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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #349
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment and Treatment of Vocal Stereotypy
Monday, May 25, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 125
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: John T. Rapp (St. Cloud State University)
CE Instructor: Marlene J Cohen, Ed.D.
Abstract: This symposium includes a series of presentations on the assessment and treatment of vocal stereotypy displayed by children with autism spectrum disorders. The the first presentation, Colon, Bowza, Clark, and Ahearn evaluated the effects of mand and tact training on vocal stereotypy and appropriate vocalizations. The results from two experiments indicated that mand and tact training increased appropriate vocalizations for most of the participants; however, a response interruption and redirection procedure was necessary to decrease vocal stereotypy for many of the participants. Lomas, Shillingsburg, and Bradley noted that a consistent limitation of interventions for vocal stereotypy is that such interventions are not easily tranported to classroom setting. Thus, Lomas et al. provide data on a treatment that was implemented in the typical enviroment of two individuals who displayed vocal stereotypy. Lanovaz and Rapp evaluated the effects of structurally matched and unmatched stimulation on the vocal stereotypy of four children who were diagnosed with ASD. Specifically, this study evaluated the extent to which preferred items that were structurally matched or unmatched to vocal stereotypy functioned as motivating operations for immediate (when the preferred items were present) and subsequent (after the preferred items were removed) vocal stereotypy for each participant. Finally, Fletcher and Rapp conducted a further evaluation of structurally matched and unmatched stimuli on vocal stereotypy displayed by children with ASD. The results of this study indicated labeling a stimulus as being structurally matched to stereotypy did not necessarily predict that it was functionally matched to stereotypy.
Treatment of Inappropriate Vocalizations Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement in Analogue and Classroom Setting
Joanna Lomas (Marcus Institute), M. ALICE SHILLINGSBURG (Marcus Institute), Danielle W. Bradley (Marcus Institute)
Abstract: Children diagnosed with autism often engage repetitive, nonfunctional behaviors such as vocal stereotypy. Although these behaviors may not result in harm to the individual or others, these behaviors can impede academic instruction and acquisition of adaptive skills and may lead to social isolation and/or placement in a more restrictive academic setting. The majority of research on treatments for vocal stereotypy provides treatment options that may not be socially acceptable or feasible in the everyday environment. For example, research has shown that vocal stereotypy can be reduced when the individual is given access to a preferred activity, such as listening to music, and subsequently loses access to the activity if he or she engages in the problem behavior (Falcomata et al., 2004). Thus, treatment for vocal stereotypy involves access to the preferred activity for extended periods of time resulting in limited time spent in academic and adaptive instruction and activities of daily living. The purpose of the present study is to demonstrate treatment of vocal stereotypy that easily transitions to the everyday environment with two children with automatically maintained aberrant vocalizations. Two treatments were evaluated and transitioned to the classroom setting.
Treating vocal stereotypy: The effects of verbal operant training
CANDACE COLON (N.E. University & The New England Center for Children), Katherin Bowza (New England Center for Children), Kathy Clark (The New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Past research has shown that response blocking and redirection effectively decelerates automatically reinforced behavior. Ahearn et al. (2007) found that interrupting vocal stereotypy (VS) also increased appropriate behavior. Given this finding, it might be possible to decrease VS by directly training of verbal operants such as tacts and mands. This study examined the effects of verbal operant training on VS and appropriate speech in children with autism. In study 1, subsequent to a baseline condition three participants were trained to mand with an autoclitic frame. The effects of mand training were assessed using a non-concurrent multiple baseline across participants. Mand training reduced VS and increased language for only 1 participant and the implementation of a response interruption and redirection (RIRD) procedure was necessary to decrease VS for the other two participants. Appropriate vocalizations increased for all 3 participants. Study 2 was identical to study 1 except 3 children were trained to tact with an autoclitic frame. Results indicated that tact training alone produced slightly lower levels of VS and increased appropriate vocalizations for all 3 participants. The introduction of the RIRD procedure was necessary to decrease VS to acceptable levels for two participants.
Using component distributions to identify immediate and subsequent effects of unmatched and matched stimuli on stereotypy
MARC LANOVAZ (Centre de Réadaptation Lisette-Dupras), John T. Rapp (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: The effects of unmatched and matched stimuli on the immediate and subsequent stereotypy of four children with autism spectrum disorders were evaluated using a three-component multiple-schedule combined with a brief reversal design. The use of component distributions (i.e., graphs of the proportion of sessions stereotypy was lowest and highest in each component and higher in the first than in the third component) to present and analyze the data from the multiple-schedules was compared with the use of brief reversal graphs and line graphs. The data showed that access to stimuli (matched only or multiple unmatched and matched) provided during the second component decreased immediate vocal stereotypy for three of four participants and produced a modest abolishing operation for all four participants’ subsequent engagement in vocal stereotypy. The results are discussed in terms of the utility of using component distributions to identify stimuli with abative and evocative effects on stereotypy.
The Effects of Matched and Unmatched Stimulation on Stereotypy in Children with Autism
SARAH ELIZABETH FLETCHER (UK Young Autism Project), John T. Rapp (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: A three-component multiple-schedule with a brief reversal design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of matched, unmatched and music stimulation on the immediate and subsequent levels of vocal stereotypy. Results indicated that for all participants matched stimulation and music decreased the immediate levels of stereotypy but unmatched stimulation only decreased immediate levels in two of three participants. For two of the participants, music acted as an EO for subsequent levels of stereotypy but the effects of matched and unmatched stimulation on subsequent levels were unclear. For one participant the matched stimulation acted as an AO for the subsequent levels of stereotypy.



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