The Types of Extinction in ABA

Discover the types of extinction in ABA and learn effective strategies to manage Autism-related behaviors.

reuben kesherim
Ruben Kesherim
July 9, 2024

The Types of Extinction in ABA

Understanding Extinction in ABA

In the realm of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the concept of extinction plays a critical role. It is a core component of many behavior intervention strategies and is fundamental to understanding the dynamics of behavior change.

Definition of Extinction

Extinction, within the context of ABA, refers to the strategy of ceasing to reinforce a behavior that was previously reinforced. It's about strategically stopping the reinforcement of a specific behavior, not simply ignoring it [1]. Extinction is not just about ignoring attention-seeking behaviors in children, but rather withholding reinforcement in response to a behavior. It involves understanding what reinforcement is and cutting off that reinforcement to extinguish the behavior [2]. This process is a cornerstone of the 'types of extinction in aba'.

Application in ABA

Extinction is frequently used to target or reduce interfering behaviors that are disruptive or restrictive and can interfere with optimal development, learning, and achievement in children. ABA therapists employ extinction procedures correctly to make the behavior start to dissipate over time, even though sometimes the behavior might worsen before improving.

The application of extinction procedures in ABA therapy requires careful planning and consistent implementation. To fully understand this process, it's beneficial to familiarize oneself with the concept of an extinction burst in ABA. This is a phenomenon where the behavior initially worsens after the implementation of an extinction procedure. Understanding this concept can help in managing behavioral changes during ABA therapy. For more insights into managing extinction bursts during ABA therapy, consider reading our article on how to manage extinction bursts during ABA therapy.

Types of Extinction Procedures

In Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), extinction procedures are invaluable tools for reducing unwanted behavior. Extinction isn't achieved through the typical discipline system, but rather by reinforcing positive behaviors and ignoring negative ones. Let's explore the two main types of extinction procedures: planned ignoring and denying access to reinforcers.

Planned Ignoring

Planned ignoring is a strategic approach to reducing unwanted behavior by cutting off access to the reinforcement that fuels it. This method isn't about merely ignoring attention-seeking behaviors in children but involves understanding what reinforcement is and cutting off that reinforcement to extinguish the behavior [2].

In essence, planned ignoring involves not providing attention or reaction when the undesired behavior occurs. This technique is often used for behaviors that are primarily maintained by attention. Over time, the lack of reinforcement may lead to a decrease in the frequency of the undesired behavior, a process called an extinction burst.

Denying Access to Reinforcers

Another effective method for implementing extinction in ABA is denying access to specific items or activities that serve as reinforcers for undesirable behaviors. This could mean prohibiting the client from leaving the classroom for lunch until he stands in line with his peers (Applied Behavior Analysis Edu), for instance.

By denying access to reinforcers until the individual demonstrates a desirable behavior, therapists can encourage the replacement of inappropriate behavior with more adaptive responses.

Remember, though, that extinction procedures should be implemented with careful planning and a clear understanding of the underlying function of the behavior. For more information on managing extinction bursts during ABA therapy, you can refer to our article on how to manage extinction bursts during aba therapy.

Both planned ignoring and denying access to reinforcers are effective extinction procedures when used properly. However, it's essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the child's behavior and the function it serves before implementing these strategies. It's also crucial to remember that patience, consistency, and a focus on teaching replacement behaviors are key to successful extinction in ABA.

Implementing Extinction Effectively

Extinction, when applied correctly, can be a powerful tool in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). However, for it to be effective, it requires meticulous planning and the teaching of replacement behaviors.

Meticulous Planning

Implementing extinction thoughtfully involves careful planning, including the gradual removal of reinforcers and constant reflection on outcomes. Adjusting strategies as needed is equally essential, always prioritizing the learner's well-being.

Extinction does not merely involve planned ignoring; it involves unpairing the conditioned stimulus and conditioned response to stop reinforcement. Combining extinction with positive approaches is crucial. However, it's important to note that extinction is less likely to be recommended for children with self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. The principle of extinction, when understood and applied with empathy, respect, and a commitment to skill-building, can be a transformative tool in ABA. It focuses on understanding individual needs, teaching replacement skills, and maintaining emotional safety.

For more information on how to manage extinction bursts during ABA therapy, please refer to our article here.

Teaching Replacement Behaviors

Extinction is not achieved through a typical discipline system - i.e., reacting to inappropriate or undesirable behavior in an attempt to stop it. Instead, using the concept of extinction, only those behaviors that are positive are reinforced, while all negative behaviors are simply ignored.

In addition to ignoring undesirable behaviors, it's important to teach replacement behaviors. This approach provides the learner with a more adaptive behavior to replace the one being extinguished. For instance, if a child is engaging in tantrum behavior to gain attention, a replacement behavior could be teaching the child to ask for attention appropriately.

Extinction may also involve denying the client access to specific items or activities (e.g., the client cannot leave the classroom for lunch until he stands in line with his peers) or removing the child from the environment.

In conclusion, the effective implementation of extinction in ABA requires meticulous planning and the teaching of replacement behaviors. For more information on the types of extinction in ABA, please refer to our article here.

Factors Influencing Extinction

The success of an extinction process in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) largely depends on several factors. It's not as simple as stopping a reinforcing consequence; rather, it involves a thoughtful and measured approach. Two significant elements that can influence extinction include the gradual removal of reinforcers and the use of positive approaches in extinction.

Gradual Removal of Reinforcers

Implementing extinction thoughtfully requires meticulous planning, which includes the gradual removal of reinforcers. This isn't an overnight process; instead, it's a carefully planned strategy that aims to gradually decrease the occurrence of an undesired behavior.

The gradual removal of reinforcers is a crucial part of the extinction process as it allows the individual to adjust to the changes being made. This can help to reduce the chances of an extinction burst, where the behavior temporarily increases in frequency or intensity before it decreases.

Teaching replacement behaviors is another vital part of this process. By offering an alternative to the undesired behavior, the individual learns more positive and appropriate ways of behaving. Reflection on outcomes and adjusting strategies as needed is equally important, always prioritizing the learner's well-being [1].

Positive Approaches in Extinction

Extinction is more than just planned ignoring; it involves unpairing the conditioned stimulus and response to stop reinforcement. Combining extinction with positive approaches is essential. This might involve providing positive reinforcement for desirable behaviors or teaching new skills that can replace the undesired behavior.

Positive approaches in extinction can make the process more effective and less stressful for the individual. However, it's important to note that extinction procedures are less likely to be suggested for children with self-injurious and aggressive behaviors [1].

By understanding these factors, parents and caregivers can implement the types of extinction in ABA more effectively. Being aware of these factors can also help in managing potential extinction bursts during ABA therapy.

Extinction in Classical and Operant Conditioning

Extinction, a vital concept of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), can be observed in several types of behavioral conditioning, including classical and operant conditioning. Here, we will explore examples of how extinction plays out in each of these models.

Classical Conditioning Example

In classical conditioning, extinction is observed when a conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented alone without an unconditioned stimulus. This process leads to the gradual weakening of the conditioned response.

A classic example of this is from Ivan Pavlov's famous experiment with dogs. Initially, Pavlov conditioned the dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, which was the conditioned stimulus. This was achieved by consistently pairing the bell sound with the presentation of food, the unconditioned stimulus. Over time, the dogs began to associate the bell sound with food and would salivate whenever they heard the bell. However, when the bell was repeatedly rung without the presentation of food, the dogs' salivation response eventually diminished. This is an example of extinction in classical conditioning [4]. For an in-depth explanation of extinction bursts, visit extinction burst aba.

Operant Conditioning Example

In operant conditioning, extinction occurs when a response is no longer reinforced following a discriminative stimulus. In other words, a behavior that was previously rewarded or punished in some way is no longer followed by that reward or punishment. Over time, this leads to a reduction and eventual disappearance of the behavior.

B. F. Skinner, a well-known psychologist, observed this phenomenon in his experiments with rats. Skinner conditioned the rats to press a lever to receive food pellets. However, when the lever pressing was no longer followed by the dispensing of pellets, the rats initially continued pressing the lever, expecting to receive the reward. Over time, as the lever pressing continued to result in no reward, the behavior eventually dwindled until it disappeared entirely. This is an example of extinction in operant conditioning.

Understanding these examples and recognizing the principles of extinction in ABA can be beneficial for managing behaviors effectively. More insights on how to manage extinction bursts during ABA therapy can be found here.

Challenges and Considerations

Implementing the various types of extinction in ABA is not without its challenges. Two key hurdles that often arise are behavior intensification and the need for patience and consistency.

Behavior Intensification

When extinction procedures are first implemented, it's common to observe an increase in the frequency, duration, or intensity of the undesirable behavior. This phenomenon, known as an extinction burst, can be disconcerting and stressful for both the learner and the practitioner.

However, it's important to understand that this escalation is often a sign that the extinction process is working. The individual is attempting to regain the lost reinforcement by increasing the undesirable behavior. If the extinction procedure is maintained consistently, this behavior should start to dissipate over time, even though sometimes the behavior might worsen before improving.

For more information about managing these extinction bursts, you can visit our guide on how to manage extinction bursts during ABA therapy and an example of extinction burst.

Patience and Consistency

The successful implementation of extinction procedures requires patience and consistency on the part of the ABA practitioner.

It's not uncommon for the process to take time, and there may be instances where it seems like progress is slow or even non-existent. However, it's crucial to maintain a consistent approach and continue to reinforce desirable behaviors while ignoring the undesirable ones.

Moreover, implementing extinction thoughtfully requires meticulous planning, including the gradual removal of reinforcers and the teaching of replacement behaviors. Reflection on outcomes and adjusting strategies as needed is equally important, always prioritizing the learner's well-being.

To understand how long an extinction burst can last in ABA therapy, you can visit our guide on how long does extinction burst last in ABA.

In conclusion, while extinction procedures can be challenging to implement, they can also be extremely effective when used correctly and consistently. By understanding and preparing for these challenges, you can increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for the individuals you work with.

References

[1]: https://howtoaba.com/extinction/

[2]: https://therapyandwellnessconnection.com/insights/aba-therapists-use-extinction-to-reduce-interfering-behavior/

[3]: https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisedu.org/what-is-meant-by-extinction-in-aba-therapy/

[4]: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-extinction-2795176