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.


Ninth Annual Autism Conference; Las Vegas, NV; 2015

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #9
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Recent Behavioral Research on Restricted Inflexible Behavior

Saturday, January 24, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Timothy R. Vollmer, Ph.D.
Chair: Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
TIMOTHY R. VOLLMER (University of Florida)
Timothy R. Vollmer received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1992. From 1992 until 1996, he was on the psychology faculty at Louisiana State University. From 1996 to 1998, he was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He returned to the University of Florida in 1998 and is now a professor of psychology. His primary area of research is applied behavior analysis, with emphases in developmental disabilities, reinforcement schedules, and parenting. He has published more than 130 articles and book chapters related to behavior analysis. He was the recipient of the 1996 B.F. Skinner New Researcher award from the American Psychological Association (APA). He received another APA award in August 2004, for significant contributions to applied behavior analysis. He is a former ABAI council member. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, a board member on the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and an ABAI fellow.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are defined, in part, by restricted inflexible behavior. At the Behavior Analysis Research Clinic at the University of Florida, Dr. Vollmer has been collaborating with colleagues and students to evaluate such behavior in a range of contexts. One, they have compared the behavior in children with ASD to typically developing children using arbitrary play activities. Although both groups showed restricted interests, the ASD children were far less likely to switch activity upon request to do so. Two, they have extended their work on restricted inflexible behavior to socially relevant activity such as restricted food interests and restricted interest in sedentary activity such as video games, videos, and computer surfing. They are examining shaping procedures to increase variability in responding. Three, they have evaluated repetitive behavior disorders such as stereotypy and severe self-injury. They are currently investigating emergency treatment procedures for situations when a single instance of problem behavior may be too dangerous. Results from this collection of studies will be presented and discussed.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, practitioners, and graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) describe examples of restricted inflexible behavior displayed by individuals with ASD; (2) list at least three reasons that restricted inflexible behavior can be problematic; and (3) cite the evidence supporting elimination of the establishing operation as an emergency treatment procedure for severe behavior disorders.
Keyword(s): emergency treatment , inflexible behavior, restricted interest



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