ADDRESSING PERFORMANCE DEFICITS
If the functional behavioral assessment reveals that the student knows the skills necessary to perform the behavior, but does not consistently use them, the intervention plan may include techniques, strategies, and supports designed to increase motivation to perform the skills.
If the assessment reveals that the student is engaging in the problem behavior because it is more desirable (or reinforcing) than the alternative, appropriate behavior, the intervention plan could include techniques for making the appropriate behavior more desirable. For instance, if the student makes rude comments in class in order to make her peers laugh, the plan might include strategies for rewarding appropriate comments as well as teaching the student appropriate ways to gain peer attention. Behavioral contracts or token economies and other interventions that include peer and family support may be necessary in order to change the behavior.
Sometimes a child does not perform the behavior simply because he or she sees no value in it. While the relevance of much of what we expect students to learn in school is apparent to most children, sometimes (especially with older children) it is not. For example, if Sheran wants to be a hairdresser when she graduates, she may not see any value in learning about the Battle of Waterloo. Therefore, the intervention plan may include strategies to increase her motivation, such as demonstrating to Sheran that she must pass History in order to graduate and be accepted into the beauty school program at the local community college.
Another technique for working with students who lack intrinsic motivators is to provide extrinsic motivators. If the student cannot see any intrinsic value in performing the expected behaviors, it may be necessary to, at least initially, reinforce the behaviors with some type of extrinsic reward, such as food, activities, toys, tokens, or free time. Of course, extrinsic rewards should gradually be replaced with more "naturally occurring" rewards, such as good grades, approval from others, or the sheer pleasure that comes from success. This process of fading out, or gradually replacing extrinsic rewards with more natural or intrinsic rewards, may be facilitated by pairing the extrinsic reward with an intrinsic reward. For example, when rewarding David with popcorn for completing his homework, the paraprofessional could say, David, you have completed all of your homework this week, and your class participation has increased because you are better prepared. You must be very proud of yourself for the hard work you have done. In this way, David should eventually become intrinsically rewarded by a sense of pride in completing all of his assignments