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Behaviour therpy is a kind of psychotherapy that attempts to modify observable, maladjusted patterns of behavior by the substitution of a new response or set of responses to a given stimulus.

Behavioural approach might be a reward system that rewards good behaviour with stars. Such reward systems are particularly effective if they are agreed between parents and teachers and target a few specific behaviours. It is a type of practical therapy that concentrates on tackling specific problems your child is facing.

Behavior therapy for children involves two basic principles :

  • Encouraging good behavior through praise or rewards. Praise for good behavior should immediately follow the behavior.
  • Allowing natural and logical consequences for negative behaviour
  • Behaviour therapy is specific and personalized and based on the application of the principles of applied behavior analysis. Behavioral goals are client-specific and are determined through detailed assessment.


  • Compliance with basic directions.
  • Self help skills such as toilet training, brushing teeth, dressing, etc.
  • Teaching sign or vocal language.
  • Teaching toy play skills.
  • Group play skills.
  • Teaching eye contact and joint attention skills.
  • Following multi-step, or complex directions.
  • Requesting information (or asking questions).
  • Learning to persevere, and remain calm.
  • Tolerating new and varied situations, stimuli,etc.
  • Targeting academics.

    Preschool-age children (5 and younger) :

  • Be aware of your child's need for routine and structure. Warn him or her beforehand if something out of the ordinary is expected, such as taking a different route home from the grocery store. Even small changes in a normal routine can upset your child.
  • Tell your child exactly what you expect from him or her before activities or events throughout the day. For example, when you plan to go grocery shopping, make sure your child knows that he or she is going to sit in the cart or hold your hand. Also, let your child know before you go in the store specifically what items, if any, he or she will be able to pick out.
  • Use a system to reward your child for positive behavior, such as token jars or sticker charts. After accumulating a certain number of tokens or stickers, plan a special activity for your child, such as going to the park.
  • Use a timer to help your child anticipate a change in activities and to keep him or her on task. Set a certain amount of time for activities, such as coloring. Tell your child that when the timer goes off, that activity will be over and specify what will happen next (for example, "When the timer goes off, we will be finished coloring and then take a bath"). In addition, you can use the timer for chores, such as picking up toys. If your child finishes the task in the allotted time, you can incorporate the token or sticker reward system.
  • Participate with your child in activities that build attention skills, such as puzzles, reading, or coloring.
  • School-age children (6 to 12 years) :

  • Give instructions clearly so that the child is more likely to follow through with the task. Break tasks into simple steps. This makes it easier for the child to maintain attention.
  • Increase the amount of attention, praise, and privileges or rewards given to the child for obeying household rules. A token, sticker, or point system may be helpful for keeping a record of the child's good behavior.
  • Anticipate where the child may misbehave (such as in stores or restaurants or in the home when visitors come by). Make a plan with the child about how to manage the situation before problem behavior occurs.
  • Explain what will happen if the child misbehaves. When misbehavior occurs, follow through with the consequences as soon as possible. Your child will usually respond better with consistent reactions while in different settings, so discuss your strategies with school personnel. Consider requesting daily report cards from your child's teacher to get a sense of how he or she behaves outside of the home.
  • Model good behavior. Demonstrate patience, calmness, and understanding. Avoid angry outbursts and interrupting others; pay attention while someone else is talking.

  • Behaviour disorder.
  • Autism.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Learning disability.
  • Conduct disorder.
  • Mental retardation.