Behavior Breakthroughs

Children and adults with behavioral problems may be difficult to deal with, and here is a novel technology that can probably benefit their caretakers. The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed a full, home-computer version of Behavior Breakthroughs. This interactive program apparently uses game-based strategies and 3-D imagery to provide the tools that parents, teachers and professionals who care for children with autism, ADHD or other disruptive behaviors need to intervene effectively.

The program is released in an abbreviated version as an iPhone app and a complete program for PC as well as Mac-based computers. It is based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and more than 40 years of empirically validated research. The data of this program possibly supports behavior intervention strategies developed by professional psychologists and educators. Behavior Breakthroughs reportedly offers an environment in which caregivers learn to effectively implement proven behavioral strategies and techniques.

“This program takes game-based learning in a new direction, providing direct, practical help for parents and caregivers based on sound science and the advice of leading psychologists. By interactively applying interventions in simulated scenarios and immediately experiencing the consequences, users can quickly learn the appropriate techniques and timing necessary to handle problems such as tantrums and self-injurious behaviors in a variety of everyday situations,” remarked Roel Almendarez, a senior research engineer in SwRI’s Aerospace Electronics, Systems Engineering and Training Division.

As users progress through the training, they come across more challenging scenarios to further develop their skills and intuition. The newly crafted interactive program introduces users to Asa, the program’s simulated boy. All the users have to do is control this boy’s behavior. For this, different ABA skills have to be mastered and behavior techniques such as shaping, chaining, correction, discrete trial, prompt fading and errorless teaching have to be applied. All these behavior techniques will be introduced in each of the six levels. The program gives an opportunity to learn and practice the use of ‘positive reinforcement’ as well as ‘extinction’ techniques to encourage behavior they want to see increase and reduce behavior they want to be decreased.

The full version can be purchased from Amazon, while an abbreviated version of the app is available from iTunes as a free download.