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I have always struggled with keeping respondent and operant behaviors straight. Thanks to the flashcards, videos, and studies, I think it is beginning to stick. I work with individuals with exceptional needs and have to correct behavior several times a day. I have an individual who struggles with hand washing. I have implemented praise when he washes his hands without a verbal or physical prompt. He thrives on being praised. If I forget to praise him or am not in his immediate eyesight he will come tell me he has washed his hands. I consider this an operant behavior because the gentleman is responding to the reward of the praise.
A respondent behavior I am currently experiencing is with my 5 month old. He is very curious about mommy’s face, especially my eyes. He is constantly trying to poke me in my eye. My respondent behavior is to jerk backward and close my eye. I am naturally making the attempt to protect myself. This behavior is respondent because it occurs naturally.
A respondent behavior is defined as a behavior that is protecting the body against harmful stimuli, regulating the internal balance and economy of the organism, and promoting reproduction.
An operant behavior defined as a behavior that produces a consequence.
I believe that operant conditioning can be useful in ABA therapy because it is a type of learning in which a behavior is strengthened, meaning it will occur more frequently. If we are trying to increase a behavior, such as hand washing, cleaning, or putting a seatbelt on, then operant conditioning is a useful tool.