Restitutional Overcorrection

Restitutional Overcorrection – A form of positive punishment in which a learner is required to repair the damage caused by his behavior or return the environment to its original state and then have the learner perform extra actions to make the environment “better” than it was prior the misbehavior. For example, after throwing a few chairs in the classroom during a tantrum, the student is later required to not just place the chairs he had thrown back to where they were before the tantrum but also make sure that all the chairs in the classroom are lined up properly.

Response Cost

Response Cost – A form of negative punishment in which a person loses some reinforcers after performing an undesired behavior. For example, a student losing points that she can accumulate during the school day after breaking an established classroom rule.

Reinforcer Assessment

Reinforcer Assessment – This refers to different ways to find out which items or activities can be used as reinforcers for a specific learner.


Reinforcer– A reinforcer is something—anything—that is used during or after a behavior that leads to the strengthening of the behavior it followed over time



Receptive- Put simply, this is an “understanding” of something and refers to behaviors that require a non-vocal action or motor response.


RBT – Registered Behavior Technician. For direct level staff, this is a credential that denotes the person has met specific educational and experience standards in addition to passing an examination. A RBT works only under the supervision of a BCaBA or a BCBA. Currently, it is not a required credential for direct level staff to possess; however, this may change in the near future.

Ratio Strain

Ratio Strain – This term is used to describe a situation in which the required amount of work (or responses) no longer produce the desired behaviors that were previously produced by lower requirements.  For example, you give your daughter $5 for cleaning her room. A month later, you pay her the same amount for cleaning her room and your bedroom as well –she’s fine with that. On the third month, you require her to clean her room, your room, AND the kitchen—she doesn’t care anymore and would rather not have the $5 you used to give her.


QABF – Stands for Questions About Behavior Function.  This is a 25-item, indirect assessment tool co-developed by John Matson and is used to assess the function of a target behavior.  The QABF can be easily administered and assesses for the following functions: attention, escape, physical, tangible, and non-social.


Punisher– Punishers (or punitive stimuli) can be anything. In ABA, a punisher must decrease/weaken a behavior by definition. If you hear someone saying something like “Yes, I keep scolding my son but he still continues drawing on the walls with his beloved crayons a lot more now—punishment does not work!”  Given that example, “scolding” is not a punisher because the behavior “drawing on the walls with crayons” did not stop. In this example, scolding is a positive reinforcer.

Prompt Dependent

Prompt Dependent– To begin, a person is never “prompt-dependent.” Prompt dependency is when an individual’s response or behavior has become so reliant on someone else’s assistance over time. The learner then “stops” attempting to do the task independently. This dependency is often produced by the environment’s/instructor’s failure to systematically fade the prompts used during the teaching process.