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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #214
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Recent Research in the Assessment and Treatment of Stereotypic Behavior
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
206AB (CC)
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Hannah E. Hoch (Rethink Autism)
Discussant: John T. Rapp (St. Cloud State University)
CE Instructor: Siri Ming, M.A.
Abstract: Stereotypic and repetitive behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement poses challenges for developing effective assessment and treatment procedures. Assessment techniques and intervention strategies have involved both antecedent- and consequence-based procedures. In this symposium, 3 studies will be presented describing strategies used in the assessment and treatment of stereotypic and repetitive behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. One paper will focus on the evaluation of repetitive behavior of typically developing adults, and will discuss the extension of the assessment procedures for use with individuals with autism. A second paper will describe a stimulus control procedure used to decrease stereotypy in a young boy with autism. A third paper will describe a reinforcement-based intervention procedure for decreasing vocal stereotypy in three students with autism. All papers will end with a discussion of implications for clinical practice and future research.
An Evaluation of Repetitive Behavior in Typically Functioning Adults and Implications for Functional Analyses
AMANDA BOSCH (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Ashley Breeden (University of South Florida), Alison Nyman (University of Florida), Andrea Zawoyski (University of Florida), Danielle Broome (University of Florida)
Abstract: We evaluated repetitive behavior (e.g. nail biting, hair twirling, and skin scratching) in fifty typically functioning adults under conditions similar to those utilized in an antecedent-based functional analysis. Results showed that a majority of participants engaged in the highest levels of repetitive behavior in the alone condition, suggesting that repetitive behavior was maintained by automatic reinforcment. A subset of participants displayed high rates of repetitive behavior in the demand condition; the absence of programmed consequences in the demand condition suggests that repetitive behavior in this condition may have been maintained by automatic reinforcement under conditions of aversive stimulation. We will also present data extending our methods to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and/or autism and extending our methods to include treatment components. Implications for functional analysis methodologies will be discussed.
A Stimulus Control Procedure to Decrease Motor Stereotypy
ALISON S. O'CONNOR (Alpine Learning Group), Jessica Prieto (Alpine Learning Group), Barbara Hoffmann (Alpine Learning Group), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)
Abstract: This project extended the work of Brusa and Richman (2008) in using stimulus control procedures to decrease stereotypy. A changing criterion design was used to examine the effects of two stimuli, conditioned via discrimination training, on reducing stereotypy while looking at books. During discrimination training sessions, stereotypy was not interrupted in the green condition; however, in the red condition, stereotypy was interrupted using manual guidance, and appropriate book play was reinforced. After the participant demonstrated successful discrimination of the conditions (i.e., engagement in appropriate book play in the red condition only, as well as engagement in stereotypy in the green condition only), experimental sessions began. During intervention, upon meeting criterion for engaging in appropriate book play in the presence of red stimuli for a specified duration, the participant was provided access to stereotypy in the presence of green stimuli. The criterion duration of appropriate book play was systematically increased, and simultaneously the duration of access to the green stimuli was systematically decreased. Results indicated that access to stereotypy in the presence of green stimuli served as a reinforcer for appropriate book play. Stimulus control was generalized to the participant’s classroom and to a community setting (i.e., public library).
Examining the Effectiveness of a Two Phase DRO Intervention in Decreasing Vocal Stereotypy
SHARON A. REEVE (Caldwell College), David Mittermaier (Alternative Paths Training School), Tina Sidener (Caldwell College), Hannah E. Hoch (Rethink Autism)
Abstract: The current study investigated the use of a Differential Reinforcement of Other behavior (DRO) procedure in decreasing vocal stereotypy for four children with autism. A multiple-baseline across-participants design was used. DRO was initially implemented using a fixed interval schedule which was then systematically thinned and converted to a variable interval schedule in the following manner. The initial DRO interval duration was determined by taking the median inter-response time during baseline for each participant. Intervals were increased by 1/3 of the current interval duration contingent on the participant successfully completing three consecutive intervals without engaging in vocal stereotypy. Intervals were decreased by 1/3 of the current session’s interval duration contingent on the unsuccessful completion of three consecutive intervals. When the initial interval duration achieved was 10x the original interval, the interval duration schedule was altered from a fixed interval DRO to a variable interval DRO schedule. Session duration was also systematically increased based on each student’s success. The results indicated that levels of vocal stereotypy decreased for all participants under the fixed interval schedule of DRO and remained low when the variable interval schedule of DRO was implemented and session duration was increased. This study provides a systematic way to implement a DRO procedure by adjusting the DRO interval based on a student’s current behavior, as well as ways in which to thin the reinforcement schedule.



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