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.


Eighth Annual Autism Conference; Louisville, KY; 2014

Event Details

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #8
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

An Empirical Model for Individualized Assessment and Treatment of Two Types of Elopement: Goal-Directed Bolting and Aimless Wandering

Saturday, March 1, 2014
1:45 PM–2:35 PM
Grand Ballroom A-B (Suite Tower)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Wayne W. Fisher, Ph.D.
Chair: Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
WAYNE W. FISHER (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Wayne W. Fisher, Ph.D., is the H.B. Munroe Professor of Behavioral Research in the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is also the director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, a board certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level (BCBA-D), and a licensed psychologist. He was previously a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and served as executive director of the Neurobehavioral Programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (Baltimore, MD) and the Marcus Behavior Center at the Marcus Institute (Atlanta, GA), where he built clinical-research programs in autism and developmental disabilities with national reputations for excellence. Dr. Fisher’s methodologically sophisticated research has focused on several intersecting lines, including preference, choice, and the assessment and treatment of autism and severe behavior disorders, that have been notable for the creative use of concurrent schedules of reinforcement, which have become more commonplace in clinical research primarily as a result of his influence. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed research studies in 28 different behavioral and/or medical journals, including: the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Psychological Reports, American Journal on Mental Retardation, Pediatrics, the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and The Lancet. Dr. Fisher is president of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, chairperson of the Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section for the National Institutes of Health, a past editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, a fellow in the Association for Behavior Analysis, and recipient of the Bush Leadership Fellowship Award, the APA (Division 25) Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied Behavioral Research, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The results of a number of within-subject studies have shown that individuals with autism elope for three main reasons: to gain access to preferred items, to escape undesirable settings or activities, or to gain attention from others (e.g., Piazza et al., 1997; Rapp, Vollmer, & Hovanetz, 2005). In contrast to this goal-directed bolting, some children with autism wander without a clear course because of skill deficits and/or a lack of recognition of potential dangers (e.g., oncoming cars, swimming pools). These children have not been successfully taught to discriminate between safe and unsafe environments or to monitor and maintain safe proximity to caregivers. Despite the clear impact elopement has on the health, safety, and well-being of these individuals and their families, no comprehensive treatment approaches to the assessment and treatment of goal-directed bolting and wandering have been empirically validated. In this presentation, Dr. Fisher will discuss a comprehensive model aimed at (a) distinguishing elopement from wandering and (b) developing treatments for problems of elopement and wandering that are uniquely tailored to assessment outcomes. The preliminary results suggest that this comprehensive model can lead to more effective treatments.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, practitioners, graduate students, and anyone interested in learning more about treatment of elopment.

Learning Objectives: Forthcoming.
Keyword(s): aberrant behavior, Automatic reinforcement, self-injurious behavior



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh