The FAB Rainbow goal strategy is useful for developing goals and reinforcers that motivate students, while involving staff in supporting the goal and its achievement. Like the FAB Coping card strategy, the rainbow goal allows clients to visually plan and review their behavioral goals and reinforcement schedule. The student begins by drawing a star at the top of the rainbow representing what they would choose if they could earn anything in the world. It is presented as the positive opposite of what they say they want to avoid (e.g., being kicked out of their home or school).
Next, the student draws five separately colored rainbows beneath the star describing the steps needed to achieve their goal. The five rainbows are the specific steps they need to take to achieve their goal, described positively as what they need to do rather than what they need to avoid doing. The final rainbow is what they need to do immediately upon returning to class, and is linked to a sticker chart and tangible reinforcer.
The rainbow goal pictured below was done by a sixth grader with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, who hit classmates approximately every ten minutes. He was initially unable to identify any goals for the future or prizes he wanted. The student reported that his goal was to stay at home, rather than again being sent to a group home or juvenile detention facility. Using the FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy the therapist guided him in visually representating his goal and the steps for achieving it.
His sequential rainbow steps were organized into positive opposites of his current behaviors: “I can talk to Mom when upset (stop hitting Mom), Stay in control (not hit peers), and Do what Mom asks” (not misbehave). His final rainbow step was that he would now go back and “Today work hard in school”. The therapist also learned from his mother that the most effective way to increase his behaviors was to give him items related to toy cars.
After observing the student and collecting data the student’s greatest current problem was found to be hitting other students, so the positive opposite of keeping safe hands was used to behaviorally describe his current goal: “Today work hard in school”. Since the student was found to hit others on average once every ten minutes the reinforcement schedule was developed that 15 minutes of safe hands (not hitting peers) earned one car sticker.
The student’s rainbow goal picture was laminated to his desk, and he received one car sticker whenever he kept safe hands for fifteen minutes. If he hit another student before10 minutes the teacher pointed to his rainbow goal and explained she still liked him but could not award him a sticker yet because he was not showing his goal of working hard in class by keeping safe hands for fifteen minutes. At the end of the day he would cash in all his car stickers for a reward. One sticker earned a racing car card and stick of gum, while six stickers bought a toy race car and an hour with an adult who would help him assemble it.
The FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy is useful for motivating students, staff and families to set a behavioral goal, action plan for achieving it, and follow a reinforcement schedule. It promotes goal directed positive behaviors such as safe hands, which research shows can decrease the development of long term aggressive behavior. The FAB Rainbow Goal Strategy empowers students, teachers, therapists and families to develop and visually represent behavioral goals, so they are motivated to achieve them. It is helpful to pair the students most immediate goal with an observeable behavior and tangible reinforcer.
Kazdin, A. E. (2008). The Kazdin Method for parenting the Defiant Child. NY, NY: Mariner Books. http://childconductclinic.yale.edu/
Seifert, K. (2011). CARE-2 Assessment: Chronic Violent Behavior and Treatment Needs. Boston, MA: Acanthus Publishing. www.drkathyseifert.com