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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #115
CE Offered: BACB
Skill-Based Approaches Toward Teaching Children to Tolerate Delays to Reinforcement
Saturday, May 28, 2022
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 254B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Javid Rahaman (University of Nebraska Medical Center; Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Michelle A. Frank-Crawford (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
CE Instructor: Javid Rahaman, M.A.
Abstract: Teaching children skills known to be effective under a variety of situations may be a proactive approach to mitigate (Hagopian et al. 2011; Tiger et al., 2008) or prevent (Luczynski & Hanley, 2013) problem behavior. However, the complexities of the natural environment can require learning a combination of skills. For example, situations may arise where a child must communicate to access reinforcement. Other situations may require the child to wait patiently or do something else for a period of time before accessing reinforcement. This symposium comprises four studies that sought to evaluate the efficacy of teaching specific skills to assist children with tolerating delays to reinforcement. The overall goal of these studies is to provide evidence for using skill-based approaches with children and their parents to reduce problem behavior and teach tolerance skills. This was done by teaching children some combination of communication, compliance (cooperation), engagement with other activities, or waiting patiently.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Delay Tolerance, Functional Communication, Parent Training, Skill-Based Approach
Target Audience: The target audience for this session includes students of behavior analysis, practicing behavior analysts who oversee behavior change programs that treat problem behavior, and behavioral scientists who would like to learn more about skill-based approaches that address delay tolerance.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify skill-based approaches to teaching tolerance skills and treatment problem behavior; (2) Discuss the potential generality of these treatment approaches; (3) Identify socially valid methods to include parents in treatment approaches.

Feasibility and Acceptability of a Function-Based Compressed Parent Training Program to Treat Child Behavior Problems

MATTHEW L. EDELSTEIN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jessica L Becraft (Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Alicia Sullivan (VelaMar Behavioral Health)

Early childhood externalizing behavior problems are both highly prevalent and predictive of significant conduct problems later in life. One frequently used intervention to address these types of problems is Behavioral Parent Training (BPT), wherein caregivers are trained as the primary change agents for their children. While effective, BPT programs face criticism due to high attrition and their reliance on parent report measures as their primary dependent variables. The current study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and outcome of an intensive behavior treatment program (120 minute sessions for 5 days/week over the course of 2 weeks) designed to teach caregivers to increase children’s frustration tolerance via a wait training procedure. Using a changing criterion single case experimental design, 12 children (M child age = 4.9 years) and their primary caregivers completed the two week function-based intervention procedure based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. Using both direct observation and standardized measures, results indicated that the treatment was effective in reducing childhood behavior problems, both within and between appointments (ds = 3.2 and 1.37, respectively). Overall, preliminary evidence suggests that a condensed treatment package designed to train caregivers in function-based intervention strategies is feasible, acceptable, and effective.


Delivering Preschool Life Skills via Telehealth With Parents of Preschool Children

CIARA GUNNING (National University of Ireland Galway), Jennifer Holloway (National University of Ireland, Galway), Helena Lee (National University of Ireland Galway), Jolyene Xuan Ai Leow (National University of Ireland Galway)

Incorporating parent training and telehealth technologies with evidence-based intervention can increase accessibility, generate more learning opportunities, and support positive outcomes. Recently, disruption of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of evaluating intervention delivery via online formats. Two research projects evaluated the delivery of a parent-mediated implementation of the Preschool Life Skills program (PLS; Hanley et al., 2007) via telehealth. The PLS program is a preventive program aimed at teaching important skills to ameliorate risk factors for problem behaviour at preschool stage and set children up for success within this context. Four parents completed the parent PLS program with their neurotypical children (5 males, aged 3-5 years) and four parents completed the program with their children with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD, 4 males, aged 3-5 years). Parents were taught to deliver the PLS program at home via behavioural skills training within weekly video conferencing sessions. Results indicated increases in children’s preschool life skills and parental use of teaching strategies, decreases in children’s behavioural difficulties, and positive social validity outcomes. The findings of this research are important in informing future research and development of parent training via telehealth and adaptation of interventions across contexts and populations.


An Extension of "Balance": A Parent-Implemented Problem Behavior Prevention Program Implemented via Telehealth

KARA LACROIX (Western New England University; TACT, LLC; FTF Behavioral Consulting), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University; FTF Behavioral Consulting), Alexandra Beckwith (FTF Behavioral Consulting), Shana Rodriguez (FTF Behavioral Consulting), Kelsey Ruppel (FTF Behavioral Consulting)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (2014) recommends individuals with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receive applied behavior analysis (ABA) services as soon as they are diagnosed. Ruppel et al. (2021) demonstrated that a parent-implemented problem behavior prevention program, Balance, was effective in reducing problem behavior and increasing social, communication, and cooperation skills in all four participants under the age of six. Access to effective intervention, like Balance, is critical, but waitlists for early intervention services can be long or the individual may reside in an area where ABA services are not readily available (Antezana et al., 2017). In these instances, the use of telehealth may be useful for supporting caregivers as they implement behavior-change programs. This study evaluated the effects of Balance implemented via telehealth using a multiple baseline design nested within a randomized control trial with children aged three and six years. Preliminary results indicate that emerging problem behavior remained high and skills were not acquired for the children randomly assigned to the control group (i.e., delayed intervention). By contrast, children in the test group who received immediate intervention engaged in zero to low levels of problem behavior and social and communication skills were high. Strategies for supporting caregivers attempting to prevent the development of problem behavior via telehealth will be discussed.


Teaching Protective Skills Toward Addressing Risk Factors Associated with Emerging Problem Behavior

JAVID RAHAMAN (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Teaching individuals to tolerate times when preferred toys, materials, and social interactions are delayed or unavailable is essential in preparing them to manage everyday challenging situations. Ruppel et al. (2021) demonstrated the efficacy of an approach to teach children who exhibited deficits in communication and tolerance of delays and denials to reinforcement. Their approach could protect individuals from emerging problem behavior toward the same goals as other prevention programs (e.g., Preschool Life Skills, Hanley et al., 2007). However, a potential limitation of Ruppel et al.’s approach is the omission of diverse situations (risk factors) shown to influence problem behavior based on the assessment and treatment literature (Hanley et al., 2014; Slaton & Hanley, 2018). The primary aim of this study was to systematically extend Ruppel et al. by including primary challenging situations and risk factor (generalization) tests that expand the application of protective skills. Four children were taught protective skills using a multiple probe design across primary challenging situations. Risk factor tests were evaluated following the acquisition of all protective skills. Results indicated that acquiring the target skills protected children from a variety of challenging situations and risk factors. Moreover, children were protected from situations mediated by caregivers.




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