Behavioral Approach to Speech, Language, Hearing, and Communication Disorders

Behavioral Approach to Speech, Language, Hearing, and Communication Disorders

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4955-0.ch011
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This chapter seeks to outline the overarching scenario of behavioral approaches to developmental and childhood speech, language, hearing, and communication disorders. By adopting the dichotomy of skill and problem behaviors, the steps or sequence, procedures, and practices of behavioral assessment and interventions are explained. While doing so, the uniquely Indian cultural underpinnings are highlighted with evidence-based empirical supports for the optimal benefits of the affected individuals. Additionally, two separate segments are focused on guidelines for skill training and problem behavior management along with case illustration on the format for their mapping procedures. The concluding section covers a critique of this approach which continues to hold promise for some more explorations in the contemporary circumstances for the optimum habilitation of these affected individuals.
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It is not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it. – Lou Holtz

There are varied approaches to understanding speech, language, hearing, and communication disorders (Figure 1). This chapter attempts to explain behavioral approach.

Figure 1.

Approaches to understanding speech, language, hearing, and communication disorders


Principles And Applications

Known by several names, depending on their applications and alternatives, such as, Behavior Therapy, Behavior Modification, Applied Behavior Analysis, Clinical Behavior Analysis, Functional Behavior Analysis, Behavior Management Program, Behavioral Economics, Behavior Finance, Behavioral Medicine, Behavioral Geriatrics, Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and others; all of them share common assumptions for understanding the underlying process through which people learn to behave the way they do. Based on principles of classical and operant conditioning, the role of rewards or reinforcements to increase behaviors and punishments to decrease them is underscored as the cardinal principle of behaviorism (Martin and Pear, 2016). Irrespective of the area of application, nomenclature or variants, behavioral practices are targeted toward developing new behavior, strengthening already achieved behavior, maintaining an established behavior, and for decreasing, stopping or eliminating inappropriate behaviors (Jena, 2008). They follow a characteristically systematic step-wise algorithm. It begins with designating a therapeutic agent, followed by identifying or listing of skill deficits or problem behaviors, prioritizing, selection of target behaviors for intervention, selection, and preparation of rewards, baseline, selection or implementation of treatment techniques, terminal evaluation, review and generalization (Spiegler, 2015; p. 60).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Chaining: An instructional procedure used by behaviorists that involves reinforcing individual responses occurring along a sequence of complex behavior.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A childhood developmental disorder characterized by short attention span, impulsivity, and overactivity.

Behavioral Mapping: A depiction of events or happenings related to observable and measurable actions in terms of their nature, setting, frequency or duration, before and after events.

Communication Disorders: Any disorder that affects an individual’s ability to comprehend, detect, or apply language and speech to engage in interaction with others.

Opposition Defiant Disorder: A disorder in a child marked by defiant and disobedient behavior to authority figures.

Antecedent: A thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another.

Contingency Contracting: An agreement between the therapist-client which states the offering of particular rewards contingent upon performance of certain agreed upon behaviors.

Functional-Utilitarian Model: It refers to the assumption in behavioral approach that all human actions are learned or maintained as means of some benefit or utility they provide to the person exhibiting them.

Extinction: The disappearance of previously learned behavior when the behavior is not reinforced anymore.

Conduct Disorder: A condition presenting itself as repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which basic rights of others or age-appropriate norms are violated.

Testing of Limits: The use of behavioral counter-strategies by a subject by maintaining the same maladaptive behavior to see how far one can go in the enforcement of behavior modification strategies.

Intellectual Disability: A new term for mental retardation that reflects a condition of significant limitations in cognitive functioning and in adaptive behavior.

Prompting: An act of helping or teaching a behavior to occur.

Skill Behavior: A positive, wanted, or adaptive human action that is sought to be taught for the benefit of the learner.

Biofeedback: A training process of gaining awareness of the physiological functions using instruments that provide information on the activity of those systems with a goal of being able to manipulate them.

Token Economy: A system of contingency management based on systematic reinforcement, is target behavior using tokens that can be exchanged for other reinforcements.

Differential Rewards: A procedure of reinforcement of certain specified behaviors while abstaining from rewarding certain other kinds of other or alternate behaviors.

Problem Behavior: A negative, unwanted, or maladaptive human action that causes stress on others, is either harmful to self or others, is age inappropriate and interferes in the learning or teaching of skill behaviors.

Applied Behavior Analysis: A scientific discipline concerned with developing techniques of behavior change based on principles of behaviorism.

Generalization: A tendency to respond in the same way to different but similar stimuli.

Situational Analysis: A framework for understanding behavior in the context, ambience, environment, or ecology of their occurrence.

Psychometric Approach: An approach that seeks to study individual differences while making measurements of various variables in psychology.

Challenging Behavior: Any behavior that interferes with learning, is harmful to the learner or others in the environment.

Autism: A childhood developmental disorder characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.

Symptom Substitution: At the core of psychoanalytic approach, it refers to the development of new symptoms that replaces an old symptom when they have been already cleared after the treatment.

Compliance Training: A non-coercive procedure involving the teaching of certain behavioral responses for particular stimulus conditions.

Punishment: A thing or event that occurs after a behavior and that which leads to reduction of that behavior.

Behavior Assessment: A method used to observe, describe, explain, predict, and correct behaviors based on the tenets proposed by behaviorism.

Life Span Approach: A perspective that accounts for human behavior across stages of development beginning from conception to death.

Consequence: The result or effect that is seen or occurs after a behavior.

Reward: A thing or event that occurs after a behavior and that which leads to increase in the occurrence of that behavior.

Normative Approach: A perspective which assumes that all behavioral phenomenon exists according to the normal distribution curve thereby signifying that a majority population lies in the center while the rest of them occupy less portions in the either extreme ends.

Premack Principle: The reinforcement of preferred more probable behaviors for the non-preferred low probable behaviors.

Operant Techniques: Also called instrumental techniques, it refers to methods of learning through rewards and punishments for behavior.

Functional Analysis: It is the application of the laws of operant and respondent conditioning to establish the relationships between stimulus and response.

Behavior Therapy: A form of psychotherapy which follows the tenets espoused by behaviorism in the correction, change, remediation, or treatment of maladaptive behaviors.

Human Rights Model: An approach in psychology that champions promotion of human rights, health, wellbeing, and dignity.

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