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42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #304
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluating Methods for Aiding in Assessment or Treatment of Problem Behavior
Monday, May 30, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom CD South, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: William H. Ahearn, Ph.D.
Chair: Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini(University of South Florida)
Abstract: This symposium consists of three talks. The first talk will be delivered by Seth Clark from The Marcus Autism Center. Concurrent operant and progressive ratio schedules are each useful approaches to evaluating the influence of qualitative differences between reinforcers. This investigation examined the influence of qualitative differences between functional reinforcers shown to maintain problem behavior (i.e., differing qualities of attention and different types of restraint) within the context of treatment. The second talk will be delivered by Travis Jones of the University of Florida. DRO is implemented in a variety of ways and sometimes involve instructions. Contingency-specifying instructions occasionally are delivered at the beginning of the session, and a recent study by Watts and colleagues (2013) in which DRO was implemented with and without instructions found that instructions were either (a) necessary to effect behavior reduction or (b) more efficient than DRO without instructions. This study conducted a further analysis of the effects of instruction alone, DRO alone, and DRO plus instruction. The third talk by Bill Ahearn of the New England Center for Children will discuss the roles preference assessment played in the treatment of problem behavior across three areas of treatment.
Keyword(s): concurrent operants, DRO, preference
The Utility of Concurrent Operant and Progressive Ratio Assessments to Clarify Functional Reinforcers
SETH B. CLARK (Marcus Autism Center), Andrea Zawoyski (University of Georgia), Peyton Groff (Georgia Neurobehavioral Associates), Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Sensitivities to different aspects of a reinforcer can impact the outcome of a functional assessment, as well the outcome of function-based treatments. For example, different qualities of attention provided within an assessment may bias the outcome (Gardner, Wacker, & Boelter, 2009; Kodak, Northup, & Kelley, 2007). Concurrent operant and progressive ratio schedules are each useful approaches to evaluating the influence of qualitative differences between reinforcers (Gardner et al., 2009). The current investigation examined the influence of qualitative differences between functional reinforcers shown to maintain problem behavior (i.e., differing qualities of attention and different types of restraint) within the context of treatment. Participants were two individuals with developmental disabilities who engaged in severe problem behavior. Each completed a concurrent operant assessment to determine which qualities of attention or types of restraint were most preferred, and progressive ratio analyses to examine the degree to which the different qualities of attention or restraint affected their potency as reinforcers. Assessment results were then incorporated into treatment. A clear preference for one type of reinforcer was observed for both participants. Results suggest the utility of concurrent operant and progressive ratio analyses for functional reinforcers have the potential to affect treatment outcomes.
Effects of Instructions on Responding Under DRO Contingencies
TRAVIS JONES (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) is implemented in a variety of ways, but typically involves delivery of reinforcement following a period of time during which a target behavior did not occur. Contingency-specifying instructions occasionally are delivered at the beginning of the session, and a recent study (Watts, Wilder, Gregory, Leon, & Ditzian, 2013) in which DRO was implemented with and without instructions found that instructions were either (a) necessary to effect behavior reduction or (b) more efficient than DRO without instructions. Because these results may have been an artifact of the experimental design and procedure, we conducted a further analysis of the effects of instruction alone, DRO alone, and DRO plus instruction. Instruction alone was effective in reducing the target behavior (engagement with a highly preferred leisure item) for two of four subjects, and DRO alone and DRO plus instruction were effective for all subjects. DRO plus instruction was more efficient for one subject.
The Role of Assessing Preference Across Various Treatment Strategies
WILLIAM H. AHEARN (New England Center for Children), Clelia Garance Deltour (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Preference assessments play a variety of roles in the treatment of problem behavior. This presentation will review the contribution of preference assessment to three areas of treatment. The first involves treating stereotypic behavior maintained by automatic positive reinforcement. Duration-based preference assessment can play a helpful role in identifying competing activities and data from several studies will be presented briefly. The second involves behavior likely maintained by automatic negative reinforcement. Preference for and aversion to activities was evaluated while assessing and treating behavior related to anxiety-provoking events. Finally, in a third study preference for and aversion to activities was evaluated in a different manner for problem behavior occurring during transitions. The results obtained in all three lines of work suggest that preference assessments can helpfully contribute to treatment success. Interobserver Agreement (IOA) data were collected for at least 30% of all assessment and treatment sessions and IOA averaged over 90% for all conditions.
 

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