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 #228
CE Offered: BACB
Interventions for Teaching Important Skills to Young, Typically Developing Children
Sunday, May 25, 2014
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
W181a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: DEV/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Claudia L. Dozier (The University of Kansas)
Discussant: Jeffrey H. Tiger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
CE Instructor: Claudia L. Dozier, Ph.D.

The application of behavioral principles and procedures for teaching important skills (e.g., replacement skills to decrease the occurrence of problem behavior, increasing choice making and preference for choice making, and acquisition of pre-academic and academic skills) to young typically developed children is the focus of this symposium. Two studies will be presented that involve the evaluation of different procedures for increasing delay tolerance (i.e., learning to wait) in young children. The first study involves a comparison of two procedures for fading delays to reinforcement for the purpose of teaching delay tolerance. The second study involves a comparison of the delivery of high-, moderate-, and low-preferred items during the delay period to increase delay tolerance. A third study will be presented that involves comparing the effects of two common teaching procedures (i.e., massed vs. distributed practice) for teaching several academic skills. The final study involves a large-scale evaluation to determine whether young children prefer to make choices and an evaluation of the effects of conditioning to increase preference for choice versus no choice contexts.

Keyword(s): choice, delay tolerance, distributed practice, young children
Massed Versus Distributed Practice for Acquisition of Tacts and Textual Behavior with Typically Developing Children
SHAJI HAQ (University of Oregon), Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon), Isabelle Carrell (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Examining the efficiency of massed and distributed practice can provide educators with an indication about how to allocate time toward educational activities. This study evaluated the effects of massed and distributed practice on the acquisition of tacts and textual behavior in typically developing children. We compared the outcomes of massed practice (i.e., consolidating all practice opportunities during the week into a single session) and distributed practice (i.e., distributing all practice opportunities into four sessions during the week) on acquisition of textual behavior in English, tacting pictures of common nouns in Spanish, and responding to English text in Spanish using an adapted alternating treatments design embedded within a multiple probe design. We also examined correct responding during probes occurring 48 hours following training each week. The results indicated that the distributed practice condition was a more efficacious and efficient training procedure. Maintenance data collected up to four weeks after training also indicated consistently higher levels of correct responding to targets that were trained in distributed format. Thus, the results indicate that distributed practice was a more efficacious training procedure overall. We will discuss implications for practice and potential areas for future research.

An Evaluation of the Value and Conditioning of Choice as a Reinforcer for Typically Developing Children

JULIE A. ACKERLUND BRANDT (Penn State Harrisburg), Claudia L. Dozier (The University of Kansas), Jessica Foster (The University of Kansas), Courtney Laudont (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Bretta Rene Mick (The University of Kansas)

Providing choices has been a successful intervention for increasing appropriate behaviors and decreasing inappropriate behaviors; however, the mechanism responsible for this success is unknown. Choice may be a reinforcer, or the differential outcomes associated with choice opportunities may be responsible for treatment effects. In the current study, we replicated and extended previous research by determining the prevalence of preference for choice in a large number of children and evaluating whether a history of differential outcomes associated with choice and no-choice resulted in changes in preference for choice and no-choice conditions. Results showed that the majority of participants (20/30) preferred the choice condition during the assessment, and a history of differential outcomes associated with choice and no-choice conditions resulted in changes in preference for choice and no-choice conditions in approximately half of the participants (5/11) exposed to these histories.


An Evaluation of Item Preference in Increasing Tolerance to Delays in Typically Developing Children

JESSICA FOSTER (The University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (The University of Kansas), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (Penn State Harrisburg), Steven W. Payne (Melmark)

Children sometimes have a difficult time waiting for preferred items and make impulsive choices (i.e., choosing a smaller but immediate reinforcer over a larger but delayed reinforcer). Previous research (e.g., Newquist, Dozier, & Neidert, 2012) has shown that in the absence of delay fading, providing high-preferred leisure items is effective for increasing self-control (i.e., choosing a larger but delayed reinforcer over a smaller but immediate reinforcer). The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of delivering low-, moderate-, and high-preferred toys during the delay on delay tolerance. Results have been idiosyncratic across participants in that (a) for three participants, all items (regardless of preference level) were effective for increasing delay tolerance, even when they were also provided when the participant made the smaller, immediate reinforcer choice and (b) for one participant, only high-preference items were effective for decreasing delay tolerance and only when the items were not also delivered for making the smaller, immediate reinforcer choice.


A Comparative Analysis of Time-Based Versus Contingency-Based Strategies for Teaching Delay Tolerance

MAHSHID GHAEMMAGHAMI (Western New England University), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University), Joshua Jessel (Western New England University)

The ultimate effectiveness of treatments for problem behavior, like functional communication training (FCT; Tiger, Hanley, & Bruzek, 2008), depends on the extent to which the treatment can be extended to and maintained in the typical environment of that individual. Continuous and immediate reinforcement is not feasible in the typical environment and the unavoidable delay to reinforcement may lead to a reemergence of problem behavior and extinction of the newly acquired communication response (Hanley, Iwata, & Thompson, 2001; Hagopian, Boelter, & Jarmolowicz, 2011). In this study, we compared the relative effectiveness of two progressive delay training procedurestime-based and contingency-basedfor teaching tolerance for delays to reinforcement following functional communication training. Results from two participants (aged 1.9 and 5.5 years old) have shown lower rates of problem behavior and emotional responding during contingency-based than time-based progressive delay training. The treatment effects maintained as delay intervals were increased to practical levels and generalized to a second context. Interobserver agreement averaged 97% (range 82% to 100%) for all variables measured.




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