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 #94
CE Offered: BACB — 
Reinforcement in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention: Predicting Outcome and Improving Procedures
Sunday, May 29, 2016
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Randolph, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
Discussant: Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
CE Instructor: Per Holth, Ph.D.

The first presentation reports data on the extent to which a functional reinforcement contingency may facilitate receptive discriminations in children with ASD. The number of trials needed to establish four receptive discriminations was assessed using either a functional reinforcement contingency (e.g., if cookie was the sample stimulus, identifying the cookie produced cookie as a consequence) or an arbitrary reinforcement contingency (e.g., highly preferred stimuli were used as reinforcers, but they had no relation to the stimulus material). The second presentation canters on variables that can predict overall treatment outcome. Given the central role of positive reinforcement in (early intensive behavioral intervention) EIBI, it has been hypothesized that the more reinforcers are available for teaching a specific child, the more that child will benefit from treatment. The second presentation report data on how assessing preferred items that can be used to predict rate of learning in children with ASD receiving EIBI.

Keyword(s): Arbitrary Reinforcement, Autism, Functional Reinforcement, Receptive Discriminations

Effects of Functional Reinforcement on Receptive Discriminations in Children With Autism

SIGMUND ELDEVIK (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Hege Aarlie (Norway ABA), Kristine Berg Titlestad (Department of Autism, Pedagogical Psychological Centre, Bergen)

Many behavior analytic procedures have proven successful in establishing receptive discriminations in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Most procedures are based on discrete trial teaching, and adding a prompt to the relation between the instruction and the response. Despite applying a number of well-documented effective procedures, some children have difficulties learning receptive discriminations. The purpose of this study was to examine if a functional reinforcement contingency could facilitate receptive discriminations in these children. We compared the number of trials needed to establish four receptive discriminations following well-established procedures under a functional reinforcement contingency and an arbitrary reinforcement contingency in an alternating treatment design. Three out of the six participants showed more rapid acquisition in the functional reinforcement condition. The remaining participants did not establish any discrimination in neither of the conditions. These findings suggest that arranging a functional response-reinforcer contingency should be considered when encountering children that struggle to establish receptive language through more traditional teaching procedures.


Preference Assessment to Predict Treatment Outcome for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

LARS KLINTWALL (Oslo and Akershus University College), Svein Eikeseth (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Toys, activities and other items that a child express interest in can function as contrived reinforcers during treatment. However, some reinforcers are controlled solely by the stereotyped behavior of the child, and may compete with contrived reinforcement, such when a child produce sensory reinforcement by eye-gazing, rather than complying with a therapist to receive contrived reinforcement. Klintwall and Eikeseth (2012) developed a questionnaire to indirectly assess these types of stimuli, and found that when subtracting the number of stereotyped behaviors from the number of preferred items that potentially could be used as contrived reinforcers (i.e., SMARQ total score); this controlled 50% of the variance in treatment outcome. The present study was designed to replicate and extend the study by Klintwall and Eikeseth (2012), using a prospective design, a new sample, and by assessing preferred items and stereotyped behaviors at intake, rather than later in treatment. Results replicated the findings of Klintwall and Eikeseth (2012) by showing a correlation between SMARQ total score and outcome after one year of EIBI. An interpretation of these results is that for every SMARQ total score, the learn rate in treatment increased by one month per year.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh