Behavior: A Constructional Approach

When I discovered the world of behavioral analysis I fell in love with its “constructional approach.” This just means that, as we like to say, we are in the business of building positive and functional behavior repertoires, not merely reducing and eliminating problematic behaviors. We understand that those undesired behaviors serve a function for the student. In other words, through those behaviors the student gets something he needs or wants or escapes/avoids aversive stimulus. Therefore, our treatment plans aimed not just at reduce/eliminate a behavior but identifying and teaching adaptive replacement behaviors as well. Undesirable behaviors are functional for the individual, they worked to provide him with what he wants and needs. The most effective way of eliminating undesired behaviors is teaching desirable replacement behaviors. We (teachers, behavior analysts, therapists) must develop plans conducive to that goal and motivate students to learn the appropriate behaviors.