Differential Reinforcement of Lower Rates of Behavior

DRL is a fairly simple procedure.  Using the information that can be found in the home page file/link on "Behavioral Recording", count the number of times per minute/hour/period/day that a youngster displays the behavior of concern.  Conduct your recording at least a couple of times to gain a representative number when you figure the average number of occurances.  Meet with the youngster and reveal the results of your recording.  Then inform the youngster that you will provide positive reinforcement (a reward) if the youngster displays one less behavior outburst than the average.  As the youngster meets with success, continue to lower the allowable amount of behavioral incidents until it reaches an acceptable level.

Teacher: "Fran, I've been keeping track of the number of times you yell out an answer without raising your hand and being recognized by me.  Over the last three periods, it's averaged out to about six times.  I'll tell you what I'd like to do...I'm willing to give you ****** for each period that you yell out five times or less."

Fran: "You're kidding me!  I get to yell out five times and I get a reward?"

Teacher: "Yes.  Because five times is better than six times."

The teacher, despite still be irritated at Fran's calling out behavior, praises and recognizes his accomplishment of the task (calling out the answer five or fewer times) and encourages him to "keep up the good work".  Three days later, the teacher lowers the limit to four times.  Two days later, the limit is lowered to three.  Fran continues to be successful.

Click here  for an description of how one teacher used DRL with her student

Award bonus incentives for beating the set limit by a greater amount than required (e.g., displaying the behavior only 6 times when the limit was 9 times).

Build in a clause in which going over the limit results in a penalty (the reward for meeting the limit is still in place).