July 22, 2020
AnswersNow Chief Science Officer, Adam Dreyfus, speaks about Punishment as a part of the Parent Support University series.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Hey AnswersNow, friends and family. Welcome to our weekly installment of the Parent Support University to a feature that we're doing during the pandemic to help parents, as they struggle with it. All of the stuff that everybody else is struggling with on top of it, of raising a child or caring for an adult diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder. We are a mobile app, a support app. So if you just go to you, there's an iPhone. So if you go to your Apple store or your Android, Google play store, and you type in AnswersNow all one word, you can download the app for free and connect yourself to a clinician by clinician. We mean board certified behavior, master's level, board, certified behavior analyst. You will be assigned your own one. It's not just whoever happens to come up cross.
Speaker 1 (00:48):
You can sign up for just one call. Maybe you just have a question about an upcoming IEP or a specific behavior, or how do I get my kid to read a little faster? You name it, there's all kinds of things that we can help with, or the actual, the core product is that it would be an ongoing in relationship with that BCBA. We have a new offering now where we're taking insurance Anthem and Medicaid in the state of Virginia and spreading out to other States. So we were just a very specifically a parent support app. But now we're delivering direct ABA services to clients via telehealth. Got our first few clients on the platform now, really excited about that. So we'd love to show you that definitely go to getanswersnow.com to find out more about that are our new updated website.
Speaker 1 (01:35):
But even better, give us a call or ask for a demo. Cause we're changing things up quite a bit to be able to serve you during this crazy time. And one of the things we're doing what I'm doing here today is we were doing Parent Support University where we've I think it's like 26 weeks where we've scheduled out all of these different things that a BCBA does. And when people talk about ABA applied behavior analysis there's a lot of jargon to it. It's very technical and it can be confusing and it is one of the barriers for entry for parents. Like, I don't understand what these people are saying. I'm not sure what these things mean. Not just parents, but educators and kind of anybody. Who's not a behavior analyst.
Speaker 1 (02:18):
So about 10 years ago a group of universities got together and said, why don't we, what's the list of things that we know work for these kids and adults? So that parents are not constantly being bombarded by the next best thing. That group was called the National Professional Development Center and they put together a list of evidence based practices. Things that we do as experts do to help your kids and adults and students learn new skills and reduce behaviors that are yeah. Interfering with their lives. And so they call it these evidence based practices. And so they have a really strict criteria. It's hard to make the list. If that makes the list it's been absolutely to help specific populations, they break it down by, you know which practice has been, cause some of the studies are just on little kids are on older kids.
Speaker 1 (03:11):
And so they're very specific about what the research shows. I absolutely encourage you to check it out. You can go to the National Professional Development Center has a website even better. They put together these things called the afirm modules, A F I R M, and these are free. You can take them. It's one of the reasons we selected this particular list is so that it wouldn't cost you in anything. You didn't have to buy anything. You can just go and educate yourself on something with these really powerful tools. So that's exactly a great way to think about it is okay. I've heard from parents over and over again. Oh, I wish I knew what you knew. Like I just, it seems, you know, you've got all these ideas for how to help my kid. I'm like, all right, that's exactly right.
Speaker 1 (03:55):
But somebody taught me, I didn't know the right. Like I wasn't born with this knowledge. And the national professional development center did a really nice job. I would caution a little bit that it's still pretty technical. If you have no experience in applied behavior analysis then it's some of, it's not going to make much sense and because it's broken up into all the little different pieces it's kinda like a mechanic, right. And all the tools in his toolbox, he's got 26 tools. And if you just learn about one, you might think, wow, this is an amazing tool, this wrenches amazing. And he's like, well, you're right. Okay. And do all kinds of things with the ranch. It's a, it's a really useful tool, but I can't do remotely everything I need to do. And so it's hard to learn how all of these work, but that's what we're here for.
Speaker 1 (04:43):
These are these little videos or sort of brief introductions to some of these concepts. And as you can sort of see behind me like the rest of you, I'm teaching my kids at home for the most part over here, I've got a, my daughter working on the alphabet and some of over here is my son working on his art skills that we call this in the, in the field public posting. Research has demonstrated that if you put materials up, where people can see them. It has a positive effect. And so here I am using my own stuff on my own kids. I try not to do it too much. I try to turn it off nothing worse than a clinician dad. So we're going to jump in here in a second.
Speaker 1 (05:29):
Now I'm going a slightly different route today. So there's 20 something evidence based practices. We did reinforcement last week and I got a lot of feedback on that. Cause I talked a little bit about punishment and those are the two sort of dynamics that influence behavior, right? Do we want behavior to go up? Do we want behavior to go down? Reinforcement drives behavior, punishment drives behavior down. These are the mechanisms by which behavior sort of operates, and it is not much more complicated than this. We want some behaviors to go up like, Ooh, I want following directions to go up. And I want screaming at me to go down. So that's exactly what we're talking about. That's what behavior analyst is concerned with. That's what parenting is concerned with. I'd like to see some behaviors go up, like to see some behaviors go down.
Speaker 1 (06:20):
So in talking about reinforcement, it's hard to talk about reinforcement without talking about punishment. And for reasons I don't understand, punishment is not on the list of evidence based practices and probably because most people's sort of punishment is one of those words that how to punish my kid. Cause I think of it only one way. Like, do you hit your kid? And that is not at all punishment. So we are going to talk about punishment today. It's going to be a little, little sidebar from the punishment is absolutely an evidence based practice. I will tell a little brief story here. One of the absolute giants of our field professor Dick Malott who's the author of one of the textbooks that I used, it's called the behavior. I met him at a conference and when I was pretty early on in my career and I had heard that he had asserted that most behavior was controlled by punishment, right?
Speaker 1 (07:18):
Like fear of punishment, escape, you know, not wanting to be punished as why we do most of what we do. And I was taught not the opposite, but I was very much taught reinforcement is the key, right? Like you have to just like we talked about last week, you want to catch them doing what they're supposed to be doing. So their behavior goes up. You want it to be as quick as possible. So you want to reinforce the behaviors that you want. And for the most part, you want to ignore the behaviors that you don't want. And it's good little taste they're ignoring is a kind of punishment, right? Ignoring. And most of us in relationships know this reflexively, if you've ever had a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband you name it. If they ignore you, that's punishing, right.
Speaker 1 (08:01):
That hurts. That's, that's intended to make you uncomfortable. You've done something they're communicating to you that you've done something that they don't like. So a lot of folks will be like, no, no, no ignoring it's not punishment. It's just, it's not doing anything. Not true. I'm ignoring there's a, the term that we use is called planned ignoring where I very consciously ignore certain things. It's a nice way of saying it. If my wife does it to me, it doesn't feel very good if I do it. Like, if I'm like, Hey, I'm going to ignore my kid for some reason, they experience it as punishment. So we're going to talk a little bit about that. I don't know that I'm going to clear a whole ton up, but I'm gonna, I'm going to bring in a couple of friends, we've got reinforcement duck and punishment duck.
Speaker 1 (08:49):
And what I want you to kind of see from this is they're the same, right? They look identical, this good duck and bad duck, or I like this duck and not this duck. It just means that there's two kinds of ducks. So reinforcement duck means if I add something, if I give you the duck, it increases your behavior. So say you clean your room. I give you the duck and then, and clean your room more, right? I've positively reinforced the behavior because it's going up. You can take away reinforcement duck to drive up behavior. So the, the, the example that we'll use all the time is sunscreen. Oh, I got sunburned. I'm going to put on sunscreen and it's going to take away my getting sunburn. So I'm taking away the duck, but reinforcing the behavior. You're not going to get sunburned. And so you're going to use sunscreen more often.
Speaker 1 (09:43):
Now we're going to talk about punishment duck. Punishment, duck works the same way. Except behavior goes down with punishment duck. I can either add punishment, duck, which usually is, you know, that's where hitting comes in, right? Like if you spank somebody, I'm adding something, I'm giving you a spank or I'm yelling at you. Stop don't do that anymore. I've had enough of that. That's adding to I'm, I'm at, I'm adding my voice. So we'll take reinforcement duck out of here for a second. And what I'm trying to do is drive down that behavior, right? Like maybe it's your kid's wrestling. Maybe it's your kid slapping himself in the face. Maybe it's, whatever it is. You're trying to get that behavior to go down. So you're going to add a punishment. What we do more often than not though, is we take away things to try to punish, right?
Speaker 1 (10:34):
This is what most of our legal system is designed around. You do something you get caught. I'm going to take something away from you. I'm going to take away some money, right? You're going to get fine. This is how, when we get pulled over by the cops, it's called a response cost. That's going to cost you $150 for doing that behavior. I'm going to take away some of your money. And what I want to see is less of that behavior, speeding, running red lights, whatever the most extreme, well, not the most extreme example of it. The most extreme example of it is obviously taking your life away for not doing what a society decides you're supposed to do, but incarcerating you that's a much more common one, right? You're going to go to jail. We're going to take away your freedom. That's the punishment for you for doing what you've been doing.
Speaker 1 (11:17):
These were all kind of very severe sounding things, but we do punishments a thousand different ways with our kids, right? We do timeouts. And I hear from parents sometimes they're like and there's series of videos out there that you know how to raise your kid without punishment. Sorry, absurd. It's just, nobody does it that way. Why? Because your kids and those of you who have kids, or are around kids, they want a hundred percent of your attention and they want whatever they want whenever they want. So if you going to not punish them ever, you would give them everything they wanted whenever they wanted it. And they would get 100% of your attention all of the time. So even if you're not consciously being like I'm punishing my kid you are, and it's not because punishment is good or bad, right?
Speaker 1 (12:11):
They're both just ducks, punishment, duck, reinforcement, duck. They're just a phenomenon mechanisms. One makes behavior go up one makes behavior go down? And this is where we get ourselves in trouble. Like we talked about last week. Isn't that right? Reinforcement. [inaudible] that's what you talked about last week is when you have behavior going up, but you think that you're punishing them, right? They're doing something you don't want. Maybe they're fighting. Maybe they're breaking things. Maybe they're banging their head on their floor and that behavior is going up and you're doing what you think, punishes them. You're yelling at them. You're taking things away. You think you're punishing them. But what you're doing is reinforcing them. You're not using punishment duck. You're using reinforcement duck. How do you know that? Because the behavior is going up. If you are punishing them. And it was actually punishment, like, like we're talking about here, punishment and reinforcement, duck, it would go down.
Speaker 1 (13:09):
That's how it works. If it's punishing, the behavior goes down. If it's reinforcement, that behavior goes up. So this is where we get ourselves in a lot of trouble. It's why I wanted to kind of talk about this this week is that frequently when we think we're punishing, we're taking something away, we're adding something. We're yelling at somebody, we're doing whatever. And we're like, Oh, cause I want this behavior to go down. But the behavior is going up. You need to pause and say, wait a second. I'm using reinforcement, duck, not punishment, duck, how do I use punishment, duck or reinforcement duck in a different way to get the, what I want. Cause it really, I know it sounds overly simple, but it really is like that. Right. Do we want something to go up or do we want something to go down?
Speaker 1 (13:55):
And another good way of thinking about it is you can add something to a situation or take something away, right? So I can give you something or I can take something away. And that, that can be anything that can be an actual thing. Skittles, candy, food time, screen, time taking something away, same thing. It's just, what are we doing? Is the behavior going up or is the behavior going down? So we're probably gonna do more of these cause I'm probably going to get some videos. Are we using reinforcement duck or are we using punishment duck. What do you think guys? Where I we're both, you know, kinda just flip sides of the same thing. Yeah. We're friends. Yeah. Our friends too. I'm not a bad deck. No, you're not a bad duck. You're just punishment duck, right? Yeah. Oh, thanks.
Speaker 1 (14:37):
Hugs. All right. As you can see, the pandemic is getting to me a little bit anyway. I hope this was even a little bit informative. I am Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer of AnswersNow. We are a mobile app that pairs you directly with your own clinician, essentially put an Adam in your pocket. You got questions about punishment. You got questions about what to do with your kid, sign up and you will have your own expert helping you through this. And the key is we're going to help make you the expert. So go to getanswersnow.com, check out more about us. Download our app off of the app store. We are accepting insurance and have a great day.