Reinforcement and self-control for treating a chronic case of self-injury in Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome

Nancy Grace, Charles Cowart, Johnny L. Matson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 14-year-old boy was treated for severe and persistent self-injurious behavior resulting from Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome. A multiple baseline design across settings was used to evaluate the effects of a behaviorally oriented program which involved self-evaluating occurrence of self-injury. Brief time-out (30 sec of no attention) was employed for errors in self-assessment. Also, social reinforcement, consisting of positive statements, was utilized when the aberrant behavior was accurately assessed. Positive effects of this treatment, which required minimal staff attention, were rapid. Steady improvement to zero rates of self-injury were observed within days;the effects were maintained at a 19-week follow-up. A discussion of the implications of these results and suggestions for directions future research might take are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Multihandicapped Person
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
  • behavioral intervention
  • self-assessment
  • time-out

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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