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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #55
The Use of Antecedent Manipulations to Augment the Effects of Treatment in Toddlers
Saturday, May 24, 2014
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
W179b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CBM/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Danielle N. Dolezal (Seattle Children's Hospital and The Autism Center)
Discussant: William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)

A common problem encountered by parents of toddlers involves how to increase healthy eating and how to decrease unsafe behaviors. The application of applied behavior analysis has been utilized to understand and treat such challenging behavior in young children. Each of the current papers addresses challenging behavior displayed by toddlers by directly manipulating antecedent dimensions to augment treatment effects. First, Lauren Melen and Michele Wallace will present data on the effects of time-in and time-out procedures on the reduction of dangerous behavior exhibited by toddlers in the home. Results of their study indicated that an enriched environment combined with time-out procedures decreased unsafe play behavior in toddlers. Next, Brooke Holland, David Wacker, Linda Cooper-Brown, and Ashley Willms will discuss an evaluation of the interaction of response effort and food preference to increase food consumption in a 14-month-old boy with feeding difficulties. The authors demonstrated that directly manipulating the effort of the meal resulted in increases in oral eating. Collectively, these papers show that the addition of an antecedent-based procedure can augment the intervention for challenging behavior in toddlers.

Keyword(s): Effort, Enriched Environment, Feeding Difficulties, Preference

Effect of Time-in on Dangerous Behavior Exhibited by Toddlers in the Home

Lauren Melen (California State University, Los Angeles), MICHELE D. WALLACE (California State University, Los Angeles)

Although child safety is a large concern, only one previous study has been conducted examining a treatment package that consisted of positive attention, preference assessments, and timeouts to teach parents how to keep their children safe in the home (Mathews, Friman, Barone, Ross, & Christophersen,1987). The purpose of the current study was to expand the literature in this area and examine each part of the treatment package examined by Mathews et al. by conducting a component analysis. Parents were taught to conduct brief preference assessments and to provide positive attention during time-in (i.c., to provide an enriched environment). Parents were then taught to implement a timeout contingent on unsafe behavior. Results of the study indicate that the enriched environment combined with timeout decreased unsafe play behaviors for toddlers. Implications of this simple procedure as well as future research directions are discussed.


An Evaluation of the Interaction of Response Effort and Food Preference to Increase Food Consumption

BROOKE M. HOLLAND (The University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa), Linda J. Cooper-Brown (The University of Iowa), Ashley Willms (The University of Iowa)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the interaction of variablesresponse effort and preferenceon food consumption. The participant, Edward, was a 14-month-old male who had a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease and feeding difficulties. Interobserver agreement was assessed across 41.7% of sessions for Phase I and 35.7% of sessions for Phase II and averaged 91.8% for Phase I and 98.8% for Phase II. Phase I evaluated bites accepted when manipulating response effort. Response effort was defined as the combined and regulated oral-motor manipulations required to consume different types and textures of food. Phase II evaluated bites accepted when manipulating response effort and food preference. Preference was defined as the individual choosing to consume a food of a similar type and/or texture over another food. The results of Phase I and II (Figure 1) demonstrated that effort influenced bites accepted. When we decreased the effort (i.e., offered an empty spoon) to accept a bite of a less preferred food, bite acceptance increased.




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