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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Paper Session #237
Int'l Paper Session - Ritualistic and Stereotypic Behavior in Persons with Autism
Sunday, May 29, 2005
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Continental C (1st floor)
Area: AUT
Chair: Svein Eikeseth (Akershus University College)
Reinforcer Induced Stereotypes and Reinforcer Induced Self-Injury in Participants with Autism
Domain: Basic Research
SVEIN EIKESETH (Akershus University College)
Abstract: This study examined the possibility that stereotyped behavior and self-injurious behavior in some instances may be induced by the presentation of positive reinforcers. Two individuals with autism participated in the study, one exhibiting high rates of stereotyped hand-flapping and the other exhibiting high rates of self-injurious behavior. To examine the functional properties the students’ stereotyped and self-injuries behavior, an experimental functional analysis procedure was used, exposing the participants to various experimental conditions, using a multi-element design. For the student exhibiting stereotyped behavior and for the student exhibiting self-injury, these behaviors occurred at high rates during intervals where certain reinforcers were presented and with relative low rates during the other experimental conditions. Results suggest that stereotyped and self-injurious behavior in some instances may be reinforcer induced. The responsible mechanisms are unclear, but respondent behavior or schedule-induced behavior may be involved.
Ritualistic Behavior in Children with Autism: Part I
Domain: Applied Research
BLAKE M. LANCASTER (Western Michigan University), Linda A. LeBlanc (Western Michigan University), Dawn Detweiler (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Several prominent researchers suggested in the late 1990’s that the literature on the third core diagnostic feature of autism, repetitive and ritualistic behavior, lagged behind the literature on the other two areas (i.e., social and communication deficits). The current study was conducted to determine if this discrepancy actually exists and to examine any trends in publications across time. We identified 8 journals with the highest density of publications on autism using an electronic search engine. Next, we manually reviewed all articles in each of those journals to determine if the article primarily focused on autism and, if so, which core feature(s). The data suggest that there was significantly less research being conducted from 1980 – 2003 on the area of ritualistic or repetitive behavior compared to the areas of social skills and communication. The current symposium represents a review of all the articles within the reviewed journals that focused on the ritualistic and repetitive domain of autism and provides a summary of the current status of the field in regards to the assessment, treatment, methodologies and theories for repetitive and ritualistic behavior in autism.
Ritualistic Behavior in Children with Autism: Part II
Domain: Applied Research
DAWN DETWEILER (Western Michigan University), Linda A. LeBlanc (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This exploratory study examined the specific topographies and corresponding demographic information of restricted, repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, interests and activities of children with autism, and evaluated developmental differences between age groups. Previous literature has largely neglected this core feature of autism despite the need, and frequent call for such foundational data (Bodfish et al., 2000; Kennedy et al., 2000; Mercier et al., 2000; Turner, 1999). Participants included primary caregivers of 104 children who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for autism (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) and ranged in age from 3 to 7 years (M = 4.7). The behaviors reported as occurring most frequently and reported by the most participants (regardless of frequency) were not motor stereotypies, which are often discussed in autism research, but included verbal and complex repetitive behaviors. Statistically significant effects were found for caregiver marital status and conflict level of the household for predicting the dependent variables of the child’s distress at interruption of behavior and the caregiver’s disturbance by the child’s behavior. It is hoped that this information will contribute to a better understanding of this area of autism and will guide future research and affect future treatment for autistic disorder.



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