Behavior modification is frequently used today for individuals with a behavior problem, whether due to ADHD, mental retardation, depression or any number of reasons. Psychologists, therapists, medical specialists and parents are choosing to set up behavior modification plans in an attempt to change the bad behavior in a safe and constructive matter.
There’s not just one set of behavior modification plans that is designed to work with everyone that is afflicted with a behavior problem. Behavior modification plans need to be set up for each individual. Each individual may have behavior problems because of a different reason. For instance, a child diagnosed as having ADHD is going to have behavior problems, but they aren’t going to be the same as the behavior problems you might see in a child that is mentally retarded. For this reason, there must be separate behavior modification plans for each individual.
Behavior modification plans are also referred to as behavior intervention plans. The reason for this is that the main way to change and improve the bad behavior is to intervene at the point or reason when it becomes bad behavior. Behavior modification plans are usually set up by therapists and psychologists as a way to help the parents to better deal with their child’s behavior problems. They work very closely with the parents as well as ask for the parent’s input into how the child is responding.
The first steps to behavior modification plans is to determine what the problem behavior is, if there’s more than one, and what the parent’s goals are as far as improvement. Once they pinpoint what the parent wants to improve on, they evaluate the child or patient to determine what brings on the bad behavior. In many cases, the poor behavior has been going on for many years, so correcting or intervening may take a little more time.
Most behavior modification plans are designed on the positive reinforcement and reward system. Most therapists and psychologists that work with problem behavior don’t used punishment as a consequence. They believe in making the good behavior the child’s choice based on rewards and positive reinforcement. They often set up a system where the child is given levels to work towards in order to reach goals and get rewards.
The child has to exhibit good behavior in order to get rewards. Each time bad behavior is exhibited; there are no rewards or “treats”. For instance, if the child enjoys spending time on the computer, that may be his goal or reward. If he or she has one good day with good behavior, they are given 30 minutes on the computer. On day 2, if the behavior is good, they may be 1 hour on the computer. However, if there is negative behavior, there is no computer time. Behavior modification plans are set up like this so the behavior changes consistently until the good behavior becomes the norm.