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 #361
CE Offered: BACB
Innovations in Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior in Children with Autism
Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W184bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mandy J. Rispoli (Texas A&M University)
CE Instructor: Mandy J. Rispoli, Ph.D.

In this symposium we present three recent single case studies regarding functional analysis and antecedent interventions for challenging behavior with children with autism spectrum disorders. The first paper provides a systematic literature review of 20 peer reviewed studies examining how educators have been trained to conduct functional analyses of challenging behavior. The second paper presents a comparison of the latency to behavior change in a differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) procedure with and without a contingency statement for 3 children with autism. The third paper evaluates the effects of embedding preferred stimuli into instructional materials to facilitate the transfer of mands to receptive identification with 3 children with autism who engage in escape-maintained challenging behavior. All papers will present implications for future research and clinical practice.

Keyword(s): differential reinforcement, functional analysis,, preference

Training Educators to Implement Functional Analyses of Challenging Behavior: A Systematic Review

KRISTI MORIN (Texas A&M University), Leslie Neely (Texas A&M University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Texas A&M University), Stephanie Gerow (Texas A&M University)

Functional analyses have been established as an effective assessment methodology used to identify the maintaining function of a variety of behaviors. In recent literature, educators have been successfully trained in transferring this methodology to the classroom by conducting a functional analysis of challenging behavior and implementing a function-based intervention. This study reviews the literature and the evidence base for training educators to conduct a functional analysis. A systematic search was conducted with a total of 20 studies meeting criteria for inclusion in this study. These studies were evaluated in terms of (a) educator characteristics, (b) description of the functional analysis procedures, (c) training procedures, (d) setting where the training occurred, (e) duration of the training, (f) the educator outcomes, and (g) the certainty of evidence. Twenty studies trained 63 participants to implement a combination of five possible functional analyses conditions. Results of training indicated that educators were able to implement the functional analyses with high treatment integrity following training. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research will be included.


An Analysis of Contingency Statements in a Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors Procedure

STEPHANIE GEROW (Texas A&M University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Texas A&M University), Leslie Neely (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Ninci (Texas A&M University)

The purpose of this study was to compare the latency to behavior change in a differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) procedure with and without a contingency statement. Three children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between the ages of 4 and 8 years participated in the study. The study utilized an ABAC design counterbalanced across the three participants, consisting of (A) baseline, (B) DRO with a contingency statement, and (C) DRO without a contingency statement phases. Results indicated that both DRO with and DRO without a contingency statement decreased challenging behavior for all three participants. In addition, the latency to behavior change criteria was shorter in the DRO with contingency statement condition as compared to the DRO without contingency statement condition for two participants. The latency to behavior change was equivalent in both conditions for the third participant. Results indicate that a contingency statement may increase the efficiency of a DRO procedure.


The Utility of Preferences in Transferring Mands to Receptive Identification in Children with Autism

JENNIFER NINCI (Texas A&M University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Texas A&M University), Samantha Guz (Texas A&M University), Leslie Neely (Texas A&M University), Kristi Morin (Texas A&M University)

Motivation plays is a pivotal role in the development of language, particularly for individuals with significant language delays. This study aims to assess the role of motivation in facilitating the transfer of mands to receptive identification. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to compare preferred to non-preferred but functional targets on the speed of receptive identification acquisition using an alternating treatments with repeated acquisitions design. Participants include 3 children with autism who communicate through picture exchange and exhibit no prior receptive identification abilities. Mand training through picture exchange will take place with high and low preferred targeted items available and the picture icons exchanged will be paired with the corresponding verbal word. Pictures exchanged to request will be identical to the pictures targeted in receptive identification probes, but reduced in size. Mand training will take place prior to receptive identification probes to determine if the items that the child is more likely to mand for would more readily generalize to receptive identification. Receptive identification of targets will be trained using a research-based teaching package. Generalization to multiple exemplars will also be assessed. Implications for teaching the skill of receptive identification to individuals with autism will be discussed.




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