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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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5 The behavioural approach to intervention

A quite different approach to intervention originated in the work of Ivor Lovaas, described in Week 1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . He in turn drew on the work of mid-twentieth century psychologists such as B.F. Skinner, who proposed that in animals, including humans, the repertoire of behaviour can be modified and new behaviours learned, using operant conditioning. Operant conditioning assumes that active behaviour 'operates' on the environment, with consequences that modify whether the behaviour is repeated in the future. If the consequences are rewarding, the behaviour is more likely to be repeated – known as reinforcement.