Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is most notably used in the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. But in truth, ALL children experience problem behaviors at some point in their lives - from the “terrible twos” to the rebellious teen years. This blog is designed to provide an overview of ABA and how it can be a useful tool for typically developing children, teenagers, and even your husband;)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Does your child accept "no"?

Telling your child "no" is something we all must do from time to time.  When you have a toddler "no" tends to roll off your tongue every other word!  And often results in a tantrum.  So, how do you teach your child to accept "no"? 

Dr. Vincent Carbone is a leader in the Behavior Analysis field. He has coined the "Accepting 'No' Program" for use with children with developmental disabilities. However, my staff and I use this program at our preschool with typically developing children and it usually works like a charm. It goes a little something like this:

1) Before denying access to items, activities, etc. (or just plain ol' saying "no"), have an approved alternative in mind.  Offer that alternative when you say "No, you can do that but how about you play with this instead."

2) If your child accepts “no” without problem behavior, deliver the alternative reinforcer and social praise.

3) If problem behaviors occur, do not provide access to the alternative reinforcer and do not provide any attention to the problem behavior.

*Initially you should offer an equally preferred reinforcer.  For example, instead of mommy's keys offer your child a set of play keys.  Gradually fade the preference level of the alternative reinforcer (i.e. equally preferred, slightly less preferred, neutral stimulus) and the frequency of its delivery until no alternative reinforcer is offered.  Your child is now expected to accept no without an alternative offered. 

Speaking of telling your child "no":
After cleaning up cheerios for the 5th time this morning I had to tell my daughter "no more cheerios" despite her constant "more", "more", "more" and instead gave her one animal cracker for each hand.

Spillproof:  designed to prevent spilling.
The Gyro Bowl is spillproof.

Gyroproof: possessing the ability to spill the unspillable.
My kid is Gyroproof.


  1. This is a great read,Heather ! Really enjoy all your blog posts!

  2. Thanks! I hope some of the posts have helped you out in some way. That's really my goal - to reach someone who needs help! Keep coming back and be on the lookout for a new post this week - I'm getting "published" on Feels really special:D