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 #288
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Behaviors at Home, School, and Inpatient Settings
Monday, May 29, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Regency VI
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Alan E. Harchik (The May Institute)
Discussant: Patrick C. Friman (Father Flanagan's Girls and Boys' Town)
CE Instructor: Alan E. Harchik, Ph.D.

Ensuring correct use of behavioral procedures by families, staff members, and paraprofessionals is an ongoing challenge for behavior analysts. In this symposium, three papers are presented that provide examples of the successful application of behavior analysis in different settings and with different behavior change agents. All three studies target serious problem behaviors of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. In the first paper, the researchers present a program for incorporating the use of single-subject experimental design methodology in working with family members. The second paper addresses serious problem behavior in a residential treatment program. Finally, the author of the third paper describes the successful use of behavioral intervention procedures in an inpatient setting.

Keeping the Analysis in ABA: A Data-Based Program Description.
KATHLEEN S. LAINO (University of North Texas), Shahla S. Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jessica Leslie Broome (University of North Texas), Donna Dempsey (University of North Texas), Victoria A. White Ryan (University of North Texas), Michelle Greenspoon (N/a)
Abstract: Although research designs are often difficult to employ in clinical practice, all providers of human services should be aware of and utilize as many evaluation methods as possible, including single-case research designs. Because the multiple baseline design can be employed across behaviors, settings, or individuals, it is a feasible, ethical and valuable method for evaluating behavior analytic interventions in a variety of applied programs. One such program is The Family Connections Project (FCP). FCP is designed to enhance the quality of relationships within families who have young children with autism. FCP offers treatment packages that include, but are not limited to, communication training, planned activities training, and extended family training. Ongoing empirical evaluation using single-subject research designs is considered an essential component of FCP. Specifically, the multiple baseline design is used to inform the treatment process and analyze observed behavior change as a function of the manipulation of independent variables. Single case experiments from FCP are provided as case study examples. In all cases, initial baselines indicate low levels of target responses. Following intervention, meaningful increases are demonstrated with confidence across skill sets, settings and materials, and people. Results are discussed in the context of effectiveness, practicality and ethics.
Assessment and Treatment of Trichotillomania in a Child with Cri-du-Chat.
CHRISTINA M. VORNDRAN (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Gary M. Pace (The May Institute), James K. Luiselli (The May Institute), Jennifer Flaherty (The May Institute), Lauren E. Christian (The May Institute), Ava E. Kleinmann (The May Institute)
Abstract: Published interventions of trichotillomania (chronic hair pulling) have involved punishment or the use of protective equipment. The present study sought to reduce trichotillomania, in an 8 year-old girl with Cri-du-Chat and severe mental retardation, using alternatives to aversive or restrictive interventions. A functional analysis revealed that hair pulling was maintained by attention and automatic reinforcement. Assessment data also indicated that hair pulling co-varied with thumb sucking. Based on the results of the functional analysis an intervention consisting of noncontingent attention and response blocking plus redirection to preferred items was developed. A reversal design established that the intervention reduced hair pulling. Follow-up data indicated that the treatment generalized to another setting and results maintained one year later. The co-variation between hair pulling and thumb sucking was not observed during follow-up sessions. This study demonstrates the importance of conducting functional analyses for behaviors historically considered to be habit disorders maintained by automatic reinforcement. It also provides preliminary evidence that relatively non-intrusive procedures can effectively reduce hair pulling maintained by automatic reinforcement.
Shaping Approach Responses as Intervention for Specific Phobia in a Child with Autism.
JOSEPH N. RICCIARDI (The National Autism Center), James K. Luiselli (The May Institute)
Abstract: Anxiety is being described as a common complication of autism. In addition, there are several reports of the diagnosis of DSM-criteria anxiety disorders in children with autism. What is not clear is how such cases can be treated, given the complicating language and cognitive deficits that are at the core of autistic disorder. We evaluated a simple procedure, contact desensitization (reinforcing approach responses), as a fear-reduction intervention with a child who had autism and a psychiatric diagnosis of specific phobia. During hospital-based intervention the boy was able to encounter the feared stimulus without distress or avoidance, and results were maintained post-discharge. Notably, the intervention was based on a purely behavioral model, and does not incorporate popular “cognitive” explanations of behavior. In addition, researchers directly measured change in multiple dimensions of the central feature of phobia, avoidance of specific stimuli. IOA were acceptable (88-100%, across 28% of sessions). The project utilized an experimental design (changing criterion).



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