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 #391
Further Developments in the Assessment and Treatment of Children who Display Escape-Maintained Problem Behavior
Monday, May 25, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 129 A
Area: DDA/CBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Danielle N. Dolezal (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Craig H. Kennedy (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: A common problem encountered by clinicians and teachers is noncompliance by children when presented with task demands. Understanding both the antecedents and consequences that maintain noncompliance allows clinicians and teachers to better treat problem behavior and increase compliance. Each of the current papers addresses different assessment and treatment approaches to reduce escape-maintained problem behavior and increase compliance with task demands. First, Anjali Barretto and Heather Shouse will present data on the assessment and treatment of food refusal and selectivity with a child with autism across multiple contexts. Next, Jessica Frieder, Shawn Quigley, Stephanie Peterson, Shilo Smith, and Carrie Brower-Breitweiser will discuss concurrent schedules of reinforcement for passively noncompliant students. The authors proposed an alternative methodology for assessing the function(s) of passive noncompliance and developed a function-based intervention matched to the results of the assessment. Finally Melanie Bachmeyer, David Wacker, and Linda Cooper-Brown will present on the relative effects of reinforcement and antecedent-based components in the treatment of escape-maintained food refusal with one child in outpatient setting. Results suggested that the addition of the antecedent-based procedure augmented the function-based intervention for escape-maintained food refusal. Collectively, these papers addresses important issues related to the assessment and treatment of escape-maintained problem behavior.
Assessment and Treatment of Food Refusal with a Child with Autism
ANJALI BARRETTO (Gonzaga University), Heather Shouse (Gonzaga University)
Abstract: Children with autism often display food over selectivity and food refusal. Outcomes of a review of literature on feeding disorders in children with ASD conducted by Ledford and Gast in 2006 confirmed this hypothesis. The purpose of this study was to assess and treat food selectivity across multiple contexts. The participant was 4 years old and diagnosed with autism. The assessment and treatment were conducted in an outpatient clinic and in an integrated preschool classroom. Treatment included escape extinction and texture fading to increase both variety and consistency of foods. In addition outside-meal functional analyses were conducted during several phases of the study to monitor changes in the function of self-injury while the feeding treatment progressed. Two independent observers achieved 90% agreement on over 33% of the sessions. Results will be discussed relative to application of behavioral feeding interventions to young children with autism, parent training, and generalization.
Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement for Passively Noncompliant Students
JESSICA FRIEDER (Utah State University), Shawn Quigley (Idaho State Universtiy), Stephanie M. Peterson (Idaho State University), Shilo Smith-Ruiz (College of Southern Idaho), Carrie M. Brower-Breitwieser (Idaho State University)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated the usefulness of applying functional analysis protocol for strengthening hypotheses regarding functional relations between problem behaviors and environmental contingencies (Iwata et al., 1982/1994). However, a functional analysis is often not helpful in clarifying the function of the problem behavior if there is an absence of active problem behaviors. For example, some children may stay at their desks but not complete any work unless physical prompts and models are provided (even though the task is at the child’s instructional level). If a functional analysis cannot be conducted of noncompliance, the function of noncompliance may be unclear—is it motivated by escape from the task demands or is it motivated by attention (i.e., in the form of prompts and/or assistance) from the teacher? The purposes of the current study were to (a) identify a methodology for assessing the function(s) of passive noncompliance, (b) develop a function-based intervention for passive noncompliance based on concurrent schedules of reinforcement, and (c) increase the amount of academic work being completed by the students. Data on a sample participant will be presented to illustrate this process. The implications of this methodology for the effective treatment of passive noncompliance will be discussed.
The Relative Effects of Reinforcement and Antecedent-Based Components in the Treatment of Escape-Maintained Food Refusal
MELANIE H. BACHMEYER (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Linda J. Cooper-Brown (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: Children with feeding problems may exhibit food refusal in a variety of ways including displaying inappropriate mealtime behaviors and refusing to accept and/or swallow bites. Negative reinforcement in the form of escape from or avoidance of eating is one variable that has been demonstrated to maintain food refusal, and escape extinction has been shown to be an effective intervention. Escape extinction (i.e., nonremoval of the spoon and re-presentation) was effective in increasing food acceptance for the child in the present study. However, escape extinction was not effective in increasing food consumption because the child refused to close his mouth when food was deposited. Therefore, the present study examined the relative effects of two additional treatment components combined with escape extinction: Noncontingent reinforcement and an antecedent-based procedure (i.e., pre-meal trials using a NUK® brush to elicit mouth closure). Both were evaluated within a reversal design. Results suggested that mouth closure during meals remained at low levels with the addition of noncontingent reinforcement, but increased with the addition of the antecedent-based procedure. Inter-observer agreement was collected during 30% of the sessions with 92% agreement. Results will be discussed in terms of the beneficial effects of antecedent manipulations in the treatment of escape-maintained food refusal.



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