Carr, E. G., & Durand, V. M. (1985).
Reducing behavior problems through functional communication training.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,
It is generally agreed that serious misbehavior in children
should be replaced with socially appropriate behaviors, but few
guidelines exist with respect to choosing replacement behaviors.
We address this issue in two experiments. In Experiment 1, we
developed an assessment method for identifying situations in
which behavior problems, including aggression, tantrums, and
self-injury were most likely to occur. Results demonstrated that
both low level of adult attention and high level of task
difficulty were discriminative for misbehavior. In Experiment 2,
the assessment data were used to select replacements for
misbehavior. Specifically, children were taught to solicit social
attention or assistance or both verbally from adults. This
treatment, which involved the differential reinforcement of
functional communication, produced replicable suppression of
behavior problems across four developmentally disabled children.
The results were consistent with an hypothesis stating that some
child behavior problems may be viewed as a nonverbal means of
communication. According to this hypothesis, behavior problems
and verbal communicative acts, though differing in form, may be
equivalent in function. Therefore, strengthening the latter
should weaken the former.