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 #252
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Treatment of Automatically Maintained Problem Behavior: Indirect Effects, Procedural Integrity Challenges, and Maintenance
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
217A (CC)
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Rachel H. Thompson (Western New England College)
CE Instructor: Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D.
Abstract: Problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement remains a significant challenge for clinicians due difficulties in identifying, eliminating, and/or competing with the reinforcer for problem behavior. This symposium will address the treatment of automatically maintained problem behavior among individuals with developmental disabilities. Three papers demonstrate the effectiveness of several commonly used reductive strategies for automatically reinforced behavior including DRO, response blocking, and positive practice overcorrection. These papers also address practical concerns including the necessity of extinction, procedural integrity challenges, and positive and negative side effects of the interventions. In the fourth paper, researchers reduced problem stereotypy and increased appropriate engagement through the use of stereotypy as reinforcement for engagement. Sustained improvements in engagement were observed over several months of assessment. Together these papers identify effective and practical interventions for automatically reinforced problem behavior and address strategies for long term maintenance of treatment gains.
Indirect Effects of Positive Practice Overcorrection
LINDSAY C. PETERS (The New England Center for Children), Rachel H. Thompson (Western New England College)
Abstract: This study evaluated Positive Practice Overcorrection (PP OC) as a treatment for motor stereotypy and attempted to identify any indirect effects of the intervention. Two males with autism, 17- and 9-years-old, participated. All sessions were 5 min in duration; the session timer was paused during implementation of the overcorrection procedure. PP OC was implemented contingent upon motor stereotypy in a multiple-baseline design across conditions in which a high-preference (HP) activity and low-preference (LP) activity were presented individually. Overcorrection involved graduated guidance to engage with the available activity. Preference probes, in which both items (HP & LP) were concurrently available, were also conducted to evaluate relative preference for the HP and LP items. PP OC reduced stereotypy in the presence of both HP and LP activities for both participants. Appropriate engagement with the activities increased with the implementation of PP OC for only one participant. The implementation of the procedure did not appear to alter preferences for the activities prompted within the PPOC procedure.
A Longitudinal Study of Stereotypy as Reinforcement to Increase Functional Play Skills in Children Diagnosed with Autism
JACQUELINE N. POTTER (New England Center for Children), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England College), Meredith C. Phelps (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to teach age-appropriate play skills to a child who engaged in high levels of stereotypic behavior that was non-injurious. A critical feature of our teaching strategy was that we used the child’s own stereotypy as a reward for engaging in successively more complex play behavior. A functional analysis was completed and showed that stereotypy persisted in the absence of social consequences. We then sequentially analyzed the effects of enriching the environment with activities, prompting engagement, blocking stereotypy, and allowing the child brief periods of time to engage in the stereotypy for engaging in progressively larger amounts of functional play. Inter-observer agreement data were collected during 33% of sessions, and all measures averaged over 80% agreement. Results showed increases in functional engagement and decreases in stereotypic behaviors only when all treatment components were present. More and qualitatively better play was then observed across three distinct activities when and only when requirements to access stereotypy were systematically altered over months of assessment.
Reducing Problem Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement Through a Variable Momentary DRO Procedure
KAREN A TOUSSAINT (Louisiana State University), Jeffrey H. Tiger (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Variable-momentary differential reinforcement of other behavior (VMDRO) contingencies differ from traditional DRO contingencies in that reinforcement is delivered for the absence of a target behavior at a given moment in time (e.g., at second 10), as opposed to the absence of the target behavior for a specified time interval (e.g., from seconds 1 to 10). VMDRO contingencies are effective at reducing problem behavior when combined with extinction; however, extinction may not always be feasible to implement, particularly when problem behavior is maintained by automatic sources of reinforcement. The current investigation evaluated the efficacy of a VMDRO contingency for problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement when implemented without extinction. The results indicated that VMDRO without extinction may result in substantial reductions in problem behavior in some cases.
The Effects of Delays to Response Blocking When Used as Treatment for Problem Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement
MEGAN L. KLIEBERT (Louisiana State University), Jeffrey H. Tiger (Louisiana State University), Karen A Toussaint (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Response blocking and interruption are common interventions for problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement in the treatment literature, but these interventions may be extremely challenging for caregivers to implement with fidelity (i.e., immediately blocking each instance). The effects of challenges to the procedural integrity of response blocking/interruption procedures upon the maintenance of treatment effects for problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement were evaluated by measuring aberrant behavior under several conditions including a baseline condition, an immediate response blocking condition, and a series of delayed response blocking conditions (i.e., 3-s, 15-s, and 30-s delays). The results indicated that even brief delays to implementing blocking and disruption severely compromised treatment efficacy.



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