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 #350
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Assessment and treatment of problem behavior individuals with autism and developmental disability
Monday, May 25, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 124 A
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Mark F. O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin)
CE Instructor: Stephen Ray Flora, Ph.D.
Abstract: A substantial proportion of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities exhibit problem behaviors such as self-injury, aggression, and property destruction. Services such as schools and clinics are required to allocate a substantial amount of resources to support such individuals. Research to develop effective assessment and intervention strategies with this population continues to be a priority for behavior analysts. In this symposium we present recent findings on functional and preference assessments and the use of antecedent interventions to reduce challenging behavior with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities.
Predicting the Need for Mand Availability During Stimulus Fading
JESSICA FRIEDER (Utah State University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Idaho State University), Carrie M. Brower-Breitwieser (Idaho State University), Elizabeth Dayton (Idaho State University), Stuart M Mullins (Idaho State University), Shilo Smith-Ruiz (College of Southern Idaho)
Abstract: Applied researchers have examined the use of a concurrent-schedules arrangement, most typically involving two concurrently available response options, on the choice-making behavior for individuals with problem behavior (e.g., Harding et al., 1999; Horner & Day, 1991, Peck et al., 1996; Piazza et al., 1997; Richman et al., 2001). An Institute for Education Sciences grant project is currently evaluating the effects of a concurrent schedules of reinforcement arrangement in which three response options are available: compliance, mands, and problem behavior. The hypothesis is that the addition of a third response option (i.e., mands) may result in fewer bursts of problem behavior during a stimulus fading intervention. Results of this ongoing investigation have suggested that a three choice concurrent schedule may not be necessary for all participants during stimulus fading. During this presentation, data will be presented on a subset of participants that address the question of whether we can predict for whom the addition of a mand responses during stimulus fading is necessary for intervention success. Discussion will focus on whether an initial differential reinforcement of alternate behavior phase can serve as an effective assessment to determine later and ongoing treatment needs for individuals who exhibit escape-maintained problem behavior.
Evaluating Long-Term Preference for Leisure Items in Individuals with Problem Behaviors Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement
ANURADHA SALIL KUMAR DUTT (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa), Jason M. Stricker (The University of Iowa), Kelly M. Vinquist (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa), Jeffrey R. Luke (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Identifying preferred stimuli is an important component of behavioral programs for persons with developmental disabilities. Previous studies have evaluated the stability of participants’ selections during preference assessments over time and found that the stability of preferences varied across individuals (Hanley et al., 2006; Zhou et al., 2001). We conducted periodic preference assessments with five individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities who engaged in problem behavior that was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Free-operant preference assessments with five to six leisure items were conducted on a monthly schedule over a 7 to 12 month period (M = 10.8 months). Items to include within the preference assessment were initially selected based on care-provider’s suggestions and/or the observations of therapists. Results support previous findings and show that participants varied in the stability of their preferences over time. A summary of the results for the 5 participants will be presented and variations in selection over time will be discussed. Interobserver agreement data were collected for 30% of the sessions and averaged above 90% for problem behavior.
The Effects of Prior Exposure to Antecedent Events as Motivating Operations on Automatically Reinforced Challenging Behavior and Appropriate Task Responding
YI-CHIEH CHUNG (The Ohio State University), Helen I. Cannella-Malone (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of prior exposure to three antecedent events—attention, response blocking, and/or automatically maintained behavior—on later engagement in the automatically maintained challenging behavior and correct task responding in four individuals with significant intellectual disabilities. A modified multi-element design (Phase 1) and a combined alternating treatment design with multiple-baseline design across participants (Phase 2) were used. A functional analysis was conducted with all participants and their behavior was found to be maintained (at least in part) by automatic reinforcement. Results from Phase 1 indicated that pre-session attention (for two participants) and pre-session response blocking (for one participant) acted as an establishing operation for challenging behavior. Pre-session response blocking (for three participants) and pre-session access to the challenging behavior (for one participant) acted as an abolishing operation for challenging behavior. Using the results from Phase 1, we then examined the effect of providing pre-session access to the condition that acted as an abolishing operation on correct responding on a work task. The results indicated that access to the pre-session condition that acted as an abolishing
Effects of Motivating Operations on Aberrant Behavior and Academic Engagement during Classroom Instruction for Students with Autism
MANDY J. RISPOLI (University of Texas at Austin), Mark F. O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin), Wendy A. Machalicek (Portland State University), Austin Molloy (University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract: The manipulation of motivating operations represents a promising intervention for the treatment of aberrant behavior in applied settings. In this study, we examined the effects of motivating operations on aberrant behavior and academic engagement during typical classroom instruction with six students with autism. Functional analyses revealed that aberrant behavior was maintained, at least in part, by access to specific tangible items for all participants. During classroom sessions two to four peers were seated near the participant during routine classroom instruction. The participant’s preferred tangible was in sight but out of reach during these sessions. Each participant had access to instructional materials as well as teacher attention and aberrant behavior was placed on extinction. Classroom sessions were preceded by access or no access to the tangible functionally related to aberrant behavior. The influence of these presession conditions was evaluated in an alternating treatments design. Results suggest that presession access may result in lower levels of aberrant behavior and higher levels of academic engagement during classroom instruction. Suggestions for future research and implications for



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