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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #558
CE Offered: BACB
The Influence of Positive Behavior Analytic Procedures on Problem Behaviors
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
12:00 PM–1:20 PM
Stevens 1
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Gordon A. DeFalco (Evergreen Center)
Discussant: Thomas L. Zane (The Center for Applied Behavior Analysis at The Sage Colleges)
CE Instructor: Gordon A. DeFalco, Ph.D.

Positive behavior analytic approaches are typically implemented to increase desirable behavior. The studies reviewed in this symposium will address the question "What influence do positive behavior analytic approaches have on problem behaviors?" In the first study the rate of problem behaviors displayed by adolescent students with developmental disabilities was monitored in a classroom when antecedent procedures and public posting were used to facilitate teacher consistency in implementing student positive reinforcement programs. The second study evaluated rates of attempted pica in three adolescent students with developmental disabilities when non-contingent reinforcement intervals were varied. The third study varied selected characteristics of attention as consequences for problem behaviors displayed by students with developmental disabilities, based on the results of functional analyses of the relative reinforcing value of various characteristics of attention for specific problem behaviors, demonstrating a relationship between the identified characteristics of attention and the rates of the problem behaviors displayed. Implications for use of restrictive or aversive procedures to reduce or eliminate problem behaviors and suggestions for other positive programming procedures that may enhance the current strategies for reducing problem behaviors will be discussed.

Increasing Positive Reinforcement Programming by Teachers in a Classroom Setting: The Effects on Student Problem Behavior.
LAWRENCE L. LOCKWOOD (Evergreen Center), Tara-Lynn Burbee (Evergreen Center), Kristofer Van Herp (Evergreen Center), Gordon A. DeFalco (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate strategies to facilitate consistent implementation of behavior-contingent positive reinforcement programs by teaching staff in eight classrooms for children with a diagnosis of DD and/or autism. A second purpose was to monitor the influence of these staff procedures on the rate of problem behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injury, loud vocalizations, etc.) displayed by the students as a result of increased and consistent delivery of positive reinforcement by teaching staff. The effects of data sheets for each student with explicit written cues to deliver positive reinforcement and classroom feedback reported weekly on consistency of positive reinforcement in each classroom was evaluated separately and in combination in a reversal design. Student problem behavior was monitored throughout all conditions of the study. A functional relationship between consistent implementation of positive reinforcement programs and rate of student problem behaviors was demonstrated. Suggestions for additional research of staff management procedures that may facilitate implementation of behavior contingent positive reinforcement programs will be discussed.
The Effects of Scheduled Access to Non-Contingent Edibles on Pica in a Classroom Setting.
KRISTOFER VAN HERP (Evergreen Center), Gordon A. DeFalco (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: This study was conducted to investigate whether a fixed-time schedule of non-contingent access to edibles would decrease the frequency at which three participants attempted to place inedible objects in their mouths. Simmons, Smith and Kliethermes (2003) reduced the frequency at which automatically maintained mouthing was exhibited during 30 minute observations through fixed-time food presentation. The present study attempted to extend findings from previous studies in which non-contingent access to edibles was evaluated for limited time periods in controlled laboratory settings to three participants who attempted to ingest inedible objects throughout a six-hour school day. A functional assessment, showing automatic reinforcement to be a plausible function for pica and attempted pica was conducted. Results displayed a functional relationship between the reduction of pica and attempted pica and the non-contingent delivery of edible items. A reversal design was used to conduct a parametric analysis, systematically increasing the time between delivery of non-contingent edibles, resulting in maintenance of low levels of pica behavior for all three participants. A preference assessment was conducted with one participant to identify preferred matched edibles, which when delivered non-contingently, further reduced the frequency of pica and attempted pica.
Using Component Analysis for Program Development of Individuals with Attention Maintained Behavior.
TARA-LYNN BURBEE (Evergreen Center), Lawrence L. Lockwood (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Attention maintained problem behaviors present special difficulties since staffs are often required to attend to the problem behavior to ensure safety. The purpose of the present study was to identify staff responses that had minimal reinforcing properties to participants with attention maintained problem behaviors and intervene with these behaviors, thereby ensuring safety and reducing the display of problem behaviors. A functional analysis was conducted to identify children with a diagnosis of DD and/or autism whose problem behaviors were maintained by attention. Two participants were identified with attention maintained problem behaviors including aggression, disruptive behaviors, and inappropriate touching. A second functional analysis was conducted with the two participants to determine the reinforcing value of components of attention along two dimensions verbal behavior (“strict language”/“harsh language”) and physical contact (manual prompts/gestural prompts). A multiple baseline across participants was conducted in which staff were instructed to intervene using the behavior components of attention that were determined to be the least reinforcing. Although an overall decrease in problem behaviors was seen for both participants some of the problem behaviors continued to be displayed at lower frequencies. Some possible reasons for these finding and future research directions in this area will be discussed.



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