The timeout strategy involves removing the child from all sources of positive reinforcement as a consequence of a specified undesired behavior.
Strategies to be considered prior to using time out include:
Differential reinforcement – At its most basic level, this procedure involves reinforcing only the appropriate response (behavior you wish to increase) and ignoring other behaviors.
Extinction – An intervention that makes a behavior less likely to occur or stop occurring altogether. Extinction occurs when reinforcement of a previously reinforced behavior is discontinued (ignored). To be used effectively, you must know what has been reinforcing and maintaining the undesired behavior. Extinction procedures can be challenging to implement in a school setting and likely requires the support of a Behavior Analyst or other professionals experienced in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Response cost – The term used for removing reinforcement of an undesired or disruptive behavior, thus decreasing the likelihood that the behavior will occur again. This is often used with a token economy system which is a procedure that offers a child some type of token (sticker, bingo chip, point) for displaying positive behavior. These tokens are then traded in for a reward. If using Response Cost, tokens are removed when negative behavior occurs.
I work with clients in a residential facility. When any of the boys (ages 8-11) is told to take a timeout (2-3 minutes) an escalation usually occurs (cursing, hitting staff, screaming) increasing the time for their timeout. How can I best use time out and reduce the amount of escalation?