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.


Fourth International Conference; Australia, 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #14
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research in Behavioral Assessment and Treatment of Children with Autism
Monday, August 13, 2007
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
L2 Room 5
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Rachel S. F. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Discussant: Amanda N. Adams (California State University, Fresno)
CE Instructor: Rachel S. F. Tarbox, Ph.D.

Treatments based on applied behavior analysis (ABA) have been scientifically demonstrated to be the most effective option for young children with autism. However, more research is needed in order to identify the most effective procedures, both for the assessment and reduction of challenging behavior, as well as teaching adaptive behavior. This symposium includes three presentations on empirical research on a variety of topics in the assessment and treatment of the behavior of individuals with autism, covering topics such as toilet training, preference assessment, and functional assessment. The symposium will be concluded with a discussion of the presentations.

Comparing Indirect, Descriptive, and Experimental Functional Assessments in Children with Autism.
JONATHAN J. TARBOX (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Arthur E. Wilke (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Adel C. Najdowski (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Rachel S. F. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Ryan Bergstrom (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Current standards of practice in psychological and educational services dictate the need for ascertaining the function of challenging behaviors before treating them and for behavioral interventions to be based on the function of behavior. At least three broad categories of functional assessments have been developed, including indirect, descriptive, and experimental procedures. Although experimental functional analyses are common in empirical research on behavioral intervention, indirect and descriptive functional assessment procedures may be more commonly used in clinical and educational practice. Little research has systematically compared indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessments, let alone with participants within the autism population. The current study compares indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessments, across several children with autism, representing a range of ages and topographies of challenging behavior.
Analyzing the Variables that Impact on Preference and Reinforcer Assessment Outcomes.
RICHARD B. GRAFF (New England Center for Children), Amy D. Lipcon (New England Center for Children), Leah Kara (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Individuals with autism frequently require programmed reinforcement for effective skill acquisition. Although behavior analysts possess the technology to identify effective reinforcers, little consideration is given to the variables that may impact on the results of preference and reinforcer assessments. In Study 1, stimulus preference assessments (SPA) were conducted with 7 adolescents with autism. In the first SPA (SPA-1), only highly preferred items were included. Another SPA (SPA-2) was then conducted, using the least-preferred stimulus from SPA-1, plus 7 new stimuli. The items ranked as least preferred on SPA-1 were now ranked as most preferred, suggesting that preference hierarchies are influenced by how stimuli are selected for assessment. Subsequent reinforcer assessments (RA) indicated that items classified as low-preference on SPA-1 functioned as reinforcers, but low-preference items from SPA-2 did not, suggesting that preference hierarchies generated through systematic preference assessments may not reflect absolute reinforcement value. Study 2 examined how the results of RA's were influenced by task difficulty. High- and low-preference stimuli were identified using paired-stimulus assessments. Reinforcer assessments (ABAB design) using easy tasks indicated that both high- and low-preference stimuli functioned as reinforcers, but when hard tasks were used, low-preference items did not consistently function as reinforcers.
Wearing a Dipaer during Toilet Training: An Evaluation of the Effects on Children Diagnosed with Autism.
RACHEL S. F. TARBOX (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Melody Nabizadeh (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Doreen Granpeesheh (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Urinary incontinence has been shown to be a pervasive problem in children with autism. Incontinence can affect a child both socially and in terms of risk of infectious diseases transmitted through bodily waste (Berk & Friman, 1990). Surveys have reported that anywhere from 50 -70% of all children with autism have difficulties with toileting (Whitely, 2004; Horvath, Papadimitriou, Rabsztyn, Drachenberg & Tildon, 1999). Recent research conducted with an adult with developmental disabilities demonstrated that wearing diapers may occasion urinary accidents (Tarbox, Williams & Friman, 2004). In the current investigation a reversal design was used to evaluate the effects of wearing a diaper during toilet training for two children diagnosed with autism. Results suggest that wearing a diaper may increase the likelihood of urinary incontinence. Moreover, successful voids increased during the course of evaluation. Treatment, follow-up, reliability and integrity data will be presented.



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