Escape Behaviors {Overcorrection}

Overcorrection is a hugely powerful intervention because it adds on a little extra aversiveness. As a consequence for problem behavior – the student will need to complete an effortful behavior to fix the damage caused by the inappropriate behavior. Overcorrection can also involve extra work. This can be very punishing. Punishment will reduce the future chance of problem behaviors.


There are a few different ways this can work.

Restitutional Overcorrrection

After a problem behavior, the student must return the environment to it’s previous state and then some. You rip up a worksheet, you need to remake all of the copies and clean all of the tables. If you knock over a bookshelf in a tantrum, you need to clean the books and clean the break area. So the student must add to the environment to make it better.


Positive Practice

After the problem behavior, the student must repeatedly practice the correct response. You threw your work, now you have to redo the same task 4 times. You ran in the hallway, now you need to walk the route 5 times.


This intervention is not meant to be mean. It’s meant to provide an aversive consequence for a highly disruptive problem behavior that needs decreasing. It’s evidence based. It’s not picking on a kid. This is to be used with behaviors that majorly need reducing. Overcorrection is effective when other interventions have not worked, the behavior results in a major destruction, and  the behavior is not at a high frequency. You can’t be utilizing this intervention 10 times per day. When implementing this intervention, do not provide praise for engaging in the overcorrection behaviors.


This post is part of Summer Series: Reducing Problem Behavior. Click here to see more in this series!

The Autism Helper - Summer Series



  1. Do you have any articles, etc. where I could learn more about this type of intervention. I like the idea behind it but want to gain more information before I use it with one of my students.

  2. Interesting that you should say, “When implementing this intervention, do not provide praise for engaging in the overcorrection behaviors.” A study reported in Behavior Modification, January, 1986, entitled, “Positive Practice Overcorrection, Effects of Reinforcing Correct Performance,” actually found that using social praise during the positive practice procedure helped reduce the unwanted behavior more quickly and with fewer of the side effects associated with punishment procedures. The population used in the study were “institutionalized, mentally retarded adults,” (the label used at the time for intellectually disabled individuals) and not autistic students. Still the efficacy of this procedure with stereotypic behaviors is worth noting.


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