Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Poster Session #394
#394 Poster Session (AUT)
Monday, May 26, 2008
12:00 PM–1:30 PM
South Exhibit Hall
1. Using Functional Communication Training to Reduce Self-Injurious Behavior of a Child with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHAWN J. VESEL (St. Cloud State University), Yiu M. Fung (St. Cloud State University), Chaturi Edrisinha (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is a serious and chronic problem for persons with autism. A descriptive analysis conducted indicated that demand was the maintaining variable for SIB. However when environmental variables were manipulated in an analogue functional analysis results indicated that attention was the maintaining variable for SIB. We used the results of the functional analysis to develop a functional communication training program to reduce SIB. The results showed that the use of the communication card served as an effective replacement.
2. Assessment and Treatment of Space Invading in an Adult with Autism and Severe Mental Retardation.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DAVID MATTHEW HARRISON (Bay Cove Human Services/Northeastern University)
Abstract: The current study assessed the effects of a novel intervention, a remote sensory device (RSD), on space invasion which was maintained by non-social consequences. The subject was an adult diagnosed with autism and severe mental retardation. A functional assessment, including staff interviews and direct observation was conducted (Figure 2) prior to the implementation of a full, alternating treatments functional analysis (Figure 3). The functional analysis revealed that space invading was maintained by non-social contingencies. A treatment was implemented during which the participant was given non-contingent access to stimulation provided through the manipulation of a remote sensory device (RSD; cf., Figure 4). Reliability measurements were taken on an average of 35% of assessment sessions with a mean agreement of 91.71%, and 46.55% of treatment sessions with an average agreement of 96.8%. Results supported past research by demonstrating the effectiveness of non-contingent reinforcement (NCR) as a treatment for automatically reinforced behavior (Figure 5). Two month follow-up baseline and treatment probes were conducted (cf., Figure 5). These data suggest that varied stimulation prolonged the treatment effects of non-contingent reinforcement. Directions for future research should consider how to better achieve lasting treatment effects with the use of the RSD or other methods in which stimulation is varied.
3. Extended Functional Analysis of Aggression Maintained by Specific Forms of Attention.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
FRANK L. BIRD (Melmark New England), Lisa A. Studer (Melmark New England)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the control that specific environmental variables had on rates of aggressive behavior of a 19-year-old woman. A previous assessment revealed that aggression was maintained by access to attention; therefore, an extended functional analysis was conducted to investigate the control that specific forms of negative staff attention had on maintaining high rates of aggressive behavior. Results indicated that heightened physical attention and heightened verbal attention maintained aggression. Subsequently, a social extinction procedure waimplemented and rates of aggressive behavior significantly decreased. A multiple baseline across staff showed a decrease in aggression across all staff members. A maintenance probe conducted thirty days following the last session demonstrated that social extinction continued to maintain low rates of aggression. Inter-observer agreement data were collected across 30% of sessions and averaged 96% (range 94%–100%).
4. Effects of a Knowledge and Support Intervention on Aggressive Acts in Siblings of Individuals Diagnosed with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GWEN M. MARTIN (The May Institute)
Abstract: Typically-developing siblings of children diagnosed with autism have been found to exhibit high levels of externalizebehavioral problems, specifically anger outbursts and aggression (Rodrigue, Geffkin, & Morgan, 1993; Seligman & Darlin 1997; Stoneman, 2005) which can be traced back to a lack of support and knowledge about the disorder (Wolf, Fisman, Ellison, & Freeman, 1998). The goal of this study was to address this aggression by attending to the typically developing sibling’s support and educational needs. Nine participants wer recruited for this study (three typically developing sibling participants between the ages of 7 to 11 years old and 6 corresponding parent and caregiver participants). All sibling participants had one sibling diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and a significant history of aggressive outbursts related to or aimed at their sibling diagnosed with autism. A multiple probe single subject research design was used. The study confirmed that aggressive behaviors of typically developing siblings of children diagnosed with autism towards or related to their siblings with autism can be reduced with interventions comprised of knowledge and support elements. All of the sibling participants exhibited a 70% or greater decrease in aggressive acts that was maintained throughout the length of the study.
5. Increasing Chews Per Bite in a Child with a Pediatric Feeding Disorder.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JOHN GALLE (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Katharine Gutshall (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Taira Lanagan (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement has been demonstrated to increase the number of chews per bite (Shore, LeBlanc & Simmons, 1999), but limited research has been done to examine the effectiveness of a chewing treatment protocol that does not employ any type of differential reinforcement. The purpose of the current treatment was to increase the amount of chews per bite in a child with a pediatric feeding disorder. All chewing probe sessions were conducted using pancakes as the target food. Prior to treatment sessions, pre-session chewing was completed by chewing on a thin vinyl tube. Data were collected on the number of chews per bite during all sessions. Additionally, vocal counting was temporarily included to achieve chewing rates at the criterion level. Results demonstrated that the child was able to increase independent chews per bite to an acceptable level with pancakes. The child’s higher level of chewing was also able to be maintained when other foods were introduced. Inter-observer data was collected during this evaluation.
7. Separate and Combined Effects of Visual Schedules and Extinction Plus Differential Reinforcement on Problem Behavior Occasioned by Transitions.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MELISSA WATERS (University of Houston, Clear Lake), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston, Clear Lake), Alyson N. Hovanetz (University of Houston, Clear Lake)
Abstract: The separate and combined effects of visual schedules and extinction plus differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) were evaluated to decrease transition-related problem behavior of two children diagnosed with autism. Visual schedules alone were ineffective in reducing problem behavior during transitions from preferred to non-preferred activities. When extinction was introduced, problem behavior decreased for both participants, regardless of whether visual schedules were also used.
8. Problematic Urination in an Adult with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MICHAEL R. MAYTON (Tennessee Technological University), Stacy L. Carter (Tennessee Technological University), Anthony Menendez (Cleveland State University)
Abstract: The participant in this study was an adult with autism whose problematic urination was found to serve a sensory function, after common medical etiologies were first ruled out. Utilizing an A-B-A-BC-A-BCD withdrawal design, a treatment package consisting of controlled fluid intake plus scheduled prompts for elimination, simple restitution, and water play was systematically introduced for the purpose of behavior reduction. Results of the intervention were very positive, as rates of the target behavior experienced an 85% overall decrease.
9. Response-Response Relations: The Effects of Blocking vs. Preventing Stereotypy on the Occurrence of Aggression.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
PAUL A. NIESEN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), David E. Kuhn (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: The interruption of automatically-maintained behavior, such as stereotypy, has been demonstrated to both occasion other destructive behaviors (Hagopian et al., 1997) and/or effectively reduce the stereotypic behavior (Lalli et al., 1996). Research studying the former relation suggests that destructive behavior functions to terminate the interruption of stereotypy. Thus, in a free-operant situation, stereotypy and not destructive behavior would be observed. The current study was conducted with a 13-year-old male who was admitted to an inpatient hospital f the assessment and treatment of severe aggressive behavior. He was observed to engage in high levels of stereotypic behavior (flapping folded pieces of paper) during the majority of his day which, when prevented, occasioned aggressive behavior. Initial attempts to demonstrate this relation by removing paper and delivering it contingent upon aggression failed. However, blocking stereotypic paper flapping did reliably occasion aggressive behavior. Thus, the outright removal of the materials necessary for the stereotypic behavior did not occasion problem behavior, but interruption of stereotypic behavior did. It is hypothesized that the presence of the paper itsefunctioned as a discriminative stimulus for stereotypic behavior. Interobserver agreement (IOA) data were collected for at least 33% sessions and averaged above 80%.
10. The Efficacy of ECT in Treating Catatonic Symptoms in People with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
NICOLE CARMAN DEVOS (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Marilyn D. Cataldo (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: The occurrence of catatonia in people with autism, especially adolescents, has been described in recent studies (Bailine & Petraviciute, 2007). Catatonia brings an increase in the severity of behavioral features such as mutism, posturing, and rigidity that impair daily functioning. While Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been used to treat catatoni documentation of its use for people with autism is rare. Existing research lacks an objective measure of the decrease in catatonic symptoms, most often citing observation and anecdotal report (Bailine & Petraviciute, 2007; Zaw et al. 1999). A systematic method is needed for evaluating the efficacy of ECT. ECT was used to treat catatonic symptoms in a 14-year-old female with autism and self-injurious behavior. The participant was prompted to complete academic and functional tasks throughout her stay in an inpatient behavioral treatment unit. Rates of compliance and correct responding demonstrate improved performance after ECT and regression when ECT was temporarily suspended. Similar trends were reflected in rates of maladaptive behaviors. Rates of compliance with tasks and correct responding may offer a discrete measure of the effectiveness of ECT that is more replicable than observation, more practical to implement than continuous behavior counts, and sustainable over time.
11. The Use of Functional Communication Training and Differential Reinforcement to Reduce Attention-Maintained Aggression.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
AMBER BRUNS (Children's Care Hospital and School), Andrea R. Hewitt (Children's Care Hospital and School)
Abstract: This case study examines the use of functional communication training (FCT) plus a momentary differential reinforcement of other behaviors (mDRO) in the treatment of attention-maintained aggression. The subject was a 13-year-old female diagnosed with Angelman syndrome and autism. The study demonstrated that FCT plus mDRO was effective in decreasing aggression.
12. Decreasing Elopement Behavior While Increasing Appropriate Replacement Behaviors in a Student Diagnosed with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
PATRICIA A. FINNEY (Melmark New England), Keri Butters (Melmark New England), Colleen Mooney (Melmark New England )
Abstract: This case study examined the effects of training alternative responses on the elopement behavior of a 14-year-old individual with autism. Although the frequency of elopement may be considered low by some standards (M = 0.4/week during baseline), the participant was successful in leaving the premises, running across busy roadways and through wooded areas, and entering stranger’s homes. A functional assessment suggested an attention function; specifically the student appeared to enjoy having staff chase him. Training consisted of the introduction of a “stop” program and teaching the student to participate in “flag football.” With regards to the “stop” program, the participant was provided a verbal cue to “stop” whenever he moved approximately 2-3 feet in front of staff and received an edible reinforcer contingent on stopping as instructed. The participant was also taught to participate in “flag football” and was able to initiate staff chasing him through a more appropriate means. Upon introduction of both programs, student bolting decreased to zero levels across two settings.
13. A Virtual Functional Analysis of Property Destruction.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JUAN-CARLOS LOPEZ (Melmark New England), Tim Biermaas (Melmark New England), Rich Cappo (Melmark New England)
Abstract: We conducted a computer-based functional analysis of property destruction in a young man with autism and severe mental retardation. Property destruction consisted of breaking objects made of glass or clay. A prior functional assessment suggested that this behavior was maintained by automatic reinforcement, but it was unclear the extent to which the sound or the sight of the glass breaking maintained the behavior. Due to safety concerns, we used audio and visual computer files that mimicked objects breaking and observed how many times the participant clicked each file. The results suggest that the sound of glass breaking was the stimulus that may represent the consequence that maintains property destruction in his repertoire. This study illustrates how computer files can be used to indirectly assess dimensions of stimuli that may be too dangerous or impractical to be assessed directly.
14. Effects of a Long-Term Treatment Package to Address Tantrum Behavior in a Child with PDD/NOS.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KERI BUTTERS (Melmark New England)
Abstract: This case study examined the effects of a multicomponent treatment package, including function-based treatment design and differential reinforcement of low rates of behaviors (DRL). The participant was a 10-year-old girl diagnosed with PDD/NOS who exhibited high levels of tantrum behavior, which consisted of aggression and self-injury. During non-function-based treatment, tantrum behavior occurred an average of 19 minutes per day, with 117 self-injurious behaviors and 68 aggressions per day. Descriptive functional assessment indicated that escape served as the maintaining function, and an escape extinction procedure was introduced. Reductions were noted only for self-injury (tantrum M = 33.3 minutes, self-injury M = 89, aggression M = 105 per day). Significant behavior change occurred when a DRL procedure was added to the treatment (tantrum M = 1.1 minutes, self-injury M = 5.4, aggression M = 3.6 per day). The DRL also included a visual cue that signaled to the participant that the tantrum duration was approaching the criterion limit. Interobserver agreement data collected on a weekly basis for 20 months averaged 100%.
15. Reducing Pica Behavior by Teaching Functional Play Routines With Play-Doh.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ERIN WALKER BURKE (BEACON Services), Steven Rivers (BEACON Services), Robert K. Ross (BEACON Services)
Abstract: Pica behavior with young children tends to be a very resilient behavior often modified through the use of punishment techniques (Piazza et al., 1998). In this study, a 2-and-a-half-year-old child with Autism who consumed Play-Doh was the participant. Multiple strategies were unsuccessfully employed including changing the flavor of the Play-Doh by adding a non-preferred edible substance, and using a least-to-most prompting strategy to engage with Play-Doh without eating it, for increasing periods of time. After these procedures were proven to ineffective for this child, a third procedure was employed including conducting a preference assessment on other edibles and using a picture schedule and errorless teaching to have the child complete a structured play routine with the Play-Doh. Over a number of trials, marked reductions in eating Play-Doh were observed, with increasing independence on total number of steps on a task analysis. Additionally, follow-up data yielded zero rates of eating the Play-Doh across settings.
16. The Effects of Demand Manipulation on Escape-Maintained Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA LYN BRIDGEMAN (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Frances A. Perrin (Bancroft NeuroHealth)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to compare the effects of two types of demand presentations on the rate of aggression. The participant was a 12-year-old nonverbal male diagnosed with autism. The two types of demand sessions were presented within in a multielement design. Data were collected utilizing frequency recording for aggression. A functional analysis was conducted to determine the function of aggression. Once an escape function was identified, two different demand sessions were implemented. The first condition was a standard demand condition with 30 seconds of escape contingent on aggression. Hierarchical prompting utilizing verbal, model and physical prompts were provided. In the second condition, demands were presented in whole task increments, and only verbal prompts were provided. Thirty seconds of escape was given for an occurrence of aggression. The results showed that when presented with demands utilizing a whole task approach the rate of aggression was much lower. Future research will attempt to decrease the necessity of whole task presentation with the addition of differential reinforcement for compliance.
17. Evaluation of Two Communicative Response Modalities During Functional Communication Intervention for a Young Child with Autism and Self-Injurious Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
STACY E. DANOV (University of Minnesota), Ellie C. Hartman (University of Minnesota), Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota), Frank J. Symons (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: Severe problem behavior among children with autism is common and may interfere with communicative development. Identifying the function of the problem behavior can lead to appropriate function-matched targeted intervention that are often communication based. When the child has two or more possible communicative response modalities already in their repertoire, no clear guidelines exist for selecting the appropriate form of communicative response. In this single case demonstration, two existing communication modalities were directly compared following a functional analysis of a 3-year-old boy with autism. The results of the functional analysis indicated self-injurious behavior was maintained by positive reinforcement. Two forms of communicative responding (verbal speech and picture cards) were evaluated during subsequent functional communication training. Findings indicated SIB was eliminated during sessions and mands producing the functional reinforcer were observed in all picture card sessions. Overall, the results showed the effectiveness of a picture versus a verbal response modality for this child to request preferred items as a way to compete with and functionally replace self-injury. Self-injury never occurred during the picture sessions, however, verbal sessions were not associated with any independent requests. Interobserver agreement was calculated for approximately 25% of the session with a mean IOA of 95.8%.
18. Using Structural Analyses to Identify the Influence of Competing Stimuli.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ERIC FRANTINO (City University of New York Graduate Center, Johns Hopkins University), Lauren K. Schnell (Queens College, Quality Services for the Autism Community), Ronald Lee (Quality Services for the Autism Community)
Abstract: Functional analyses have been effective in identifying the variables that maintain problem behavior. However, the results of functional analyses are often influenced by the presence of specific antecedent stimuli. As a result, an antecedent analysis may be required to examine the effects of these stimuli. In the present study, a functional analysis of the problem behavior exhibited by 3 participants with autism was followed by a structural analysis to identify the influence of competing stimuli on the occurrence of the problem behavior. For each participant, competing stimuli were identified and incorporated into the subsequent treatment procedure. The results showed that structural analyses and the resulting identification of competing stimuli may be helpful in forming treatment procedures for problem behavior.
19. Reduction Through Recreation: Utilizing Recreation and Leisure Skills to Decrease Self-Stimulatory Behaviors in an Individual with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
STEVEN M. NIEBLAS (Sussex Consortium - Delaware Autism Program), Edel Drevno (Sussex Consortium - Delaware Autism Program)
Abstract: Ezra, a 12-year-old public school student with an educational classification of autism, spent extended periods of time engaged in self-stimulatory or automatically reinforcing behaviors (ARBs), which interfered with his functioning. Due to the frequency of his behavior, physical prompting became necessary; he was not attending enough to acknowledge pictured, gestured or modeled prompts. Safety in community settings also became an issue. When Ezra engaged in ARBs, he was off-task, and unresponsive to peers, staff and environmental cues. As Ezra’s school program changed to focus on vocational goals, including new environments, increased numbers of staff and more daily transitions, the need for increased on-task behavior became critical, given the goals of job training and long-term independence. Ezra’s ARBs jeopardized his participation in vocational/community settings, a common issue for people with developmental disabilities (Carr and Carlson, 1993). A single-subject multicomponent treatment design, that included schedule manipulation and training of recreational skills, was initiated to reduce Ezra’s ARBs. A measure of latency of his ARBs in different environments and during different activities was collected. His degree of task completion was also measured. Based on preliminary data, the outcome suggests that increased and consistent use of recreational skills will result in decreasing Ezra’s ARBs.
20. Assessment and Treatment of Undesired Vocalizations Exhibited by a Child with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DAVID J. SHAW (Behavior Analysis, Inc.)
Abstract: Environmental manipulations at the child’s home were used to validate the hypothesized function of the behavior targeted for reduction, as well as to identify potential interventions. The child’s primary caregiver assisted throughout this process with instruction provided by the behavior analyst. These probes confirmed hypotheses based upon caregiver reports, but also resulted in identification of additional maintaining variables. A multi-faceted treatment package was developed based upon the identified functions of the behavior, resulting in a decrease to near zero rates. A return to baseline conditions resulted in increased rates of undesired vocalizations, but the behavior returned to zero rates when treatment procedures were again implemented. This case demonstrates that it is sometimes feasible to utilize a caregiver with minimal training to assist with environmental manipulations that lead to accurately identifying the function(s) of a behavior, allowing for effective treatments to be developed in a timely manner at a minimal cost.
21. Treatment of Aggression Exhibited by a 10-Year-Old Child with Autism without Physical Restraint.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GAIL WAYMAN (The Wayman Learning Center), Holly Ramsey (The Wayman Learning Center), Ashley Gomez (The Wayman Learning Center), Kelly McClendon (The Wayman Learning Center)
Abstract: Treating aggression often requires the implementation of procedures that may cause a temporary increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of problem behaviors. In the case of aggression, especially when treating children, some type of physical restraint is often viewed as necessary for the purpose of protecting the child and staff. This case study describes a comprehensive treatment plan for a 10-year-old child diagnosed with autism who engaged in high rates of aggression that included striking with hands and feet, biting, head butting, pulling clothing and throwing objects. The child had attended public school for seven years and was non-vocal except for a couple of mands, and had no other form of functional communication. The school district placed the child in a day program that provides intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. Physical restraint was specifically excluded from the treatment plan and staff members shielded themselves from strikes, bites, etc. with large soft objects such as bean bags and inflatable balls. Aggression was reduced significantly and there were no serious injuries. The child was able to return to his public school classroom after four months, and was able to spontaneously communicate using manual sign.
22. The Effects of Delay to Reinforcement on Problem Behavior and Appropriate Requests for Tangibles.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALFRED BREWIN (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Christina M. Vorndran (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Frances A. Perrin (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Jenna Taylor (Bancroft NeuroHealth)
Abstract: In this study, we examined the utility of Functional Communication Training with a progressive delay to reinforcement and extinction on problem behaviors of two 13-year-old males diagnosed with autism and mental retardation. Results of a functional analysis indicated that both participants’ problem behaviors were maintained by access to tangibles. In addition, anecdotal data indicated that both partially engaged in problem behaviors when delivery of requested items was delayed. Thus, following initial training of the FCT response, delays to reinforcement were gradually and systematically increased to a terminal delay of 15 minutes. The results of reversal design indicated that this treatment procedure was effective in reducing problem behaviors by at least 91% while maintaining stable rates of appropriate requests. For Participant 2 the effects of signaled and unsignaled delays were evaluated in an alternating treatment design. Results showed that signaled delays were associated with fewer inappropriate/repeated requests. No difference was observed for problem behaviors. The implications of the use of this treatment in applied settings and future research were discussed.
23. The Effects of Noncontingent Self-Restraint on Self-Injury.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SABRINA MORALES (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Denise Marzullo (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College)
Abstract: Investigations of the relationship between self-injury and self-restraint suggest that access to self-restraint may reduce self-injury. The present evaluation examined the effects of noncontingent self-restraint (e.g., covering head with the hood from a sweatshirt jacket) on rates of self-injurious behavior across conditions where access to self-restraint was sequentially introduced and withdrawn. The participant was a 16-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. The effects of noncontingent self restraint were assessed within a standard reversal design. The participant was prompted by the therapist to complete academic activities during both conditions. During Condition A: No Self-Restraint, staff blocked each attempt to self-restrain, and the hooded sweatshirt was absent from the session room. This series of sessions was followed by Condition B: Noncontingent Self-Restraint. During these sessions, all topographies of self-restraint were permitted, including wearing a hooded sweatshirt throughout the session. Frequency data for self-injurious behavior and self-restraint were collected during each of the 5-minute sessions. Rates of self-injury decreased 51.84 % from baseline when access to self-restraint was permitted. Results suggest that noncontingent self-restraint may serve as a potentially effective component in treatment for self-injury. Future research will further investigate the effects of noncontingent restraint on automatically maintained self-injury.
24. Evaluating the Relationship Between Food Sensitivities and Problem Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JOHN MORTENSEN (May South, Inc.), William A. Flood (May South, Inc.)
Abstract: Popular literature on autism frequently suggests the use of specialized diets to treat behavioral symptoms. However, at the present time there is little scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. In this study, an ABA design was used to evaluate the effects of providing certain suspect food items on the occurrence of problem behavior. Suspect food items were identified via family reports and medical evaluation. Results of the study indicated no correlation between the ingestion of suspect food items and the occurrence of problem behavior.
25. Generalizing Delays to Reinforcement Across Settings.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
NICHOLAS M. CIFUNI (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Frances A. Perrin (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College)
Abstract: In this study, the effectiveness and generalizability of Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO) and extinction on problem behaviors was examined for a 14-year-old male diagnosed with autism and impulse control disorder. Results of a functional analysis suggested that the participant’s problem behaviors were maintained by access to tangible items. Phase 1 of the study utilized DRO and extinction procedures, where the value of the DRO schedule was systematically increased to a terminal delay of 10 minutes. Data were collected within a reversal design. The results indicated that this treatment value was effective in reducing problem behaviors by 91%. Phase 2 examined schedule thinning and generalization of treatment after 2 months of implementation. Delays to reinforcement were gradually increased to 30 minutes across various settings. The results illustrated that this treatment generalized and was effective in reducing and maintaining low rate of problem behavior by 98% over baseline across different settings. The results demonstrate the importance of assessing long-term treatment gains across multiple settings.
26. Comparison of Reinforcement Alone and in Combination with Redirection for Treating Automatically-Reinforced Stereotypy.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GESELL GAVIDIA (New England Center for Children), Eileen M. Roscoe (New England Center for Children), Aimee Giles (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Previous research has shown that redirection procedures alone and in combination with reinforcement-based interventions have been effective in reducing automatically-reinforced stereotypy. However, it is unclear whether contingent reinforcement (CR) for an appropriate response alone would be effective in decreasing stereotypy. In the current study, CR alone and CR with redirection were compared for reducing the motor stereotypy of a 13-year-old female with autism. Motor stereotypy included hand flapping, hair flipping, object tapping, clapping, jumping up and down, and rocking back and forth. Results of a functional analysis showed that her motor stereotypy was automatically reinforced. During treatment, reversal and multielement designs were used to compare the effects of CR alone and CR with redirection on both stereotypy and appropriate responding. During CR, a high preference edible was delivered contingent on an appropriate academic response, and no programmed consequences were provided for motor stereotypy. During CR with redirection, a redirection procedure was added, which involved the presentation of instructions to engage in motor compliances contingent on stereotypy. Results showed that CR with redirection was necessary for decreasing motor stereotypy to clinically acceptable levels. These findings suggest that direct reductive procedures, such as redirection, may be necessary for reducing automatically-reinforced stereotypy.
27. The Effects of Sensory Activities on Aggression.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JULIE A. KLUSMANN (Children's Care Hospital and School), Jodie Eining (Children's Care Hospital and School), Amber Bruns (Children's Care Hospital and School), Paul J. Graumann (Children's Care Hospital and School)
Abstract: This study examined the use of deep pressure, proprioception, and movement activities to decrease aggression. Two males participated in the study, a 14-year-old diagnosed with PDD-NOS and an 11-year-old diagnosed with PDD-NOS and mental retardation. Results indicated that participation in the sensory activities decreased aggressive behaviors significantly spanning a 2-hour time frame during and following the sensory activities.
28. The Importance of Setting Event Identification: The Impact of Pollen Count on Rates of Maladaptive Behavior of Learners with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
RYAN MADIGAN (Rutgers University), Suzannah J. Ferraioli (Rutgers University), Melissa Ortega (Rutgers University), David Kieval (Rutgers University), Nathan Lambright (Rutgers University), Mary Jane Weiss (Rutgers University), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
Abstract: Learners with autism often engage in several topographies of maladaptive behavior including, but not limited to, aggression, self-injury, and disruption. In general, practitioners use functional assessment to determine the factors that cause these behaviors and develop function-based treatments. However, challenging behavior may sometimes be affected by settings events that are difficult to evaluate in relation to their effect on behavior. One such setting event is seasonal allergies/pollen count level. The current investigation sought to compare the seasonal pollen counts to rates of maladaptive behavior over a period of six months for several learners with autism. Pollen counts were obtained from a National Allergy Bureau (NAB) counting station based in Newark, New Jersey. The results indicate that several students displayed cyclical changes in the rate of maladaptive behavior that were highly correlated with pollen counts. Results are discussed in terms of the identification of idiosyncratic factors that may influence challenging behavior and the importance of evaluating these setting events.
29. Self-injury in an 8-Year-Old with Autism: Determining Differential Function Across Settings and Caregivers.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHELBY EVANS (Heartspring), Jennifer Miller (Heartspring), Megan Swett (Heartspring)
Abstract: Functional behavior analysis was used to determine the function of face-slapping in and 8-year-old male with autism. Previous functional analysis had identified an attention function within a controlled, formal testing environment. Nevertheless, direct observation of the behavior in the natural environment yielded a different function (escape). To tease out the various functions of face-slapping so that an effective intervention could be identified and implemented, additional functional assessments were conducted with novel, known, and preferred staff in a controlled environment, in the classroom setting, and in the home setting. Results found different rates of face-slapping and different functions for this behavior contingent upon the presence or absence of preferred staff and to some degree the setting in which the behavior occurred. Implications for brief functional assessments are discussed as well as considerations for the development of interventions.
30. The Treatment of Severe Aggressive and Destructive Behavior of an Adolescent Female within a Special Education Classroom.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JONATHAN W. IVY (Intermediate Unit #13)
Abstract: This poster describes the assessment and treatment of the severe problem behaviors of a 13-year-old female diagnosed with Autism and Moderate Mental Retardation within a special education classroom. Due to a history of engaging in severe problem behavior, which frequently resulted in injury to staff, the student was at risk of being placed in a highly restrictive setting. A program was specially designed for the student within a special education classroom. Functional assessments suggested that most problematic behaviors were maintained by tangible positive reinforcement. A treatment package was created that included functional communication training, time-out, contingent physical restraint, and various reinforcement programs. The treatment resulted in drastic and sustained reductions in all topographies of problem behavior.
31. Reduction of Non-Communicative Vocalizations Using Response-Cost and Delayed Response.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ERIN F. STABNOW (Children's Care Hospital and School), Vicki L. Isler (Children's Care Hospital and School)
Abstract: Automatically reinforced behavior has typically been difficult to treat simply due to the intrinsic value it has for the individual. This study examined the use of a response-cost token system in conjunction with a teaching program that allowed the individual to choose periods of time alone in order to exhibit the target behavior. In this case the target behavior was non-communicative vocalizations. The subject was a 17-year-old male diagnosed with autism in attendance at a special-needs school and residential program. The academic day was targeted during this study. Results showed a marked decrease in non-communicative vocalizations as compared to baseline when the individual was allowed to choose 5-minutes of alone time, contingent upon absence of the target behavior and task completion.
32. Decreasing Vocal Stereotypy of Preschoolers Diagnosed with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CATHERINE KITTS-MARTINEZ PARRISH (Beaumont Hospitals, CARE Program), Ian M. Santus (Beaumont Hospitals, CARE Program), Ivy M. Chong Crane (Beaumont Hospitals, HOPE Center)
Abstract: Functional assessment indicated that the vocal stereotypy of four preschoolers diagnosed with autism was undifferentiated (i.e., occurring at high rates consistently across sessions) suggesting that the stereotypy was multiply controlled and/or maintained by sensory reinforcement. Experimental functional analyses were conducted for two of the four students. Following the assessment phase, individualized treatment packages were implemented for each child, containing one or more of the following components: (1) Response interruption and redirection (RIRD), consisting of the tutor providing vocal instructions (i.e. social questions, tact behavior) contingent on the target behavior; (2) Differential reinforcement for the non-occurrence of the behavior (DRO), consisting of providing preferred toys or edibles for the absence of vocal stereotypy during the predetermined interval; and (3) Noncontingent matched stimulation (NMS), consisting of providing preferred toys and/or music. For each child, the treatment package was successful in significantly reducing levels of vocal stereotypy.
33. Use of Independent Group Contingencies to Decrease Disruptive Behaviors in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CRYSTAL D. COLES (Devereux CARES), Jenny E. Tuzikow (Devereux CARES)
Abstract: For special education students who have difficulty with visual perception and are more reinforced by peer social interaction than tangible reinforcers, many research-based reinforcement strategies often used to decrease inappropriate behavior are ineffective. Individual reinforcement strategies, such as a token economy, may be unsuccessful in situations where the students are more reinforced by continuing the inappropriate behavior. This causes a teacher to resort to a group-oriented contingency, which is advantageous in that it 1) saves time, 2) is more efficient than an individual contingency, and 3) is more effective in modifying group behavior (Gresham & Gresham, 2001). There is a significant lack of research on the efficacy of independent group contingencies in students with severe Pervasive Developmental Disorders. There is even less research on reinforcement systems of any kind pertaining to children with seizure disorders. In a self-contained special education classroom comprised of five students diagnosed with autism, Downs Syndrome, and myoclonic seizure disorder, an independent group contingency was implemented to decrease disruptive behavior, operationally defined as speaking out of turn. An A-B experimental design was used to determine the usefulness of the group contingency in diminishing this behavior. The results will be presented and implications will be discussed.
34. Decreasing Challenging Behavior Through Functional Communication Training.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BRENDAN C. KEENAN (Devereux New Jersey), Amy Fredrick (Devereux New Jersey), Jessica Woods (Devereux New Jersey)
Abstract: The effects of a FCT intervention on rates of challenging behavior were evaluated for a 6-year-old child with autism. Training was conducted during DTI sessions in the home. FBA data supported a multi-functional hypothesis for tantrum behavior (access to tangibles and escape). FCT focused on teaching replacement responses for tantrum in restricted access situations (vocal “help” response for access to choice of CDs of music; PECS and later, vocal “music” response for access to music) as well as tantrum that occurred during task conditions (PECS and vocal “break”). Acquisition rates for all communicative responses correlated positively with decreased rates of tantrum during sessions. Generalization of vocal responses to other mands and tacts continued to show decreases in challenging behavior.
35. Functional Analysis and Treatment of Inappropriate Vocalizations Using a Speech Generating Device for a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JESSICA HETLINGER FRANCO (University of Texas at Austin), Russell Lang (University of Texas at Austin), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin), Jeffrey Michael Chan (University of Texas at Austin), Jeffrey S. Sigafoos (University of Tasmania)
Abstract: Previous studies using Speech Generating Devices (SGD) during Functional Communication Training (FCT) have focused on treating challenging behavior based on one primary communicative function using a single choice SGD. The purpose of this study was to extend the research on FCT by examining the use of a SGD for a 7-year-old child with developmental disabilities and no spoken language who demonstrated inappropriate vocalizations across multiple functions. An analog functional analysis was used to determine the function of the behavior and the potential viability of SGD as a treatment option. The child was then taught to discriminate among multiple options on the SGD and then to choose an appropriate message in two generalization settings. When the SGD was available, the child reduced his inappropriate vocalizations across all settings, while increasing his engagement in appropriate activities with others.
36. An Attempt to Assess Response Blocking and Other Interventions as Abolishing Operations for Vocal Stereotypy.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JONATHAN W. KIMBALL (Woodfords Family Services), Laura Baylot Casey (Woodfords Family Services), Mike Bell (Woodfords Family Services)
Abstract: Vocal stereotypy interferes with instruction and communication. Ahearn, Clark, MacDonald, & Chung (2007) demonstrated that response interruption and redirection suppressed vocal stereotypy, but did not report maintenance of effects. We systematically replicated Ahearn et al.’s procedure with a 4-year-old boy with autism who emitted automatically reinforced vocal stereotypy 62% to 88% of 6-second partial intervals. We addressed maintenance by extending Rapp’s (2006) method for determining whether particular activities were abolishing operations for physical stereotypy. Rapp’s protocol was: (a) establish the level of stereotypy for a given period; (b) provide a given form of stimulation for the same amount of time (stereotypy not measured); and (c) re-measure stereotypy for a period identical to the first. We employed this assessment with four potential interventions: interrupt/redirect; sensory integration (recommended by the child’s Occupational Therapist); music (reported by the child’s parents to attenuate stereotypy); and physical activity. Mean interobserver agreement for vocal stereotypy is 93% (82-98%); procedural fidelity is 100%. While some procedures may have suppressed stereotypy somewhat while they were in effect, no single procedure emerged as a meaningful abolishing operation for this child’s stereotypy. We discuss possible reasons for this finding, and suggest future directions.
37. Using Behavior Contracting for a Function-Based Treatment for Noncompliance in a Student with Asperger's Disorder.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ERIN PERRY (The University of Southern Mississippi), Heather Sterling-Turner (The University of Southern Mississippi), Neelima Gutti (The University of Southern Mississippi)
Abstract: Data will be presented for a behavioral contract that served to increase compliance levels in a student with Asperger's Disorder in the home setting. Descriptive and experimental functional analysis data collected in the clinic setting revealed the student's noncompliance was maintained by attention and escape. A changing criterion design was utilized to examine treatment effects of a behavioral contract and parent training. Intervention data revealed an increase in compliance compared to baseline. Limitations and directions for future research will be discussed.
38. "Give me a Break": Teaching a Functional Equivalent Behavior to an Elementary Student Exhibiting Aggression.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JANET A. BUTZ (Collaborative Autism Resources & Education), Cyndi Short (Tomball Independent School District), Sara Staszesky (Tomball Independent School District), Debra Cummins Roth (Tomball Independent School District)
Abstract: The authors will present how a team approach was used to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment which resulted in the development and implementation of a Behavior Support Plan for an elementary-aged student with autism who was exhibiting extremely high rates of aggressive behaviors towards peers and adults in a public school setting. The team agreed that his aggressive acts were preventing him from participation in inclusive activities across the school day and limiting his access to appropriate peer relationships. The Behavior Support Plan focused on the use of preventative measures that would decrease the likelihood the aggressive behaviors would occur in the school setting. Staff members taught him how to request a break which served as a functional equivalent behavior to the aggressive acts he exhibited for years as a means to escape from a wide variety of activities. A review of records indicated that several reductive procedures had been employed with him in the past with minimal success. Follow-up data will be presented showing how the implementation of this plan increased his ability to successfully participate across the school day in a variety of activities with more socially acceptable behaviors.
40. The Implementation of a Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors Procedure in a Child with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALLISON GARSKE (St. Cloud State University), Hanna C. Rue (The May Institute), Chaturi Edrisinha (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: People who exhibit behaviors that negatively affect their own lives and/or their family’s lives are candidates for behavioral intervention. Infrequent behaviors can be overlooked because they are displayed at low rates. However, when these behaviors impede a person’s quality of life, treatment is warranted. In this study, a differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) procedure was implemented to reduce or eliminate the low rates of tantrums, self-injurious behaviors (SIB), physical aggression, and hands-to-face contact that were exhibited. The goal of this treatment plan was to reduce target behaviors in the client’s natural setting, while continuing with the typical daily routines. Overall, intervention was effective in reducing target behaviors, particularly SIB and hands-to-face contact. After treatment was implemented, SIB was eliminated and hands-to-face contact was reduced, dropping to zero occurrences in the last four sessions. Physical aggression did not occur at all throughout the analysis. This behavior change project proved to be successful in reducing the client’s inappropriate behaviors. The combination of DRO and the elimination of escape from tasks were an effective intervention for this child.
41. Establishing a Simple Simultaneous Discrimination of Letters in an Adolescent with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DANIEL CARVALHO DE MATOS (Applied Behavioral Consultant Services), Gladys Williams (Centro de Investigacion y Ensenanza del Lenguaje), Anna Beatriz Queiroz (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo), Maria Amalia Andery (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo)
Abstract: Touchette (1971) trained teenagers with developmental disabilities to discriminate between colors and shapes, using simple simultaneous discriminations with prompt delay. Matos (2007) replicated Touchette´s procedure in regular children aged 3 to 6. In the present study, tasks of simple simultaneous discrimination were employed in an autistic participant (aged 19). An Identical MTS (pre-test) comprising some uppercase and lowercase pairs of letters (b-d; p-q; n-u) was conducted to see which letters the participant could not discriminate. These stimuli were trained using the prompt delay. Then, new Identical MTS trials were applied in order to verify a possible changing in the letters discrimination.
42. Using the Whole Blocking Procedure with Multiple Exemplars to Teach Object Selection.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
LYDIA MEKJIAN (David Gregory School), Gladys Williams (Centro de Investigacion y Ensenanza del Lenguaje), Monica Rodriguez Mori (Centro de Investigacion y Ensenanza del Lenguaje), Kimberly Vogt (David Gregory School), Stephen John Wuensch (David Gregory School)
Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to determine if the use of the whole blocking procedure (Pérez-González & Williams, 2002) using multiple exemplars was effective in teaching two children with autism to select objects in an auditory-visual discrimination task. The boys, ages 3 and 7, had demonstrated previous difficulties in acquiring the behavior with standard procedures to teach discriminations. Fork and block were the target objects. We presented different types of forks and blocks during the presentation of each trial in all the phases of the whole blocking procedure. The results will follow.
43. Tacting It Is and It Is Not in a MTS Task Using Color Discrimination.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GLADYS WILLIAMS (Centro de Investigacion y Ensenanza del Lenguaje), Anna Beatriz Queiroz (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo), Jennie W. Keller (Applied Behavioral Consultant Services), Daniel Carvalho de Matos (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo), Kimberly Vogt (David Gregory School)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to find an effective procedure to teach a prerequisite to classify items (e.g., “It is red “ versus “It is not red”) in a MTS task. An adolescent child with autism participated of this study. He showed identical matching to different red or white shapes but wasn’t able to classify a white shape as not red. The procedure consisted of an arbitrary matching to sample using 10 white and 10 red multiple exemplar shapes (e.g. circle, square, etc.) as samples. We used a shape with the red color and a card with the word NO as comparisons. The correct response was to match the white shapes to the word NO, and the red shapes to the red shape on the table. When the training was completed, we probed to see if the student could tact “it is” and “it is not" with different objects. Preliminary results indicate that the procedure may be effective.
44. Teaching Children with Autism to Behave as Listeners in the Discrimination Task of You and Me.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JENNIE W. KELLER (Applied Behavioral Consultant Services), Gladys Williams (Centro de Investigacion y Ensenanza del Lenguaje), Anna Beatriz Queiroz (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo), Daniel Carvalho de Matos (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo), Monica Rodriguez Mori (Centro de Investigacion y Ensenanza del Lenguaje)
Abstract: Many children with autism have difficulties discriminating you and I. The purpose of this intervention was to teach four children with autism to behave as listeners in you and I discrimination tasks. For example, following the rule “When you see the written word ‘ME’ you stand up. When you see the written word ‘You’, remain seated The words were presented on 3x4” white index cards. The procedure consisted of several steps: (1) matching pictures of themselves and their teachers to their respective names; (2) responding to questions and their symmetries (a) What is my name? Who is ______? The correct answer was YOU and (b) What is your name? Who is ______? The correct answer was ME; (3) the final matching task was to match the written names to either YOU or ME. We used the response YOU with several adults (other teachers, parents, relatives, etc.) After that, we probed symmetry. When symmetry was accomplished, we did the final test. We asked the child to follow the rule “When you see the written word ‘ME’ you stand up. When you see the written word ‘You’, remain seated.” Preliminary results indicate that the procedure can be effective.
45. Procedure to Teach Generalized Identity Matching to Sample to a Child with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MARIA ANGELES REBOLLAR (University of Oviedo, Spain), Luis Antonio Perez-Gonzalez (University of Oviedo, Spain)
Abstract: The purpose of the present research was to teach generalized identity matching to sample to a child with autism after trial and error procedures were unsuccessful with him. We probed first a procedure that included prompts that were gradually faded; this procedure was not useful for teaching the discriminations after 880 trials. Thereafter, we used figures with basic forms (triangle, rectangle, square, and circle,) and colors (yellow, red, blue, and green) and taught (a) to match colors with identical figures, (b) to match figures with identical colors, and (c) to match figures and colors. The child learned the task, but failed to generalize to cards with pictures of the figures inside. We basically repeated the procedure with the cards. Then the child learned the task. Further probes with pictures and drawings showed generalization to a wide variety of stimuli. Therefore, the procedure was successful to overcome overselectivity and to teach the child to discriminate stimuli of several dimensions.
46. Testing the Effects of a Pairing Procedure on Conditioning Puzzles.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
R. DOUGLAS GREER (Columbia University Teachers College), Jacqueline Maffei-Lewis (Columbia University Teachers College), Cyndi Giordano-Donati (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: This study investigated the effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure for condition puzzles to decrease stereotypy and passivity and increase activity for three 5-year-old males. The participants functioned on pre-speaker, pre-listener/listener levels of verbal behavior. The participants attended an elementary school located outside a large metropolitan area in a CABAS school. A multiple probe across participants was used to test the effects of a pairing procedure on puzzles. The results of this study showed that a pairing procedure was effective in conditioning puzzles as reinforcers for the participants in this study.



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