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Response Interruption/Redirection (RIR)

Response interruption/redirection (RIR) involves the introduction of a prompt, comment, or other distractors when an interfering behavior is occurring. The distractor is designed to divert the learner’s attention away from the interfering behavior and results in its reduction.

Description

Response interruption/redirection (RIR) is predominantly used to address behaviors that are repetitive, stereotypical, and/or self-injurious. RIR often is implemented after a functional behavior assessment (FBA) has been conducted to identify the function of the interfering behavior. RIR is particularly useful with persistent interfering behaviors that occur in the absence of other people, in a number of different settings, and during a variety of tasks. These behaviors often are not maintained by attention or escape. Instead, they are more likely maintained by sensory reinforcement and are often resistant to intervention attempts. RIR is particularly effective with sensory-maintained behaviors because learners are interrupted from engaging in interfering behaviors and redirected to more appropriate, alternative behaviors.

RIR meets evidence-based criteria with 10 single-case design studies. According to the evidence-based studies, this intervention has been effective for preschoolers (3–5 years) to young adults (19–22 years) with ASD. RIR can be used effectively to address social, communication, behavior, play, school-readiness, and adaptive skills.

Brief Adapted from

Boyd, B., & Wong, C. (2013). Response interruption/redirection (RIR) fact sheet. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Neitzel, J. (2009). Overview of response interruption/redirection. Chapel Hill, NC: The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The University of North Carolina.

Research Summary

Ages (yrs) Skills Settings Outcome
3–12 years Behavior Clinic and home
*The information found in the Research Summary table is updated yearly following a literature review of new research and this age range reflects information from this review.

Outcomes:     Evidence-based     Emerging     No evidence     Comprehensive

Steps for Implementation

Step 1. Identifying the Interfering Behavior

  1. Identify the characteristics of the interfering behavior by using direct observation methods that include:
    • i.A-B-C data charts
    • ii.Scatterplots
  2. Use direct assessment results to identify:
    • i.where the behavior is happening;
    • ii.with whom the behavior is occurring;
    • iii.when the behavior is happening;
    • iv.activities during which the behavior occurs;
    • v.what other students are doing when the behavior starts;
    • vi.what teachers/adults are doing when the behavior starts;
    • vii.proximity to other students, teachers, and/or adults;
    • viii.the noise level in the environment;
    • ix.the number of individuals in the area;
    • x.other environmental conditions; and
    • xi.the function of the behavior.
  3. Develop a hypothesis statement for the interfering behavior that includes:
    • i.the setting events,
    • ii.a restatement and refinement of the description of the interfering behavior, and
    • iii.the function the behavior serves.
  4. Identify a more appropriate alternative behavior to take the place of the interfering behavior.

Step 2. Collecting Baseline Data

  1. Measure the learner’s engagement in the interfering behavior before implementing RIR by collecting the following:
    • i.Frequency data
    • ii.Interval data
    • iii.Duration data
  2. Collect baseline data for a minimum of four days before implementing RIR.
  3. Collect baseline data in each setting/activity for four days.

Step 3. Implementing RIR

  1. Praise the learner’s independent use of appropriate skills.
  2. When the learner begins to exhibit an interfering behavior, interrupt the learner’s attempts by using:
    • i.physical blocking, and
    • ii.verbal blocking.
  3. For learners who engage in vocal stereotypies, redirect learners to use an identified alternative behavior by:
    • i.saying the learner’s name in a neutral tone of voice,
    • ii.establishing eye contact, and
    • iii.asking a social question to prompt the learner to use an alternative vocalization.
  4. For learners who engage in motor stereotypies or self-injurious behavior, redirect them to engage in an identified alternative behavior by:
    • i.saying the learner’s name in a neutral tone of voice,
    • ii.establishing eye contact, and
    • iii.using the system of least-to-most prompts to help the learner engage in the alternative behavior.
  5. For learners who engage in pica, redirect them to engage in an identified alternative behavior by:
    • i.making a preferred food item freely available during times when pica is prevalent,
    • ii.saying the learner’s name in a neutral tone of voice,
    • iii.establishing eye contact, and
    • iv.using the system of least-to-most prompts to help the learner engage in the alternative behavior.
  6. After redirecting the learner with ASD to the alternative behavior, require the learner to engage in the alternative behavior for a specified period of time.
  7. Reinforce the learner’s use of the alternative behavior.

Step 4. Monitoring Learner Progress

  1. Use progress monitoring data to evaluate whether the interfering behavior is decreasing as a result of the intervention.
  2. Use progress monitoring data to evaluate the learner’s use of the alternative behavior in settings/activities where the interfering behavior typically occurs.
  3. Use progress monitoring data to adjust intervention strategies if the interfering behavior is not decreasing.

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