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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #238
Behavioral Relaxation Training: Update, Applications, and Relevance to Applied Behavior Analysts
Monday, May 30, 2016
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Crystal Ballroom B, Hyatt Regency, Green West
Chair: Anita Li (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Behavioral relaxation training (BRT) is an evidence-based behavior analytic procedure used to train and assess relaxed behaviors. This symposium will describe: (a) recent research and applications of BRT in practice settings across the lifespan and with patients/clients of varying ages and conditions; (b) how teaching relaxation skills is a functional, self-management skill for many individuals; and, (c) the relevance of BRT to applied work with children and adults with ASD with anxiety and stress-related behavior.
Keyword(s): BRT
We've Come a Long Way, Baby: Behavioral Relaxation Training and Assessment
Duane A. Lundervold (University of Central Missouri), SARAH CORWIN (University of Central Missouri)
Abstract: The first reported use of behavioral relaxation training (BRT) and the behavioral relaxation scale (BRS), a direct observation measure of relaxed behavior, the occurred in 1983 (Schilling & Poppen), with the second edition of Behavioral Relaxation Training and Assessment published in 1998. An update, review and analysis of the applications of BRT across the lifespan and the use of the BRS will be presented. Discussion will focus on: (a) the applicability of BRT in addressing challenging behavior and anxiety and its relevance to establishing self-management skills; (b) how relaxed behavior, established through BRT, fits within function-based behavior analytic interventions; and, (c) what additional BRT- related research needs to be conducted.
Addressing Severe High Risk Aggression in an Adult With an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Behavioral Relaxation Training (BRT) as Part of a Comprehensive Treatment Package
John M. Guercio (Benchmark Human Services), ROBERT CORMIER (Benchmark Human Services)
Abstract: The following talk will detail the treatment of severe self-injurious behavior (SIB) and property destruction in an adult with an autism spectrum disorder. The subject was a 43 year old male that had been residing in a locked forensic unit in a state operated facility prior to his transition to his present community based living situation. Upon his transition, he displayed outbursts of aggressive behavior on a daily basis. He was then trained in Behavioral Relaxation Training (BRT)(Schilling & Poppen, 1983) using a behavioral skills training approach. He was able to participate in the training and became proficient in the use of the 10 postures that BRT is comprised of. Consistent in-vivo practice and feedback resulted in his using the skills with minimal prompting. His displays of SIB and property destruction were decreased drastically as he acquired these skills. Data will be presented related to his acquisition of these skills and his subsequent decreases in aggressive responding.
Behavioral Relaxation Training and Anxiety Reduction in a Child With Autism
ALICE WALKUP (New Roads Consulting)
Abstract: Individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) may experience intense anxiety that interferes with their ability to perform everyday activities. Muscle tension, crying, and increased heart rate are responses that may occur alone or as precursors to more severe escape and avoidance-maintained behaviors, such as self-injury. While there are many treatment approaches marketed toward service providers and caretakers of individuals with DD, such as autism, few have established scientific evidence supporting their use with this population. Behavioral Relaxation Training (BRT) is a well-established, effective treatment for behaviors collectively referred to as anxiety. The present study was designed to reduce escape and avoidance-maintained responses in a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the home setting. Paraprofessionals were taught how to score relaxed behavior for each targeted response, and began implementing BRT sessions once inter-observer agreement was acceptable. Nine relaxed behaviors were trained and performance recorded; overall relaxation was also calculated. BRT was taught using behavioral skill training procedures (instruction, modeling, practice, and feedback). The child was able to successfully meet relaxation mastery criteria for each targeted behavior, as well as overall relaxation.


Modifed by Eddie Soh