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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Paper Session #484
Advances in the Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement in Individuals with Autism
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
W184a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT
Chair: Steven Rodriguez (May Institute)

Implementing a DRO With Stimulus Control to Decrease Echolalic Speech in a Child With Autism

Domain: Applied Research
STEVEN RODRIGUEZ (May Institute ), Heather Birch (May Institute ), Erica Kearney (May Institute)

The purpose of this study was to decrease inappropriate delayed echolalia in a child with autism by using differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) and stimulus control signaled by different colored rubber bracelets. The participant was a 10 year-old student that attended a school specialized in autism and developmental disabilities. The student exhibited high rate of delayed echolalia. The student received a red bracelet during nice talking time, when the DRO was implemented, and a green bracelet during free talking time, when there was no penalty for echolalic speech. If the student engaged in any echolalic speech while wearing the red bracelet, the student would receive corrective feedback (thats not having nice talking) and the DRO timer was restarted. Staff working with the student wore a purple bracelet as a neutral stimulus. The intervention was introduced as a multiple baseline across settings with gradual fading of the DRO. Following the intervention, the students engagement in inappropriate echolalic speech dropped to near zero. Additional data was collected on appropriate commenting throughout the study. Appropriate commenting continued at a stable level throughout the study.


Using Stimulus Control and Response Interruption and Redirection to Decrease Motor and Vocal Stereotypy

Domain: Applied Research
AMY E. TANNER (Florida Institute of Technology), Tyla M. Frewing (University of British Columbia), Andrew Bonner (University of British Columbia), Sharon E. Baxter (Semiahmoo Behaviour Analysts, Inc.)

An alternating treatments design was used to compare the immediate effects of a stimulus control and response interruption and redirection (RIRD) procedure with baseline conditions on levels of vocal and motor stereotypy of a 19-year old boy with autism. All sessions were five minutes in duration; video taped and scored using five-second partial interval recording. Prior to the treatment evaluation, a black wristband was established as a discriminative stimulus for implementation of an RIRD procedure contingent on engagement in motor or vocal stereotypy. During treatment evaluation, there were no planned consequences for stereotypy during baseline sessions. During treatment sessions, RIRD was implemented contingent on each event of motor or vocal stereotypy. The student's heart rate was monitored to examine if the stimulus control and RIRD procedure had an impact on resting heart rate. Data to date indicate stereotypy occurred an average of 74 % in baseline sessions, 3% in treatment sessions, and a consistent resting heart rate of approximately 90 BPM was observed across all conditions. Following the above analysis, the three-component method will be used to evaluate subsequent effects of stimulus control and RIRD on stereotypy and generalization data will be presented.


Reducing Physical Stereotypy: An Antedcedent Modification

Domain: Applied Research
CAILIN MCCOLLOUGH (The BISTA Center), Eric Rudrud (St. Cloud State University), Donald M. Stenhoff (The BISTA Center)

Physical stereotypy often interferes with learning and performing daily tasks for children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Stereotypy is often difficult to reduce due to automatic reinforcement. The current study examined the comparative effects of antecedent exercise and leisure activities on the rate of physical stereotypy, academic performance, and physiological measures for three children with ASD. Physical stereotypy was defined as any physical movement that served no functional purpose to the individual; examples include body rocking, toe walking, flapping hands in front of face, and jumping. The target physical behavior, academic performance, and physiological measures were recorded for 10 minutes immediately following each of the experimental conditions. The results showed a reduction in physical stereotypy for all participants following antecedent exercise when compared to baseline and leisure conditions. Academic performance increased slightly for two of the participants and remained stable for one participant following antecedent exercise when compared to baseline and leisure conditions. Interestingly, all participants were less accurate following the leisure condition when compared to baseline. The use of antecedent exercise for the treatment of stereotypic behaviors is supported by this research, and further antecedent exercise research should be conducted.


A Function-Based Intervention to Treat Pica in a Child with Autism in an Outpatient Setting

Domain: Applied Research
KIMBERLY ANN KROEGER (Kelly O'Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders), Molly Carter (Xavier University)

Pica is a potentially life threatening comorbid disorder for individuals with autism. Studies demonstrating treatment efficacy are predominantly conducted in inpatient or highly supervised settings. Community treatments most frequently involve restricting access to the ingested items, leading to reduced likelihood of independent functioning. The current study employed a single-subject multiple baseline design across conditions with a girl diagnosed with autism receiving outpatient treatment services. Functional analyses determined the behavior to be automatically reinforced. The intervention involved multiple conditions where the child was taught to select a replacement item over pica-preferred items, to use the replacement item and suppress pica behaviors, to use the replacement item and suppress pica behaviors in generalized probe setting with others present and finally to use the replacement item and suppress pica behaviors in unsupervised probe settings. Visual analyses of the data show a pattern of treatment efficacy in that the child is learning to suppress pica behaviors while developing preference for a replacement item through paired association with primary reinforcement. This study is significant in that it provides a successful outpatient model to treat a dangerous behavior, leading to improved quality of life and potentially reduces the need for more restrictive settings and treatment.




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