G-21: Use procedures to promote stimulus and response generalization ©

Important note: Fictionalized clients are used to demonstrate the skill items in the second half of the task list, sections F-I. They make the most sense when read in order. Please remember that there is not substitute for real-life supervision and consultation. Get your case-specific advice from professionals – not from the internet! These examples are just that – examples of how behavior analytic skills might be applied.

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Case example: Jada is an elementary school student. She experiences Level 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Level 3 is the severity level of Autism which is characterized by “requiring very substantial support.” Jada has also been diagnosed with a severe Intellectual Disability (ID). Jada has just transferred to a private school for individuals with global needs. She loves all kinds of play and messy activities, such as finger paint and water play. She also enjoys swinging on the playground, eating popcorn, and watching Disney movies. She loves to be read to, and laughs when staff make dramatic gestures while reading picture books. Jada does not use any vocal speech. She makes noises sometimes, such as humming. Jada engages in motor stimming, including upper body tensing and flapping her arms. Jada engages in severe challenging behavior, including self injury (hand to head and head to surface) and aggression (including hitting and biting). Jada has a mom, dad, and older brother living together in one home. Jada’s family has advocated for her to attend a private program, and they are excited for her to get high quality services. Jada’s new behavior analyst is Dr. Brown-Davis, who is a BCBA-D employed by the private program.

Example of Item G-21: Dr. Brown-Davis designs programming for Jada that involves multiple staff, multiple settings (physical spaces), multiple contexts (activities/interactions within spaces), and many opportunities to practice skills. Data are tracked carefully to ensure that Jada is acquiring skills, and that her behavior is not inadvertently coming under “faulty stimulus control” (responding to irrelevant stimuli). For example, Jada can practice asking for all her preferred items, along with novel items that she may explore and choose to request. She is supported in requesting things at her work table, at the grocery store, in transportation, in the bathroom, etc. She is also presented with a variety of non-preferred demands and taught to safely request to be done with all of them in multiple settings/contexts. In this way, Jada learns to respond to a variety of stimuli with the same response (for example, exchanging a picture icon with multiple staff and multiple preferred items), and to vary her response in the presence of the same stimulus (for example, in the context of a group activity, her staff may be distracted with another student, so Jada may need to engage in more persistent responding such as tapping her staff’s shoulder before handing over the picture icon).


Case example: Donovan is a high school student. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). He attends a public school and has been placed in a support program for students with social/emotional/behavioral needs. Donovan enjoys playing video games and drawing in his sketchbook. He would like to be a welder when he is an adult. Academic achievement and attendance have been challenges for Donovan historically, and he is currently not on track to graduate with his peers due to missed work and failing grades in several classes. Donovan’s team has identified challenges including frequent non-attendance to school, walking the halls during class times, non-attendance at expected guidance appointments, and non-completion of classwork. Donovan lives with his mother and older brother. Donovan’s mother is concerned about her son’s school challenges and expresses frustration about his “lack of commitment” to his education. She wants Donovan to understand how important it is to graduate from high school. Donovan’s behavior analyst is Ms. Bailey, who has just started contracting with Donovan’s school district through the agency she works for.

Example of Item G-21: Ms. Bailey designs programming for Donovan that involves multiple teachers and paraprofessionals (prompting functional communication responses and facilitating the requests). This is done to facilitate stimulus generalization. Once Donovan’s intervention is in the maintenance phase, Ms. Bailey instructs teachers and paraprofessionals to accept approximations of the functional communication requests, e.g. “I need to take a break from work and sketch”, “I need to be done for now and sketch”, “Can I sketch instead of this work for a little bit?”. This is done to facilitate response generalization.

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