By Farha Saif,  student of the Master in Speech-Language Pathology and Learning Difficulties


Children with autism tend to engage in challenging behavior, which impacts their ability to engage appropriately with tasks. Offering children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) choices reduce challenging behaviour maintained by escape from task demand. Provision of choice in tasks is one of the several antecedent based behaviour change strategies, which uses abolishing operations to reduce the value of escape as a reinforcer maintaining the challenging behaviour. The purpose of this study was to reduce the challenging behaviour of a 6-year-old boy diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Direct and indirect assessments identified the function of challenging behaviour as escape from tasks and an ABAB reversal design was used to assess the effectiveness of an antecedent based intervention, in which the participant was provided an opportunity to choose among tasks. Results showed that there was a substantial reduction in the participant’s challenging behaviour when he was allowed to choose among tasks as compared to when he wasn’t offered any choice. The conclusion was that offering choices is an effective antecedent based behaviour change strategy for reducing challenging behaviours that are maintained by escape from instructional demands.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); offering choices; challenging behaviour; antecedent interventions; motivating operations.

Download the full Research Work: Saif, F. (2023). Reducing escape maintained challenging behavior in children with ASD by offering choice of task. SAERA – School of Advanced Education, Research and Accreditation.


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