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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 #334
CE Offered: BACB
Towards a Functional Analysis of "Prompt Dependency"
Monday, May 30, 2016
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Columbus Hall CD, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: PRA/DDA
CE Instructor: Paulo Guilhardi, Ph.D.
Chair: Paulo Guilhardi (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: The term "prompt dependency" is widely used to identify problem believed to be inherent to the learner. Evidence supporting those explanations is scarce as systematic research on the establishment of prompt dependency is not widely available in the behavior analytic literature. The first presentation describes a functional assessment approach for the explanation the acquisition of the phenomena described as prompt dependency. The authors propose a new behavior analytic term and definition, namely, "prompt maintained behavior" the term places the focus on the identification of the contingencies of reinforcement that may be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of prompt dependency. The other two presentations describe data supporting this analysis, one in which prompt maintained behavior is maintained by positive reinforcement in the form of physical attention and the second maintained by avoidance of corrective procedures. This research has implications for prevention and treatment prompt maintained behavior.
Keyword(s): Functional Assessment, Prompt Dependence, Stimulus Control
Prompt Dependency or Prompt Maintained Behavior?
PAULO GUILHARDI (Beacon ABA Services), Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: Prompt dependency is a term used to describe a characteristic believed to be inherent to an individual often labeled as "prompt dependent". Prompt dependency is observed when correct responses only appear when the controlling prompt is presented during skill acquisition and it can be affected by differential reinforcement of independent vs. prompted responses by manipulations of the rate and quality of arbitrary reinforcements. The behavior analytic literature often described the emergence of prompt dependency as a result of a failure of transfer of stimulus control from a prompt to the targeted stimulus. This presentation will provide a functional analysis of prompt dependency with focus on the identification of contingencies of reinforcement responsible for the establishment and maintenance of prompt dependency. As a result, the authors propose that the term "prompt maintained behavior" replace "prompt dependency". In addition, the authors will propose a brief assessment protocol that reduces the risk of establishment and maintenance of prompt maintained behavior.
Prompt Dependency Maintained by Positive Reinforcement
JOSEPH ROBITAILLE (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: The current study attempted to identify and describe a positive reinforcement contingency that establishes and maintains prompt dependency. That is, refraining from emitting a known response until a prompt is delivered. A 2-year old girl diagnosed with ASD was exposed to trials in which (1) a known instruction was delivered, (2) a response was either emitted or omitted, (3) a prompt was delivered if response was omitted, and (4) consequences were delivered. Two conditions differed in the type of prompt used and the reinforcement delivered for independent vs. prompted responses (Prompt dependency and independency conditions). In the prompt dependency condition, the prompt consisted of physical guidance, which was consistent to the type of physical attention reinforcer identified during a functional analysis. In the independency condition, the prompt was visual and reinforcer for independent responses consisted of physical play. Data from an ABA design indicated that the participant showed prompt dependency only when physical prompted was delivered contingent on a 3-s interval with no response (omission). These results alert for the need of consideration of the reinforcer properties of the prompt itself when designing instructional tasks.
Prompt Dependency Maintained by Avoidance
JENNIFER SMITH (Beacon ABA Services), Paulo Guilhardi (Beacon ABA Services), Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: The current study attempted to identify and describe an avoidance contingency that establishes and maintains prompt dependency, that is, refraining from emitting a known response until a prompt is delivered. A 5-year old girl diagnosed with ASD was exposed to trials in which (1) an instruction was delivered, (2) a choice between responding independently or with a physical prompt was made, (3) independent or prompted response was made, and (4) consequences were delivered. Two conditions differed in the consequence delivered following prompted responses (Aversive and Non-Aversive Conditions). The aversive stimulus was verbal error correction and "help" delivered by parent in the natural environment. Data indicate that the participant consistently chose to respond independently when praise was delivered following both independent and prompted choices, but chose the prompt condition when the aversive stimulus was introduced following independent responses (ABA design).
 

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