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 #214
Investigation of Interventions Targeting and Utilizing Repetitive Behaviors and Interests among Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 25, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W187ab (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tara Wagner (Baylor University)

Repetitive, stereotyped, restrictive, and preservative patterns of interests and behaviors are a diagnostic feature of autism spectrum disorders. Such behaviors and interests can be disruptive to learning and may lead to social stigmatization. While interventions to reduce the negative effects of these behaviors are necessary, it may also be helpful to incorporate perseverative interests into treatment packages. In this symposium we present research regarding the treatments that target or make benefit of repetitive behaviors or interests of individuals with developmental disabilities. The first paper summarizes a systematic review of the literature aimed to reduce echolalia. Results indicate 18 interventions across the literature. Implications for practice will be discussed. The second paper investigates the effects of a token economy with and without tokens reflecting perseverative interests. Results indicate that the inclusion of perseverative interests improved the effectiveness of the token economy. The third paper evaluates the effects of four distinct interventions to reduce vocal stereotypy. The effects of the four treatments on vocal stereotypy, engagement, and problem behavior were compared utilizing a multielement design. Results indicate successful treatment choices, but the effects on other behaviors need to be considered. Collectively, studies present innovative treatment and uses of stereotypy and perseverative interests.

Keyword(s): echolalia, perseverative interests, vocal stereotypy

Interventions for the Treatment of Echolalia with Individuals with ASD: A Systematic Review

ERICA STRICKLAND (Texas A&M University), Leslie Neely (Texas A&M University), Stephanie Gerow (Texas A&M University)

This systematic review aimed to determine the effectiveness of different interventions for the treatment of echolalia and repetitive language in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Echolalia and repetitive language can disrupt the learning process and impact the quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Because of this, it is critical to find effective interventions that decrease this behavior. The major features of 18 contemporary interventions are synthesized and reviewed in terms of treatment characteristics, design and measurement, and outcomes to analyze the effectiveness of these interventions. It is concluded that multiple interventions have a sound empirical basis and demonstrated effectiveness in the reduction of echolalia and repetitive language. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.


Effects of a Perseverative Interest-Based Token Economy on Challenging and On-Task Behavior of a 7-year-old Boy with Autism

TRACY RAULSTON (University of Oregon), Amarie Carnett (Victoria university of Wellington), Russell Lang (Texas State University), Allyson Lee (Texas State University), Amy Tostanoski (Vanderbilt University), Jeffrey S. Sigafoos (Victoria University of Wellington), Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon)

Token economy interventions involve delivering small tangibles (e.g., tokens) contingent on the presence or absence of target behaviors, and then providing an opportunity to exchange a preset number of these tokens for back-up reinforcers. In this study, we compared the effects of a token economy intervention that either did or did not include tokens reflecting the perseverative interests of a 7-year-old boy with autism. Tokens were delivered contingent up 20 consecutive seconds of on-task behavior and back-up reinforcers could be obtained for every 10 tokens earned. An alternating treatment design revealed that the perseverative interest-based tokens were more effective at decreasing challenging behavior and increasing on-task behavior during an early literacy activity than tokens absent the perseverative interest. The beneficial effects were then replicated in the childs classroom. The results suggest that perseverative interest-based tokens might enhance the effectiveness of interventions based on token economies. Implications for practical application will be discussed.

Comparisons of Treatments to Reduce Vocal Stereotypy in Children with Developmental Disabilities
KELSEY HENRY (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Kally Amos (Baylor University), Rachel Scalzo (Baylor University), Emily Gregori (Baylor University), Sarah Turchan (Baylor University), Tamara Zoch (Baylor University), Tara Wagner (Baylor University)
Abstract: Vocal stereotypy is common among children with developmental disabilities and can result in disruption of task engagement and learning as well as social exclusion. In this study we compared the effects of four treatments to reduce vocal stereotypy: (a) response interruption and redirection(RIRD), (b) differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO), (c) noncontingent access to music, and (d) noncontingent access to recording of participant’s own vocal stereotypy. During RRID, the participant was required to follow two simple instructions contingent upon vocal stereotypy. During DRO, the participant was given access to a preferred item contingent upon the absence of vocal stereotypy. During noncontingent access to music, preferred music was played softly in the background and vocal stereotypy was ignored. During noncontingent access to vocal stereotypy, an audio recording of the participant’s vocal stereotypy was played softly in the background and vocal stereotypy was ignored. A multielement research design measured the effects of each treatment on vocal stereotypy, task engagement, and problem behavior implemented during the participant’s regular one-to-one clinical teaching sessions. Results indicate treatments effective at reducing vocal stereotypy, but suggest that influences on other variables, such as task engagement and problem behavior, should also be considered.



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