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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #399
CE Offered: BACB
Getting Back to Our Roots: Novel Applications for Assessing and Treating Context Specific Problem Behavior
Monday, May 29, 2017
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1C/D
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Laura C. Chezan (Old Dominion University)
CE Instructor: Laura C. Chezan, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium will emphasize alternative approaches to utilize in the assessment and treatment of context specific problem behavior that is often impairing not only for the targeted individual, but their peers and caregivers as well. The first study, by Ms. Anna Ryan, will focus on the development of taxonomy for individuals with problem behavior maintained by adult compliance with mands, providing additional recommendations for clinicians treating clients with idiosyncratic or rapidly fluctuating requests for reinforcers. The second study, by Dr. Cara Phillips, will detail an evaluation of the impact of therapist response to perseverations, specifically comparing three general classes of consequences including responding once, responding intermittently, and ignoring perseverative speech. The third study, by Ms. Amanda Goeztel will evaluate the predictive utility of preliminary component analyses to identify treatment interventions that are more likely to be associated with the low rates of problem behavior over time, even after demand fading occurs. The chair for this symposium is Dr. Laura Chezan.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional analysis, mands, perseveration

Developing a Profile for Individuals With Problem Behavior Maintained by Adult Compliance With Mands

ANNA RYAN (The University of Iowa and the Kennedy Krieger Ins), Amanda Goetzel (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Diana Socie (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Although standard functional analysis (FA) conditions are often sufficient for identifying behavioral function, procedures may need to be modified for individuals who have rapid and idiosyncratic requests for various reinforcers. Previous research has indicated that certain individuals with these characteristics may have an adult compliance with mands function (Bowman et al., 1997). Despite the clinical utility for identifying when assessment for this function may be warranted, there is a paucity of research in this area and few guidelines for clinicians. Seven participants with autism and histories of severe problem behavior were included in this study. FA results revealed that all participants problem behavior was maintained by adult compliance with mands; however, unique data patterns were observed in other test conditions. The effectiveness of treatments was evaluated using reversal designs. Treatment primarily emphasized stimulus control for mands through the use of multiple schedules that alternated between periods of differential reinforcement and extinction, but were embedded within multilayered treatment packages. Results will offer guidelines for the assessment and treatment of behavior maintained by adult compliance with mands, and how procedures may differ from when they are applied to other functions.

An Evaluation of the Impact of Therapist Response to Perseverations
(Applied Research)
CARA L. PHILLIPS (Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Samantha R. Young (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer Rebecca Weyman (University of South Florida), Marissa Erin Daly (University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)), Allen Porter (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) display restricted and repetitive interests (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). For some, this takes the form of repetitive or stereotyped speech patterns. This type of perseverative speech can impact social functioning. In addition, for some individuals there appears to be a correlation between perseverations and problem behavior. It is unclear, however, if increased problem behavior associated with perseverations results from the response to the perseverative behavior, or is a function of some other aspect of the environment (e.g., the individual is perseverating on a preferred activity to which he does not have access). In the present investigation, we compared several common classes of caregiver verbal responses to perseverations related to preferred items or activities, while withholding the requested item across conditions. Three individuals with ASD admitted to an inpatient unit for the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior participated. The general classes assessed included: respond once, respond intermittently, and ignore. In addition, we compared firm and uncertain responses for 2 of the 3 participants. The clinical implications of the results will be discussed.

Using Brief Experimental Analyses to Identify Effective Interventions for Individuals With Severe Problem Behavior

AMANDA GOETZEL (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Phillip Orchowitz (Kennedy Krieger Instittue ), Sara Deinlein (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Catherine Chaille (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

The brief experimental analysis (BEA) model has demonstrated efficiency in quickly comparing multiple interventions to determine effects on academic skills prior to extended evaluation (Wilber & Cushman, 2006). However, additional research is needed to determine whether the BEA is efficacious for empirically identifying interventions to treat severe problem behavior, and whether results accurately predict interventions associated with the largest and most sustained treatment gains over time. This study included 3 participants diagnosed with autism who were admitted to an inpatient unit for the treatment of severe problem behavior. A BEA was conducted to determine potential interventions for escape-maintained problem behavior. Four interventions were briefly compared: non-contingent reinforcement (NCR) with food, NCR with toys, differential reinforcement of other and alternative behaviors (DRO/DRA) with food, and DRO/DRA with toys. Conditions from the BEA associated with the lowest rates of problem behavior were further evaluated during demand fading. Results from a reversal design indicated that treatment interventions identified within the BEA were successful at maintaining low rates of problem behavior over time; however distinct patterns emerged during demand fading for some participants. Discussion will focus on how to further apply the model to use data to select treatment components prior to extended evaluations.




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