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 #361
Recent Developments in the Assessment and Treatment of Severe Challenging Behavior
Monday, May 29, 2006
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Regency VI
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas, Austin)
Abstract: Severe challenging behavior continues to be one of the primary barriers to habilitation for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. In this symposium we present four papers that extend our knowledge of the assessment and treatment of this behavior disorder. In the first paper, the authors combined the results of a preference assessment and a functional analysis to examine the effects of these variables on treatment effects. In the second paper, the effects of continuous and intermittent reinforcement schedules on the persistence of self-injury and mands was examined. Results indicated that manding was equally persistent following either schedule of reinforcement while self-injury was more persistent following a VR2 than a FR1 schedule. In the third paper, the use of brief choice making analyses were examined. Results will be discussed in terms of concurrent schedules of reinforcement and the benefits of utilizing brief choice analyses for the identification of effective treatments. The final paper focuses on examining antecedent variables, and a methodology for examining the interaction between motivating operations on the discriminated stimulus will be proposed. Together the results of these papers contribute further information regarding assessment and treatment selection with severe challenging behavior.
Combining the Results of a Preference Assessment and Functional Analysis to Design Interventions.
KELLY M. VINQUIST (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa), Jason M. Stricker (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa)
Abstract: A preference assessment and a functional analysis of problem behavior were conducted with a 47-year-old man with severe mental retardation. The results showed that problem behavior rarely occurred when adult attention and preferred items were available on a noncontingent basis (control condition), but high levels of behavior (M = 85% of intervals) were observed when the participant was alone without leisure or work materials (alone condition). Based on the procedures outlined in Ringdahl et al. (1997), the participant was given noncontingent access to the preferred leisure items but no attention was provided. Problem behavior occurred for a mean of 75% of the intervals. The control condition was repeated and problem behavior decreased to near zero levels. We hypothesized that the presence of attention or level of effort required to access the preferred items influenced the occurrence of problem behavior and evaluated the effects of each of these variables on problem behavior within a multi-element design. The removal of attention or variations in the level of effort was sufficient to disrupt the treatment effects even when the preferred stimuli were available.
The Effects of Continuous and Intermittent Reinforcement Schedules on the Persistence of Self Injury and Mands.
ELLIE C. HARTMAN (University of Minnesota), Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota), Chin-Chih Chen (University of Minnesota), Frank J. Symons (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: While functional analysis has shown to be a useful tool in identifying effective treatments that will reduce self-injurious behavior (SIB) (Iwata et al., 1994), more work is needed on how to program for the generalization and maintenance of treatment effects (Stokes & Baer, 1977). The current study compared two schedules of reinforcement within functional communication training (FCT) (Carr & Durand, 1985). The first treatment consisted of mands on a fixed ratio 1 (FR 1), while SIB on a variable ratio 2 (VR 2). The first treatment consisted of mands on VR 2 and SIB on FR 1. An extinction test followed each treatment, during which the persistence of both mands and SIB were measured. Results indicate that manding was equally persistent following either schedule of reinforcement (FR 1 or VR 2), while SIB was more persistent following a VR 2 than following FR 1. Inter-observer agreement (IOA) was calculated on both dependent and independent variables during 33% of the functional analysis and 33% of the treatment analysis. The average IOA for manding was 91% (87% - 95.8%), SIB was 100%,and all independent variables was 100%.
Brief Choice Making Analyses in an Outpatient Clinic Setting.
JESSICA E. FRIEDER (Idaho State University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Idaho State University), Jachelle Lowe (Idaho State University), Denise Van Stone (Idaho State University), Lloyd D. Peterson (Idaho State University)
Abstract: Research has demonstrated that brief functional analyses are robust in determining the function of problem behaviors (Northup, J., Wacker, D., Sasso, G., Steege, M., Cigrand, K., Cook, J., & DeRaad, A., 1991; Kahng, S. & Iwata, B.A., 1999; Tincani, M.J., Castrogiavanni, A., & Axelrod, S, 1999). Choice making as a component of reinforcement-based interventions to treat problem behaviors has also been shown to be effective (Dyer, K., Dunlap, G., & Winterling, V., 1990; Peck, S. M., Wacker, D. P., Berg, W. K., Cooper, L. J., Brown, K. A., Richman, D., McComas, J. J., Frischmeyer, P., & Millard, T., 1996). Most studies involving choice-making analyses occur over several sessions. Little research exists on brief functional analyses involving choice making. This presentation will examine two case examples that utilize choice making within a brief functional analysis of problem behavior. One case example examines the use of choice making in the assessment phase, while the other investigates brief analysis of choice making during intervention. Results will be discussed in terms of concurrent schedules of reinforcement and the benefits of utilizing brief analyses for the identification of the function of problem behavior and identification of effective treatments for problem behavior.
An Examination of the Influence of the Motivating Operation on the Evocative Effectiveness of the Discriminative Stimulus.
CHATURI EDRISINHA (University of Texas, Austin), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas, Austin)
Abstract: This study examined the evocative effect of the Motivating Operation (MO) on the discriminative stimulus (SD) for positively reinforced challenging behavior (CB). In Phase I, a functional analysis (FA) was conducted to identify the reinforcing contingency. CB was identified as being positively reinforced (i.e., attention and tangible). In Phase II, stimulus discrimination was trained in SD and S? conditions. In Phase III, an MO was identified by manipulating pre-session conditions. This was done by providing pre-session access (MO absent) or withholding pre-session access (MO present) prior to the delivery of the identified reinforcer. In Phase IV, rates of CB during MO present and MO absent conditions were examined under extinction (reinforcement was unavailable) in both SD and S? conditions. This final phase evaluated the evocative effect of the MO on the SD by examining the interaction between MO present versus absent and SD present versus absent conditions. Limitations of the study and implications of examining the MO will be discussed.



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