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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #390
Behavioral Approaches to the Assessment and Treatment of Novel Challenging Behaviors
Monday, May 25, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 128
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Terry Falcomata (University of Nebraska Medical Center & Munroe-Mey)
Abstract: Although behavior analytic methods have been shown to be effective in addressing a wide variety of challenging behaviors, there are many behaviors that behavior analysts have not historically addressed. Four papers will be presented describing behavior analytic approaches to the assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors that are relatively novel in behavior analytic research. First, Anna Ing and colleagues tackle coprophagia and present data on the use of modified functional analysis methods and the development of an effective treatment. In the second paper, Kendra Beaudet-Dommer, Mark Derby, Kim Weber, and Anjali Barretto present a unique case of social phobia and show data demonstrating the effectiveness of behavioral interventions in the treatment of the phobia. In the third paper, Brenda Engebretson, David Wacker, Linda Cooper-Brown, Patrick Romani, Kelly Schieltz, and Lindsay Stangeland address the topic of selective mutism in young children and present data on the use of brief antecedent experimental analyses for identifying variables that affect the occurrence of this challenging behavior. Finally, Adam Hahs, Mark Dixon, Michael Bordieri, Becky Nastally, and Nick Mui present data demonstrating the utility of behavioral based interventions for the treatment of the morbid obesity.
Functional Analysis and Treatment of Coprophagia
ANNA ING (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Henry S. Roane (University of Nebraska Medical Center & Munroe-Meyer Institute), Rebecca A. Veenstra (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kasey Stephenson (Munroe-Meyer Institute; UNMC)
Abstract: A functional analysis of coprophagia was conducted with a 6-year old female. The results of the functional analysis suggested that the coprophagia was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Based on the results of the functional analysis, a treatment was developed to decrease the occurrence of coprophagia. A competing items preference assessment was conducted for the purpose of identifying stimuli that would potentially compete with occurrences of coprophagia. Next, we evaluated the effectiveness of providing non-contingent access to the identified stimuli in decreasing occurrences of coprophagia. The results showed that rates of coprophagia were considerably lower when noncontingent access to the identified stimuli was provided noncontingently. Additionally, the intervention generalized successfully to two naturalistic settings (i.e., the restroom, a room with a trash can). Results are discussed in terms of the efficacy of implementing treatments for coprophagia based on the results of functional analyses.
The Effects of Systematic Desensitization on a Phobic 15-year-old Male with Autism: A Case Study
KENDRA BEAUDET-DOMMER (Gonzaga University), K. Mark Derby (Gonzaga University), Kimberly P. Weber (Gonzaga University), Anjali Barretto (Gonzaga University)
Abstract: Childhood anxieties are often associated with avoidance and discomfort and are completely natural to arise when in distressing situations; it’s when these fears affect daily functioning are they classified as phobias. A specific type of phobia is social anxiety; the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. While many phobic individuals suffer from social impairments, relatively few end up in treatment for their problems and less than 20% seek professional help. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a systematic desensitization intervention program on a phobic 15-year-old male with Autism who had a specific phobia for persons who coughed or expressed cold symptoms. This study explores how relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing exercises and hand-held stress reduction coupled with a step-by-step hierarchical intervention serve as treatment in reducing social anxiety and aberrant behaviors in a family situation.
Using Brief Antecedent Analyses to Match Assessment to Treatment in Children with Selective Mutism
BRENDA J. ENGEBRETSON (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Linda J. Cooper-Brown (The University of Iowa), Patrick Romani (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa), Lindsay Stangeland (Grant Wood Area Education Agency/St. Cloud State University), Maliha Zaman (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Behavioral treatments for children with selective mutism have been shown to be effective (Stone, Kratochwill, Sladeczek, & Serlin, 2002). However, procedures for matching a specific intervention to a given child diagnosed with mutism have not yet been developed. Although the studies reviewed by Stone et al. were based on applied behavior analytic techniques (e.g., shaping and positive reinforcement), authors did not report how intervention was matched to an individual child. Because mutism is the absence of a behavior, it can be difficult to experimentally assess using a consequence-based functional analysis. Other methods of assessment are necessary to match intervention to a child’s individual needs. The current investigation used brief experimental analysis methodology (e.g., Cooper et al. 1992) to evaluate individual patterns in communication and problem behavior in 2 children referred to a behavioral pediatrics outpatient clinic for selective mutism. An antecedent analysis of children’s vocalizations and problem behaviors was conducted to determine whether selective mutism was a unique example of oppositional behavior or 1 topography of several oppositional behaviors within the child’s repertoire. Individual patterns of responding were observed across children, suggesting that this type of antecedent analysis may be beneficial for matching treatment strategies to individual children with mutism.
Taking a Behavior Analytic Bite Out of the Obesity Epidemic in America
ADAM D. HAHS (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Michael Bordieri (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Becky L. Nastally (Southern Illinois University), Nicholas Mui Ker Lik (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Over the course of the past 20 years, the United States has seen a rapid increase in the proportion of the population that meets the criteria of being morbidly obese. It is clear that the yearly diet fads, the Christmas-gift exercise equipment, and the night-time inspirational infomercials are not working. America is fatter than ever before. This presentation will highlight the significant societal problem facing our culture, trace the minimal behavioral interventions that have been attempted, and showcase an application of a lab-to-therapy treatment clinic at Southern Illinois University. Data from laboratory experimentation as well as from clients whom have completed 8-16 week intensive 1-1 behavioral based therapy will be presented. Based on the obtained data, it is clear that behavior analysis has much to offer in the fight against obesity, and treatment can in fact be successful.



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