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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #194
Examining Antecedent-based Assessment and Interventions for Application in Natural Settings
Sunday, May 28, 2006
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Janine Stichter (University of Missouri, Columbia)
Discussant: Lee Kern (Lehigh University)
Abstract: The influence of antecedents on behavior has been readily recognized since Skinner (1953), as a separate variable (i.e., a fourth variable) that can change the likelihood of the occurrence of behavior. Antecedents are understood to impact a given three-term contingency and future occurrences of behavior as well as alter the effectiveness of a stimulus to set the occasion for the availability of reinforcement and/or momentarily alter the value of the consequences (Bijou, 1995; Kantor, 1959; Michael, 1982; 1993). Yet, only more current research agendas have actively pursued assessment of the impact of antecedent events on child behaviors and the development of corresponding interventions, particularly in natural settings. (e.g., Conroy & Stichter, 2003;Kern, Childs, Dunlap, Clarke, & Falk, 1994; Peck, Sasso, & Jolivette, 1997; McComas, Wacker, Cooper, Asmus, 1996; Stichter, Hudson & Sasso, in press). The papers presented in this symposium will share the results from several examples of applied antecedent based research within natural settings.
Evocative Effects of Antecedent Contexts on the Peer-related Social Behavior of Children with Autism.
JENNIFER A. SELLERS (University of Florida), Maureen Conroy (University of Florida), Elizabeth Weeks McKinney (University of Florida), Glenn M. Sloman (University of Florida), Taketo Nakao (University of Florida), Gregory R. Mancil (University of Florida), Kristen Peters (University of Florida), Ann P. Daunic (University of Florida)
Abstract: A key defining feature of autism is deficits in the area of social skills (APA, 2004). Although a number of behavioral interventions have been demonstrated to effectively increase peer-related social skills in children with autism, often times these interventions fail to generalize across settings or lack maintenance over time. The use of antecedent-based interventions that can be used to evoke peer-related social behaviors across settings is a current area of interest in the field. This presentation will report findings from a federally funded research project investigating various types of antecedent contexts and their influence on target children’s peer-related social initiations and responses. Structural analysis methodology was used to demonstrate the evocative effects of the antecedent interventions across three children with autism on their social behavior with peers. Interobserver agreement was obtained for an average of 28% of the sessions and averaged 86%.
The Use of Negative Reinforcement within a Concurrent Operants Protocol to Increase the Social Responding of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
GARY M. SASSO (University of Iowa)
Abstract: One of the distinguishing characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lack of social interaction. Lovaas, Schaeffer, & Simmons (1965) initially demonstrated the powerful effects of negative reinforcement and avoidance in training individuals with ASD to engage in social interactions. However, since that time few attempts have been made to develop a method of arranging environments in which a forced choice between social interaction and a less desirable activity is used to increase the social behavior of children and youth with ASD. It has been proposed by Mowrer (1954) that this avoidance mechanism can serve other functions. For example, persons or events directly associated with the reduction or cessation of a punishing contingency can, under certain circumstances, acquire secondary reinforcing properties. The purpose of this study was to: 1) present a rationale for the use of an antecedent choice protocol to extend the social behavior of children with ASD; 2) present the results of two related investigations that were designed to assess and treat social withdrawal across five individuals with ASD; and 3) discuss the use of negative reinforcement as an instructional procedure.
The Use of Structural Analysis to Identify Setting Events in Applied Settings for Students with Autism.
JANINE PECK STICHTER (University of Missouri), Denise Kay (University of Missouri)
Abstract: From the inception of behavior analysis, basic research in the field has always been concerned with the theoretical and empirical study of antecedent variables (Mostofsky, 1965; Skinner, 1938). However, the applied literature has tended historically to emphasize the role of consequences (Carr & Durand, 1985; Iwata, et al., 1982). Yet, research has long demonstrated clear effects of setting events such as teacher behavior, instructional practices, and environmental characteristics on prosocial and adaptive behaviors of students with disabilities (e.g., Kern, et al, 1994; Reynolds, 1992; Stichter, et al, in press). However, systemically assessing contextual variables within school settings by natural change agents continues to be an elusive process. This study investigated the use of practitioner-implemented structural analyses to determine setting events affecting the adaptive behavior of elementary age students with autism within their typical classroom settings. Descriptive measures including direct observation, as well as analogue probes were employed and contrasted. An ABA reversal design was used to compare intervention packages; maintenance and social validity data were also obtained. Findings indicate that structural analyses can be implemented by a practitioner and can lead to the development of successful interventions within educational settings. Interobserver agreement was obtained of 87% for 35% of sessions.



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