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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #317
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Function-Based Treatments of Problem Behavior: Multiple Schedules, Delay Fading, and Demand Assessments
Monday, May 30, 2016
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Grand Ballroom CD North, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Melissa Krabbe (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Discussant: Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin)
CE Instructor: Melissa Krabbe, M.S.
Abstract: Over the past 30 years, researchers have demonstrated the efficacy of function-based interventions for problem behavior exhibited by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Although efficacious, this body of research can be broadly characterized by the implementation by trained research staff in highly controlled environments. The transition of these procedures to more normative environments will require continued modification and evaluation. The four presentations within this symposium are designed to better address the practical exigencies associated with implementing function-based treatments in more normative environments.
Keyword(s): delay fading, function-based treatment, functional analysis, problem behavior

Using Multiple Schedules During Functional Communication Training to Promote Rapid Transfer of Treatment Effects

ASHLEY FUHRMAN (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Angie Christine Querim (People Inc.)

Multiple schedules with signaled periods of reinforcement and extinction have been used to thin reinforcement schedules during functional communication training (FCT) to make the intervention more practical for parents and teachers. We evaluated whether these signals would also facilitate rapid transfer of treatment effects from one setting to the next and from one therapist to the next. With two children, we conducted FCT in the context of mixed (baseline) and multiple (treatment) schedules introduced across settings or therapists using a multiple baseline design. Results indicated that when the multiple schedules were introduced, the functional communication response came under rapid discriminative control, and problem behavior remained at near-zero rates. We extended these findings with another individual by using a more traditional baseline in which problem behavior produced reinforcement. Results replicated those of the previous participants and showed rapid reductions in problem behavior when multiple schedules were implemented across settings.

A Comparison of Delay-to-Reinforcement Procedures Following Functional Communication Training
MELISSA KRABBE (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Jeffrey H. Tiger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: FCT involves teaching an alternative communication response (request) that results in the same reinforcer that had historically maintained problem behavior. After establishing this response through immediate reinforcement, therapists must then teach individuals to tolerate delays to reinforcement, without the resumption of problem behavior or repeated requesting. We conducted a multi-element comparison of three procedures to teach delay tolerance, including a time delay, a DRO delay, and a DRA delay, with a child with autism who engaged in tangibly-maintained problem behavior. That is, appropriate requests were honored following a set amount of time (time delay), a set amount of time without problem behavior (DRO delay), or after a set amount of tasks were completed (DRA delay). Results of this evaluation indicated that each delay procedure was equally effective at increasing the delay to reinforcement without problem behavior. However, the DRA delay was superior in that it did not result in excessive mands during the delay period, as was the case with both the time delay and DRO delay.

A Comparison of Contingency-Based Progressive Delays and Multiple Schedules Within Communication-Based Treatments for Problem Behavior

MAHSHID GHAEMMAGHAMI (Western New England University), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University), Laura A Hanratty (Western New England University)

Contingency-based progressive delays (CBPD) and multiple schedules have both been successfully used within functional communication-based interventions to maintain reasonable levels of communication and near-zero rates of problem behavior as periods of extinction for newly acquired communication responses are introduced. Within a multielement design, we compared the relative efficacy of CBPD and multiple schedules while yoked periods of extinction for communication responses were introduced. Two young children diagnosed with autism who engaged in the problem behavior of vocal disruptions, physical disruptions, and aggression participated. Inter-observer agreement was calculated for 20% sessions; it was 88% for all measures (range 70%-98%). CBPD resulted in similarly optimal rates of communication, lower rates of problem behavior, and higher rates of compliance, relative to multiple schedules for one child. Similar levels of problem behavior and compliance were observed across both conditions for the second child, but compliance was relatively higher during CBPD.


Evaluation of an Indirect Assessment for Identifying Tasks to Include in Functional Analysis and Treatment

HOLLY WIGGINS (Western New England University, New England Center for Children), Eileen M. Roscoe (The New England Center for Children), Daniel Fredericks (Western New England University and New England Center for Children)

Pre-assessments, such as a demand assessment, have been found helpful in identifying potential motivating operations for the functional analysis (FA) demand condition. Another pre-assessment tool that has been used for this purpose is the Negative Reinforcement Rating Scale (NRRS), an indirect assessment. In the current study, four individuals with an autism spectrum disorder who exhibited aggression or disruption participated. First, the NRRS was administered to two informants to identify tasks associated with high levels of problem behavior and low levels of compliance (potentially high aversive tasks) and tasks associated with low levels of problem behavior and high levels of compliance (potentially low-aversive tasks). Second, a demand assessment, which included tasks identified by the NRRS, was subsequently conducted to assess its validity. Third, a functional analysis that included high-aversive and low-aversive demand conditions was conducted to evaluate the validity of the NRRS and the demand assessment. Finally, a task interspersal intervention was evaluated in which three low-aversive demands were presented immediately prior to each presentation of the high-aversive demand. If the task interspersal intervention was ineffective, differential reinforcement of compliance was conducted. Interobserver agreement was calculated and adequate.




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