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

Previous Page


Symposium #260
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analytic Strategies for Enhancing Quality of Life in Individuals With Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 27, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall C
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Stacie Bancroft (New England Center for Children; Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Stacie Bancroft, Ph.D.

Quality of life may in part be measured by the extent to which our time is filled with satisfying work and leisure experiences. Development of independent broad leisure and vocational repertoires for individuals with developmental disabilities may require a range of interventions. This symposium will review a series of behavior analytic procedures used to enhance leisure and vocational repertoires and subsequently improve quality of life for individuals with ASD. The first paper will present on the effects of a procedure for transferring stimulus control over initiating leisure from a verbal directive to natural cues in the environment. The second paper will examine methods for increasing preference for leisure activities. The third presentation will review a case study in which behavior analytic technologies were used to produce job skills and ultimately to arrange for job placement. Clinical implications and areas for further research will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Increasing Preference, Leisure, Stimulus Control, Vocation
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: 1. Attendees will learn methods for transferring stimulus control 2. Attendees will be able to describe procedures for increasing the value of leisure activities 3. Attendees will be able to describe procedures for training job skills to individuals with DD
Generation of Contextually Relevant Stimulus Control for Initiation of Leisure Activities
(Applied Research)
STEPHANIE MUSE (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Stacie Bancroft (New England Center for Children), Sean Ferris (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Elaina Strampach (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Adults with developmental disabilities can experience a significant amount of unstructured downtime (Rynders & Schleien, 1991). Even when leisure activities are taught to fill this time, they are often left under the control of vocal directives. In contexts with limited caretakers or staffing resources, clients may be left without the proper discriminative stimuli to occasion initiation of leisure activities during downtime. Transferring stimulus control from vocal directives to natural cues may be necessary for independent initiation of leisure. Participants in this study included four adolescents diagnosed with autism. During Phase 1, we used behavior chaining to teach the use of a leisure menu under the control of a vocal directive. During Phase 2, we used a prompt hierarchy to transfer stimulus control from the vocal directive to naturally occurring cues such as being alone in a room with no activities in process. For all four participants, we successfully transferred stimulus control from a vocal directive to natural environmental cues. Generalization and maintenance was also demonstrated. Interobserver agreement was collected in over 33% of sessions with all agreement scores above 90%. Implications for leisure repertoires and quality of life will be discussed.

When Teaching Leisure Isn't Enough: Increasing Preference for Leisure Activities by Embedding Natural Reinforcers

(Applied Research)
FATIMA ZAHRAH ZAIDI (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Stacie Bancroft (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Adela Castellon (New England Center for Children), Corey Anderson (New England Center for Children; Western New England University)

Teaching leisure activities to mastery is an important first step in providing individuals with developmental disabilities with a broad-based leisure repertoire that can provide enrichment during periods of low structure. However, unless engaging with the newly acquired activity arranges new reinforcement, independent sustained participation in the activity may be unlikely absent arbitrary reinforcers. The purpose of the present study was to, in Study 1, evaluate whether teaching a leisure activity to mastery resulted in increased preference for the activity. Participants included two adolescent young men diagnosed with ASD. Preference was assessed using an engagement-based preference assessment, the Brief Response Restriction (BRR). If teaching the skill to mastery was ineffective at elevating preference for the activity we evaluated, in Phase 2, we evaluated the effect of embedding an existing reinforcer that would typically co-occur with the activity. We taught complex leisure skills to mastery for both participants and increased preference of all trained activities. Implications for development of broad-based leisure repertoires will be discussed. IOA was collected in 33% of sessions with an agreement score of 91%.


Beyond Teaching Skills: A Model for Turning Skill Acquisition Into Employment

(Applied Research)
KIMBERLY DIGGS (The Autism Community Therapists), Kevin J. Schlichenmeyer (The Autism Community Therapists)

The job market provides unique challenges for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as evidenced by poor outcomes with job placement (i.e., unemployment rates as high as 90%) and job compensation. Currently, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has provided limited contributions to more optimal outcomes, despite having an ideal technology. That is, there are a plethora of data showing the effectiveness of skill acquisition procedures pertaining to basic vocational skills (e.g., folding laundry, sweeping, envelope stuffing, etc.). By contrast, there is relatively little data on the effect of ABA therapy on job placement and job compensation. The purpose of this case study will be to outline how ABA technologies were utilized to establish both essential job skills (e.g., table setting, table cleanup, restaurant navigation, accepting feedback, etc.) and job placement for a 22-year-old male diagnosed with an ASD. Further, we will outline a model for managing the unique nature of job placement. The model provided will review employment matching, goal development, collaboration between service delivery teams, employee trainings, and transition planning. The outlined approach was shown to be successful across two job sites (i.e., a pizza shop and a coffee shop), as the participant has sustained employment with minimal support at the time of this study at both locations.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh