Behavioral intervention specialists have been using functional behavior assessment (FBA) to identify the consequences that maintaining challenging behaviors and modify them to encourage appropriate behaviors (“consequence-based intervention.”) The role of the consequences to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease maladaptive behaviors has been widely demonstrated in the literature (Iwata, et.al, 1994; Paclawskyj, et.al 2000).
New attention is being focused also on the influence of antecedent variables (“antecedent-based intervention”) on severe problematic behaviors (e.g. self-injurious behaviors, physical aggression, property destruction, and elopement) (Lennox, et, al, 1988). According to Iwata (1997), the antecedent variables may include processes as discrimination, deprivation and satiation, emotional state, and aversive stimulation. “Antecedent-based interventions,” in contrast to “consequence-based intervention,” use a series of techniques, which are implemented before the occurrence of challenging behaviors to reduce the probability of these behaviors. (Luiselli, 2006). These interventions have been associated with reductions in presentation of challenging behaviors and they have become a foundation of the positive behavior support approach (Carr et al., 2002).
Machalicek and colleague (2007) reviewed 10 research studies using “antecedent-based interventions” and each of these studies reported positive results. By using antecedent intervention strategies prior the exhibition of the challenging behaviors, we can influence the challenging behavior and prevent its occurrence.
The following are antecedent interventions techniques that can be used to control or prevent challenging behaviors:
1. Providing choices: Providing choices allows the individual with autism spectrum disorder to feel empowered and in control of their environment and gives the sense of self-determination.
2. Changing the physical environment: This intervention stems from the understanding that extreme temperature, loud noise, rigid schedules, lack of privacy, hunger, limited accessibility, positioning, boredom, may influence challenging behaviors.
3. Modifying activities/routines
4. Non-contingent reinforcement (NCR). There is a notion that individuals act out behaviors to attain a reinforcing factor. Take for example of an individual who is constantly engaging in challenging behavior for attention. Through this technique, we can “flip” the situation by giving the individual attention throughout the day at scheduled intervals.
5. Scheduling: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder become anxious when they do not know what to expect. Implementing a predictable daily schedule often, helps calm the individual. There are several forms of activity schedules, the most famous consisting of line drawings or photographs with Velcro on the back.
6. Functional Communication Training (FCT). Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are easily frustrated because they cannot communicate their needs and feelings appropriately. Language deficits are common within the ASD population as the development of language and communication may be slow to mature, idiosyncratic, or odd. Using augmentative or assistive technology, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), teaching relaxation, alternative replacement behaviors may influence the behavioral presentation (O’Reilly, et. al 2012).
1. Antecedent Exercise: Some research studies have demonstrated the efficacy of antecedent exercise for reducing severe challenging behaviors such as stereotypical behaviors, self-injurious behaviors and aggression ((Bachman & Sluyter, 1988; Bachman & Fuqua, 1983; Baumeister & MacLean, 1984; McGimsey & Favell, 1988).
2. Social Stories: A social story is a short simple story written from the perspective of the individual that provides instruction on positive, appropriate social behaviors (Gray & Garand, 1993). According to Kern (2010), social stories are more effective when addressing inappropriate behaviors than when teaching social skills.
3. Video Modeling: Video modeling is an antecedent-based intervention in which a behavior intervention specialist shows a video of desired behaviors or interactions to an individual or small group of individuals. Video modeling and video self-modeling are both effective means of providing a visual representation of a desired behavior or skill (Sherer et al., 2001).
4. Self-management: It refers to actions purposefully taken by individuals to change or maintain their behavior (Shapiro & Cole, 1994). It represents some skills or behaviors that individuals can engage in to become more self-contained. Self-management has proved effective in development alternative replacement behaviors (Peacock, et.al 2010).