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 #431A
CE Offered: BACB
A Conceptual Analysis of Self-Injurious Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement in a Clinical Setting
Monday, May 27, 2019
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Lobby Level, Plaza Ballroom AB
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ken Winn (Firefly Autism)
CE Instructor: Ken Winn, M.S.

This symposium addresses a conceptual framework, using a variety of systematic manipulations and assessments besides descriptive analysis to determine the function and most effective treatment method for self-injurious behavior across 2 subjects in a clinical setting. One subject is a 19-year-old woman diagnosed with ASD, who engages in self-injurious behavior in the form of thumb/hand biting and eye gouging. The other subject is a 17-year-old boy diagnosed with ASD, who engages in self-injurious behavior in the form of finger biting. The assessments used include: pre-cursor functional analysis, stimulus-avoidance assessment, brief punisher assessment, competing items assessment, component analysis, and pair-wise analysis. This symposium provides further direction in the field for self-injurious behaviors maintained by automatic reinforcement. The results of each assessment and the following treatment will be discussed

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Automatic Reinforcement, Component Analysis, Conceptual Analysis, Self-injury
Target Audience:

BCBA's RBT's ABA Therapists

Learning Objectives: 1) Participants will be exposed to a variety of state-of-the art analyses for the subcategories of automatically maintained self-injury 2) Participants will identify best practices when selecting systematic analysis for identifying maintaining variables for self-injury 3) Participants will be able to connect effective treatment strategies for subcategories of automatically maintained self-injury based on selected analyses

Use of Protective Equipment as a Behavioral Prosthetic for Self-Biting

HAILEY GOULD (Firefly Autism), Lily Dicker (Firefly Autism), Melissa Marks (Firefly Autism)

Clinicians systematically increased the duration in which protective equipment was tolerated each day. Following the daily tolerance of protective equipment, clinicians evaluated the effectiveness of additional interventions to further decrease rates of the behavior. A Self-Injury Trauma Scale was completed daily to measure evidence of injury.


A Component Analysis for Eye-Gouging

LILY DICKER (Firefly Autism)

The researchers compared the components of a treatment package for a 20-year-old girl who engages in severe, longstanding self-injurious behavior in an applied setting. There were four components tested within the component analysis: a fixed-time schedule for accessing competing items, differential reinforcement of other behavior, response-interruption and redirection, and contingent use of protective equipment. In phase 1, inter-response time data was recorded to develop an interval for the fixed-time schedule and differential reinforcement of other behavior. In phase 2, we compared a fixed-time schedule for accessing competing items with differential reinforcement of other behavior. The more effective treatment was used in phase 3 while also comparing response-interruption and redirection and contingent use of protective equipment. Throughout the entire component analysis, response blocking was used to ensure the subject’s safety.


Using Stimulus Avoidance and Brief Punisher Assessments for Treatment of Severe Self-Injurious Behavior

MELISSA MARKS (Firefly Autism)

The current study examines the assessments used to determine functions of behavior and treatment methods to reduce levels of automatically maintained self-injury in a clinical setting. Behavioral interventions are supported as the most successful strategy for treatment of self-injurious behavior in individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Previous research indicates that punishment is the most effective treatment for self-injurious behavior and is recommended when other procedures have failed or when self-injury is extremely severe (Favell et al., 1982). Self-injurious behavior is associated with restricted educational, vocational, and community-based opportunities in addition to increased social isolation and carries significant health risks (Minshawi et al., 2014). A precursor functional analysis was used to assess the function of behavior due to the high risk associated with traditional functional analysis methods used for self-injurious behavior. Assessment methods used to evaluate the most effective treatment strategy included a stimulus avoidance assessment, brief punisher assessment, and competing items assessment




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