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Stimuli and Conditions

The parents of a four-year-old have asked for help in "getting control" of their child's behavior. The child has been consistently throwing "temper tantrums" at home and out in the community. The "tantrums" have become so frequent and intense, that the child has no virtually no demands placed on him or her and is frequently left to do whatever he or she wants to do. The family has become more or less homebound for fear of experiencing the "tantrums" out in public places.

1.) Operationally define a target behavior based on the information in the scenario.
2.) Describe, in specific detail, how Antecedent stimuli and conditions could be potentially important for the assessment of the target behavior. Include discussion of Discriminative Stimuli and Motivating Operations in the response.
3.) Describe, in specific detail, how Consequence stimuli and conditions could be potentially important for the assessment of the target behavior. Indicate the influences of Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, and Automatic Reinforcement in the response.
4.) Describe, in specific detail, at least two (2) ethical obligations and/or concerns that would be necessary to address within the case scenario.
Based on chapters 4 and 5 of the literature by Steege, M. W. & Watson, T. S. (2009). Conducting school-based functional behavioral assessments: A practitioner's guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Pressin, it should be evident that development of a Behavior Intervention Plan cannot occur without the completion of a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA).

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(1) Operationally define a target behavior based on the information in the scenario.

The target behavior is temper tantrums. It appears the exhibits behavior in order for his or her demands to be met.
Based on the vignette, the child is showing signs of behavioral problems at home, and he is throwing temper tantrums. Thus, the child appears to be completely oblivious to authority. The parents may have inadvertently reinforced the behavior by allowing the child to do as he, or she pleases. In other words, they may have contributed to the reinforcement of the behavior, by allowing the child to throw temper tantrums, and resigning themselves to give in to her demands. Based on this scenario, the child could first be assessed by conducting an interview with him, including his or her parents to observe and identify the target behavior, and through other collection of data such as time and intensity and/or occurrence of the behavior. For instance, this data could be collected through a questionnaire such as the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach, 1991a as cited in Sattler, 2002). The CBCL measures internalizing and externalizing problems in children and adolescents-4 to 18 years old. The rationale for conducting the interview is to observe the target behavior. It is important for the child's target behavior to be defined clearly, so that the behavior can be clear, specific and easy to observe. The next step is to transform the behavior into a positive response.

(2) Describe, in specific detail, how Antecedent stimuli and conditions could be potentially ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines the conditions of stimuli and reinforcement.

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