R. M. Foxx, S. T. Shapiro

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71 Scopus citations


Recently, the use of timeout rooms has been questioned by various agencies, and some have adopted policies that prohibit or greatly restrict exclusionary timeout. The present study developed a timeout procedure that did not require removal of the misbehaver from the learning environment. The procedure was applied to the disruptive behaviors of five severely retarded children in an institutional special‐education classroom. An observer prompted all teacher behaviors related to the procedures to assure their precise implementation. After baseline, a reinforcement‐only condition was implemented. Each child was given a different colored ribbon to wear as a tie and received edibles and praise every few minutes for good behavior and for wearing the ribbon. When timeout was added, a child's ribbon was removed for any instance of misbehavior and teacher attention and participation in activities ceased for three minutes or until the misbehavior stopped. Reinforcement continued at other times for appropriate behavior. An ABCBC reversal design was used to demonstrate control of the behavior by the conditions applied. On average, the children misbehaved 42% and 32% of the time during the baseline and reinforcement conditions respectively but only 6% of the time during the timeout conditions. A followup probe during the new school year revealed that the teacher was able to conduct the procedure independently and that the children's disruptive behaviors were maintained at low levels. The practicality and acceptability of the procedure were supported further by the successful implementation of the procedure by a teacher in another state and by responses to a questionnaire given to 40 mental health professionals. The ribbon procedure appears to be a viable form of timeout, provided that disruptive behaviors during timeout can be tolerated within the setting, or a backup procedure such as exclusionary timeout is available when needed. 1978 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-136
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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