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

Previous Page


Symposium #66
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding Opportunities for Social Involvement Through the Analysis and Treatment of Challenging Behavior During Transitions
Sunday, May 29, 2016
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Randolph, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: James Chok (Melmark Pennsylvania)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Quigley, M.Ed.

Every day, individuals with developmental disabilities are asked to complete multiple transitions across environments, from school programs to home settings, home settings to the community, and the community to vehicles. By being able to complete these transitions without challenging behavior, individuals gain access to a larger variety of areas including less restrictive placements and more frequent community access. Through systematic evaluation, clinicians can identify the functions of challenging behavior during transitions and teach functionally-equivalent behaviors. Following treatment, students may be able to transition more successfully, therefore, increasing their access to more settings including the community. When in the community, challenging behavior may bring about different risks including potential police involvement, less support staff, vehicle safety concerns, and negative interactions with bystanders. Frequently the first response is to limit the students access to the community following challenging behavior. In doing so, teaching opportunities are decreased and the individuals activities are more restricted. By evaluating effective treatments in the community, individuals regain access to a variety of settings therefore increasing the individuals overall quality of life. Evaluating and treating challenging behavior which may impact an individuals ability to transition is essential for increasing access to social opportunities via their school or community.

Keyword(s): autism, community, transitions

Treatment of Aggression During Transitions for an Individual With Autism and Physical Impairments

CORY WHELAN (Melmark New England)

One component of an intervention package for aggression maintained by avoidance of physical contact would be to remain out of arms reach of the individual engaging in aggression. However, for an individual with severe physical impairments who requires staff to be within one foot of him when walking, that type of environmental manipulation is impossible. This research aimed at reducing the rate in which an individual engaged in aggressions while walking throughout a school building. Data showed that the rate of aggressions decreased when a gait trainer was introduced which allowed the student to walk next to someone without making physical contact. Interobserver agreement was assessed during 50% of baseline sessions and 50% of treatment sessions. Average agreement for the occurrence of aggression was 83% during baseline sessions and 90% during treatment sessions. These data provide practitioners with an antecedent-based intervention strategy to reduce aggressive behavior for an individual with physical impairments who needs support while walking. This intervention allowed the student to navigate not only throughout the school building with minimal staff assistance, but also throughout the community.

Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problematic Transitions
KAYLA CRUICKSHANK (Registered Behavior Technician), Miranda DePoy (Partnership for Behavior Change), Sorah Stein (Partnership for Behavior Change)
Abstract: Transitions comprise a significant amount of the average child’s school day. Thus, being able to make successful transitions is necessary for academic success. (McCord, Thompson, & Iwata 2001; Wilder, Chen, Atwell, Pritchard, & Weinstein, 2006). McCord, Thompson, & Iwata (2001) conducted a structural analysis and operationally defined transitions as “the termination or initiation of an activity, with or without a change in location” (p. 206). In the current study, an eight-year-old boy, diagnosed with autism, engaged in various topographies of disruptive and self-injurious behavior when presented with transitions. Researchers assessed behavior in response to termination of an activity, movement to a new location, and initiation of a new activity (McCord, Thompson, & Iwata, 2001) and determined the most significant trigger to be movement from outside to indoors, i.e., the most likely function was avoidance of going indoors. Thus, treatment was initiated with focus on stimulus fading from outside to indoors, with a modified environment to reduce extraneous stimulation. Initial data indicate success with this function-based intervention with decreasing rates of most topographies.

Evaluating Reinforcement Systems in the Community Through Alternating Treatment Designs

JENNIFER QUIGLEY (Melmark), Lauren M. Palmieri (Temple University)

An alternating treatment design was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of two reinforcement systems in the community as a treatment for non-compliance across multiple individuals. All participants had a history of challenging behavior in the community including non-compliance, stealing, aggression, and elopement which had impacted their ability to access the community. All participants were admitted to a Residential Treatment Facility at the time of treatment. General locations in the community were identified for each participant prior to treatment to establish a schedule of systematic access. The reinforcement systems evaluated were individualized for each student based on the students interests, related components of their current treatment plans, and functions of challenging behavior. The more effective reinforcement system was then utilized during generalization training and adapted into the students treatment plan. Effective reinforcement systems were identified for all participants with a decrease in challenging behavior and increase in compliance while in the community. These examples show multiple ways in which to systematically reintroduce individuals into the community and increase their ability to access less restrictive settings.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh