"Providing Clear, Concrete Visual Supports with Behavioral Development Strategies to Promote Independent Reasoning Skills"

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Do the Consequences Meet the Needs of the Student?

“Irene’s $1,000 Question”
Green (2003) © "Red and Green Choices" TM www.redandgreenchoices.com

What I do at school is make sure my students understand the information I present to them, by using varying techniques through providing different perspectives.

During the near end of my presentation on October 16, 2003 at the Autistic Spectrum Kids Support Group Meeting at Fisher-Titus Medical Center, I emphasized the consequences meeting the needs of the students. Questions were asked about students being “unmotivated”. Then after the meeting, many individual questions were again asked about the topic of consequences meeting needs.

Section 1: Do the Consequences Meet the Needs of the Student?
I will provide a different perspective about consequences meeting the needs of the student, using an adult situation. This situation is about you.

Does the consequence meet your needs. Is it worth it to you? What does it mean to you? Does the green consequence (or end product) meet your green choice expectation?

You’ve told me how happy you would be if I gave you $1,000. You said you wanted this to be your green consequence to green behavior, or your high response item, or a natural reinforcer. I know you would really like that. So, I will give you $1,000.
(Your reaction.... excitement, motivation, willingness)

But, you’ll need to earn it.
(Your still probably excited and motivated, just like a child.)

So, do this one thing for me, and you’ll get the money.
(Still the same, only this one thing.)

Work for me filing papers for one year, five days a week for eight hours a day.
(What? How do you feel now? Are you motivated to consequently receive your high response item? But you really like and want the $1,000. So, you’ll do what I ask to earn the $1,000 - right? Working is a green choice, and the $1,000 is your high response item - right?)

Then, at the end of that one-year, I will give you the $1,000.
(Do all of that, and then wait a year before you receive the end product? Are you motivated or unmotivated? Would you even attempt this, or would you become upset or angry that somebody would actually even think of this plan? Are you offended? What would you do?)

Does this consequence ($1,000.) meet your needs? Is it worth it to you? How often would you display this behavior for this arranged consequence? Remember, it is your high response item. It’s the $1,000 you want everyday.

Now rearrange the consequences for an adult.

Is this consequence worth it to you?

Example of Rearrangement:

You’ve told me how happy you would be if I gave you $1,000. I know you would really like that. So, I will give you $1,000.

But, you’ll need to earn it.

So, do this one thing for me, and you’ll get the money.

Work for me filing papers for three hours, on two separate days.

Then, at the end of the second day, I will give you the $1,000.

Does this consequence ($1,000.) meet your needs? Is it worth it to you? How often would you display this green choice behavior for this rearranged consequence? It’s the same high response item, but with different green choice expectations.

Now a child example:

This situation focuses on a generalized situation a child may be put in. Is it worth it to them? What does it mean to them? Will choosing this green choice behavior be worth the green consequence?

Example for a Student:

You’ve told me how happy you would be if I gave you time on the computer. This is your natural or unconditioned reinforcer, and you love the computer. I know you would really like that. So, I will give you time on the computer.

But, you’ll need to earn it.

So, do this one thing for me, and you’ll get computer time.

Sit at circle time for 45 minutes each day, for an entire school week.

Then, at the end of that school week, I will give you time on the computer.

Does this consequence (computer time) meet your student’s needs? Is it worth it to them? How often would your student display this green choice behavior for this arranged green consequence? What does it mean to them? The computer is a natural, unconditioned reinforcer. It’s what the student ultimately wants.

Section 2: Arranging the Green Consequences to Increase Green Choice Expectations
Yes, these situations are obviously exaggerated.  Think about a child’s behavioral reasoning skills. Arrange consequences to increase (green) appropriate and desired behavioral responses.

Create a positive green situation when initiating Red and Green Choices. Make a picture card with ‘yes green sit’ and ‘no red up’, using the colors.

Use a picture of yes green sit with a green smiley face, with the opposite being a picture of no red up with a red face with a straight line. Begin developing green understanding first.

(I make different pictures, and eventually students choose one to hold during circle time in the large group classroom.)

Have the student sit for ____ seconds or ____ minutes at circle time. Then present the green consequence. Provide the response immediately. Quickly produce the green end result – green computer time.

But, during that 30-second period, begin to develop Red and Green Choices meaning.

Verbally and visually remind the student how green that behavior is, by pairing it with smiles, happy face cards, holding up a green marker, a picture of the green computer choice and so on.

Pairing provides a student with green meaning. The color green is associated with positive appropriate behaviors and a desired consequence. The green is beginning to mean happy smiling faces, a high response consequence, and attention to one’s own behavior through reminders of the green behavior.

Eventually the intensiveness will fade, through pairing. Green will mean something to that child. After successful trials, just hold up the green marker. The green stimulus is becoming a conditioned reinforcer.

If I gave you the $1,000 by continuing the second arrangement - the two-day expectation, you would most likely display that green working behavior for a period of time. Now what if I added in numerous compliments about your work and how well you were doing it. Then, other people began to give you compliments of your green work skills. This would be comparable to adding in green pictures and smiles and green reinforcing stimulus for the child.

Now think of the future rate or probability of the child displaying the appropriate green behavior. Will the child want to sit again to earn computer time?

Then, after a few successful ____ second or ___ minute trials - whichever your original plan was, then increase the sitting time. Make it an appropriate successful green step. In other words, should you suddenly increase the time to one hour? No. Arrange the next time frame by predicting behaviors.

Then immediately provide the green consequence. The sitting behavior is being developed through positive means with pairing, shaping, positive reinforcement, consequences, antecedent stimulus, and natural reinforcers. The antecedent stimulus is the cards you are holding up. You may also want to consider introducing the audible stimulus finger-snap. It will eventually promote "think green" when the student needs a reminder of Red and Green Choices.

Section 3: Remember Student’s Individual Needs
Be attentive to the student’s needs. If the student threw-up in the garbage this morning, twenty minutes before sitting at circle, should you expect the same green sitting for an increased amount of time? Or should you decrease the time for that day or period? What if during that circle time, a guest presenter will be there? Does this alter the arrangement to the green sitting skill? Sometimes it may.

Section 4: The Introduction of Red Choice Consequences
Decide when the introduction of red adult responses will be. After green success that means something to the child (conditioned reinforcer), provide red choices with meaning. Begin to condition red choices with red consequences. A red consequence is not earning the computer for that specific trial. (Be sure to allow the student another opportunity to make green choices, to earn the green computer consequence.)

As soon as the child is not sitting (up, crawl) hold up the red marker, the red no computer card, and use the opposite facial expressions and so on. Be sure every green adult and child response has a positive opposite red choice.

If green means something to the child now, and has been conditioned successfully, then the student begins to crawl, then hold up a picture of ‘no red crawl’ with a ‘no computer’ card. What do you think the child will do? Most likely choose green, as before when it was being positively reinforced.

A student may need to experience not earning the computer for that card to mean something. Cover the computer with a red ‘no computer card’. Make sure the picture has a red X through it. Pair the red ‘no computer’ with ‘no red crawl’, or the opposite red target behavior for reduction.

But, be sure the student is provided another opportunity to make green choices after an unsuccessful trial.

When the student sees the high response item -the computer- covered with a red choice and red consequence card, then try it again.

Ask the student "go green sit?", or "yes green sit", or whatever you know they will understand.

If the student becomes upset and flops to the floor then you may want to wait until they "green calm" before using overloading language.

Initial development of behaviors begins with green first. Usually, promoting and reinforcing the green behaviors naturally reduces the red target behavior.

If a child has consequently earned green computer time, tape up a picture of why they are on the computer. Remind them of what green choice they displayed. You may even want to have the child circle the green picture of the computer once it is earned.

Section 5: Supporting Students' Green Choices Successfully
This is another perspective, using adults to provide meaning to a child’s situation and to help intervening adults to think in behavioral terms.

Telephone Rings..

It’s your good friend Jane. She tells you that her friend Sally has a job for you to do for $1,000. Sally will be calling soon.

Sally calls, you agree to the arrangement and earning $1,000.

She asks you to be at her farm tomorrow to dig 5 holes. You agree.

You are there the next day, waiting. You are at the farm, but you are looking at different buildings, a lot of land and three houses. You have no idea where the five holes are supposed to be. You are there by yourself. Sally is not around; you don’t know what to do. Sally never said she would be there or described the situation to you. Now what?

You go back home and call Sally.

Sally is so sorry, and wants you to try again tomorrow. She says she will mark the spots where the holes are to be dug.

You agree.

Next day, you arrive and see the marks where the holes are to go. But today the gate is closed and locked. Now what? Now you’re becoming flustered with the entire $1,000. This is beginning to run into your other plans. It was supposed to be one day, now it’s two days and you’ll need to be motivated to call Sally and be nice to her.

You still want the money. But, you’re frustrated with Sally’s unclear ways (expectations). What does Sally expect from you? Why is Sally so unclear? How could she expect you to start digging the holes when you can't, because the gate is locked.

You call, she’s sorry, and she tells you where the key is.

You once again arrive the next and third day. You make it through the gate, and go to where the holes need to be dug. Now you’re wondering what else could possibly go wrong and becoming unmotivated and frustrated.  As you become closer and closer to the holes, you hear a buzzing sound. It is very loud. You are about 50 feet away from the holes. It sounds like bees. Now you are very nervous, uncomfortable and a little scared.

Since you are beginning to mistrust Sally, you are rethinking the entire situation. Sally doesn’t seem to be too dependable. Do you trust Sally enough to continue, or will you stop?

So you decide to stop. You call Sally and find out there is a bee farm next to her farm.  She insists the bees will not harm you, but you remember how loud that buzzing sound was. So Sally decides to leave you with headphones so the sound does not bother you. You hesitate trying again.

You decide to go back again the next and fourth day with the headphones on. Yes it is muffling the sound, but you are very uncomfortable and becoming upset and frustrated again. You can either walk away and forget the entire situation, or continue trying. Your only thought is that buzzing sound. You know it is bees, but Sally assures they will not harm you.

So you are finally at the spot to dig and see no shovel. Now you are mad. How are you supposed to dig holes with no shovel, with the buzzing of bees in your ear? You are ready to quit and walk away. This is becoming nonsense! You begin to think that Sally can just keep her money and stay away from you.

You go home and call Sally. She interrupts, before you say anything about a shovel. and says she was going to give you a bee suit to where, but she just found it. A bee suit? You sent me in that area with headphones when you had a bee suit? Now you are very mad. You tell her to forget it; you don’t want anything to do with those 5 holes or that $1,000. You want nothing to do with Sally.

You talk to Jane later and she informs you that upon completion of the project, Sally was going to give you the $1,000. Then she tells you it was going to be in increments of $10.00 a month. Now you are very mad, frustrated and unwilling to associate yourself with Sally.

Now you are glad you stopped and walked away from the project.

Two months later, your friend Jane tells you about something Sally wants you to do. You give her the benefit of the doubt and let her tell you. Sally wants you to help her build a house. You laugh.

Now - What If Sally Presented the Situation This Way, The First Time:
If Sally provided clear expectations with the necessary tools to support a successful outcome the first time, would you do it then? If she gave you:

A.  Supplies
Map     Key     Shovel      Bee Suit       A Two-Way Radio for Immediate Contact

B.  One-on-One Assistance
What if she does it with you the first time, providing explanations as situations arrive, and answering all of your questions? What if she completes the small steps with you, until you can manage and do it on your own?

Would you begin to trust Sally if she did it this way, the first time?

Would you be willing to assist Sally in building a house? Would you engage in that more intensive and complex situation with many more expectations?

Section 6: Possible Situation, "I'm Using Red and Green, But My Student Will Not Work, I Give Him Red Then He Doesn't Do Any Work The Rest Of The Day."
Think about this situation behaviorally - by putting yourself in a comparable situation. Try to figure out exactly what is happening or being promoted.

Back To The $1,000 -

Do you want $1,000? Yes? Great. Be here tomorrow to begin your work.

Work: File papers for one year... so on. We all know where this is going. (As stated above.)

Along with your immediate boss (teacher) expecting too much and not meeting your consequent needs, now you are receiving a report (chart) with poor marks on it. This will be on your record. You will need to show this to the supervisor (mom/dad).

How do you feel? Do you trust your boss? Is a positive work (behavioral) relationship being built, or is your self-confidence being crushed? When you show up for work tomorrow - would you actually perform any tasks for that person?

Would you say "Fine, give me a poor report - I don't care." Or, would you say, "Sure, let's do all of that again, and I'll try even harder today!"

What do you think of your boss (teacher) now? What is being promoted? Confusion, frustration and "Behavioral Mistrust".

Stop. Start Over.

It can be a positive behaviorally trustworthy relationship. Your needs AND your students' needs can be met. Have a plan. Think about what to do. If a certain step isn't working, then rearrange it.

Stop / Start Over:

Next Day at School:

"Bob", what would you like to earn today after your first green choice assignment is done - 10 minutes of:

Green Choice Items:
computer, book, magazine, drawing in your journal....
(high response student chosen item)

Please circle your choice.

Now: Please choose which assignment you will do first today:
A - Spelling Test
B - 20 Math Multiplication Problems
C - Write one Paragraph About _____ Topic

When you are finished, you may do your green choice item.

I will set the timer. When it rings, you'll need to complete another task. Then you can have 10 more minutes of your choice.

Bob, do you think this is fair? Will you do this?

Will you stop when the timer rings? Then you can earn your choice item again - after next assignment.

I am so proud of you. Thank your for trying. Your mom/dad will know what choices you made today. They will see the green choices on your chart. I hope you are smiling inside. I am smiling, too. Thank you for choosing green. Would you like me to write mom/dad a special note about how I am so proud of your green choices?

There is a difference between:

"USING" Red and Green Choices - Simply Using the Colors Red and Green,

and actually

"DOING" Red and Green Choices - Through Applying Positive Behavioral Development Strategies.

There are many different Red and Green Choices strategies for "Bob". I chose one as a possible option.

Section 7: Final Thoughts
Allow students the opportunity to engage in successful outcomes. Begin a "behavioral trust" relationship immediately. Allow the student to depend on you for explanations, expectations, and choices. Support their feelings and provide the appropriate tools for successful outcomes throughout the entire process.

Build upon small sequential steps successfully through appropriate means, before you introduce other intensive and complex situations with many more behavioral expectations (Sally - building a house).

Green (2003) © "Red and Green Choices"  www.redandgreenchoices.com

The Material Presented from "Red and Green Choices", Is Based Upon Irene's Own Behavioral Intervention Strategies, and What Types of Behavioral
and Academic Assistance Has Promoted Positive Outcomes With Her and Her Students When Applying Red and Green Choices Behavioral Principles


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