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 #212
Choice and Response Allocation in the Assessment and Treatment of Severe Problem Behavior
Sunday, May 24, 2009
10:30 AM–12:20 PM
North 128
Area: DDA/CBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa)
Discussant: Robert H. Horner (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Responding under concurrent reinforcement schedules can be conceptualized as a type of choice behavior. Such schedule arrangements have been designed to provide assessment information and succuessfully treat severe problem behavior exhibited by individuals with developmental disabilities. In the current symposium, three papers will be presented that discuss some current research in this area. The first paper will compare the findings of concurrent operants preference assessments with the results of functional analyses of problem behavior exhibited by young children displaying problem behavior. Results before and after FCT-based treatment will be compared. The second paper will evalute response allocation exhibited by individuals whose problem behavior is maintained by automatic reinforcement under two different concurrent operants arrangements: (a) when multiple sources of reinforcement are available simultaneously, and (b) when multiple sources of reinforcement are available, but mutually exclusive (i.e., only one source of reinforcement can be accessed at any given time). The final paper will discuss response allocation under concurrent schedules during stimulus (demand) fading as a treatment for severe problem behavior. Rob Horner will serve as discussant for the collection of papers.
Evaluation of Relations Between Functional Analyses and Choice Assessment Outcomes Pre- and Post- Functional Communication Training
YANIZ C. PADILLA (University of Iowa), Jay W. Harding (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa), John F. Lee (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa)
Abstract: We compared functional analysis (FA) and choice assessment (CA) outcomes to evaluate correspondence in variables identified that controlled child behavior (e.g., time allocation, destructive behavior, task completion) pre- and post- implementation of an FCT package. Participants were 17 children, aged 2 to 6 years, with developmental disabilities who displayed destructive behavior. All conditions were conducted in the participants’ homes. Functional analyses were completed within a multielement design to evaluate the environmental variables that maintained destructive behavior. Parent attention, tangibles, and demands were manipulated during a CA within a concurrent schedules design to measure time allocation across choice options. The CA was conducted pre- and post- implementation of FCT. Interrater agreement was assessed during 30% of FA and CA sessions and averaged over 90%. FA results showed that destructive behavior was maintained by escape from demands for all participants and by access to tangibles for most. CA results pre- and post- treatment showed that most participants allocated their time to parent attention choice options even when parent attention was paired with demands. Overall, destructive behavior was lower and task completion higher during the CA demand conditions pre-and post-treatment than during the FA demand condition.
Comparing Allocation Between Automatic Reinforcement and Alternative Stimuli During Free Operant and Concurrent Operant Arrangements
WENDY K. BERG (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Vinquist (University of Iowa), Jason M. Stricker (The University of Iowa), Anuradha Salil Kumar Dutt (University of Iowa), Jeffrey R. Luke (University of Iowa)
Abstract: vary on two dimensions: (a) the degree to which problem behavior would persist in the presence of alternative stimuli, and (b) the degree to which engaging in problem behavior (and gaining automatic reinforcement) would be selected to the exclusion of gaining access to alternative stimuli. To test these hypotheses, we presented participants with access to attention and preferred leisure items (alternative stimuli) within two reinforcement schedules and compared their allocation between the two available sets of reinforcers. During the first schedule, NCR, the participant had continuous access to adult attention and preferred toys and no contingencies were provided for problem behavior. During the second schedule, concurrent operants, the participant could choose gaining access to adult attention and preferred toys via one response or choose gaining access to problem behavior (automatic reinforcement) via a second response. Allocation between item engagement and problem behavior varied across participants and four patterns of results were obtained. The patterns will be discussed in regard to their implications for treatment selection. Interrater agreement data were collected for approximately 30% of the sessions and averaged at least 90% agreement.
The Effects of the Availability of Mands During Stimulus Fading
STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Idaho State University), Jessica Frieder (Utah State University), Shilo Smith-Ruiz (College of Southern Idaho), Carrie M. Brower-Breitwieser (Idaho State University), Stuart M Mullins (Idaho State University)
Abstract: Stimulus fading is an intervention procedure that consists of decreasing demands to very low levels and slowly increasing them over time. This procedure has been shown to be a successful treatment for escape-motivated challenging behavior for some individuals. However, one limitation of the procedure is that, for some individuals, bursts of problem behavior occur each time the demands are increased (Lalli, Casey, & Kates, 1995; Zarcone et al., 1994). One reason bursts may occur is that an alternative skill other than compliance, such as a mand, that is functionally equivalent to the problem behavior has not been taught. This study examined the effects of teaching a mand and making it available during a stimulus fading intervention for participants with escape-motivated problem behavior via a concurrent schedules arrangement. During the two-choice arrangement, compliance and problem behavior were reinforced on independent schedules of reinforcement, while during the three-choice arrangement, compliance, mands, and problem behavior were reinforced on independent schedules of reinforcement. Results will be presented for a sample participant. The findings will be examined in relation to matching theory, and the practical implications for intervention will also be discussed.



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