A FAB Sensory Behavioral Strategy for Kids with Autism

FAB (Functionally Alert Behavior) STRATEGIES

A clinically affective strategy for children with Autism who engage in repetitive self-injurious behavior is the FAB Reinforce Sensory Match Strategy.  The FAB Reinforce Sensory Match Strategy involves replacing the automatic sensory reinforcement that encourages repetitive self-injurious behaviors with matched sensory activities, while also reinforcing the child for refraining from the self-injurious behavior.  The Sensory Profile and a sensory functional behavioral analysis assessment can help direct the intervention.  The Sensory Profile alerts the therapist to definite difference in the child’s sensory processing that only occur in 1 out of 100 kids.  The Sensory Functional Behavioral Analysis establishes base line data, determines the function served by the problematic behavior, and helps direct intervention. The Reinforce Sensory Match strategy is most effective with children who have significantly different sensory modulation styles and engage in self-injurious behavior only to obtain sensory input.

The therapist hypothesizes the automatic sensory reinforcement the child is getting from the problematic behavior then offers adaptive equipment and sensory techniques that match it.  For example, when the Sensory Profile and Sensory Functional Behavioral Analysis show that a child repetitively mouths his hand for sensory reinforcement the therapist analyzes whether the sensory reinforcement is oral input, touch on his fingers, or both.  The client is then offered various mouth and hand touch activities, and a super chew toy is found to be his favorite.  The child is offered the chewey to use whenever he wants, and is praised for not mouthing his hands for progressively longer periods of time. For particularly problematic behavior the FAB Reinforce Sensory Match Strategy can be one component of a functional behavior plan written jointly by a Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Occupational Therapist.

References:

Dunn, W. (2007).  Supporting children to participate successfully in everyday life by using sensory processing knowledge.  Infants & Young Children, 20(2), 84-101.

Higbee, T.S., Chang, S., Endicott, K. (2005).  Noncontingent access to preferred sensory stimuli as a treatment for automatically reinforced stereotypy.  Behavioral Interventions, 20, 177-184.

Mays, N.M., Beal-Alvarez, J., Jolivette, K. (2011).  Using movement-based sensory interventions to address self-stimulatory behaviors in students with Autism.  Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(6), 46-52.

Rapp, T.R. (2006).  Toward an empirical method for identifying matched stimulation for automatically reinforced behavior: A preliminary investigation.  Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 39, 137-140.

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