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 #156
Using Behavior Analytic Strategies to Improve Medical Routines and Teach Medical Skills
Saturday, May 29, 2021
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sarah Elizabeth Martinez Rowe (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Participation in routine and preventative medical care produces positive health outcomes regardless of diagnostic or demographic factors. For individuals with increased medical needs, participation in and tolerance of routine medical care and prevention strategies may significantly improve quality of life. The application of behavioral strategies to teach medical skills or increase compliance with medical routines embodies the applied dimension of behavior analysis. Additionally, this application pushes the boundaries of the behavior analytic field. In this symposium, we discuss behavior analytic strategies for teaching medical care and tolerating routine medical care such as dental procedures and needle tolerance. Walker and colleagues present a comprehensive literature review of the extant literature related to increasing compliance with medical procedures using needles (e.g., venipuncture and dermipuncture). Hodges and colleagues present an evaluation of strategies for teaching compliance with dental procedures and needle tolerance. Last, White and colleagues present research on behavior skills training to teach CPR and First Aid Skills to young adults with intellectual disabilities.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, Dental Tolerance, Medical Compliance, Needle Tolerance

Systematic Review of Behavior Analytic Interventions to Address Needle Compliance in Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities

SETH WALKER (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Aaron Christopher White (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Tyra Paige Sellers (Behavior Analyst Certification Board)

Individuals with intellectual disabilities tend to have more medical issues relative to the general population, thus increasing the importance of access to medical care. A significant barrier to healthcare access for many individuals with intellectual disabilities is the ability to comply with basic medical examinations and critical procedures which involve needles. Some medical professionals address non-compliance with sedation or restraint, which can be dangerous to patients and medical staff. Previous research has evaluated behavior analytic interventions to increase individual’s compliance with medical procedures, including venipuncture and dermipuncture procedures. We identified and systematically reviewed a number of articles which investigated strategies to increase compliance with blood draw or injection procedures to determine their efficacy and experimental rigor, according to What Works Clearinghouse Standards (What Works Clearinghouse, 2017). All studies used a variety of behavioral intervention packages and resulted in compliance with medical procedures involving needles. Results of the review indicate that behavior analytic interventions can be an effective treatment for compliance with medical procedures involving needles. Participants are representative of a variety of intellectual disabilities and ages, suggesting that these interventions are generalizable across age and disability. Practical implications, future research lines, and methodological considerations are discussed.

Adherence to Medical Routines: Promoting Health and Happiness Without Restraints or Sedation
ANSLEY CATHERINE HODGES (Nemours Children's Hospital & Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Elbert Blakely (Florida Institute of Technology), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Auburn University)
Abstract: All individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, or diagnosis, must learn to tolerate routine medical procedures. We conducted two experiments to effectively and efficiently teach individuals to adhere to medical procedures without using restraints or medications. First, a functional analysis showed that problem behavior exhibited by all participants when exposed to medical tests or stimuli was sensitive to escape. In the first experiment, we evaluated the effects of an assessment protocol to teach dental cleanings and dental x-rays on both operant and physiological behaviors. In the second study, we examined the effects of the assessment protocol with needle tolerance for three males. All participants showed an increase in compliance and a decrease in physiological or stress measures. Social validity measures indicated that participants and their caregivers approved of the procedures.

Teaching CPR and First Aid to Young Adults With Intellectual Disabilities Using Behavior Skills Training

AARON CHRISTOPHER WHITE (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe Meyer Institute), Daniel L Gadke (Mississippi State University)

Empirical evidence strongly suggests the need for training individuals with intellectual disabilities in critical safety skills, yet this is often neglected for this population. Despite the vast evidence that many individuals with disabilities do not have the knowledge on how to responds to safety or dangerous situations, little has been done to examine safety skills instruction. Basic first aid, has long been considered a vital safety skillset to live autonomously for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether Behavior Skills Training is an effective intervention for teaching six CPR and First Aid skill sets to mastery. Next, participants were exposed to six hypothetical safety situations (i.e., concussion, CPR+AED, dislocation, fainting, first aid review, and seizure). Data were collected using pre- and post-assessments, and maintenance assessments by evaluating percent steps completed correctly per safety skill set. Upon conclusion, the participants showed mastery in all six CPR and First Aid skills in post-training assessment, and maintained learned skills in a one-week follow up assessment.




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