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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.

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44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Poster Session #80
Saturday, May 26, 2018
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Marriott Marquis, Pacific Ballroom
Chair: Julie M. Slowiak (University of Minnesota Duluth)
11. Comparing the Impact of Positive and Negative Reinforcement on Employee Performance
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Alice Gutierrez (Private Practice), Shannon Smith (The Shape of Behavior), Domonique Y. Randall (The Shape of Behavior), DEBORAH L. GROSSETT (The Shape of Behavior)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: Both positive and negative reinforcement can be employed to strengthen behavior. Compared to negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement has been associated with superior behavioral effects, but not all empirical research has supported this finding. The current study compared the effects of positive and negative reinforcement on performance (on-task behavior) of four employees working in an ABA clinic with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. An A (baseline) B (positive reinforcement) C (negative reinforcement) BC within-subject design was utilized. Daily 15 minute random observations of on-task behavior were conducted via camera. Positive and negative reinforcers provided were based on participants’ responses on a preference questionnaire. Higher rates of performance were reported during treatment (positive and negative reinforcement conditions) compared to baseline. Performance outcomes during the second introduction of positive reinforcement were equal to or greater than the first introduction. For all participants, the second negative reinforcement condition was associated with the lowest performance compared to other reinforcement conditions. Participants indicated preference for positive or negative reinforcers changed, and this may have impacted effectiveness of intervention too.
13. Increasing Staff Performance of Implementation of Evidence Based Interventions for Children With Autism
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
CAROL ANNE MCNELLIS (Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health), Richard Allen (Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health), Todd Harris (Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: While Evidence-Based Interventions (EBIs) for children on the autism spectrum have been clearly identified, there is considerably less research on how to train first line staff to deliver the interventions with fidelity, particularly in group settings such as classrooms and residential treatment facilities. Barriers related to this problem are twofold. First, there is often a lack of adequate training in EBIs for direct service staff responsible for creating a strong instructional environmental. Second, supervisory staff often do not have training in basic organizational behavior management skills. Devereux's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports-Autism (D-PBIS-Autism) model was designed to address both of these critical issues. The model provides a tiered system of EBIs with an increasing focus and intensity across the broad domains of communication, socialization, independence, and safety. Additionally, the use of organizational behavior management (OBM) technology creates the structure for staff training and supervision. Key OBM elements include on-line and classroom training combined with performance-based checklists, in vivo coaching and performance feedback, and graphed performance monitoring. Following implementation of the model in multiple classrooms and residential units, longitudinal data suggests well-maintained, systemic increases in staff use of EBI's and reduction in client challenging behaviors.
14. The Use of Behavioral Systems Analysis to Improve the Services Provided by the Center for Autism and Social Inclusion (University of São Paulo)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
LIVIA FERREIRA GODINHO AURELIANO (São Judas Tadeu University; University of São Paulo), Martha Costa Hübner (University of São Paulo), Maria Amalia Andery (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: The main objective was to demonstrate the use of the Behavioral Systems Engineering Model in the improvement of the services provided by the Center for Autism and Social Inclusion, (CAIS-USP). The method applied was action research and the participants were the coordinator (1), supervisors (3) and the therapists (11) of the CAIS. The results were the establishment of feedback data from the processor system, which before the study did not exist, such as the results of the discrete trial assessment and data on the frequency in class. The results of the receptor system were information about the alumni, regarding the performance in the autism area and the results of the children's assessments in the VB-Mapp. Another important result was the creation of a specific undergraduate discipline, entitled Applied of Behavior Analysis to Autism, guaranteeing greater visibility and stability of the work carried out by CAIS. The conclusion is that the most fundamental stage of application was the definition of the macrosystem and the mission of the CAIS. From these definitions, several processes had been redesigned and tasks were distributed, allowing the collection of feedback data, fundamental for the planning and decisions taken in each semester.
16. Evaluating the Use of Task Clarification and Reinforcement to Increase the Cleanliness of Therapy Rooms
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
ERICA JONES (Florida Autism Center), Cindy Cahill (Florida Autism Center), Emma Grauerholz-Fisher (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: The cleanliness of therapy session rooms at the end of the day was evaluated in an applied behavior analysis research clinic. Desired staff cleaning behaviors were identified, permitting construction of operational definitions which were used to instruct 30 staff members how to achieve a clean therapy session room. The three point scale ranging from the numbers 0-2 was used to score each individual task. After pure baseline measures of the target behaviors were obtained, a second baseline was conducted in which therapists were reminded of expectations about the completion of specific tasks but no consequences were provided for completing the tasks. Intervention consisted of providing staff with operational definitions of task completion, as well as positive reinforcement in the form of praise and tokens for completing the task. A multiple baseline design with an embedded reversal was used. Preliminary results show that behaviorally defining and positively reinforcing desired cleaning behavior is a viable approach to improving cleanliness in therapy based centers.
17. Using Mindfulness Exercise to Increase Positive Interactions of ABA Therapists
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
ALYSSE A. CEPEDA (Southern Illinois University), Victoria Booth (Southern Illinois University), Dana Paliliunas (Southern Illinois University), Becky Barron (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: Social interactions with clients are an important component of rapport building and creating instructional control within the therapeutic environment. Additionally, when working with children, therapists are expected to provide age-appropriate interactions that model positive social skills. The current study assessed the use of mindfulness exercises with ABA therapists to increase the number of positive interactions within a therapy session. The study was conducted with three undergraduate ABA therapists in an on-campus clinic using a multiple baseline design across subjects. Following baseline, each therapist completed a self-report measure on psychological flexibility before their sessions and then listened to a 5-min guided mindfulness exercise. Positive interactions were recorded at the beginning and end of each session for 15 minutes each using partial interval time sampling. Additionally, fidelity for therapeutic interventions and other self-report measures were recorded and assessed. The results of the study indicate that mindfulness exercises may influence the number of positive interactions from therapists to their clients during therapy sessions. These results suggest that even brief mindfulness practices may be of important and effective utility within clinics and when working in the human service field, particularly with children. The next phase of this research will assess how identifying values in addition to mindfulness exercises may impact these same dependent variables.
18. Delay Discounting of Treatment Success and Staff Willingness to Implement Behavior Analytic Training Procedures
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY MARIE WALSH (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Karen R. Harper (ABA of Illinois), Imran Kahn (ABA of Illinois), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: We developed a delay discounting questionnaire where the manipulated commodity was treatment success that was either immediate or delayed. The delay to treatment success was quasi-exponentially manipulated and in terms of reasonable time estimates that could be expected for a behavioral intervention to achieve successful outcomes with clients. The cost that was titrated in the survey was the amount of time per week that staff would be required to implement a given behavior change strategy. Results from 40 direct care staff from a day treatment program for adult clients, all of whom had prior experience implementing behavior analytic treatment strategies, suggest that the subjective value of successful treatment is discounted as the treatment is delayed. Consistent with prior research in this area, the decay is appropriately modelled using a hyperbolic curve function fit to the obtained data. The results have implications at the organizational level for predicting and influencing staff buy-in of behavior analytic strategies by quantifying estimates of response cost and delay to outcome.
19. Increasing Direct Support Professional's Behavioral Data Collection in a Residential Program: A Case Study
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
TODD ALLEN MERRITT (Arc of Westchester)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: The field of behavior analysis places a strong emphasis on the collection and analysis of behavioral data to make data-based decisions about clinical practices. Community-based residential programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities pose a unique logistical constraint due to the behavior analyst often not being able to be on site to ensure data are collected and give timely feedback to staff. The purpose of this case study is to develop a cost-effective performance management intervention to increase the amount of data collected for people who live in a community-based residential program. Specifically, the study aims to increase the percentage of target behaviors for which data are collected across all direct support professional shifts. During baseline, data were only collected during significant behavioral episodes. An intervention consisting of task clarification, staff training, reorganization of materials, and prompts increased data collection to an average of 35.4% (range, 0 to 64.3%) across all shifts each day. Next, ongoing performance feedback will be provided to direct support professionals and their supervisors. Results are anticipated to show that a cost-effective performance management intervention will effectively increase and maintain the percentage of behavioral data collected within the home.
20. Preferences and Performance Measures: Evaluating the Effects of Preference Assessment Methods and Reinforcer Delivery on Behavioral Staff Performance
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
DANIKA MCGANDY (Gorbold Behavioral Consulting, Inc.), Stephanie Gorbold (Gorbold Behavioral Consulting, Inc.), Myra Bertling (Gorbold Behavioral Consulting, Inc.)
Discussant: Brett J. DiNovi (Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC)
Abstract: The organizational behavior management literature includes few studies evaluating the effectiveness of various preference assessment methodologies on behavioral staff performance (Waldvogel, J.M., & Dixon, M.R., 2008; Wine, B., Reis, M., & Hantula, D., 2014). The current study evaluates the effectiveness of a survey and ranking preference assessment method in identifying potential reinforcers for staff behavior. The effectiveness of preference assessment method is measured by comparing several staff performance measures before and after contingent reinforcer delivery across 9 months. Staff performance measures evaluated in this study include the number of appointment cancellations, percent of clinical objectives mastered, and frequency of staff caseload changes each quarter.



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