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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 #392
CE Offered: BACB
The Assessment and Treatment of Automatically Maintained Pica
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Grand Ballroom CD South, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Timothy Nipe, M.A.
Chair: James Chok (Melmark Pennsylvania)
Discussant: Tanya Mouzakes (Melmark New England)
Abstract: Abstract The ingestion of inedible substances may result in serious medical complications including lead poisoning, intestinal obstruction, infection and even death. There is a reported prevalence of pica within individuals with developmental disabilities between 5.7% and 25.8% (Ashworth, et al., 2009). The high incidence and high risk of this form of self injury highlights the need for effective functional assessment and function-based treatment, however pica has been described as being both treatment resistant and maintained in the absence of social consequences (Piazza, et al. 1998). When pica is found to be maintained by sensory consequences, there are significant challenges to designing effective treatments. The studies described within this symposium describe effective functional analyses and subsequent treatment analyses. Furthermore, these changes in behavior are shown to persist across individuals, settings and inedible items.
Functional and Treatment Analyses in the Development of a Home-Based Pica Intervention
KATHERINE MERRILL (Simmons College/ABACS, LLC ), Meghan Clausen (ABACS, LLC), Ashley Williams (ABACS)
Abstract: Pica, or the ingestion of inedible items, is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening challenging behavior that may be emitted by individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. In the present study, pica in a ten-year-old female with autism was treated in a home-based setting using a thoroughgoing analysis that included a modified standard functional analysis, treatment analysis, and use of a function-based treatment. Both the functional analysis and treatment analysis were conducted using multi-element designs, and the effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated using a reversal design. The results of the functional analysis indicated that the pica was maintained by automatic reinforcement, and thus, the treatment analysis that was conducted evaluated the manipulation of four treatment options that all considered this function. The intervention was designed based on the results of the treatment analysis, and was implemented by direct support therapists in the home, with plans to transition the treatment to parents. The findings of this study illustrate the utility of functional and treatment analyses in development of effective, function-based treatments.
Reducing Pica by Differentially Reinforcing the Exchange of the Inedible Item
TIMOTHY NIPE (Melmark/Endicott College), Elizabeth Dayton (Melmark), Rebekah Lush (Melmark), Amanda Gill (Melmark), Lauren M. Palmieri (Melmark)
Abstract: The ingestion of inedible substances may result in serious medical complications including lead poisoning, intestinal obstruction, infection and even death. Pica has been described as being both treatment resistant and maintained in the absence of social consequences (Piazza, et al. 1998). The current study involves a six-year-old male who engages in pica and was admitted to a residential treatment facility with elevated lead levels. A competing items assessment was conducted and found that edible items competed with pica far more effectively than tangible items. However, these items were not successful in effectively suppressing rates of pica when provided on a continuous schedule during five minute sessions. The current study examines the effectiveness of differentially reinforcing the exchange of inedible items with edible items that have been shown to effectively compete with pica. This intervention was found to have reduced instances of pica to near zero levels across multiple inedible items. This study then attempts to extend the existing research in this area to include information regarding the thinning of the schedule of reinforcement in a socially significant manner, as well as generalization of the exchange across novel inedible items and settings. In addition, unit data is presented to illustrate the perseverance of this behavior over time in more natural settings then the one in which it was first learned.
 

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