Nutritional Disorders Telehealth Network Project

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Elimination of rewards paired with a behavior which decreases the likelihood of the behavior occurring in the future.

Background Education for Providers
The overall goal of extinction is to reduce or eliminate a behavioral response (e.g., a tantrum when a child is asked to eat a non preferred food). The most common example of extinction in therapy is to ignore problem behaviors such as refusals or tantrums. Typically, differential social attention (paying attention to desirable behaviors while ignoring problem behaviors) maximizes the child’s opportunity to learn the behaviors that are desired by the feeder. Parent training in differential attention procedures often needs to include modeling and practice to refine caregivers’ skills and to provide emotional support during intervention.
Instructions for Provider
Healthcare providers should discuss with parents their normal mealtime patterns, and the positive and negative behaviors that occur during mealtimes. They should identify the inappropriate mealtime behaviors that should be extinguished and provide handouts on decreasing negative behaviors using differential reinforcement. Providers should be sure to discuss with parents the possibility for an extinction burst where the child’s inappropriate behavior may increase before it decreases (this is a normal phenomenon). 
Supplemental Materials
© 2015 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 04/15/2014