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 #424
CE Offered: BACB
Differential Reinforcement in the Treatment of Behavior Disorders: Variables Related to Treatment Efficacy and Maintenance
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Centennial Ballroom IV
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
CE Instructor: Louis P. Hagopian, Ph.D.

Behavioral interventions targeting problem behavior often include a component involving differential reinforcement for some alternative response (DRA) or for the absence of the targeted response (DRO). In this symposium, research illustrating various applications of differential reinforcement will be presented. In one study, research examining DRA without escape extinction applied with and without instructional fading will be presented. Another presenter will discuss DRA with and without escape extinction across various types of transitions. The third presentation will describe the role of DRO, relative to instructions and self-recording, in self-management training. The final presenter will discuss methods for thinning schedules of reinforcement under DRA arrangements.

Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior With and Without Stimulus Fading for Escape-Maintained Problem Behavior.
GRIFFIN ROOKER (New England Center for Children), Eileen M. Roscoe (New England Center for Children), Diana Ervin (New England Center for Children), Nicole C. Groskreutz (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Because Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) procedures cannot always be implemented with extinction, it is important to identify treatment components that may enhance the effects of DRA without extinction. In the current study, DRA without extinction was compared with DRA without extinction plus stimulus fading. Three individuals diagnosed with autism, who exhibited disruptive behaviors, participated. Results from their functional analyses showed that their disruptive behavior was maintained by escape from demands. Following a demand baseline condition, two different treatment procedures were compared, DRA without fading and DRA with fading, using a reversal design. During both DRA procedures, compliance resulted in access to a token or an edible. During DRA without fading, an equal number of demands was delivered across sessions. During DRA with fading, the number of demands was gradually increased across sessions. During DRA with fading, disruptive behavior decreased for all participants and compliance increased for two of the three participants. Treatment effects maintained until the criterion number of demands (from the DRA without fading condition) was obtained. By contrast, DRA without fading was not associated with decreases in disruptive behavior or increases in compliance. IOA was collected during at least 30% of sessions and averaged above 90%.
Treatment of Problem Behavior During Transitions: The Influence of Task Preference on DRA Efficacy.
MELISSA M. SHULLEETA (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Iser Guillermo DeLeon (Johns Hopkins University), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Florida)
Abstract: The present study assessed participants’ preferences among a set of tasks and then attempted to determine if task preference was a variable that established escape as a reinforcer during task transitions. The task preferences of two children with developmental delays were determined through paired-choice assessments. We then compared rates of destructive behavior during transitions among high-, moderate-, and low-preference tasks. For both participants, destructive behavior was observed primarily when the transition involved moving from a higher to a lower preference task. During treatment, the efficacy of reinforced compliance (without escape extinction) vs. differential reinforcement of compliance (i.e., with escape extinction) varied systematically as a function of the sort of transition. For one participant, reinforced compliance was sufficient to reduce destructive behavior during transitions to moderate preference tasks, but escape extinction was required during transitions to the lowest preference tasks. For the other participant, reinforced compliance was sufficient to reduce destructive behavior with the exception of transitions from the highest preference task, wherein escape extinction was required. These results are discussed in terms of the potential establishing operation effects of task preference on destructive behavior.
Component Analysis of a Self-Management Procedure for Treating Stereotypy.
JENNIFER N. FRITZ (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Florida), Erin Camp (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Natalie Rolider (University of Florida)
Abstract: Koegel and Koegel (1990) presented data indicating that stereotypic behavior exhibited by 4 autistic children with severe deficits decreased after the children were taught a “self-management” strategy. It was unclear, however, whether observed decreases in stereotypy were a function of instructions, self-recording, differential reinforcement, or some combination of these elements. We conducted a component analysis of the procedures contained in the Koegel and Koegel intervention and observed that decreases in stereotypy might be attributable to instructions or differential reinforcement but that self-recording per se had little effect on stereotypy.
Probing Schedules of Reinforcement to Determine the Starting Point for Schedule Thinning.
DAVID P. JARMOLOWICZ (Kennedy Krieger Institute), David E. Kuhn (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Eric Boelter (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: In order to make behavioral interventions more sustainable over time and across environments, reinforcement schedule thinning is often undertaken after establishing initial treatment effects under dense schedules of reinforcement. Typically, this is conducted by progressively thinning the schedule of reinforcement from dense to lean schedules. In the current study, we describe a procedure for selecting the initial reinforcement schedule prior to undertaking progressive reinforcement schedule thinning during FCT. These schedule probes were conducted to identify the most lean reinforcement schedule that could sustain clinically acceptable levels of problem behavior comparable to the clinical goal (an 85% reduction relative to baseline), and thus serve as the starting point for additional thinning of reinforcement, if necessary. Using this methodology, some of the early steps of schedule thinning that would have otherwise been included during schedule thinning were skipped for two individuals diagnosed with mental retardation. For one participant, schedule probes revealed that progressive schedule thinning was not required, as levels of responding during the probe of the terminal schedule was associated with clinically acceptable levels of problem behavior. Reliability data were collected for at least one third of sessions and averaged above 80%.



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