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DIFFERENTIAL REINFORCEMENT Effect Size 0.95 Implementation Tools & Resources

Along with a continuum of strategies designed to acknowledge appropriate behaviors, it is also important for teachers to have a continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behaviors. Differential reinforcement is the reinforcement of appropriate behavior while also withholding reinforcement for engaging in inappropriate behavior or reinforcement of a response under one condition but not another. When used consistently, differential reinforcement increases positive behaviors as well as decreases or eliminates negative behaviors. Differential reinforcement is typically used for behaviors that are maintained by attention. There are several types of differential reinforcement, which have subtle differences. Definition Example Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO) Reinforce the student when refraining from engaging in the inappropriate behavior AND/OR reinforce another student when engaging in the desired appropriate behavior. A student who is frequently out of seat during instructional time is reinforced when staying seated AND/OR a student peer is reinforced for staying seated (following

Critical Actions for Educators

*Select target behavior to be decreased. *Select alternative behaviors to be taught and reinforced. *Determine a schedule of reinforcement for the alternative behavior. *Provide reinforcement of alternative behavior based on planned schedule. *Use planned ignoring of inappropriate behavior when first occurs. *Monitor the student’s performance. *Decrease the frequency

classroom rules) when the target student is out of seat. A student who frequently teases peers is reinforced when giving a peer a compliment (incompatible behavior).

Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior (DRI)

Reinforce the student when engaging in a behavior that is incompatible with the inappropriate behavior (an incompatible behavior is one that the student cannot engage in at the same time as the inappropriate behavior). Reinforce the student when engaging in an alternative positive behavior (an alternative positive behavior is one that is specifically taught as a replacement behavior).

of reinforcement as student’s behavior improves.

Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA)

A student who blurts out answers is taught to use a signal card when wanting to make a comment and is reinforced when using the signal card.

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