurs in reaction or response to a stimulus which is identifiable.
3. The behaviors of individuals are strengthened or weaken by the consequences of the responses that follow them.
4. Behaviors are believed to be forms of communication. One should try to identify the message that is carried by a behavior. It tells of the environment or situations in which one is exposed to as either favorable or unfavorable.
5. Misbehavior is sometimes justifiable or understandable in some circumstances. This might be a way in which one acts to protect herself or escape a dangerous situation.
Ethical obligations or concerns that would be necessary to address within the case scenario of Johnny
There are some of the ethical obligations, considerations and concerns that are used in addressing the case of autism. Individuals like Johnny that has autism and the associated disorders need to be handled in a way that does not infringe in to their rights to life and personal space and privacy. Groth-Marnat, G. (2009) asserts that physicians are important in correcting and reversing the psychological problem of individuals but ethics \must be observed in carrying out the process. Some of these ethical obligations and concerns in the Johnny autism case include:
1. The respect for individual’s autonomy
2. Equal opportunity at work and in school
The respect for individual’s autonomy
Autonomy is the act of making decisions on your own. This is one of the ethical issues in the process of carrying out psychological assessments and the provision of behavioral instructions and interventions to individual. The physicians should not go deeper to an extent of affecting the autonomy in decision making of an individual. In Johnny’s case of autism, the physician should provide the corrective measures of restoring the communication skills and social behavior and not to the extent of affecting his autonomy development. When the autonomy is limited one will only be relying on decisions made by others.
Equal opportunity at work and in school
Hersen, M., & Thomas, J. C. (2003) suggested that there are differences in the behaviors that students and workmates exhibit. These behavioral differences should not be taken to discriminate students at school or workmates at work. There can be no point at which the individuals bear the same behavior. Johnny has autism and the related disorders and he should not be discriminated at school since he has poor communication skills both the verbal and the non-verbal skills. He has the right to equal opportunity in schools like other children who do not have autism and the related disorders.
Conclusion
In conclusion, behavior intervention plan provides the behavior strategies in which a psychological disturbed child or an adult can be assessed and given the necessary corrections. The undesired behaviors that are caused by environmental factors that surround a person can be corrected through behavior intervention plan. In the case of Johnny with autism, he can be made to be social and find a company in friends by carrying out a behavior intervention process on him.

References
Cipani, E., & Schock, K. M. (2011). Functional behavioral assessment, diagnosis, and treatment: A complete system for education and mental health settings. New York: Springer Pub.
Dawson, G. (1989). Autism: Nature, diagnosis, and treatment. New York: Guilford Press.
Groth-Marnat, G (2003). Handbook of Psychological Assessment, (4th ed). John Wiley & Sons
Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Hersen, M., & Thomas, J. C. (2003). Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessement. New York: Wiley.
Steege, M., & Watson, T. S. (2009). Conducting School-Based Functional Behavioral Assessments, Second Edition: A Practitioner's Guide. New York: Guilford Press.

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