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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #267
CE Offered: BACB
Sexual Behavior: Research and Practice SIG Symposium 2 of 2: Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Behaviors
Sunday, May 25, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W184d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Laura Mahlmeister (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
CE Instructor: Laura Mahlmeister, M.S.

The science of behavior analysis has been applied to a myriad of human behaviors, including those of a sexual nature. The purpose of this presentation is to provide multiple examples of how sexual behavior issues can be assessed and treated using a behavior-analytic approach. This symposium underscored the need for behavior analysts to provide function-based, individualized, and least-restrictive interventions to influence the occurrence of sexual behaviors that are inappropriate in topography and/or occur in inappropriate environments. Case study data and their implications will be presented, as well as directions for future research and practice in this area.

Keyword(s): masturbation, sex ed, sexual behavior, sexuality

The Analysis of "Aberrant" Sexual Behavior in Persons with Disabilities; a Continuation of Sexual Education Research

JESSIE COOPERKLINE (Instructional ABA Consultants), Brigid McCormick (Instructional ABA Consultants)

The sexual behaviors of persons with disabilities is an understudied area in Applied Behavior Analysis. When a person with a disability engages in sexual behavior it is often labeled as aberrant, and these individuals are then stigmatized, which can impact their quality of life. Limited research has been conducted on these "aberrant" sexual behaviors and related courses of treatment. Current literature supports competing reinforcement for automatic behaviors, though does not explicitly address sexual behavior. This presentation will include case studies of individuals with cognitive disabilities, mental illness diagnoses, and autism who engage in "aberrant" sexual behavior. The behaviors that individuals in this study engage in include public masturbation and non-consensual sexual advances toward other individuals with disabilities. The agencies response to the aberrant sexual behavior before and after consultation with a BCBA will be discussed. Additionally, a brief review of literature on sexual education for persons with disabilities will be included.


Effects of a DRA and FCT on Decreasing Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors in an Adult with Autism

ANTHONY RUSSO (LifeSpeed: Behavioral Support Services), Kevin Schneider (LifeSpeed: Behavioral Support Services), Brigid McCormick (Instructional ABA Consultants)

Inappropriate sexual behaviors can be dangerous to both the client and others. Research shows that increasing communication skills can lead to a decrease in maladaptive behaviors, such as inappropriate sexual behavior, when it serves the function of attention. The present case study used a token economy and functional communication training procedure to increase appropriate communication when interacting with females and thus, decreased nonconsensual sexual advances with females of all ages in the community setting for a 32-year old male with Autism. The interventions were also employed at the client's workplace to decrease inappropriate sexual display and urination, while increasing appropriate attention seeking behaviors. Results and limitations will be discussed along with future applied considerations.


The Do's and Don'ts of Sex Ed

LORRAINE BOLOGNA (Autism Consulting and Therapy), Brigid McCormick (Instructional ABA Consultants), Allison Hoff (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

The practice of Applied Behavior Analysis has the ability to impact the spectrum of human behavior. While research and educational materials regarding other commonly occurring behavior such as communication, aggression, and daily living skills are commonly disseminated, there is a disproportionate lack of research and educational materials in the behavior analytic literature regarding sexual behavior. Sexual behavior is an important part of an individual's behavioral repertoire, and many behavior analysts will, at some point, target sexual behavior with clients. Current practiced methods of education and intervention for sexual behavior often come from practitioner experimentation as opposed to empirical behavioral research, which can lead to a possible breach of ethics. Current literature, guidelines provided by experienced practitioners, and social, cultural, and religious concerns will be discussed, with a focus on components that both increase and decrease effectiveness, to assist practitioners in creating sound interventions. Strategies for the decrease of inappropriate and increase of appropriate sexual behaviors for a variety of specific scenarios will be explored, and areas of future research will be suggested.




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