• What Is the Value of Positive Reinforcement?

    Happy family moments.

    One of the behavioral interventions for autism that has stood the test of time is applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA techniques are geared toward increasing incidences of desired behaviors while reducing undesired behaviors. One of the driving principles behind ABA is the use of positive reinforcement. Here’s a closer look at the importance of positive reinforcement and how best to use it:


    By definition, a behavior can be thought of as any action carried out by a person, anything a person does. For example, a child pointing correctly to a blue card upon request is just as much a “behavior” as a child having a temper tantrum. To simplify the concept, we can say that when a child performs a socially desired behavior, he or she is rewarded in some manner. The reward teaches the child to execute these desired behaviors again, thereby reducing the incidences of undesired behaviors. A critical component of ABA is to not punish the undesired behaviors, but to replace them with more appropriate behaviors through the use of positive reinforcement.


    Ideally, families can incorporate ABA principles such as positive reinforcement into daily life. The best results can be achieved through a collaborative effort with everyone agreeing on what behaviors should be eligible for reinforcement.  Generally, any new behavior that you are training or any behavior that you would like to see increase, should be reinforced. Positive reinforcement should be delivered immediately after the desired behavior is performed to be most effective. Also, use a size of reinforcer that is comparable to the amount of effort extended.  So, a small reinforce for an easier response and a large reinforcer for a very difficult response. Reinforcers vary for each individual and can include almost anything but they can change all the time so you constantly have to ask yourself what the child REALLY wants.  Positive reinforcement may sometimes be directly associated with the behavior; for example, if a child successfully uses a verbal request for a glass of milk, he can be rewarded with milk.

    Effective and Ethical

    Not only is positive reinforcement scientifically proven to increase behavior, it is effective in teaching new and improved behavior, and in doing so, also decreases unwanted behavior.  It also is the most ethical choice.  Punishment does not teach new behavior, it only focuses on decreasing what is unwanted.  Punishment can make the child avoid you whereas reinforcement will likely lead the child to approach you as you become a signal of all the things the child likes.  Reinforcement Rules!

    Learn more about the benefits of positive reinforcement and other applied behavior analysis techniques. Contact The Behavior Exchange of Dallas at (888) 716-8084 to schedule a consultation. We believe in implementing a collaborative approach that involves schools, family, and other professionals.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • The Quality Divide

    Symbol of medicine

    This article brings to light the tragic socioeconomic divide of quality treatment, not just in autism treatment, but with many developmental, mental health issues and more.  We hope one day that the only criteria for receiving quality treatment will be based solely on one thing: NEED.  We partner with agencies, school districts and other organizations to help children and families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access services.  But, the need is great and the divide is also.  How can we help families who can’t afford services?

    There has to be a creative solution. If you know of one, we would love to help. We do as much as we can, but we want to do more .

  • Pleygo Launches Netflix for Legos

    LEGO House

    Published by DailyCandy

    We’re all for play that cultivates motor skills and a budding interest in technology.

    We just wish the road to an engineering degree from MIT weren’t paved with forgotten Legos stuck to the bottoms of our feet.

    Clear the playroom floor with Pleygo. The just-launched company aims to be the Netflix of Legos, keeping little ones in fresh bricks — and your shelves free of old, abandoned sets.

    Subscribe and create a wish list, and the first available set arrives at your doorstep. Once your kiddo completes the  Star Wars  X-Wing Fighter, toss the pieces in the prepaid box and send back. They’ll be fully sanitized for other little architects, and your tiny tinkerer will receive the next kit in his queue.

    There’s no extra charge for lost strays (within reason), returned sets are thoroughly checked, and each shipment contains a bag of spares, just in case.

    As for the old Legos taking up valuable towel space in your linen closet? Send in existing sets to start earning credits toward your membership cost. So you can get that much closer to scoring the latest Lego set.

    In other words, the new kid on the block.

    Available at  pleygo.com , $15-$39 a month.

    The specialists at The Behavior Exchange are highly skilled in the use of ABA techniques to help children with autism spectrum disorders. Please call our Dallas location today at (888) 716-8084 to schedule your initial consultation. You could also visit us on the Web to  learn more  about us.


  • Love Leads to Hope.


  • The Benefits of One-on-One Teaching

    family learning shapes

    When a child is diagnosed with autism or another neurodevelopmental disorder, he ideally receives programs and supports that are customized to meet his unique needs. This program often includes group sessions, family sessions, and one-on-one training. One-on-one training is particularly critical because no two children are alike; the specialist can work directly with each child to address various behaviors and other issues. Especially in the beginning, one-on-one therapy is critical in teaching the fundamental skills that are lacking.  Only once these fundamentals are solidly trained can the child begin building on a strong foundation and make life-changing progress.

    For example, a group of children with Asperger’s syndrome might work together to improve their understanding of body language and subtle social cues as it pertains to conversation skills and in a variety of contexts. Meanwhile, a child who struggles with the comprehension of idioms might work with a therapist one-on-one to improve his or her interpretation of abstract language.

    At The Behavior Exchange of Dallas, we offer children individualized programs based on their unique needs , with a mix of group sessions, one-on-one sessions, and parent training. Learn more about our approach and behavior classes by giving us a call at (888) 716-8084.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • Put Down the Electronics and Get in Some Quality Time with Your Child this Summer.

    Summer Quote

  • A Closer Look at Asperger’s Syndrome

    Magnifying Glass

    Each child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experiences the disorder in a unique way. Asperger’s syndrome is one of the neurodevelopmental disorders that falls on the spectrum. If your child is diagnosed with Asperger’s or another autism spectrum disorder, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the issues involved. Become an informed advocate for your child by learning more about Asperger’s with the following overview:

    Potential Signs

    While not every child will experience the same signs and symptoms of Asperger’s, there are a few commonalities. Primarily, Asperger’s affects a child’s behavior, communication, and social skills. Unlike classic autism, Asperger’s does not cause language delays . However, children can experience other types of communication deficits, such as pragmatic language difficulties. Pragmatic language skills refer to the use of language in a social way. For example, a child might fail to make eye contact during conversation, have trouble maintaining the natural flow of conversation, or fail to interpret and use gestures and body language. Although young children with Asperger’s typically wish to interact with their peers (unlike those with classic autism), they have trouble doing so and may be inappropriate which can isolate and stigmatize them.

    Assessment Measures

    As with any neurodevelopmental disorder, it’s important to have a child with suspected Asperger’s evaluated as early as possible so intervention and therapy can begin. There are no medical tests available to diagnose Asperger’s; however, a doctor may perform certain tests to rule out the possibility of underlying medical conditions that mimic the appearance of Asperger’s. An autism expert can also assess the child’s developmental history and perform close observations.  Although a diagnosis is not needed to initiate treatment, it is often necessary to obtain insurance coverage.

    Behavioral Therapies

    Children who are diagnosed with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders can benefit from applied behavior analysis (ABA), which is a set of techniques that teach children important skills, such as social interactions. ABA involves the use of positive reinforcement to encourage desirable behaviors while reducing undesirable ones.

    The specialists at The Behavior Exchange are highly skilled in the use of ABA techniques to help children with autism spectrum disorders. Please call our Dallas location today at (888) 716-8084 to schedule your initial consultation. You could also visit us on the Web to learn more about us.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • Summer Activities for Kids

    Ready for travel

    Summers coming!! Find activities of mutual interest to enjoy with your child. If they like swimming, get in the pool! If they like the park, swing next to them.  If they love to draw, draw their favorite character or get a simple step-by-step drawing book that you can both practice with. Building any relationship involves having fun and enjoying each other. Put down the electronics and get in some quality time together this summer.

  • Learn to Sail Your Ship, No Matter What.


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    The Behavior Exchange’s June Newsletter. See what the buzz is all about.

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