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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #452
CE Offered: BACB
Differential Reinforcement as an Adjunctive Treatment Component for Interventions Employing Response Interruption and Redirection
Monday, May 28, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom G
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Robert W. Isenhower (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
Discussant: Christopher Manente (Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services, Rutgers University)
CE Instructor: Christopher Manente, Ph.D.

Individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often engage in repetitive and stereotypical behavior (APA, 2013). These repetitive behaviors can often interfere with skill acquisition, can be stigmatizing, and, in some cases, be can be dangerous. As these types of behavior are usually maintained by automatic reinforcement, identifying effective treatment strategies can be particularly challenging. Response interruption and redirection (RIRD) is one of few empirically-supported intervention strategies that has been effective for the treatment of repetitive behavior (Ahearn, Clark, MacDonald, & Chung, 2007). While the evidence is clear regarding the effectiveness of RIRD, the extent to which other treatment components may enhance its effectiveness is unclear. Differential reinforcement procedures may represent a useful adjunctive intervention component for RIRD treatments. The purpose of the current symposium is to share research findings regarding the effects of RIRD in conjunction with other treatment components, such as differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) and differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior (DRI).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): autism, DRA, DRI, RIRD
Target Audience:

Content would be appropriate for masters level practitioners and above (BCBAs)


An Evaluation of RIRD, DRA, and RIRD Plus DRA on Levels of Stereotypy and Appropriate Play

Catia Cividini-Motta (University of South Florida), Anna Garcia (University of South Florida), Cynthia P. Livingston (University of South Florida), HANNAH LYNN MACNAUL (University of South Florida)

Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often engage in repetitive and stereotypic behavior (APA, 2013) which may be disruptive to others but also hinder acquisition of appropriate behaviors. Ahearn and colleagues (2007) employed a response interruption and response redirection procedure (RIRD) to decrease stereotypy however limited research has evaluated whether reinforcement-based procedures, alone or in combination with RIRD, result in similar or greater suppression of stereotypy. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects on RIRD, DRA, and RIRD plus DRA on levels of stereotypy and appropriate item engagement. Participants were two children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or another disability who engaged in stereotypy. This study employed a combination of reversal and multielement designs to evaluate the effects of these interventions. The results showed that both RIRD and RIRD plus DRA resulted in greater suppression of stereotypy than DRA alone and that, in general, appropriate item engagement remained at low levels. We discuss clinical implications and areas for future research.


Teaching a Functionally Equivalent Response With a Competing Item and Response Interruption and Redirection to Reduce Pica

JACQUELINE SMITH (Rutgers University Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Rachel Mislavsky (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Caitlin Kehoe (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Denise McNair (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Molly Vigneri (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Robert LaRue (Rutgers University)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders often engage in stereotypical or ritualistic behavior. Pica and mouthing are common forms of ritualistic behavior. The empirical literature has indicated that the use of competing items and response interruption and redirection (RIRD) can be effective for addressing these forms of ritualistic behavior (e.g., Horner et. al., 1991; Piazza et al., 2000; Zhou et al., 2000). In the current investigation, we assessed the use of an alternative item (bracelet) and response interruption and redirection for a 15 year old adolescent male diagnosed with ASD using a reversal design. The student engaged in high levels of object mouthing throughout his school day during baseline. During intervention, the student was given continuous access to an alternative source (silicone bracelet) and was taught an alternative response (biting the bracelet) with RIRD in place in the event that mouthing occurred. The implementation of the alternative item reduced mouthing non-edible objects to approximately 80% from baseline.


Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior to Reduce Food Stealing for an Adult With Autism

JENNA BUDGE (Rutgers University), James Maraventano (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Efrat Kemp (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Robert LaRue (Rutgers University)

As individuals with autism age, available supports for promoting community integration dwindle, while their needs remain the same or grow. Specifically, challenging behavior is often reported as a barrier to successful community integration for this population (Allen, Lowe, Moore, & Brophy, 2007). In order to provide opportunities to engage in community-based activities, it is important to address challenging behaviors that can interfere with these activities. For the present study, a reversal design was utilized to display the efficacy of a Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior (DRI) schedule for food stealing exhibited by a 33 year-old man with autism. Results of the study demonstrated significant decreases in food stealing attempts when provided access to reinforcement contingent on engaging in a response incompatible with food stealing.


Assessment and Treatment of Ritualistic Behaviors in Adults With Autism

JAMES MARAVENTANO (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Jenna Budge (Rutgers University), Efrat Kemp (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Robert LaRue (Rutgers University)

Characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) include restricted patterns of interest, stereotypical behavior, and insistence on sameness (ASD; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Further, individuals with ASD may engage in ritualistic behaviors which include, but are not limited to excessive straitening or arranging, tapping, or ordering of objects. Ritualistic behavior often interferes with on-task behaviors and can result in safety issues and concerns for developing and maintaining meaningful community opportunities. Interruption or redirection of these ritualized patterns of behaviors have resulted in maladaptive behaviors (e.g. Sigafoos, Green, Payne, O'Reilly, & Lancioni, 2009). As individuals with ASD age, the severity of challenging behavior can be considerably more intense and complex resulting in time-consuming and, often, ineffective assessments and treatments. Several studies have conducted functional analyses of maladaptive behavior caused by interruptions of ritualistic behavior (Hagopian, Bruzek, Bowman, & Jennett, 2007; Sigafoos et al., 2009; Rispoli, Camargo, Machalicek, Lang, & Sigafoos, 2014). While studies have examined various treatment options for addressing challenging behavior evoked by restricted access to rituals in children with ASD, there is a dearth of literature related to older learners and adults with ASD. The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the effects of functional communication training with signaled delays to address challenging behaviors maintained by restricted access to rituals for a 29-year old man with ASD. The results showed that functional communication training was an effective treatment for reducing challenging behavior maintained by restricted access to ritualistic behavior.




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