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 #330
CE Offered: BACB
Strategies to Increase Physical Activity in Children and Adults With Intellectual Disabilities and Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall A
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: M. Alice Shillingsburg (May Institute)
CE Instructor: M. Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D.

Physical inactivity can lead to a variety of health concerns over the lifespan. Individuals with intellectual disabilities often engage in sedentary behaviors and individuals with autism have been found to be at greater risk for becoming obese compared to typically developing individuals. Several factors have been listed as barriers to increasing physical activity with these populations such as preference for sedentary activities and deficits in social skills which impede engaging in team sports. Despite potential barriers, researchers are beginning to examine a variety of behavioral approaches to increasing physical activity with individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and autism. The first study examined the use of goal-setting and monetary reinforcement for increasing physical activity in adults with intellectual disabilities. The second study compared exergaming to traditional exercise in adults with intellectual disabilities. The last study examined the use of Pictorial Activity Schedules to promote physical activities in school aged children with autism.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Exercise, Health Behaviors, Physical Activity
Target Audience:

Master's level behavior analysts and above

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe 3 methods of increasing physical activities in individuals with DD 2. Describe risk factors associated with low physical activity 3. Describe factors affecting maintenance of increases in physical activities

Monetary Reinforcement for Increasing Walking in Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

Diego Valbuena (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), CYNTHIA P. LIVINGSTON (University of South Florida), Lindsey Slattery (University of South Florida)

Physical inactivity is a widespread problem associated with numerous health problems. Individuals with intellectual disabilities are at a high risk of living a sedentary lifestyle. Although a few studies have examined interventions consisting of goal-setting and reinforcement for increasing physical activity, no studies have evaluated the use of monetary reinforcement. Interventions consisting of goal-setting and monetary reinforcement have been shown to be effective with typically developing adults. The present study evaluated monetary reinforcement for increasing physical activity in adults with intellectual disabilities. We evaluated a session-based intervention where participants earned monetary rewards for attaining step count goals as recorded by pedometers in one hour sessions each day in a work setting. The study also assessed the fidelity of staff implementation of the intervention and its acceptability. Five participants increased their steps when the intervention was implemented in an ABAB design. In addition, staff implemented the intervention with high fidelity (93%-100% accuracy).


Effect of Exergaming on Physical Activity of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

JENNIFER VERGARA (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida), Rocky Haynes (University of South Florida, Tampa)

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor related to death and the World Health Organization (2016) suggests engaging in at least 150 min of physical activity (PA) throughout the week. Many individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) engage in sedentary lifestyles that raise concern about their long-term health. Thus, interventions that aim to increase physical activity in this population are needed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of exergaming on hysical activity and intensity when implemented with adults with intellectual disabilities. Four adult males diagnosed with ID participated in the study. During the traditional exercise condition and exergaming condition, there was no significant difference between the levels of physical activity observed. Percent occurrence of intensity was higher at ratings of 2, 3, and 4 during the exergame condition when compared to the traditional exercise condition and when given a choice participants chose exergaming over traditional exercise.


Using Pictorial Activity Schedules to Increase Physical Activity in Children With Autism

M. ALICE SHILLINGSBURG (May Institute), Brittany Lee Bartlett (Marcus Autism Center), Taylor Thompson (Marcus Autism Center), Kristen K Criado (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University)

Children with autism are 40% more likely to be overweight and obese compared to their typically developed peers. Although evidenced-based interventions for weight management exist for other pediatric populations, these approaches may require adaptation for children with ASD. A key component of existing interventions is to increase time in physical activity. Individuals with developmental disabilities often require specific interventions to remain on task or complete activities with extended durations. Activity Schedules have been shown to be effective with this population in increasing time on task. The current study extended the use of Activity Schedules to promote sustained engagement in physical activities with 3 children diagnosed with autism using a multiple baseline across participants design. All three participants showed increases in total time spent engaged in physical activities following intervention; however, engagement reduced to baseline levels when the Activity Schedule was removed. Thus, Activity Schedules appear to be an appropriate method of increasing physical activity in children with autism but more research on fading out the schedules is needed.




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