Parent Support University: Week 1

April 1, 2020

AnswersNow Chief Science Officer, Adam Dreyfus, speaks about the topic Antecedent-based Intervention as a part of the Parent Support University series and answers questions live.


Speaker 1 (00:01):

Hello Facebook family. I am going to try to do this intro without lifting my hands up. Someone pointed out and I concur that almost every time I say my name, I lift my hands up. Well, I'm going to demonstrate I do this or some variation thereof. I'm Adam Dreyfus. There we go. I can't help it. It's like spring loaded. I'm Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer of AnswersNow. AnswersNow is a mobile platform, a mobile app for parents of children diagnosed with autism or adults. And it's a super straightforward, what we do is we connect you with directly with the clinician. So instead of, you might have a clinician, you might have some folks that come into your home but on the weekend, on holidays, on whenever and you might not have a really technical question if those you have ABA in home services, those tend to be highly technical kinds of conversations.

Speaker 1 (00:54):

And you might think, Oh, my question is kind of silly. Like how do I get him to drink more milk? Or how do I get him to stop standing so close to his sister or something like that? These can have pretty serious impacts on a kid as the relationship with their siblings and how everything gets along. So there are no silly questions. Maybe that's what we should change. Any to get silly questions answered now. But I am the chief science officer and tonight is our first sort of official PSU Parent Support University. I came up with it. You think I wouldn’t remember it, PSU. I think of it as. One of my friends is a professor at Penn State University. So I get a little bit confused sometimes. Parents Support University.

Speaker 1 (01:45):

The whole point of AnswersNow, the whole mission that me and Jeff, the cofounder who's a terrific social worker we're trying to solve is how do we help support parents and how do we think this big body of knowledge that we know is out there that right now it's like sits inside my head and make it more accessible to parents. Cause it really, it's all the information is out there for you. If someone like me can learn it anybody can learn it. And it's super frustrating that more people don't know what are in essence, tips and tricks. I know other behavior analysts out there, my stuff is not tips and tricks kind of a little bit. So feel free to ask any questions you want in the comments over there. Do little stars, little hearts, little whatever your social media fingers dictate.

Speaker 1 (02:37):

So what we decided to do is to support the parents out there is to say, all right, well how, what's the best way that we can do that? And what I hear all the time say, Aw man, I wish I was as good at like you are with my kid. And I've heard that in classrooms. Like, Oh, we just need teachers train like you. And I always say the same thing. I didn't know any of this. And then I got taught, someone taught me how to be an autism teacher and someone taught me how to be a behavior analyst. And so one of the better repositories of all of this knowledge is a place called the National Professional Development Center. They have a series of modules, boop, boop, boop, called whoop wrong, the affirm modules where they teach you all of this stuff and it's free.

Speaker 1 (03:24):

You can sign up for free, you can get certificates if you want or you can just learn. And so we're just gonna go through them in order. And the first one is antecedent based intervention. The link that you see over there to your right, left in the chat window will take you straight there and you'll see a list of the evidence based practices. Open that up real quick. Oops. Nope, that's the wrong one. That was a work thing. So there's all kinds of social stories, task analysis and what we determined is that this is a very technical set of information. Let me make sure I get communicated. Here we go. Just making sure I've got to people keeping an eye out for me and making sure that this thing is going smoothly.

Speaker 1 (04:14):

And they send me little notes here. So we've got a, we're going to talk about antecedent based interventions and right off the bat it makes your head hurt. What's antecedent? What does that mean? What, where does that mean? You almost never come across that word in normal everyday language. Antecedent just means something that happens before. So antecedent behavior intervention just means is there something I can do before my kid behaves in a way that I don't like that can make it so that they don't do that? Yes, yes. That's the whole point of this is there's all kinds of stuff that you can do. The problem we get in is we're almost always in reaction mode, right? Kids slaps his brother. I react kid tips over the table. I react. And the problem there is that the behaviors already happened.

Speaker 1 (05:03):

You know, then you're just in what I call cop mode, issuing a ticket. The crime has already been committed. It doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things. Why they did it. This is another thing that I think there's a little sidebar here. People get themselves in trouble with they'll ask kids like, you know, why did you do that? Most kids don't have the tools to kind of give you a reasonable response. Like if you got arrested for speeding and the cop asked you, why were you speeding? You're growing up, you probably haven't. Wow. I was on my way to a doctor's appointment. I just like to drive fast. I like the sound of the siren. So I speed around until a cop comes up to you. You know, you've got a reason. Kids generally don't have those kinds of reasons.

Speaker 1 (05:44):

And sort of like for the cops, cop doesn't really care. Like they don't come, usually doesn't, they'll ask you, do you know why I pulled you over? Yes, I was speeding. Correct. Here's your ticket. And that's really the way that you should or at least in my humble opinion, how one should parent. You should just, there's the rule, there's the infraction, there's the punishment for that infraction, done deal. Makes things a lot easier. So you can also ask questions. As I said. We've got a couple of questions. I think coming in. We've got a question. I'll get to that in a second. So how, so actually first one right off the top, how to potty train a four year old who was nonverbal. Whoa. so if your four year old is nonverbal and you are attempting to potty train. One, four years old is about normal for a potty training that's in that window, especially for boys. Nonverbal, you're going to want visuals.

Speaker 1 (06:47):

The toughest thing teaching anybody toilet training is how to identify the feeling inside your body that you need to go to the bathroom at some point, pretty soon. Most of us don't wait until it hurts before we go. But kids frequently do because they're not picking up their body being like, well, you might want to think about the bathroom. Hey, bathroom is coming up. And they start doing their little dance and you'll ask them, Hey, do you look like you need to go to the bathroom? That, Nope, Nope, Nope. I'm fine. I'm good. I'll be all right. Everything's great. And then they pee on the floor on the way there. So what I would say to four year old, nonverbal, there's tons of great literature out there. But you want visuals cause if they are nonverbal, they're going to be highly visual.

Speaker 1 (07:40):

So there's lots of what they call social stories, visual social stories around potty training. There's a bunch of potty training techniques where you, what's sort of the easiest one, especially with kind of nonverbal kids generally speaking. And there's a, I'll think of the book here in a second. Some of my shooters up here. Azrin-Foxx have a book about potty training. “Potty Training in Three Days” or something like that. But essentially what it is, is you give your kids tons of fluids. You have lots of clean clothes nearby. You take the diapers off. And on a very regular schedule, like every half hour, every hour, you take them into the bathroom and you sit them on the toilet and what you're trying to do is catch them peeing while they're sitting on the toilet.

Speaker 1 (08:32):

So you're playing kind of a numbers game there. So you end up with lots of accidents for what you're aiming for is that Hey, you're sitting on the toilet and then they pee on the toilet. And then it is highly recommended that the thing that you give them when they pee for the first time or pooped for the first time on a toilet is something that they don't access in any other place. So I will frequently use Skittles. This is a somewhat of a “Go To”. I don't think I've ever come across a kid who doesn't like Skittles. And so they can, they never have Skittles, right? Skittles just disappear from their life, except when they go to the bathroom on a toilet and then they get some Skittles. So you want something that has enormous value for them. You don't want to take something away.

Speaker 1 (09:17):

They like, like some people like, Ooh, I know what it is. They've got it, this bear that they love. I'll take the bear away and then I'll just give it back. When they go to the bathroom. Big, big, big, big, big mistake. Don't do that. Pick something that is not going to be traumatizing for them to lose. Usually a preferred item or like say they love Paw Patrol. You buy some new Paw Patrol thing so they've never seen it before. It's a new story. They've haven't dealt with it and they pee on the toilet and they get the new Paw Patrol thing. That is a very abbreviated version of toilet training. But for kids who are non verbal and require a lot of supports that is and it's hard. You got to essentially set aside almost like an entire day because the whole thing, you have to, you can't just give up after the first time.

Speaker 1 (10:04):

You have to be very, very persistent. And so hopefully that answers that question. I'll come back around to it just a little, little 10 minute time check. I'm Adam Dreyfus. This is AnswersNow we are a mobile app designed to help parents of individuals diagnosed with autism. Answer whatever questions they've got. So we just answered one about toilet training. We are here talking about antecedent based interventions, which are one of the evidence based practices. I'm going to have to probably take my hands down to the chair. And the thing about the evidence based practices, this is a body of knowledge and this is why it's somewhat of a challenge. It's hard to just break them out and talk about them just by themselves. But we're going to do that here. So how do you, what another, the way that they sort of frame antecedent based intervention in a way that you might have heard it is a behavior intervention plan, right?

Speaker 1 (10:56):

There's a plan around, Oh, every time I try to get Johnny off of the computer, he has a huge upset. So what can I do to try to mitigate that so that he doesn't have an upset or every time we go outside there's some kind of an upset. So in the packet that they give you to teach you how to do this, they'll say that you need to do, you should do a functional behavioral assessment. This is another thing that makes my head hurt. What does that mean? It's just a, it's sort of a data collection technique, a series of questions that you ask to try to come up with an idea of why does this behavior happen. So that's usually the first place. And most of the time, like, he probably shouldn't say this, but I'm gonna say it anyway.

Speaker 1 (11:48):

Most of the time you can come to it. Like if I said to you as a parent or as a teacher, I said, what's the behavior? And you tell me the behavior. All right. If I gave you $1 million to make that behavior happen right now, what would you do? Oh, and then they describe, well, what happened? Oh, I walk over and I take away his iPad. Perfect. That's, that's what I would look for out of an FBA. Right. Like is that like he wants access to that item and is having a huge upset cause he has learned, he has a huge upset. You give it back to him. Pretty straightforward. And then that lets you design your plan. I'm going to walk through some of the sort of the questions that they ask. What we want as parents to start thinking like a behavior analyst.

Speaker 1 (12:38):

So the first thing that they do, they've got a nice what I'm doing here is I'm kind of, they've got their 35 page packet, which is downloadable and easy that comes along with when you take the course and what it is, is a whole set of resources for how to do an antecedent based intervention. But we are going to simplify that for you. And I am just looking for so this is the kind of thing that most of the parents out there are very familiar with. Your antecedent based intervention worksheet. What does that mean? How are we figuring this stuff out. So where does the behavior occur? Who does the, who does the behavior occur around? That happens a lot. Oh, it only occurs with dad. You know, I've had plenty of those conversations or only this one aid or only this one teacher that tells you a lot.

Speaker 1 (13:33):

That's when does the behavior occur? Let's, I mean, yes, yes. Important. Sure. Especially if you can isolate it around certain incidents. And during what activities does the behavior occur? So give you an example school, right? I've have a lot of experience working in schools. Almost all the behaviors that happen in schools. Period. End of story, 99.9% are because the kid is either seeking some attention or they want to escape a situation. It's one of those two things, attention or escape. So that's when they say, Oh, you do a FBA, you try to figure that out. And once you have that function that wishes your guests, you design your plan and usually you do a like a very common antecedent based intervention is first then, a first then board. I'm going to show you exactly what it looks like cause it's really complicated. I've got my little white board here and I see Sasha joined us and let's say Sasha has got a really bad behavior and we say, what is our first, it's a very high tech.

Speaker 1 (14:54):

How this works. Are you ready? Whoa. And there's five bazillion apps that do this. So you would say something like, Hey Sasha I know you want to go outside on the swing. But we need to read a little bit. So first Sasha, we're going to do some reading, then we will go outside on the swing. Hopefully you got that. You can use any kind of piece of paper, any kind of, there are apps that do this. There are, you can go purchase a first then board. That's just a whiteboard and this is just a pen and I just made it in about 12 seconds. That can solve a lot of this sort of the transition problems kids have. Cause what they're thinking is, Hey, this thing that I'm doing right now is just going away and now I'm being asked to go do this thing that I don't want to do and I'm never going to be able to come back to this other thing.

Speaker 1 (16:01):

So just letting them know like this isn't permanent, this is what's happening. That's just a little two box first then, but we all do it. I'm sure that some of you do it like, Oh, you know what? I'm going to the gym first, I'm going to go to the gym, then I'm going to go to Starbucks. First I'm going to do this pile of work I don't want to do. Then I'm going to have some ice cream. Is it manipulative? Yes, it is. That's how this stuff works. So all this stuff works is that you're just moving kind of parts of the world around. Another quick check-in. I am Adam Dreyfus. This is an AnswersNow, production. AnswersNow it's an app designed to help connect parents like you directly to certified clinicians like myself to answer any of these kinds of questions and walk you through these tools.

Speaker 1 (16:52):

What we're doing now and for the next probably several months is what we're calling the parent support university. Where yes, we're taking your questions, but we're going to unpack all of the tools that the experts have that they like to make you think require years and years of training and tons of stuff. And they're much too complicated for you to understand. No, they're not. This one's antecedent based interventions. What are things I can do ahead of time? So we want to identify the function of the behavior. Like why do we think that this is happening? And frankly, everybody is a behavior analyst when it comes to that. All of us are doing that. Like, I've, I've got a friend of mine who I got busy this afternoon and they texted me, are you mad at me?

Speaker 1 (17:38):

Cause they had texted me, I didn't respond back how I normally do. So they're being a behavior analyst. What's Adam must be mad. And no, I'm just busy and I'll get back to you, but we're all trying figure out the functions of the behavior. Why is this person standing so close to me? Why did that person park in my spot? So we're all kind of behavior analysts. So one of the things that we do just in our field and education and frankly parents do it all the time is it's good to know what your son, daughter, brother, sister likes, right? Cause that's one of the things that we do. We sort of first then, you can do this thing that you don't like to do so much, but then you get to go do this thing that you do like to do.

Speaker 1 (18:21):

And it's usually better not to go from a really fun thing to a really not fun thing. It's better to kind of bridge that a little bit. Like how I, Hey, we're going to go swing what you really like, but we're not going to immediately go back and do math, which is your least favorite thing in the universe. All right, let's do the swing and then let's go get some water. And then let's do a little snack. And then let's like maybe a little high five and then we kind of go back to that. You want to have this kind of nice momentum. These big, huge shifts are very difficult to navigate. And so what happens is parents and teachers begin to avoid them. And what that does is just makes everything worse. So instead of like, Hey, going from a swing to a non preferred activity 50 times in a week where they kind of get used to it, like, well, let's never do that.

Speaker 1 (19:06):

So that when you do, when you have no choice, when that is exactly what has to happen, you've set yourself up for pretty serious failure. So we use things that the learners like, we'll talk about that in a little bit. One of the things that we as the grownups have a lot of control over is schedules and routines. So we can change that around, cause that might be part of the problem. In classrooms you see that a lot that teachers will say, Hey, I'm doing reading for 60 minutes. But this particular kid can only really focus and stay on task for 30 minutes. So for 30 minutes everything's going okay. And then you get to behavior cause that's, that's as far as they can go. But, and the teachers will be like, well, but my reading is 60 minutes. Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 1 (19:48):

I totally understand what you're saying. I'm reading 60 minutes. That's the way you have it set up. But that kid can only be 30 minutes. So every time you're going to do reading that kid, most of the time you're going to have a problem there. So we want to avoid that. So maybe you have something else they do for the other 30 minutes while you're finishing up. That's the antecedent part. Before the behavior happens. I want to have some kind of plan. I don't want to just wait for it. And that's, you know, we don't talk about it too much, buthe anxiety that parents feel and teachers feel when they know that they're entering a situation that their behaviors happened. Right. So we have a new student at our school who the parents for years took her to Wendy's. Right? That was their, that was their preferred thing. That's how they got her to do stuff. Excuse me.

Speaker 1 (20:43):

Well, now she's 14 years old and they can't go by a Wendy's without pulling in anyways. They have literally mapped out on all of their devices where all of the Wendy's are and they avoid them all. Which not the worst strategy in the world, but you've like, what do you do for the bank you want to go to is next to the Wendy's or the doctor's office. That is not addressing the behavior that is working around the behavior. So we do that. Use choice-making. I'm not the biggest fan of choice making because one of the things that a lot of our kids really struggle with is you don't have a choice sometimes, right? Like school, you don't have a whole lot of choices. It's not like raise your hand who wants to do history and who wants to do English?

Speaker 1 (21:31):

Oh, okay. The English wins, we're going to do English. It's not the way it works. That's not the way work works. That's not the way most things work is you just, you have to do what you have to do. But using choice to sort of bridge over until they can kind of fully handle the whatever the situation is this causing the behavior is not the worst idea. Let's give them some choices. Give them a couple of different options. This falls into that category though of a, don't ask a question if you don't need a question. If it's time to go and you say, would you, are you ready to go? And they say, no, this is perfectly good answer. You didn't mean are you ready to go? You didn't mean would you like to go? You meant it's time to go.

Speaker 1 (22:21):

And that's a subtle difference, but it's one I see a lot like teachers and parents phrasing everything is questions and they don't understand why there's so much pushback. It's no different than if you asked me would you like olives? No, I will never like olives. I don't even think all those are food. I don't understand why people eat olives. But if what you mean is, listen, I made this thing, you're going to have a bite of it. There are no choices, which is somewhat how I was raised. I'm not sure about the rest of you got to, I've got an English mom. And not eating food is not an option. So don't make it a choice if you don't mean it as a choice. One of the most powerful things you can do is change how you approach these things, right?

Speaker 1 (23:08):

You don't have to drive down a one way street. One of the things that we sometimes forget is we largely control the environment that these kids are in the food, the access the internet and all that stuff. And so you can move that stuff around, right? Like you can make it more or less available. You can change the schedule for it. You have a lot of latitude in that sense. And my favorite one, enrich the environment. A lot of the behaviors that you see is while they only like to do this one thing, I'm like, well, then you're in a tough spot. Like you're going to want to teach them how to do more than that one thing. Someone who only likes to like swing on a swing. If there are no swings available, you're out of luck.

Speaker 1 (23:54):

But if they like to swing the swing and ride a bike and read a book and play ball and play a video, you know funny games with you and then you have a whole bunch of different tools at your disposal. I'm gonna check the questions really quick. How to work with siblings. 13 year old daughter wants nothing to do with their nine year old daughter. How do I bridge that gap? So there's a reason, right? Obviously she doesn't want to play with her or engage with her. So I would start with something very, very small and it's largely, you know, 13 and nine probably because the nine year old, is no fun for her. Right? in the greater scheme of things, she might be embarrassing, but on a day by day basis, she's not offering a whole bunch of value for.

Speaker 1 (24:47):

So what I like to do in those situations, and I've come across quite a bit, is have the like the 13 year old one in this case say, I'm not asking you to play with her, I'm not asking you to you know, invest in time. Can you just give her this thing that she likes? And so you do that sort of intermittently throughout the day. Hey, you know, like, what am I drinking here? This a Blackberry soda. So, yes, that's what it is. And so Hey Sasha, can you go give Adam a Blackberry soda? You just walk over and give that sort of, and it changes the dynamic a little bit. It's very low threshold. It makes somebody feel good cause you kind of given something. And it takes a little bit of like a, in this case the nine-year-old probably wants to spend more time with the sister and is trying it.

Speaker 1 (25:40):

And as you do, when you get really intense about stuff, you can get a little out of control. It takes a little bit of the thunder out of that cause they're getting some attention from their sister, they're having a little bit of a success and it creates this little foothold. And when we're talking about success in a, especially with folks on the spectrum, that's all you need, right? Like to teach someone to talk, you need that first sound, to teach someone to share, you just need that first time that they hand over something that they really like to someone else. And in this case, what you need to do is build some some wins, so to speak. And the other one I talked about this the other day is instead of making every interaction like work, right? Like I'm trying to get them to get along.

Speaker 1 (26:25):

See if you can have a 13 year old do something that she would just do anyway. Right? maybe she likes to read. Can you just read near your sister? You don't have to ask her questions. It doesn't have to be a big deal. She just hears your voice, right? And so she just reads out loud to her sister. That one's really powerful. So I hope that helps. Those are a couple of small sort of easy to implement ones that I think are a very reasonable and doable. And I, I'm guessing there's a reason I might not be seeing the questions. That's why we have multiple events. A little quick check in at the near 30 minute mark. I am Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer of AnswersNow.

Speaker 1 (27:08):

You can find out more about us at We have this really cool new feature that we started up a couple of months ago called communities. So our service is a pay service, right? Like you sign up and you pay to have access to your own clinician. That's the, the basic option there. But the communities are free and they're a series of groups that you can go to the website and click on, find a community and we've got a bunch of different ones around, one around how do I talk to my kid about a Corona virus. But more general ones like how do I help manage behaviors, how do I do how do I help promote communication. And there's parents in there and they're moderated by clinicians and they're free.

Speaker 1 (27:51):

And so we built those to help all the folks who suddenly all the schools are closed. And there's a lot of questions and a lot of the supports, like a lot of people have really great schools that their kids go to or in home services. And all that's kinda gone. So check out those communities, And just sign up and start asking questions and someone I'm in there sometimes and Sasha is, so we're gonna keep going. I'm going to talk a little bit about data collection because they talk about it quite a bit here. And I want to talk about it. Not that I used to have my own songs in my head. Now I've got all my kids' songs in my head. Everything's like what's that show?

Speaker 1 (28:40):

PJ masks. It's whenever they're about to do something amazing, they go, it's time to be a hero. So that's like my new motto. So it's time to be a hero. Adam, and talk about ABC charts. So almost any time you're going to encounter someone like me or you're a parent or you're getting one of these things there, someone's going to say, Oh, did you take some ABC data? And it is probably a little bit like fingernails on a chalkboard for most parents at this point. So the key to the ABC charts and something that doesn't get sort of nailed it enough cause otherwise they're not useful enough. So what you're looking for in an ABC chart is the antecedent. What you think happened before the behavior, the behavior itself. Adam flipped over a table and then the consequence, ABC, antecedent behavior consequence.

Speaker 1 (29:33):

Here's the trick to those. The antecedent should be what happened immediately before the behavior. So like if somebody walked in the room and flipped on the lights and then I flipped over to the table, not Adam didn't get eggs for breakfast and he likes eggs and it's now two o'clock in the afternoon. You want immediacy is key. You want what happened right before, like literally split seconds. And that's one of the problems with ABC charts, especially in classrooms. Like, I'm a teacher, I'm working on something and I hear like a slap and I turn and I look and some kids got a little red mark on their face and their kid's standing there. And the problem there is it's almost like, Hey, what was the antecedent? I didn't see it. I didn't, I didn't see it. And a lot of times you don't see the behavior, you hear the aftermath of the behavior.

Speaker 1 (30:26):

And the consequence is also in the same vein. The consequence should be what happened that billionth of a second after the behavior. Not Oh Adam got detention for that. That might be part of it, but that's far down the path. I will tell you in middle schools, a lot of the behaviors are caused by kids wanting to go to detention. Make no mistake about it. I've worked in a bunch of middle schools and there's two reasons. They either want out of the class cause they don't want to do the instruction or they're highly social and they hear like, I'm Adam, I'm like, what? Sasha is in detention. I like Sasha, I'm gonna go hang out with Sasha. All right, how do I get to detention? A F bomb the teacher, you're going to detention, all right, peace out and see you later. That is not a good consequence.

Speaker 1 (31:16):

That is what I was looking for. And I got what I wanted. So the ABC data, antecedent behavior, all that stuff, think of like the behavior and what happened again that split second before and that split second after, cause if you had a ABC data chart to somebody like myself or other BCBAs out there and it doesn't have clear information, it doesn't really help. If a parent comes to me and says my kid took off all his clothes on the playground, why did he do that? I'm like, Oh well what was going on? Oh, well, you know, we didn't have muffins for breakfast. We usually have muffins. Well, when did he take off his clothes on the playground in the afternoon? I'm like, that's connected to, well, what happened right after he took off his clothes?

Speaker 1 (32:08):

Well we didn't go to his grandmother's house. That's probably not either. It's probably something that happened right afterwards that was pulling that along. Something changed for him. Cause there's always, the reason we're looking for the consequence is that's what's feeding the behavior. Behaviors not kind of pushed along by things that are happening before. Right? It's pulled along by the consequences of those of, of, of whatever's happening cause you learn over time that certain behaviors get you things. So it's one of the sort of the ugly secrets of this is when I'm in a classroom or in a house and I don't know why this happens. I said, well, it's happening because something around here is happening. If usually something the adults are doing, most parents and teachers don't want to hear that. But once you kind of internalize it a little bit, not, Oh, I'm the bad person, I'm causing all this.

Speaker 1 (33:03):

But I, my behavior controls it. So in the same way that maybe what I've done has made this kid scream every time I take away his iPad, I can undo it, right? I have that power and that's what I want to sort of convey to this. So here's what I was looking for earlier when I was talking about antecedent based interventions, questions to consider. These are the things that folks like me don't need to write down. We just I would not say come to actually they we learn how to do them. So when you're thinking of, alright, what is, what's in my toolkit to kinda put in my behavior plan that this kid likes or doesn't like? What makes the learner smile and laugh? What makes the kid happy and feel good? What kinds of things gets the learner excited?

Speaker 1 (33:55):

What are their favorite things to do? I almost always start with the parents on these cause they've got this list in their head. There's a technique called a preference assessment for people like me to like what are these kids like? What do they, what do they prefer? So that we can collect some of those things and begin to do these first and then kind of activities. But you can learn almost all of that by putting the kid in an environment like their school. If you just follow them around, they'll show you all the stuff that they like. Or, pardon me, any store they're familiar with. Most kids these days even severely impacted kids who, you know, get out and about, they go shopping with their parents. You just go to a Target or a Walmart with them and just follow them around and they know where all this stuff is that they like and like, Oh, you like Paw Patrol, you like pineapples, you like pillows and you like wrenches right now.

Speaker 1 (34:53):

I got it. Here's five things. If I have those things, now we've got a stark. So the preference assessments are usually not as hard when they're like, I have no idea if it changes all the time. No, there's clear patterns. These kids have a lot of clear patterns. I'll check and see if there's any more questions from Alison. Who's my smarter 65%. All right. Thank you Alison and Sasha helping us out tonight. I am Adam Dreyfus. I am the chief science officer for AnswersNow this is parent support university where we are unpacking all of these evidence based practices. Basically taking the top of my head off making you look inside. If you look here look far enough, you'd see this thinning part here. My brother has been going to go involved for a while. I've been proud of myself.

Speaker 1 (35:42):

But as a, as you can see that we've got a little bit of st Nick go. But I got my hair cut last time and they were like, Hey, do you want to see the back? I'm like, yeah, sure. I'm like, Whoa, let's start. Get a little bit in there. That's what happens. Three months of I don't know about you guys at three months of self isolation. I am not sure what's going to happen to my hair. I think the next time you see me, I might have very short hair. I think I'm going to go buzz cut. I don't know what everybody out there thinks about that, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I do encourage you to go to and check out our website. If you are a parent or a caregiver who's thinking, you know what, I could use a little something to answer my questions or to help me through some tough times.

Speaker 1 (36:26):

It's exactly why we are here is to put you directly in touch with your own clinician, not just a pile of information, not a bunch of stories, not a bunch of videos to watch. You will say, Hey Adam, this is what happened and we'll be able to work it out together. That is what AnswersNow is all about the communities can help out with that that we have on our website. I'm very proud of what we've done and I'm looking forward to seeing you guys there. If you're there or not. So let's come back to antecedent based interventions. What I realized when I kind of put this together is all of the evidence based practices kind of linked together, right? So we'll be talking about functional behavior assessments. We'll be talking about task analyses. We'll be talking about preference assessments.

Speaker 1 (37:14):

And these are all sort of encapsulated in antecedent based interventions. And antecedent remember means before the behavior. So you can hit, let's go through some of the strategies really quick. I love, love, love what they put together even though it's really good and really accessible. It's still like this packet that I've got for antecedent based interventions is 35 pages long. So you definitely want to use their preferences, right? You want to, if they're, if you're asking them to do something that they don't really like to do, have a little sugar in there, right? Have something that they like. You can change the schedules and the routines. That's a big one. They don't say it explicitly, but change the length of time. So if I'm asking you to do something that you don't like, say a math sheet.

Speaker 1 (38:07):

No, I like math sheets. But a lot of people don't like math sheets and but I'm like, okay, like I understand I have to do some math. And you hand me a sheet that has 1000 math problems on it. You might get a fairly negative reaction, but if you hand me a math sheet that only has two problems on it, I'm like, Oh, well that's not so bad. And that guy said he was going to take me out to the swings after I'm done with this. So this I can do. Skinner called it he would call it, but he quit schedules of reinforcement, how often good things happen and sort of the duration of events. And fortunately as a parent, as a teacher, you have a ton of control over that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1 (38:50):

So how long somebody does something using choice-making or we talked about that, not the choice making is one of those things you sorta earn in Adam's world. Like if you don't behave in a way that is working for the folks around you, then you don't have choices. Like that's, you don't earn choices through bad behavior. Like, Oh, I'm going to flip this table over. Now I get a choice of whether or not I go outside. That is not how that works. And then enriching the environment, like making enriching the environment. Most parents do this, right? Like you buy a bunch of stuff that the kid likes, it can be too much. My kids are case in point, they have all this stuff and then they end up playing with a box all day.

Speaker 1 (39:35):

A better way of thinking about it is teaching the child or the adult more things to do to amuse themselves will reduce the behavior problems that you have for the things they really like to do. Cause it'll just have, they call it a community of reinforcers. Again, if you only like playing with blocks, then if there's no blocks around or somebody takes the blocks, it's game over. But if there's nine or 10 different things that you enjoy doing and this is, we specifically do this in in my school and in these practices, when you have kids who are sort of very rigidly, just do one thing, like maybe they just do Thomas the tank engine we teach them how to read a book, how to play with Legos, how to, so you expand out their community of reinforcers and you don't go crazy.

Speaker 1 (40:22):

Most of us don't have 50 things that we like to do. We've got a couple, right? And some of us are very focused on one thing. I bring this up not to make fun of my friends, but I've got friends who, they just play golf. Like if they have free time, they just play golf. And if you're hanging out with them, they want to talk about golf. And if you call them on the phone, they want to tell you about the last time they played golf. Is that a little autistic? Yes, yes. We call that restricted interest. But because it's much more socially acceptable than hand flapping nobody says, you know what Bob, we're going to take away your golf clubs for a little while. Well, maybe their wives do. So that is a, I think a pretty decent primer and a pretty I don't want to get too technical in based interventions.

Speaker 1 (41:13):

Basically it just means what can I do before an expected behavior. What kind of strategies can I employ before the expected behavior to try to mitigate either the intensity or whether or not it occurs at all. What are some new skills that I can do. And so what you'll see is antecedent based interventions are done in conjunction with like the components that make them up are reinforcement, differential reinforcement, extinction, preference assessments FBAs functional behavioral assessment. That's five other evidence based practices. So as we have kind of unpacked and seed based interventions, we're going to start lacing these together so that you super amazing parent can learn how to do all this stuff effortlessly. And mostly what it does is it doesn't give you an answer in the moment. The best way to describe it is it gives you a toolkit.

Speaker 1 (42:08):

It gives you a fighting chance in these scenarios. So instead of being like the behavior came out of nowhere, I have no idea how it happens. It totally blew me away. Like I got a plan, I got a strategy. Again, the link up in the corner takes you directly to the module so you can learn at your own pace or you can join us here next Wednesday. When we, what's the next one? Okay. I'm still here. I thought I turned myself off. I'm just opening it up. The evidence based off this link here. As we wrap up this evening's parents support university. There we go. And so we talked about antecedent based interventions and next week we're going to talk about naturalistic interventions. That one sounds fancy. You can always preview those at the link involved. Thank you Sasha. Thank you Alison. I'm going to sign off now and encourage you to go to and check out our website or go to your own Apple app. That was my daughter.

Speaker 1 (43:23):

That was her biggie. That was her. Please give me dessert after a breakfast slip. So here we are, holding it. There we go. So it's not so shiny. You can download the app out from the Apple store and you can download it off of the Google play store and you can be talking with your own clinician in just a matter of minutes or checking out our communities or some of the blog resources we've got. There's a lot of stuff out there. So I want to thank you very much and thank you everybody who helped pull this together and have a terrific, I don't want to go, I want to scale back the positivity for a little bit. I usually am very positive. I fully recognize this is an incredibly challenging time. And it's a very scary time.

Speaker 1 (44:12):

And we're all by orders very isolated. And so we really want to reach our hands out to you and say you are not alone. There are communities out there supporting you and kind of going through the same thing you are. And we encourage you to reach out in whichever way you feel comfortable with. And with that I wish you a wonderful evening. I have been and continue to be Adam Dreyfus, the chief science officer of AnswersNow, and we will talk to you soon.

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