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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #23
CE Offered: BACB
Transporting the Competing Stimulus Assessment Into Schools and Educational Settings
Saturday, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom C
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Adam S. Warman (The Faison Center)
Discussant: Jonathan Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
CE Instructor: Adam S. Warman, M.Ed.

Competing Stimulus Assessments (CSA) have been used across a number of client populations, behavioral functions, and topographies of problem behavior. The growing body of research, however, has localized most applications and demonstrations of related treatment effectiveness to intensive service delivery settings. As is the case with other behavioral technologies, CSAs should be further examined in settings such homes, community venues, and schools. Such demonstrations may be useful in enhancing the external validity of the CSA and ensuring they can be carried out accurately and efficiently. Utilizing established methodology, we carried out CSAs with multiple adolescents with development disabilities attending a private school for individuals with specialized education needs. Across participants, target behaviors encompassed multiple functions and topographies. CSA procedures were successfully implemented in the educational setting and within the confines of the students’ daily school schedule. Results also included successful identification of competing stimuli for the participants; furthermore, decreased rates of problem behavior followed treatment. Procedures and results will be further discussed in the context of CSA innovations and behavioral assessment treatment transportability.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): automatic reinforcement, competing stimuli, functional assessment, problem behavior
Target Audience:

The target audiences for this talk include practitioners who serve individuals with developmental disabilities in home, community, or school settings; and researchers who are focused on or who are interested in focusing on examining assessment and treatment procedures outside of intensive, more controlled settings.

Assessment and Treatment of Aggressive Behavior Maintained by Access to Physical Attention
ELI T. NEWCOMB (The Faison Center), John Adam Wright (The Faison Center), Jennifer Graboyes Camblin (The Faison Center)
Abstract: This presentation will share methodology and data reported from a published case conference (Newcomb, Wright, & Camblin, 2018), as well as lay groundwork for practical considerations and procedural flexibility necessitated by a school setting. Aggression maintained by access to physical attention was examined using two preparations of a functional analysis, after which additional assessment was carried out to identify stimuli that competed with problem behavior. The participant was a 13-year-old boy diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, who attended a private specialized education facility due to underdeveloped communication skills and problem behavior. At the time of the study his aggression had become more prevalent, unpredictable, and elevated in intensity. Following assessment, a noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) intervention using competing stimuli was implemented to reduce rates of Ted’s increasingly unmanageable aggression. Results indicated that implementation of the NCR intervention was followed by decreased rates, more predictable patterns, and diminished intensity of aggressive behavior.

Assessment of Competing Stimuli for the Treatment of Behavior Interfering With School Activities and Services

Jennifer Graboyes Camblin (The Faison Center), Olivia Coppes Culbertson (The Faison Center), Kathryn Herndon (The Faison Center), Paul Christopher Liberante (The Faison Center), Kathryn Littlejohn (The Faison Center), NICHOLAS VANDERBURG (The Faison School ), John Adam Wright (The Faison Center), Eli T. Newcomb (The Faison Center)

Many individuals with developmental disabilities experience deficits with communication and social function to such an extent that treatment and services focus heavily communication training. Individuals with developmental disabilities also often experience greater behavioral dysfunction than other populations, which can produce behavior that interferes with skills training, home life, and school activities (Gurney, McPheeters, & Davis, 2006; Dekker, Koot, Ende, & Verhulst, 2002). Due to the extent it interfered with skills training and posed health complications, problem behavior (mouthing, rumination, pica, and motor stereotypy) maintained by automatic reinforcement was assessed for 4 individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities. Competing stimulus assessments were conducted and revealed multiple stimuli that competed with problem behavior, after which related treatment was devised and carried out by educational staff (teachers and teacher assistants) during each participant’s school day. The training of educational staff on assessment and intervention rationale, treatment implementation, and data collection are also discussed.




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