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 #407
CE Offered: BACB
Instructional Programs for Children With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Grand Ballroom CD North, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Regan Weston (Baylor University)
Discussant: David M. Richman (Texas Tech University)
CE Instructor: Christina Fragale, Ph.D.

Effective instructional programs are critical for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities; however, many factors are involved in developing effective instructional programs. This this symposium, we present research regarding recent advancements in instructional programs. The first presentation will address considerations of mand topographies on functional communication training (FCT). Results indicate that mand proficiency should be considered when selecting mand topographies during FCT addressing problem behaviors that serve multiple functions. The second presentation will discuss the effectiveness of a discrimination training procedure to teach participants when newly-aqauired mands would be honored. Results suggest mands acquired during FCT can be successfully placed under stimulus control while maintaining low levels of challenging behavior. The third presentation will address the effects of preferences incorporated into non-preferred tasks on task engagement and indices of happiness. Results indicate incorporating preferences into tasks will increase behavioral indicators of happiness. The final presentation will discuss the effectiveness of two error correction procedures within a discrete-trial instructional program. Results suggest that error correction with and without vocal feedback produce similar rates of skill acquisition and problem behavior. The final discussion will summarize these studies, highlight the applied value of the results, and discuss future research.

Keyword(s): communication training, discrete-trial, discrimination training, happiness indicies

Further Evaluations of High and Low Proficiency Mands During Functional Communication Training to Treat Problem Behavior With Multiple Functions

CAYENNE SHPALL (The Univeristy of Texas at Austin), Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin), Raechal Ferguson (University of Texas at Austin), Joel Eric Ringdahl (The University of Georgia), Samantha Swinnea (the Univeristy of Texas at Austin)

Although functional communication training (FCT) has been demonstrated in myriad studies to be an effective treatment of problem behavior, less is known about the possible influence of specific mand topographies on treatment outcomes. One exception, Ringdahl et al. (2009, found that high-proficiency mand topographies were more effective when targeted during FCT relative to low-proficiency mand topographies. Whereas Ringdahl et al. targeted single functions, no studies have evaluated the influence of proficiency across multiple functions of problem behavior. We conducted mand proficiency assessments with children who engaged in multiply maintained problem behavior. The results suggested that proficiency varied with mand topographies within and across functions of problem behavior. Next, we conducted FCT using high and low-proficiency mands across all demonstrated functions of problem behavior. Results varied within and across functions of problem behavior in terms of the effects of high and low-proficiency mand topographies. Implications regarding the selection and targeting of mand topographies during FCT when multiple functions of problem behaviors are indicated will be discussed.


Discrimination Training of Manding Following FCT Training to Decrease Challenging Behavior

CHRISTINA FRAGALE (The University of Texas, The Meadows Center for the Prevention of Educational Risk), Angel Filer (Bluebonnet Trails Community MHMR Center)

Functional communication training (FCT) is an evidenced--based treatment of challenging behaviors in which an individual learns to appropriately request reinforcers as an alternative to engaging in challenging behaviors. However, there are situations in which the mand simply cannot be honored because the reinforcer is unavailable, resulting in the reemergence of challenging behavior. Few studies have empirically demonstrated methods to deal with these applied situations. In the current clinical investigation, stimulus control of the mand was established for 2 children with autism spectrum disorder to decrease challenging behavior. First, reinforcers for challenging behaviors were identified for each child and the children learned appropriate mands to functionally replace the challenging behavior. Next, the children entered into discrimination training in which colored cards indicated when appropriate mands would be honored (i.e., green card) and put on extinction (i.e., red card). Challenging behavior and appropriate mands were measured and an AB with multielement single--case design was utilized to evaluate discrimination training. Results showed that both children learned to mand when the green card was present but not when the red card was present. In addition, challenging behaviors remained low in both conditions.

Preferred Contexts as Motivating Operations for Indices of Happiness and Task Engagement
JESSICA EMILY SCHWARTZ (The University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa), Nicole H. Lustig (The University of Iowa), Jessica Detrick (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: Historically, there has been reluctance in behavior analysis to study ‘happiness,’ likely because of the difficulties in operationalizing the construct (Wolf, 1978; Dillon & Carr, 2007). However, practitioners seek to provide interventions that not only reduce problem behavior, but improve quality of life. Green and Reid suggested that the first step in addressing this socially important and under-investigated issue is to operationalize indicators, or “indices,” of happiness. Their research suggests indices of happiness can be defined, reliably measured, and increased by access to preferred stimuli (Green & Reid, 1996; Green et al., 2005). Typically, in operant research, preferences are delivered as reinforcers for desirable behaviors. Alternatively, preferences can be incorporated as antecedents within otherwise non-preferred contexts, potentially altering motivation to participate in those contexts (Dunlap & Kern, 1996; Piazza et al., 2002). The current study investigated this approach within an outpatient clinic by measuring the effects of preferences incorporated into non-preferred tasks on indices of happiness and task engagement. Results show differentiation in these dependent measures associated with preference. The attached data show results for an initial participant, with whom we investigated the effects of preference for the type of activity within which was the task was embedded.
Evaluation of the Effects of Vocal Feedback During Error Correction on Skill Acquisition
MADISON CLOUD (Baylor Univeristy), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Regan Weston (Baylor University), Abby Hodges (Baylor University), Lauren Uptegrove (Baylor University), Tasia Brafford (Baylor University), Laura Phipps (Baylor University), Stacey Grebe (Baylor University)
Abstract: Variations in the error correction procedure of discrete-trial instructions exist across the literature. However, the effects of vocal feedback during error correction on skill acquisition have yet to be empirically evaluated. The present study evaluated the effects of two error correction procedures, one with and one without vocal feedback, on skill acquisition and challenging behavior were evaluated using an alternating treatment design. A constant time delay imbedded within a discrete-trial instruction procedure was utilized to teach participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities novel tasks. Contingent upon an error or no response, instructors prompted participants to produce the correct response. During error correction with vocal feedback, the instructor said “no” just before prompting the correct response. During error correction without vocal feedback, the instructor only prompted participants to produce the correct response. Additionally, effects of vocal feedback in isolation were evaluated before and after the use of error correction with vocal feedback. For most participants, the procedures result in equal rates of skill acquisition and challenging behavior. Clinical implications and areas for future research will be discussed.



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