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Functions of Behavior-Part 2: Determining the Function or Why a Person Engages in a Specific Behavior.

Our BCBAs (Board-Certified Behavior Analysts) use something called ABC data collection to look at what happened immediately before and after a behavior occurs. It helps us identify patterns (e.g., time of day, certain activities, with specific people, etc.) and possible functions (remember escape, tangible, automatic/sensory or attention). We frequently ask our parents to collect ABC data in the home if a new behavior has popped up or if they want strategies for responding to a specific behavior.

This information is used to develop a behavior support plan (BSP). A BSP includes:

  • Antecedent strategies to hopefully alter the environment so the behavior does not occur 
  • Replacement behaviors to teach in place of the challenging behavior
  • Consequence procedures to inform caregivers and staff of how to respond once the behavior has occurred

Let’s look at a couple examples:

Antecedent: Mom tells Jimmy it is time to clean up
Behavior: Jimmy starts throwing the toys and runs away 
Consequence: Mom cleans up for Jimmy 
In this instance, mom has likely reinforced the behaviors (i.e., throwing and running away) and has shown Jimmy he does not have to listen to her instructions. Based on this antecedent, the function of throwing and running away was to escape from cleaning up.
Antecedent: Samanatha is at the grocery store with her dad and she picks out 2 bags of candy. Dad tells her no. 
Behavior: Samantha drops to the ground crying and kicking her feet.
Consequence: Dad gives Samantha the candy to stop her from crying.
In this instance, dad has likely reinforced the behavior (i.e., tantrum) and showed Samantha she can get access to preferred items when she engages in tantrum behavior. Based on this antecedent, the function of her crying and kicking feet was to gain access to this tangible item of candy.

These are the ways that our BCBAs assess why a certain behavior is occurring. Stay tuned for part 3 of our functions of behavior series to learn about antecedent strategies and teaching replacement skills!

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Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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