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 #265
CE Offered: BACB
Enhancing Discriminations by Youth and Caregivers to Maintain Reductions in Problem Behavior
Monday, May 30, 2016
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Grand Ballroom CD South, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
CE Instructor: Jonathan Dean Schmidt, Ph.D.
Abstract: Although the field of applied behavior analysis has revolutionized how we target behaviors of social significance for individuals with developmental disabilities, there is always room to enhance the feasibility and efficaciousness of assessment and treatment. The first study, “Teaching Tolerance for Delay to Reinforcement to Young Children with Autism and Language Delays,” emphasizes methods for enhancing discriminated responding in manding, and teaching participants to allocate their behaviors to alternative activities when their mands are not reinforced. The second study, “Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Access to Specific Verbal Responses from Peers,” involves a unique application of functional analysis procedures to assess the contingency between participant problem behavior and desired specific verbal responses from others, after the occurrence of perseverative speech. Treatment focuses on increasing tolerance for and preventing problem behavior from occurring when specific verbal requests to perseverative speech are not honored. The third study, “Teaching Caregivers to Identify Treatment Integrity Errors Using Behavioral Skills Training,” addresses an issue many parents encounter, which is how to supervise and monitor the implementation of their child’s treatment to ensure high levels of integrity. Each of these studies offers solutions for enhancing discrimination at multiple levels to address common treatment barriers.
Keyword(s): developmental disability, treatment integrity, verbal behavior

Teaching Tolerance for Delay to Reinforcement to Young Children With Autism and Language Delays

LAURA C. CHEZAN (Old Dominion University), Erik Drasgow (University of South Carolina), Joseph Legg (Autism Consulting Therapies), Alanna Hollborn (Peninsula School for Autism)

Our primary purpose in this study was to examine the effectiveness of teaching discriminated responding and tolerance for delay to reinforcement to two young children with autism and language delays. Our secondary purpose was to examine the childrens allocation of choices when multiple alternative activities were provided during the delay. First, we used a visual stimulus to teach each child to emit a mand to obtain access to a preferred item only when reinforcement was available (timer indicating green light; reinforcement condition) and to refrain from manding for a preferred item when reinforcement was not available (timer indicating red light; extinction condition). Next, we taught the children to tolerate delays to reinforcement by gradually increasing the duration of the extinction condition by embedding choices for alternative activities. Finally, we examined maintenance of the newly acquired delay for reinforcement skills. Data indicate that our intervention was effective in producing discriminated responding and in increasing tolerance to reinforcement. One child maintained the acquired skill 8 weeks after the intervention was discontinued. Data on choice allocation indicate both children showed a preference for a leisure activity when offered the opportunity to select an alternative activity during extinction from preferred items.


Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Access to Specific Verbal Responses From Peers

AMANDA GOETZEL (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Sara Deinlein (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Craig Strohmeier (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Ashley Robinson (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

When problem behavior and verbal behavior co-occur, a listeners response to the verbal behavior may provide information on the function of problem behavior. The current study included a 16-year-old male and a 10-year-old female, both diagnosed with developmental disabilities, admitted to an inpatient unit for the treatment of problem behavior. Informal observations of the patients suggested problem behavior occurred when an adult failed to comply with requests for a specific verbal response (SVR). We initiated a functional analysis (FA) to confirm the relation between verbal behavior and problem behavior. During the test condition a therapist a) responded to requests for an SVR with a topographically incongruent verbal response, and b) complied with requests for an SVR when problem behavior occurred after the request was denied. In the control condition, the therapist complied with each request for an SVR. For both participants, results suggested problem behavior functioned to increase therapists compliance with a request for an SVR. Treatment for both participants involved a multiple schedule that rotated between intervals of differential reinforcement and extinction to reduce problem behavior and gain stimulus control over requests for SVRs. Methods for generalizing treatment procedures to similar idiosyncratic events and behaviors will be discussed.

Teaching Caregivers to Identify Treatment Integrity Errors Using Behavioral Skills Training
JESSICA DEL CARMEN GARCIA (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Natalie Rolider (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute), John C. Borrero (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Mandy M. Park (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Treatment integrity refers to the degree to which interventions are implemented as prescribed and can determine the success of a behavioral intervention. High levels of treatment integrity have been linked to high levels of intervention success (e.g., increase in appropriate behaviors, decrease in inappropriate behaviors). Caregivers are in an optimal position to regularly monitor the level of integrity others exercise when implementing their child’s treatment components. In the present study, a behavioral skills training package was used to train 4 caregivers to identify treatment integrity errors of staff working with their children. Results indicate that the behavioral skills training packet is a viable strategy to teach caregivers complex skills like identifying treatment integrity errors. The identification of treatment integrity levels improved significantly (i.e., 51% or better improvement from pre-test to post test scores) for all participants recruited in this study. Furthermore, in a post-study survey, all caregivers indicated that these skills were helpful and that they would likely utilize these skills once their participation in the study was completed. Training procedures and directions for future research are discussed.



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