Introduction to the ABC's of behavior


Case study...

In the following case, the child's target behavior is to use both a 3-word phrase and a gesture when asking for something:

  • Antecedent:  Mom directly prompts child to say "I want juice".
  • Target Behavior:  3-word phrases with a gesture to request things
  • Consequence:  Mom immediately gives child the juice.


I-want-Juice-Whiteboard-0Fv9p2ag-zEY_beta (1).gif


  1. Note how the mom creates a learning opportunity by keeping the juice out of Pauline's reach so she has to ask for it. If Pauline could reach the juice, she would not have to engage with her mom and there would be no learning opportunity.
  2. Note how the reward (juice) naturally relates to the behavior (asks for juice).  An unrelated reward would be something like an M&M, or a chip, or even a token that she could "cash in" for a reward later on. We want you to keep the reward naturally related to the behavior.