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 #477
Outpatient Application of Brief Experimental Analysis Procedures with Typically Developing Children Displaying Behavior Problems
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
12:00 PM–1:20 PM
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: David P. Wacker (University of Iowa)
Discussant: Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: In this symposium, applications of brief experimental analysis procedures will be described for use in outpatient clinics for typically developing children who display problem behaviors such as noncompliance at home or school. The first presenter (Brenda Engebretson) will present a summary of the findings obtained from 300 children evaluated for problem behavior in a behavioral pediatrics clinic. The summary includes the functions obtained during brief experimental analyses and specific assessment procedures used to identify antecedent and consequent events related to problem behavior. The second presenter (Andrew Gardner) will describe how brief experimental analysis procedures can be combined with a concurrent operants assessment to evaluate how the quality of adult attention can influence compliant behavior. The third presenter (Todd Kopelman) will describe how experimental analyses of antecedents (instructional directives and prompts) can identify stimuli that occasion accurate and compliant behavior for children who have learning and behavioral disorders. The discussant (Jennifer McComas) will integrate the findings of the studies into the existing literature and provide guidance for future applications of these procedures.
Summary of Brief Functional Analyses of Typically Developing Children in a Behavioral Pediatrics Outpatient Clinic.
BRENDA J. ENGEBRETSON (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Michael A. Lind (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Brief functional analysis (BFA) has been shown to be an effective assessment for determining the reinforcement gained from a child’s problem behavior (Northup et al., 1991; Cooper, Wacker, Sasso, Reimers, & Donn, 1990). The BFA has been applied across a variety of settings and continues to be an effective tool within these settings (Wacker, Berg, Harding, Cooper-Brown, 2004). In outpatient clinics, the BFA is particularly appealing because of its efficiency in determining response-reinforcer relations. In this symposium, we will present a summary of the findings obtained from evaluations of approximately 300 typically developing children who were evaluated during the past 2 years in a behavioral pediatrics outpatient clinic. Children referred to this clinic routinely receive a BFA, and IOA data are typically obtained. This symposium will describe the procedures used, the findings obtained, and the general applicability of this model to this subgroup of children. Specific case examples will be presented showing the variety of assessment procedures that can be employed within a BFA.
Analysis of Noncompliance in an Outpatient Setting: Combining Brief Antecedent and Consequence-Based Procedures.
TODD G. KOPELMAN (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Eric Boelter (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: For children with learning difficulties, functional analysis can provide useful information about response-reinforcer relations responsible for maintaining noncompliance but may not detect the effects of antecedent events that occasion noncompliance. The purpose of this study was to conduct an antecedent evaluation to examine the effects of one neuropsychological variable linked with learning difficulties, working memory, on children’s noncompliance as defined by task accuracy and task engagement. Two experiments were conducted with children referred to an outpatient clinic for noncompliance and co-occurring learning difficulties. Experiment 1 consisted of two phases: a functional assessment and an antecedent analysis of working memory. Experiment 2 probed the effects of an instructional strategy on task accuracy. Overall results indicated that a functional assessment of problem behavior and an antecedent analysis could be combined to assess the noncompliance of children with learning difficulties during instructional demands. In Phase 1, IOA was collected for 2 of the 5 participants during an average of 88% of sessions. Agreement averaged 90%. In Phase 2, IOA was collected for 4 of the 5 participants during an average of 70% of sessions. Agreement averaged 95%. IOA was collected across 75% of sessions for both participants in Experiment 2. Agreement averaged 97%.
An Evaluation of the Interaction Between Positive and Negative Reinforcement With Children Displaying Escape-Maintained Behavior.
ANDREW W. GARDNER (Kennedy Krieger Institute), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Eric Boelter (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: When children are presented with task demands, they are invariably presented with a choice between positive and negative reinforcement. This can be conceptualized as a concurrent schedule of whether to complete the task (access to positive reinforcement) or to engage in problem behavior (access to negative reinforcement). The current study investigated whether children’s choices between positive and negative reinforcement could be biased toward positive reinforcement by changing the quality dimension (e.g., high-quality attention or low-quality attention) of the available reinforcer. The current study consisted of two phases with typically developing children in an outpatient setting. Phase 1 consisted of a brief experimental analysis (Reimers et al., 1993). Phase 2 included a concurrent operants assessment with high- or low-quality of attention choice options. The results demonstrated that it was possible to bias the responding of all 3 participants with high-quality attention, despite the continuous availability of negative reinforcement. Across all participants, IOA was assessed for an average of 40% across Phase 1 (range, 20% to 57%), with an average of 97% agreement (range, 76% to 100%). For Phase 2, IOA was assessed for an average of 50% of sessions (range, 29% to 80%), with an average of 100% agreement.



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