Differential Reinforcement of an Incompatible or Alternative Behavior

Children will continue to engage in problem behaviors that are reinforced. Therefore, it is important to minimize reinforcement for disruptive behavior to reduce disruptive behavior.  Unfortunately, simply removing reinforcement often results in an “extinction burst”.  DR interventions have been developed to concurrently remove or reduce reinforcement for the problem behavior while reinforcing a functionally similar replacement behavior.  Thus, the problem behavior diminishes while the child is provided with an alternative (more acceptable) means to access the desired reinforcement. There have been many empirical demonstrations of the effectiveness of differential reinforcement (DR) interventions (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2008).

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