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 #399
CE Offered: BACB
ABA on the Front Lines: Case Studies and Lessons Learned in Treating Challenging Behavior in NYC Public Schools
Monday, May 26, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W187ab (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: J. Helen Yoo (New York State Institute for Basic Research)
CE Instructor: Jenny La Barbera, Psy.D.

Students with autism who displayed aggression or self-injurious behaviors received assessment and treatment in their district schools by a team of behavior analysts. These services were funded by a grant from the New York State Education Department. Challenges in specific cases are addressed as they pertain to conducting functional analyses in the schools and developing treatments that are accepted and implemented by school staff.


Evaluating Long-Term Outcomes of an Intensive Behavioral Assessment and Intervention Program for Students with Autism in New York City Public School Classrooms

J. HELEN YOO (New York State Institute for Basic Research), Jenny La Barbera (Institute for Basic Research), Niall James Toner (Institute for Basic Research), Nicole Pearson (Institute for Basic Research)

When treating severe challenging behavior, a critical aspect (and challenge) of treatment success is maintaining behavior improvements over time. Follow-up services were a key component of an intensive behavioral assessment and intervention program serving students with autism in New York City public schools. Students referred to the program exhibited chronic and severe challenging behavior which, if not remediated, may have led to a more restrictive placement. Assessment and treatment were conducted by a team of behavior analysts with school staff assistance. Staff were trained in the interventions and the follow-up services were provided for up to one year following discharge from the program to ensure treatment gains were maintained. Overcoming challenges related to changes in staff and the students' placements will be discussed, as well as the long-term outcomes of the program participants.


The Effectiveness of Differential Reinforcement in Treating Automatically Maintained Self-Injury in Three Students Diagnosed with Autism in Public Schools

JENNY LA BARBERA (Institute for Basic Research), Nicole Pearson (Institute for Basic Research), Niall James Toner (Institute for Basic Research), J. Helen Yoo (New York State Institute for Basic Research)

Behavior analysts report that self-injury maintained by automatic reinforcement can be one of the most difficult types of self-injury to treat (Toussaint & Tiger, 2012). An automatic function of self-injury may even mask other functions (McKerchar, et al., 2001). The current study examined the effectiveness of differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) and differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors (DRA) for three students diagnosed with autism who displayed self-injury that was maintained primarily by automatic reinforcement. The students were in 6:1:1, autistic support classrooms in New York City public schools. Functional analyses were conducted for each student, individualized treatments were developed, and staff were trained on implementation in the classroom. Limitations and recommendations will be discussed.


When Traditional Methods Fail: Overcoming Obstacles when Conducting Functional Analyses and Implementing Differential Reinforcement in Public Schools

NIALL JAMES TONER (Institute for Basic Research), Jenny La Barbera (Institute for Basic Research), Nicole Pearson (Institute for Basic Research), J. Helen Yoo (New York State Institute for Basic Research)

Best practices in applied behavior analysis include conducting a functional behavior assessment, usually involving a functional analysis, and formulating a treatment plan based on the identified function of the target behavior. Unfortunately, traditional functional analyses do not always yield differentiated results and only a paucity of research available that suggests alternative methods of identifying the functions of behavior. In the current study, nontraditional functional analyses were conducted after traditional functional analyses were shown to be inconclusive. In addition to the obstacles in functional analyses there are many obstacles to overcome during treatment. Traditionally a treatment plan of differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) based on the function of behavior will yield a decrease in behavior. Unfortunately, for a specific set of students, the authors observed no decrease in behavior and in some instances an increase in behavior following implementation. Obstacles and solutions will be discussed.




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