There are two opportunities to address a behavior, before it occurs and after it occurs. Addressing a behavior before it occurs is always the preferred approach, but since this is often an unrealistic goal, implementing a two-plan approach increases the likelihood of program success.
The Proactive Approach: Any procedure that prevents an undesired targeted behavior from occurring is referred to as a proactive program approach.
Proactive programming is a treatment approach that teaches what to do through positive reinforcement, as opposed to teaching what not to do through punishment. The principle supporting this approach is that for every excessive behavior there is a corresponding deficit behavior.
Proactive programming teaches appropriate alternative behaviors. Proactive programming can be implemented to both increase desired behaviors as well as decrease undesired behaviors.
The Reactive Approach: Any procedure that occurs following a targeted behavior is referred to as a reactive approach. As the name implies, the reaction to the behavior is intended to minimize the reinforcing effects of the behavior.
Reactive programming implements redirection and distraction techniques along with positive reinforcement. Punishment is not only an unacceptable approach, its also a very ineffective behavioral change technique.
A motivation assessment scale (MAS) will be completed before implementing a program to determine the function of the targeted behavior and design options that will serve the same function as the behavior targeted for change.