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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Poster Session #227
DDA Sunday Poster Session
Sunday, May 24, 2020
1:00 PM–3:00 PM

The Application of Applied Behavior Analysis to the Treatment of Trauma

Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
LEAH FLANAGAN (Allambi Care, NSW Australia ), Alayna T. Haberlin (Paperbark Solutions; University of New England Australia)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Children and young people who reside in out of home care have regularly experienced traumatic events such as child abuse, neglect and domestic violence (Holstead & Dalton, 2013). There are several evidence-based programs and clinical interventions that are specific to addressing trauma symptoms such as trauma informed cognitive behavior therapy (TF-CBT) and eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR) (Wigham & Emerson, 2015) yet the application of applied behavior analysis (ABA) has historically been absent in this cohort. This poster will present a case discussion of a non-vocal adolescent male with intellectual disability and significant violent behaviours, who has experienced trauma. Specifically, how we can recognise our client’s trauma, how trauma has influenced their learning history and it’s impact on their current presentation will be discussed as will our own competency to work as clinicians in this area. This poster highlights that expanding ABA into areas traditionally occupied by psychologists and social workers is not only possible, but essential to streamline what can be multifaceted complex service delivery, for the benefit of our clients.


An Evaluation of a More-Adaptive Treatment of Elopement Using Modern Technology for Children With Developmental Disabilities

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
EHREN J WERNTZ (Arizona Autism United; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Susan D. Flynn (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jack Spear (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Morgan Chipley (Arizona Autism United), Shannon Weller (Arizona Autism United; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Kaitlin Winter (Arizona Autism United)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Elopement is an extremely dangerous behavior that can and does lead to serious harm and death. Moreover, elopement has a high incidence among individuals with developmental disabilities. Although previous research has demonstrated effective interventions to reduce elopement in individuals with developmental disabilities, the strategies have been effortful, cumbersome, inappropriate for some settings, and inaccessible to caregivers with mobility challenges. The present research advances the body of empirically supported treatments for elopement among individuals with developmental disabilities by integrating remote signaling devices with operant training procedures. The results of this research support the use of modern technology as a way to treat elopement in a way that allows for greater ranges of distance from caregivers than previously published treatments and provides an option for caregivers physically incapable of administering other protocols. The present research also includes data on treatment acceptability and parental self-efficacy that supports the social validity of this procedure.

100. Increasing Lip Closure and Spoon Acceptance in a Child with a Pediatric Feeding Disorder
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARGARET BERNHEIM POWELL (Kennedy Krieger Institute; Mississippi State University), Hallie Smith (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Children with feeding difficulties often present with abnormal or immature oral motor skills, and food refusal perpetuates these delays due to limited practice. Oral motor deficits make eating and drinking less efficient, more effortful, and significantly increase the likelihood of inappropriate mealtime behavior (IMB). The current study examined a 5-year-old male with Autism, low facial tone, and an open mouth posture who was referred to an intensive pediatric feeding disorders program for limited food variety and IMB. Due to limited experience and oral motor weakness, the study participant did not have the ability to appropriately close his lips on a spoon upon admission. Additionally, the participant engaged in significant IMB when presented with non-preferred foods. Therefore, the participant’s skill deficits and performance deficits both needed to be addressed through intervention to increase acceptance of foods from a spoon. Treatment was implemented in the form of physical guidance, escape extinction, and differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. Results indicated that as acceptance from the spoon became more stable, so did the participant’s ability to independently close his lips on the spoon. However, as acceptance became more variable, the participant’s ability to appropriately close his lips on the spoon did as well.

Assessing the Social Acceptability of Similar Competing Response and Those Designed to be Less Conspicuous

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KISSEL JOSEPH GOLDMAN (University of Florida), Iser Guillermo DeLeon (University of Florida)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Competing-response (CR) training is a critical component of comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics in which an individual is taught to engage in an alternative response instead of a tic. CRs are recommended to be less conspicuous than the tic to reduce social stigma, which may increase their use. Although several studies have examined the conspicuity or social acceptability of tics (e.g., Finney, Rapoff, Hall, & Christophersen, 1983; Woods et al., 1996), none have evaluated these measures with CRs. Therefore, we asked 60 undergraduate students to watch video recordings of several individuals with tics using either a) no CR, b) a CR which was incompatible with a tic, or c) CRs which were designed to be both compatible with tics and inconspicuous and evaluate the relative unusualness, social acceptability, and distractibility of both tics and CRs. Participants were divided pseudo-randomly into groups that received information regarding tics and CRs or no information. We observed that all CRs were generally rated as less unusual than tics. At least one CR designed to be inconspicuous and compatible with tics was rated more favorably than the incompatible CRs for most participants, especially among participants provided information regarding tics and CRs.


Promotion of the Preparation Behavior in Kindergarten Using Visual Timer: Application to Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Typical Developmental Children

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
YUMIKO SASADA (Academy of Behavioral Coaching), Kenji Okuda (Educational Foundation of Nishi Karuizawa Gakuen)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Study objective: To evaluate the effect of using Visual Timer to children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and typical development who often have stagnation and deviation in order to promote their behavior in kindergarten. Design: A combination of multiple baseline across subjects and a changing criterion design was used. Setting: Preparation after arriving and before leaving in kindergarten Participant: A girl (4 years old) with neurodevelopmental disorders and a boy (4 years old) with typical development Measure: The required times of preparation after arriving and before leaving in kindergarten were measured. Intervention: Based on the baseline data, each Visual Time was set at the time when the target child succeeded 50% or more, and placed in the preparation area. When the child could finish within the time limit, gave a sticker or confection. With steady success, the criterion time was reduced based on the last 10 days. Results: In both children, after using of the Visual Timer, the preparation times were reduced. Conclusion: Indicating the time with the Visual Timer and changing the criteria based on the data was effective in promoting the preparation behavior of both children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and typical development.


Multiple-Exemplar Training in the Generalization of Self-Control Choice: A Pilot Study

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ALMA LUISA LÓPEZ FUENTES (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Silvia Morales Chaine (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Train generalization of self-control choice is necessary when providing services to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Although some studies have shown increments in self-control choice, few studies had examined its generalization. The purpose of the study was to evaluate multiple-exemplar training in the generalization of self-control choice in two 5-year-old children with ADHD. Multiple baseline across settings design were used. Settings changed by reinforcers, discriminative stimuli, researchers, and alternative activity. Conditions were directly trained in three settings and in a fourth setting, probes without direct training were conducted. In baseline, participants chose between sooner-immediate reinforcer or larger-delayed reinforcer. Training consisted of delay fading, an alternative activity during the delay, and signal the delay. Relative to baseline, self-control choice increased during all training settings, from <50% to >80% for one participant and for the other participant from <4% to >60%. Multiple-exemplar training resulted in the generalization of self-control choice across settings, behaviors and time. During probe setting, for a participant, self-control choice increased from 0% to 80% after training, and 100% in the follow-up. Further research is needed to show that generalization has to be directly trained and the clinic implications of self-control generalized choice for ADHD children.

106. An Example of an Analytical Progression to Identify and Treat Multiply Controlled Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KELLY ALEXANDRA BENHART (New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: The literature shows that challenging behavior is maintained by multiple reinforcers in 16.9% of cases. Multiply controlled behavior can be identified via functional analyses consisting of varying test and control conditions. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of escape from academic demands, access to teacher attention, and access to tangible items on the rates of aggressive behavior for a 20-year-old man with autism spectrum disorder. Next, we implemented a treatment contingency addressing a single response class, which failed to suppress responding. Finally, we demonstrated that a combination treatment, which consisted of differential reinforcement of mands for both maintaining variables, was necessary to eliminate aggression and increase appropriate behavior. Interobserver agreement (IOA) data were collected in 47% of functional analysis sessions and averaged 96% agreement. IOA data were collected in 43% of treatment sessions and averaged 98% agreement. Currently, we are expanding treatment to include gaining attention, emitting the appropriate functional communication response (FCR), and tolerating delays and denial to reinforcement. Preliminary data for the complex FCR exchange are included.

Video Preferences and Their Relative Reinforcing Effects

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
HUGO CURIEL (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), Emily Curiel (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

A web-based multiple-stimulus-without-replacement preference assessment and a concurrent-operants reinforcer assessment were implemented to identify video preference hierarchies and their reinforcing status. Assessments were conducted with four middle school students with intellectual disabilities. Three participants allocated longer durations of behavior to access their high-preferred stimulus, as compared to the lowest-preferred and control option. One participant engaged in switching responses between the stimuli. Findings and future considerations are discussed.


A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Challenging Behavior Interventions for Adolescents With Developmental Disabilities

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARIE DAVID (Purdue University), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), John Davis (University of Utah), Emily Gregori (University of Illinois at Chicago), Qingli Lei (Purdue University), Danni Wang (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University)

Challenging behavior tends to increase in levels during adolescence for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). If not addressed, this may lead to negative post-school outcomes for adolescents with DD. The purposes of this meta-analysis are to examine the effects of behavioral intervention in reducing challenging behaviors of adolescents with DD and identify the variables that could potentially moderate these effects. This meta-analysis included twenty-six single-case design studies that met standards for methodological rigor and experimental control. Overall, behavioral interventions were found to yield moderate effects for adolescents with DD (overall Tau-U = .73, SD = .04, [.67, .79]) across settings and types of challenging behaviors. With regards to participant and setting characteristics, verbal ability and classroom setting were found to moderate the effects of intervention outcomes with statistical significance. No other variables produced similar findings. Furthermore, statistically significant differences were found between interventions that included or did not include planned reinforcement as an intervention component. Several implications for research and practice are discussed.

109. Investigation on the Function of Problems Behavior of Children in After-School Daycare
Area: DDA; Domain: Basic Research
MAKO ITO (Meisei University), Koji Takeuchi (Meisei University)
Abstract: Study objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the function of problems behavior in users such as after school daycare, by conducting MAS on staff involved with the same children and verifying the results of functional analysis of problems behavior. Questionnaire: The Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS), which is widely used as a means to identify the function of target behavior, was used. Participant: Four staff members working in after-school daycare were asked to answer 17 men and women aged 7 to 18 years’ old who used the after-school daycare. Procedures: In order to assess the functional analysis of problems behavior during the group activities of the target children, we evaluated them using the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS). Results: As a result of comparing the functions of problems behavior, the Tangible was highest in the problem behavior functions of such as after-school daycare. In terms of Attention, there was great variation among staff.

Get Pref-ed in a Hurry: An Examination of aSynthesized Preference Assessment

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
EMILY E ARNOLD (The Faison Center), Aimee Decker (The Faison Center), John Adam Wright (The Faison School for Autism)

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a modified preference assessment for edible items. The assessment took place in an adult day support setting, where 1:1 time with a client and the data collection skills of staff members are limited. Researchers combined Free Operant and Multiple Stimulus with Replacement strategies to test the latency of approach to food items as well as the rate of consumption. This twelve-item assessment was completed in 45 minutes (15 minute chunks across three days). The resulting hierarchy was compared to that of a paired stimulus assessment to examine reliability.


Daily Behavior Report Cards for Students With Developmental Disabilities in Extended School Year Classrooms

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JONTE TAYLOR (Pennsylvania State University), Doris Adams Hill (Auburn University)

Daily Behavior Report Cards (DBRCs) have shown to be a successful intervention for improving classroom behavior for students considered to display challenging behaviors. DBRCs have mostly been used for students with emotional/behavioral disorder (EBD) in an effort to improve academic and social outcomes. Few studies have examined the use of DBRCs for students with developmental disabilities (DD). Even fewer studies have examined the intersection of young (i.e., early childhood) students with DD in extended school year settings (ESY). The authors examined the effectiveness of DBRCs for young students with DD in ESY settings. Four elementary students (ages 6-7) with DD and behavior challenges who were receiving ESY services as mandated by their respective Individualized Education Plan (IEP) participated in the current study. The researchers used a changing criterion single case research design with visual analyses and Tau-U statistical analyses to determine the impact of the intervention. Each student demonstrated progress as a result of intervention.

112. A Brief Descriptive Assessment of Screaming Behavior in the Presence and Absence of Other Individuals
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
KELSEY WEBSTER (Western Michigan University), Audrey Renee Conrad (Western Michigan University), Jessica Detrick (Western Michigan University ), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The present study assessed the impact of two antecedent conditions on screaming behavior presented by a 56-year-old male diagnosed with severe ID. Results from previous FBAs yielded inconsistent results. However, previous descriptive assessments suggested screaming may occur more often in the presence of other individuals. Therefore, the current study was conducted to confirm the previous hypothesis. The assessment was conducted in the home and served as an alternative to a traditional FBA. During the assessment, the client naturally transitioned himself between being alone in his bedroom and being around residents and staff members in other rooms, creating varying condition durations. Two conditions were established: (a) when he was alone and, (b) when he was around other individuals. Ten-second partial interval data was collected on screaming behavior during each condition. Screaming behavior occurred during 0% of intervals when the client was alone and ranged from 30% to 80% of intervals when the client was near other individuals. Results suggest the client is more likely to scream when residents and staff members are present compared to when alone. Future assessments will aim to decipher whether specific residents and staff members are more likely to evoke screaming.
113. Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior Maintained by Escape from Interruption of Play
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CARMEN CARUTHERS (Kennedy Krieger Institute; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), Aila K. Dommestrup (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Patricia F. Kurtz (Kennedy Krieger Institute), George Miller (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Traditional functional analyses typically result in clear results for the majority of cases. However, a percentage of cases yield undifferentiated or unclear results. In such cases, modifications are made to traditional conditions, or, new conditions are created altogether. In the present case study, researchers conducted multielement and pairwise functional analyses to identify an idiosyncratic function for problem behavior exhibited by a 17-year-old male with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Additionally, due to context variables (problem behavior not observed in clinic based sessions), an automatic function for destructive behavior was hypothesized and targeted for intervention. Following the identification of a clear function within a modified Parent Directed Toy Play condition (e.g., parent led or parallel play where problem behavior resulted in return to child led or child only play), researchers evaluated a function based intervention consisting of Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior within a chained schedule. Researchers incorporated an alternative to the property destruction within the same treatment package. Target problem behaviors were reduced to near zero rates across extended durations of time and generalization contexts (i.e., home visits). Caregiver acceptability of the treatment package was high. Future research should examine parent-child dynamics within the context of play that may evoke problem behavior.
114. Using a Comprehensive Assessment Procedure to Evaluate Learner Preferences for Sensory Categories
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA AUSTIN (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center; Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology), Daniela Silva (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Kate E. Fiske Massey (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
Abstract: Prior research supports that several stimuli within the same highly preferred sensory category (e.g., visual, auditory) can serve as reinforcers for a learner, even when some stimuli are not highly preferred. The current study builds on this literature by comparing which of four putative reinforcer classes (i.e., tactile, visual, auditory/visual, gross motor) are preferred and whether a novel stimulus within highly preferred categories can serve as reinforcement, without assessing preference of the stimulus. This procedure can eliminate the need to frequently assess student preferences, which can be time-consuming and laborious. Participants include 3 children ages 6-18 who attend a center-based school program for individuals with developmental disabilities. Paired choice and/or single stimulus preference assessments were conducted with 8 items from each category chosen by students’ parents and teachers. A combined preference assessment of the top 4 items from each category was then conducted to evaluate categorical preferences before testing reinforcing value of known and novel items from high and low preference categories in a multiple-schedule assessment. Current results show clear categorical preference hierarchies for each student. A measure assessing this assessment’s social validity will be administered to therapists and students’ classroom teachers.
115. Dysphagia in Brain Injury: Promoting Safe Eating Through Differential Reinforcement and Self-Management
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CHRIS M. SCHAUB (ReMed), Rayan Alqunaysi (Temple University)
Abstract: Brain injury (BI) can result in physical, cognitive and behavioral sequelae, severe combinations of which challenge the rehabilitation process. The subject sustained a BI when their work truck struck a utility pole, resulting in hemiparesis, visual and communication deficits, executive dysfunction and dysphagia. Feeding was prioritized due to safety issues, and an intervention was developed in collaboration with speech therapy. Using a multiple baseline across behaviors design, rapid eating and mouth self-checks were identified as target behaviors. Following a preference assessment, a token economy (TE) was utilized to implement differential reinforcement (DR). Initially, a DRL reduced rapid eating, but this behavior increased following the introduction of a mirror for mouth self-checks. Subsequently, a DRI was used to successfully establish a behavior chain, and ultimately the TE was discontinued while rapid eating and mouth self-checks maintained at low and high rates, respectively. At one point, an antispasmodic medication unexpectedly affected swallowing, and data from the study assisted in determining when to resume the feeding protocol. Behavior analysts are not established members of interdisciplinary teams in rehabilitation settings, but this study demonstrates how our science can enhance the efficacy of traditional therapies and expand application beyond what are considered typical problem behaviors.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh