Operant ConditioningWhat is Operant Conditioning?

Behavior is broken down into the antecedent (what occurs directly before the behavior), the behavior, and the consequence (what occurs directly following the behavior). Operant conditioning is the modification of behavior by using a consequence that is received immediately following a specific behavior. A behavior is either reinforced (increased) or punished (decreased). This can be done in a structured setting but also occurs naturally and unintentionally in everyday events.

Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

Operant conditioning is used to increase appropriate behaviors in children and decrease inappropriate behaviors. Applied behavior analysts utilize token systems and reinforcement plans to increase appropriate behaviors such as eye contact, social skills, verbal behavior, pre-academic and academic skills, and other behaviors. Behavior intervention plans decrease inappropriate behaviors such as verbal aggression, physical aggression, property destruction, self-injurious behaviors, and other unwanted behaviors. These plans are written after determining the function of the behavior (e.g. to seek attention, to gain a tangible, to escape, or to self-stimulate). Determining the function of the behavior allows us to assist in developing and applying an appropriate behavior intervention strategy.

Client Reviews (2)

My son has been receiving ABA at NSPT4Kids for a year and a half. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, caring, and understanding. They have been great working with our insurance company. My son has completely opened up. He now seeks his older sister to play – something he never did for the first four and a half years of his life. He looks at me when he talks to me. We have conversations. It is amazing. I never would have thought ABA could do this. I am so thankful for NSPT4Kids!


Our son has been in the ABA program at North Shore for almost two years now. The gains his therapists have made with him have been without a shadow of a doubt wonderful and remarkable. Everything they do in session, we always reinforce at home to help him continue his gains. The ABA therapists are always quick to update the kids individual program to continue to challenge the kids, even if they are having a rough time that session. We are grateful of what North Shore has done for our son both past, present and moving into the future. As we get ready to send our son into Kindergarten, the North Shore ABA team gets a lot of credit helping to make this milestone happen for him. I highly recommend North Shore for all of their services.

Tom J