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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #602
Innovative Methods for Developing Communicative and Coping Skills Within an ABA Framework
Monday, May 25, 2020
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Room 103
Area: DDA
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Ericka Mullinix (Lexington Behavioral Health Services)
A Behavior Analytic Approach to Analyzing the Phenomenon of Emulation
Domain: Applied Research
TRICIA CLEMENT (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Amanda C. Philp (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Grant Gautreaux (Nicholls State University)
Abstract: Emulation is not a common topic within behavior analysis; however, it has been presented in several ways within animal cognition and developmental psychology literature. Primarily, emulation is used to explain a range of social learning processes or within a larger taxonomy of imitation. However, a clear, concise behavioral definition of emulation is still lacking. Building upon the unpublished dissertations of Rothstein (2009) and Philp (2016), this study analyzed the role of emulation with possible co-requisite verbal development cusps and determined if an emulative repertoire can be established in children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Results of the initial tests were analyzed using a correlational analysis of imitation and emulation tasks and demonstrated a statistical significance to the listener literacy cusp. Results of this further analyses demonstrated that trial-and-error teaching was successful to establish an emulative repertoire. Additional theoretical and socially significant findings related to the induction of emulation in children with ASD or developmental delays are highlighted.
Efficacy of the Zones of Regulation when Applied within an ABA Framework for Individuals with Severe Epilepsy and Brain Injury
Domain: Theory
ERICKA MULLINIX (Lexington Behavioral Health Services), Adam DeLine Hahs (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Teaching emotional self-regulation is challenging for care providers. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum used widely by occupational therapists to teach emotional regulation. There is no evidence yet to support its efficacy. While the Zones curriculum provides guidance on progression of teaching skills and a plethora of teaching materials, there is no standard method of teaching within the curriculum. For instance, there is no guidance correcting errors, prompting hierarchy, or standardized instructions. Additionally, challenges in teaching emotional regulation are more pronounced given significant communication barriers. Many individuals with developmental disabilities have comorbid medical issues, including neurological and gastrointestinal complications such as epilepsy and fecal impaction, which can be painful and lead to negative emotional responding. Difficulty communicating pain has been reported to lead to lack of medical care, attribution of symptoms to behavioral issues, unnecessary or incorrect medical care, and invasive medical procedures. This paper explores a way to apply the curriculum with an applied behavior analytic framework, and examines if using stimulus equivalence and automaticity of reinforcement by pairing overt indicators of pain (e.g., precursors to problem behaviors, overt symptoms of illness) with colors that correspond to the Zones might increase the ability to identify and communicate distressing emotions in order to receive appropriate intervention from caregivers.



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