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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #297
CE Offered: BACB
Analyses of Antecedent Variables Related to Improved Academic and Social Behavior
Monday, May 30, 2016
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Regency Ballroom C, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Patrick Romani (University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children's Hospital Colorado)
Discussant: Edward J. Daly (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
CE Instructor: Patrick Romani, Ph.D.

Antecedent-based interventions have been used to address a wide variety of common referral concerns for applied behavior analysts. This symposium will present four papers investigating the effect of antecedent variables on improvements in academic (Schieltz and Wacker and Hamad) and social behavior (Watkins et al. and Torelli et al.). Both Schieltz and Wacker and Hamad present data showing the effect of instructional strategies matched to academic weaknesses on decreases in problem behavior and accurate responding. Watkins and colleagues present a study in which incorporating children diagnosed with autisms interests into play activities increased pro-social behaviors, and Torelli and colleagues present data showing the positive effects of a class-wide multiple-schedule of reinforcement on student disruptive behavior. Together these four papers extend the literature investigating the creative use of antecedent strategies to improve academic and behavioral concerns. Thus, this symposium will provide attendees with information about the extension of antecedent-based interventions to issues of social concern.

Keyword(s): Academic Inteventions, Antecedent Interventions, Social Skills, Stimulus Control

Effects of Instructional Strategies on Academic Behavior Maintained by Negative Reinforcement Within Concurrent Schedules

KELLY M. SCHIELTZ (University of Missouri), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether antecedent variables associated with academic tasks biased choice responding towards academic tasks with a history of negative reinforcement. Ella was a fifth grade girl diagnosed with mild intellectual disability. Academic instruction was provided at the first and second grade levels. Primary behavioral concerns were aggression and noncompliance. All procedures were conducted in a 90-min outpatient clinic. IOA was assessed across 40% of sessions and averaged 99%. Assessments were conducted within a concurrent schedules design during all phases. A preference assessment was conducted during Phase 1 to determine the relative value between positive and negative reinforcement. Results suggested that choice allocation was maintained by negative reinforcement, whereby choices occurred away from academic tasks. During Phase 2, a reinforcer assessment was conducted to determine whether positive reinforcement, in the form of attention, biased choice responding towards the academic task. Results showed that attention was not sufficient to maintain choice responding. During Phase 3, an antecedent analysis was conducted to determine whether instructional strategies biased responding towards the academic task. Results showed that choice responding switched to the academic task and improved academic performance, suggesting that the instructional strategy functioned as an abolishing operation.


Increasing Peer Social Interactions Using the Preferred Interests of Preschoolers With Autism

LACI WATKINS (The University of Texas at Austin), Mark O'Reilly (The University of Texas at Austin), Michelle Kuhn (The University of Texas at Austin), Katherine Ledbetter-Cho (Texas State University)

The literature suggests that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) educated in inclusive settings generally do not interact with their typically developing classmates during social activities. This study assessed whether an antecedent strategy of incorporating the preferred interests of preschoolers with ASD into play activities mutually engaging to typical peers would result in an increase in social interaction. A multiple baseline design across participants (with ABAB phases embedded) was used to demonstrate the effects of the intervention on participant initiations and responses during play sessions with typical peers. Initiations and responses to typical peers increased for all four participants, and generalization to novel peers was observed. Treatment gains were maintained during six-week follow- up sessions. Recommendations for practitioners working with children with ASD in inclusive settings and potential areas of future research are discussed.

Teaching Stimulus Control via Class-Wide Multiple Schedules of Reinforcement in Public Elementary School Classrooms
JESSICA TORELLI (Vanderbilt University), Blair Lloyd (Vanderbilt University), Claire Diekman (Vanderbilt University), Joseph H. Wehby (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: In elementary school classrooms, students commonly recruit teacher attention at inappropriately high rates or at inappropriate times. Multiple schedule interventions have been used to teach stimulus control by signaling to students when reinforcement is and is not available contingent on an appropriate response. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate effects of a class-wide multiple schedule on differentiated rates of student recruitment of teacher attention in two public elementary classrooms. General education teachers implemented the multiple schedule intervention in the context of a common instructional routine (i.e., small group rotations among reading centers). Results indicated that the multiple schedule intervention was effective at decreasing disruptive bids for attention when teacher attention was not available. Additional research on teacher implementation of class-wide multiple schedules is needed to evaluate whether this intervention may be identified as an effective supplement to tier 1 classroom management strategies within multi-tiered systems of support.

Testing a Model for Assessment and Intervention Decision-Making for Students With Co-Occurring Behavior Problems and Reading Difficulties in the Classroom: Exploring the Relative Effects of Antecedent Intevention Strategies

ANDREA EGAN HAMAD (Minnesota Department of Human Services), Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)

Many students exhibit behavior problems and reading difficulties in the classroom. Interventions to address these issues have been shown to be increasingly less effective after third grade. A practical model was created in this study to assist researchers and practitioners in assessment and intervention decision-making. Six first-grade students participated in the three parts of this study: (1) functional analysis; (2) reading assessment; (3) brief analysis to test the effects of antecedent interventions matched and mismatched to hypothesis for reading difficulties on off-task behavior and reading accuracy. Results from the functional analyses revealed three participants with attention-maintained problem behavior and three participants with escape-maintained problem behavior and the reading assessment revealed that all six participants exhibited skill deficits. Participants received sessions of antecedent attention and the use of an instructional strategy immediately followed by independent reading in their classroom. Results showed response covariation (i.e., low levels of off-task behavior concurrent with high levels of reading accuracy) for two of six participants when the intervention strategy was matched to hypothesis for reading difficulties. Findings suggest that under some conditions, interventions that directly address reading difficulty may have potential to concurrently decrease problem behavior and increase reading accuracy.




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