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 #21
CE Offered: BACB
Refining Function-based Interventions for Practical Implementation
Saturday, May 24, 2014
1:00 PM–2:50 PM
W187c (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Eileen M. Roscoe (The New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Eileen Roscoe, Ph.D.

Function-based interventions, such as differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA), are often found successful in treating problem behavior when implemented at full integrity. However, intervention effects may not maintain when treatment integrity is impaired. This symposium will include four papers on procedural refinements of function-based intervention components to enhance practical implementation. The author of the first paper will describe an evaluation comparing two differential reinforcement schedules and a fading procedure for treating automatically reinforced stereotypy. In the second paper, the author will present data on a multiple-schedule procedure for establishing stimulus control over stereotypy. The author of the third paper will describe an evaluation of demand fading without extinction, with and without DRA, for treating escape-maintained problem behavior. In the forth paper, the author will describe a comparison of different stimuli in the context of a multiple-schedule thinning procedure for attention-maintained problem behavior. Gregory Hanley, who will serve as discussant for this symposium, will comment on the symposiums topic area, integrate the speakers contributions, and offer feedback on the presented papers.

Keyword(s): autism, DRA, fading, problem behavior

An Evaluation of Differential Reinforcement Procedures for Treating Automatically Reinforced Stereotypy

CHELSEA HEDQUIST (The New England Center for Children), Eileen M. Roscoe (The New England Center for Children), Amanda Verriden (The New England Center for Children)

Children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often exhibit stereotypy that can be socially stigmatizing and interfere with learning objectives. Although differential reinforcement procedures have been found effective for treating stereotypy, they are often combined with multiple treatment components, making it difficult to determine their independent effects. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate two differential reinforcement interventions, differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) and differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO), when they are implemented independently. Two individuals with an ASD diagnosis, who exhibited high levels of motor stereotypy, participated. In all conditions, task materials required for completing an educationally relevant task were present. No reinforcement baseline, DRA, and DRO conditions were evaluated using multielement and reversal designs. Results indicated DRA was more effective than DRO for decreasing motor stereotypy, increasing productivity, and increasing engagement for both participants. Systematic schedule fading was implemented for one participant. Interobserver agreement data were collected for over 33% of sessions and averaged at least 80%


Developing Stimulus Control over Stereotypic Behavior within a Multiple Schedule

BRITTANY CATHERINE PUTNAM (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Jeffrey H. Tiger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Self-stimulatory play is problematic when it competes with acquisition of important learning activities; however such play will be non-problematic if it occurs during other times. In the current study, home care staff brought the self-stimulatory sock play of a 10-year-old boy with autism under stimulus control by arranging a multiple schedule. During continuous reinforcement periods, signaled by the presentation of a bracelet the subject wore, sock play would be allowed; during extinction periods, signaled by the removal of the bracelet, sock play was manually disrupted. The durations of these components were faded such that sessions consisted of 1 min of reinforcement and 10 min of extinction with low levels of attempted sock play during extinction periods.


Evaluation of Demand Fading without Extinction

Brittany Rothe (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Houston-Clear Lake), JELISA SCOTT (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Trena M. Rouse (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

Demand fading without extinction was evaluated for children with problem behavior maintained by social negative reinforcement. Initially, demands were eliminated and gradually reintroduced across sessions, and problem behavior continued to produce reinforcement in the form of a break from tasks. If demand fading without extinction was ineffective in suppressing problem behavior, differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) was added to treatment. Results suggest that extinction was not a necessary component of demand fading, and DRA plus demand fading without extinction was an effective alternative when demand fading alone did not suppress problem behavior.


Using Natural Stimuli as a Signal for Reinforcement during Functional Communication Training

AGUSTIN JIMENEZ (California State University, Los Angeles), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)

Functional communication training (FCT) is a widely used and successful intervention for treating problem behavior. However, the intervention may be limited when implemented in natural contexts (e.g., family home) because high rates of communicative responding may occur, which can compromise treatment integrity. The current study extended previous work on the effects of a FCT intervention and schedule thinning procedure implemented in clients daily environments. Specifically, this study evaluated the effectiveness of using natural versus artificial stimuli associated with multiple-schedule components for thinning the schedule of reinforcement. Results demonstrated that both types of multiple schedules were effective for thinning schedules of reinforcement to clinically relevant levels. Artificial stimuli were found to be more effective than natural stimuli for reinforcement schedule thinning for one participant, whereas no discernible difference was observed with the second participant. Follow up phases demonstrated that results were upheld over brief periods of time (i.e., 3 weeks) without intervention.




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