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Increasing spontaneous requests using a time delay procedure with a learning disabled child with challenging behaviour

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Background: Children with intellectual disabilities are often reported to lack spontaneous communication skills and subsequently can be reliant on prompts to express their desires or needs. This limits their independence and can impact upon their overall functioning, with some children using inappropriate or aggressive behaviour as a functional alternative.

Method and materials: A time delay procedure was used to teach Casper, a 14 year old child with severe intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviour, to spontaneously request preferred items.

Results: After exposure to four training exemplars Casper learned to request items (both trained and untrained) without prompting. In addition to immediate generalisation across people and settings, these skills were maintained at six-month follow-up. Casper's level of aggression also decreased following the training procedure suggesting a link between functional communication training and the reduction of challenging behaviour.

Conclusions: In line with earlier research, this paper provides further support for the effectiveness of the time delay procedure as a method for teaching spontaneous requesting behaviour.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Positive behavioural support (PBS) combines the conceptual framework of applied behaviour analysis with the values base of social role valorisation and framework of person-centred approaches. The International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support is a peer-reviewed publication that aims to:

    · define and promote good practice in relation to the use of PBS

    · add to the evidence base regarding such interventions

    · demonstrate how PBS interventions can support people to change their challenging behaviours, improve their quality of life, and result in reductions in the use of restrictive procedures (such as physical intervention, seclusion and as required medication)

    · bridge the gap between academic research and service practice
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