Activity: The Effect of Punishment on FASD Behaviour

The aim of this activity is to show the problems with traditional punishment methods given the cognitive issues with FASD.


Activity overview

This discussion is meant to equip caregivers and advocates with the rationale for positive reinforcement, proactive planning and a commitment to non-aversive intervention.


(Slide 25-28) Beneath the heading ‘Contingency Management,’ Nixon explores a traditional and, for some, effective method of intervention: punishment and reward.

Wearing her FASD lenses, Nixon helps us see the flawed assumptions and cognitive conditions in a traditional intervention including:

  • the ability to follow multistep instructions
  • the avoidance of punishment as a reasonable deterrent

Consider making Slides 25-28 available as handouts to the group.

Activity instructions


  • what role does motivation play in contingency management?
  • what role does memory play in contingency management?
  • what are the dangers of a ‘reset’ reinforcement plan?

Discuss the variable outcomes of a fixed ratio vs increasing ratio.

Modified: 2015-09-09
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