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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #76
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior
Saturday, May 29, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: AUT/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sarah C. Mead Jasperse (Emirates College for Advanced Education )
CE Instructor: Sarah C. Mead Jasperse, Ph.D.
Abstract: Different variations of functional analyses have been evaluated in the literature to identify the variables that maintain challenging behavior in order to guide treatment development. In this symposium, presenters will offer recent research on the assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior in individuals with autism or developmental disabilities. The presentations will be on the use of noncontingent reinforcement as a treatment for severe automatically maintained self-injury, the use of a latency-based functional analysis to assess and develop a function-based treatment for elopement, and the assessment of problem behavior when consequences are delivered for the emission of appropriate requests as well as challenging behavior during functional analyses.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behavior, functional assessment
Target Audience: intermediate - some experience on the assessment and treatment of problem behavior
Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will learn how latency functional analyses may be used to assess elopement and identify a function-based treatment 2. Participants will learn how noncontingent reinforcement may be used as a treatment for automatically maintained problem behavior 3. Participants will learn how placing contingencies on appropriate and inappropriate behavior may be used to identify the function of problem behavior using functional analyses.

Some Effects of Noncontingent Delivery of Competing Stimuli on Automatically Maintained Self-Injurious Behavior and Compliance With Mastered Tasks

MATTHEW LEAL (Florida Institute of Technology), Claudia Campos (Florida Institute of Technology), Yanerys Leon (University of Miami), Laura Wilcke (Florida Institute of Technology )

Automatically reinforced problem behavior may be difficult to treat due to practitioners’ inability to manipulate the establishing operations or functional reinforcers. Noncontingent reinforcement is one of the common interventions used to treat automatically maintained self-injury because the noncontingent delivery of the stimuli competes with engaging in the problem behavior. Although this intervention is effective, it might be difficult to implement in settings in which individuals are expected to engage in functional activities (e.g., schoolwork, daily living tasks) without engaging in problem behavior. Thus, the purpose of this study was to further evaluate the effects of noncontingent delivery of competing stimuli on automatically maintained self-injury and compliance for mastered tasks. Two children with developmental disabilities who engaged in severe self-injurious behavior participated in this study.


Assessment and Function-Based Treatment of Elopement in Children With Autism

MARISSA E. KAMLOWSKY (University of Kansas), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Ansley Catherine Hodges (Nemours Children's Hospital & Florida Institute of Technology), Hallie Marie Ertel (Florida Institute of Technology), Laurel Esther Domino (Florida Institute of Technology ), Natalia Colon (Florida Institute of Technology )

Elopement is a dangerous behavior exhibited by some individuals with autism, and accurately identifying the function of elopement is important to develop successful treatments. Functional analyses for elopement have been developed to mimic contingencies appearing in the natural environment; however, some of these analyses are limited by the required retrieval component. The current study replicated previous research which used a latency-based functional analysis that eliminates the retrieval component in order to safely and more precisely identify the function of elopement. In addition, we extended previous latency-based research by evaluating a treatment to reduce elopement. Specifically, we evaluated latency-based functional analyses to assess elopement exhibited by three children with autism. We then implemented function-based treatment packages for both children. Results showed that the treatment packages were effective to reduce elopement.

An Evaluation of a Functional Analysis for Appropriate Behavior
Heather Hancock (Aurora University; Little City Foundation), SARAH C. MEAD JASPERSE (Emirates College for Advanced Education ), Caritina Cervantes (Aurora University; Little City Foundation), Maria Vander Pluym (Little City Foundation), Arlette Ramos (Aurora University; Little City Foundation)
Abstract: To some degree, standard function-based intervention model in behavioral assessment is based on the assumption that there is a skill deficit and the client should be the focus of the intervention. An alternative explanation exists that challenging behavior could be occurring because caregivers are not responding to appropriate requests. Three adolescent males diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a history of engaging in challenging behavior participated. With each participant, a functional analysis (FA) was conducted, but consequences were delivered for the emission of appropriate requests as well as challenging behavior. For two participants, challenging behavior did not occur and appropriate requests occurred more in one of the test conditions relative to the others. For the third participant, appropriate requests rarely occurred and challenging behavior occurred more often in two of the test conditions relative to the others. The results tentatively suggest that FA methodology could be modified to assess the existence of appropriate requests in an individual’s repertoire prior to moving to the intervention phase, which could inform the selection of the most appropriate intervention target.



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