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Chapter 17
Using Punishment: Time-Out and Response Cost
A variety of punishment procedures can be used to decrease a problem
behavior
However, punishment procedures typically are used only after
functional nonaversive interventions extinction, differential
reinforcement, and antecedent manipulations have been
implemented or manipulated
When these procedures are implemented and result in a decrease in
the problem behavior, punishment procedures are unnecessary
The use of punishment procedures can be controversial some believe
it may violate rights therefore, punishment procedures usually are
not the first choice of interventions for decreasing problem behaviors
If a punishment procedure is used, it is often a negative punishment
procedure involving the removal of reinforcing events after a problem
behavior time-out and response cost
Time-Out
Removal from the reinforcing activity contingent on an instance of a
problem behavior
After the problem behavior, the person is removed from the reinforcing
situation for a brief period
Types of Time-out
Time-out the loss of access to positive reinforcers for a brief
period contingent on the problem behavior; result = decrease in the
future probability of the problem behavior
Time-out is short for time-out from positive reinforcement
Two types of time-out:
oNonexclusionary time-out
The person remains in the room while being removed
from access to positive reinforcers
Most likely to be used when the person can be removed
from the reinforcing activities or interactions while
still remaining in the room, and the presence of the
person in the room will not be disruptive to others in
the environment
oExclusionary time-out
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The person is removed from the room (reinforcing
environment) where the problem behavior occurred
and is taken to another room
This removes the person from all sources of positive
reinforcement
Using Reinforcement with Time-out
Whenever you use time-out (or any other punishment procedure),
you should also use a differential reinforcement procedure
The time-out decreases the rate of the problem behavior, and a
differential reinforcement procedure increases an alternative
behavior to replace the problem or provides the reinforcer for the
absence of the problem behavior, while at the same time applying
extinction for the problem behavior
It is important for the person to have access to positive reinforers
through DRA or DRO procedures so that the net-loss in
reinforcement is not too great (if it is too great, the problem
behavior could be more likely to reemerge after treatment)
Considerations in Using Time-out
What is the function of the problem behavior?
oTime-out is appropriate to use with problem behaviors that
are maintained by positive reinforcement involving social or
tangible reinforcers
oTime-out removes access to these and other positive
reinforcers contingent on problem behavior; as a result, the
problem behavior is less likely to occur
oThe time-in environment must consist of positively
reinforcing activities or interactions for time-out to be
effective
oTime-out is not appropriate to use with problem behaviors
maintained by negative reinforcement or sensory
stimulation (automatic reinforcement)
oBecause timeout removes the person from ongoing activities
or interactions in the room, timeout would negatively
reinforce any behavior that was maintained by escape
oTime-out is not appropriate to use with problem behaviors
maintained by sensory stimulation because the person
would be removed from the activities or interactions in the
time-in environment and would have the opportunity to
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Document Summary

If a punishment procedure is used, it is often a negative punishment procedure involving the removal of reinforcing events after a problem behavior time-out and response cost. Time-out: removal from the reinforcing activity contingent on an instance of a problem behavior, after the problem behavior, the person is removed from the reinforcing situation for a brief period. the person remains in the room while being removed from access to positive reinforcers. the person is removed from the room (reinforcing environment) where the problem behavior occurred and is taken to another room. this removes the person from all sources of positive reinforcement. Is time-out safe: the time-out room must not contain any objects that clients could use to hurt themselves, a change agent should observe the client throughout the duration of the time-out to ensure they do not harm themselves.

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