Living and Learning With Animals
Part 1 and 2: Living and Learning with Animals: The Science & Technology of Behavior Change.
Living and Learning with Animals (LLA) is a seminar focused on the fundamental principles of learning and behavior, and the behavior change technology known as applied behavior analysis. All animals change their behavior due to experience, i.e., they learn, which gives this course trans-species, and interdisciplinary relevance to all professionals working with behavior.
Topics are presented with slides and illustrative videos and include the following:
- How Behavior Works: Understanding and Misunderstanding Behavior;
- The Significance of Science to Behavior Consulting;
- Respondent and Operant Learning;
- Functional Assessment;
- The Commitment to Ethical Practice;
- The Case for Empowerment;
- Procedures for Changing Respondent Behavior;
- Procedures for Changing Operant Behavior;
- and, Designing Behavior Change Plans.
As a result of attending this seminar, participants will be better able to teach learners effectively and humanely.
Part 3: Functional Assessment and Analysis: Hypothesizing the What, When, and Why of Behavior Problems.
Functional assessment and analysis is a set of procedures used to hypothesize and test the functionally related environmental conditions that signal and maintain problem behaviors. These procedures are well validated within the field of applied behavior analysis, particularly with children exhibiting severe behavior problems. Functional assessment and analysis has wide applicability to pets and other animals in captivity, as well. The outcome of a good functional assessment is a summary statement that includes:
- a clear, observable description of the problem behavior,
- the general and immediate environmental conditions that predict the behavior, and
- the purpose the behavior serves for the animal (i.e. the consequences the behavior produces).
With this information, environmental changes can be made to make the problem behavior irrelevant, inefficient and ineffective. Without this information, the wrong behavior may inadvertently be reinforced. At the same time, acceptable alternative behaviors can be reinforced to meet the same, or different, functions for the animal. A framework for accomplishing a functional assessment, analysis, and systematic intervention planning is presented.
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