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 #291
CE Offered: BACB
Reducing Challenging Behaviors in Children with Autism Receiving Intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
North 124 A
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Janet Yi (JBA Institute)
Discussant: Janet Yi (JBA Institute)
CE Instructor: Gerald E. Harris, Ph.D.
Abstract: Lacking the appropriate skills to communicate their needs, individuals with developmental disabilities often demonstrate challenging behaviors. This problem can be exacerbated in an intensive, high-demand educational program in which 20 to 40 hours per week are devoted to teaching appropriate skills. While research on addressing challenging behaviors within strict functional analytic methods is growing, there remains a paucity of research that addresses how such behaviors are reduced in the context of intensive ABA programs. Participants in the present studies were two boys (aged 5 years and 6 years) enrolled in intensive (30 and 40 hours per week) ABA programs, who demonstrated multiply-controlled challenging behaviors. An intervention entailing 1) differential reinforcement and 2) time out was used to address noncompliance in Participant 1. An intervention entailing 1) an antecedent strategy (i.e., prompting for use of appropriate responses), 2) differential reinforcement, and 3) positive practice of a replacement response was utilized to address self-injurious behavior in Participant 2. An intervention entailing 1) an antecedent strategy (pre-task choice-making), 2) positive reinforcement, and 3) positive punishment (redirection to a completion task) was used to address non-responsiveness in Participant 2. Results indicated clinically-significant reductions in rates of these challenging behaviors for both participants.
Treating Escape and Attention Seeking Behavior in a Child with Multiple Diagnoses
LISA A. TOPP (JBA Institute), Janet Yi (JBA Institute)
Abstract: Time out has been demonstrated to be an effective procedure for reducing noncompliant behaviors. Although most of the literature examines the efficacy of time out from positive reinforcement alone, more recent research (e.g., Everett et al., 2007) has begun to address the application of time out procedures to reduce escape-motivated challenging behaviors. Nonetheless, research on the use of time out within the context of an intensive (20 to 40 hours per week) comprehensive ABA program in which demands are high is limited. The current study examines a procedure that combines differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors, a token economy and secluded time out for severe challenging behaviors that serve the dual functions of escape and attention in a six-year old boy diagnosed with 3Q Trisomy with Chromosome 14, seizure disorder and Autism-NOS, who receives 30 hours of intensive ABA. Results of this study showed a clinically significant decease in challenging behaviors. Additional research is needed to examine the efficacy of time out procedures in combination with other strategies to address multiply-controlled challenging behaviors in an intensive ABA program.
Treating Multiply-Controlled Self-Injury in a Child with Autism
ELIZABETH SUSANNAH BAKER (JBA Institute), Janet Yi (JBA Institute)
Abstract: Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is a common and serious problem for individuals with autism (Matson & LoVullo, 2008). While there has been a movement toward more research on positive behavioral interventions for individuals exhibiting destructive and dangerous behavior, research on positive behavioral interventions for multiply-controlled SIB, especially within the context of an intensive (20-40 hours per week) comprehensive ABA program, is scant. An initial function-based intervention which relied solely on positive practice of replacement behaviors produced minimal decreases in the frequency of SIB in a 5-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. A multicomponent intervention using both antecedent (prompting for use of alternative behaviors) and consequent strategies (DRA and positive practice of replacement behaviors) was employed to achieve a clinically significant decrease in rates of SIB. Future research should include an in-depth examination of SIB interventions entailing both antecedent and consequent strategies delivered in the context of an intensive ABA program.
Treating Escape-Motivated Non-Responsiveness in a Child with Autism
ELIZABETH SUSANNAH BAKER (JBA Institute), Lisa A. Topp (JBA Institute), Janet Yi (JBA Institute)
Abstract: A lack of motivation to engage in less-preferred activities is very common in individuals with autism, which often leads to non-responsiveness. Non-responsiveness is a serious problem as it can significantly interfere with an individual’s ability to learn new skills. The problem can be compounded by enrollment in an intensive (i.e., 20 to 40 hours per week) comprehensive ABA program where demands are high across developmental domains. However, there is a paucity of literature about effective interventions for escape-motivated non-responsive behavior in children with autism. A multicomponent treatment package consisting of antecedent (pre-task choice-making and visual schedule) and consequent (positive reinforcement and positive punishment via redirection to a completion task) strategies was utilized to effectively reduce the rate of escape-motivated non-responsiveness in a 5-year-old boy with autism. Follow-up data indicated durable near-zero rates of non-responsiveness with progressively thinning and variable reinforcement schedules. Additional research is needed to examine and validate methods for addressing non-responsiveness in intensive ABA programs.



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