Extinction is defined as the withdrawal of the consequent stimulus that previously maintained the problem behavior. In other words, extinction is stopping the positive reinforcement that has been encouraging the inappropriate target behavior to continue.

This is a case study that was conducted in a public school in The United States of America. Ben, a ten-year-old boy was diagnosed with Severe Emotional Disorder. The case study illustrates the effectiveness of extinction. Ben often engaged in off-task behavior, property destruction, and physical aggression all of which were defined as his target behaviors. Observers defined his off-task behavior as: leaving the classroom without permission, wandering in the hallway, interrupting other classrooms, and talking to the administrative staff in the principal s office. Data on Ben s behavior was collected in all school settings. Researchers determined that Ben s aggression occurred at the highest rate when it was followed by attention from others. Thus, in his case attention-extinction was implemented. Attention-extinction is withholding the attention that follows the target behavior. Teachers would ignore Ben when he engaged in target behaviors by giving her attention to other students or activities. In Ben s case, attentionextinction was very successful and target behaviors dropped enormously.

1. Most research about treating children through extinction techniques is directed at those with developmental disabilities; particularly those that show a tendency toward aggression or self-injury. 2. This extinction or ignoring technique seems to work best for those occurrences when a child wants attention and tries to get it by using inappropriate behavior. 3. Often times, a student s behavior will get worse before it improves. Therefore, extinction is only effective when the teacher does not give in to the student s behaviour. 4. It does take much patience and follow-through for extinction to become a successful management technique.

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