A comparison of general and explicit delay cues to reinforcement for tangible-maintained challenging behaviour

Dev Neurorehabil. 2015;18(6):395-401. doi: 10.3109/17518423.2013.874378. Epub 2014 Jan 6.


Objectives: This compares effects of explicit delay cue to reinforcement to general delay cue to reinforcement when attempting to decrease tangible-maintained challenging behaviours of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Methods: Two school-age children with ASD participated in this study. In order to evaluate the effects of a general cue versus an explicit cue on the participants' tangibly maintained challenging behaviours, a multiple baseline design across settings with an embedded alternating treatments design was used.

Results: Results suggested that both types of delay cue to reinforcement demonstrated effectiveness on decreasing tangible-maintained behaviours of the participant. For both participants, an explicit delay cue demonstrated slightly better effects on the participants' challenging behaviours then a general delay cue.

Conclusions: This study adds an evidence to support that delayed reinforcement can be used as an effective strategy to reduce both escape and tangible-maintained challenging behaviours of children with ASD across multiple settings.

Keywords: Autism; challenging behaviours; delayed reinforcement; generalization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / physiopathology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Reaction Time
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*