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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Poster Session #103
DDA Saturday Poster Session: Even-Numbered Posters
Saturday, May 28, 2022
2:00 PM–3:00 PM
Exhibit Level; Exhibit Hall A
Chair: Melissa Hunsinger-Harris (Bay Path University)
102. Establishing Discriminative Control in a Multioperant Setting
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
STEPHANIE BONFONTE (The New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Melissa Hunsinger-Harris (Bay Path University)
Abstract: The development of functional communication is an important goal for individuals diagnosed with autism. It is common to begin with dense schedules of reinforcement when establishing mands, however schedule thinning is important for meaningful outcomes. Although multiple schedules can be used to bring mands under discriminative control and avoid high rates of manding when a reinforcer is unavailable, it is important to extend research to multioperant environments in which several reinforcers are available idiosyncratically. We evaluated a method for establishing discriminative control over multiple distinct mands, using a discrimination board and icons correlated with distinct edible reinforcers. Participants included individuals aged 15-22, with verbal repertoires ranging from brief requests to full sentences. All participants attended a school for individuals with autism and related diagnoses. Interobserver agreement was scored for 30% of sessions, with an average of 99% agreement. Baseline sessions involved the delivery of undifferentiated consequences (FR 1) for mands on both components of a multiple schedule. Then, experimenters arranged sequential exposure of each icon to one component stimulus associated with extinction. Our findings demonstrate control over several mand topographies and the establishment of S∆ control such that new mands were discriminated in the absence of extended exposure to extinction.

Modification of Skills Based Treatment to Decrease Maladaptive Behaviors in Children With Disabilities

Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
ALLISON SCHEAR (Helping Hands Family & Helping Hands Licensed Behavior Analysts ), Jordan Freeman (Helping Hands Family & Helping Hands Licensed Behavior Analysts ), Justina Fischetti (Helping Hands Family & Helping Hands Licensed Behavior Analysts )
Discussant: Melissa Hunsinger-Harris (Bay Path University)

Using the basis of Practical Functional Assessment and Skills Based Treatment, modifications were made in order to meet the individualized needs of the subjects. Subjects were chosen based on significant rates of problem behavior including aggression, property destruction and screaming. For one subject the modifications included the use and fading of edibles as well as the conditioning of non-edible reinforcement. For the other subject the modifications included the use and exchange of money. Both modifications proved successful in promoting the acquisition of acceptance of denial and delay. In order to demonstrate generality and effectiveness of Skills Based Treatment, the setting for each subject differed. One subject attended clinic-based sessions while the other subject was taught in a self-contained classroom setting. Acquisition occurred both when taught in small blocks of 2 to 3 hours and when taught across an entire school day. The data demonstrates that as acceptance of delay and denial is learned, problem behaviors decrease to socially significant levels. Additionally, functional communication skills were acquired and generalized across people and settings.


Telehealth Parent Training and Coaching to Improve Exploratory Motor Behaviors in Infants With Down Syndrome

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
E AMANDA DIGANGI (Arizona State University), Samuel DiGangi (Arizona State University)
Discussant: Melissa Hunsinger-Harris (Bay Path University)

One in 691 children born in the US have Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal abnormality and leading cause of intellectual disability. Impairment in exploratory motor behaviors (such as reaching and grasping a play object) is a known component of the Down syndrome phenotype and is generally attributed to more generalized motor delays as well as associated hypotonia (Bauer & Jones, 2014). Exploratory motor behaviors are considered a “pivotal skill” in early development, which, when improved, may provide opportunities for increased development of other skills in infancy and early childhood. In 2014, researchers Bauer and Jones published a paper calling for increased behavioral intervention on exploratory motor behaviors (EMB) for infants with Down syndrome; however, to date, no research has been published exploring the efficacy of a behavioral intervention to increasing these critical skills. The purpose of this study was two-fold. First, we investigated the extent to which parents of infants with Down syndrome (ages 5-9 months) were able to use a behavioral intervention as a means for increasing and improving their infants EMBs following telehealth training (BST) and coaching. Second, we examined the efficacy of the parent-implemented play-based ABA method for improving EMBs for the infants. Follow up & generalization are described.


Picture Exchange Communication System as a Communication System for Individuals With a Diagnosis Other Than Autism: A Systematic Literature Review

Area: DDA; Domain: Theory
TERI GRISWOLD (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Central Coast ABA), Patricia Weigand (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Discussant: Melissa Hunsinger-Harris (Bay Path University)

Individuals who have limited communication skills often use maladaptive behavior to communicate. In the past 40 years, we have used functional communication to teach individuals a replacement behavior to reduce the challenging behavior. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Systems help individuals with limited communication skills use functional communication. One of these communication systems is Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). A system designed for children with a diagnosis of autism, PECs has been empirically supported for use with this population. However, as the field of applied behavior analysis grows, PECS has been utilized with many other diagnostic populations. However, the research that involves other diagnostic populations outside of autism is limited. The purpose of the current systematic literature was to summarize PECs treatment outcomes for participants who carried a diagnosis outside of autism. The most common treatment outcome was the acquisition of PECS, which most of the participants acquired. Other treatment outcomes were maintenance, acquisition of other language or spontaneous vocalizations, generalization, preference for AAC systems, acquisition compared to other AAC systems, and effect on challenging behavior. However, many of the other treatment outcomes had limited participants to determine the overall effectiveness of these treatment outcomes on populations outside of autism.

110. Evaluation of Variable Influencing Physical Activity in Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
HEATHER ANDERSON (University Nebraska Medical Center), Isaac Melanson (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Kortlyn Tawney (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Sarah Elizabeth Martinez Rowe (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Cynthia P. Livingston (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Maeve G. Donnelly (Northeastern University)
Abstract: Increasing physical activity for children diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities is essential. Research promoting physical activity in this population is scarce, however, some research suggests physical activity may decrease problem behavior and promote prosocial behavior, in addition to other health benefits (e.g., increase cardiovascular health). Participants included children ages six to 17 who have an intellectual or developmental diagnosis and engage in challenging behavior. The participants were observed in five different contexts (i.e., fixed equipment, open space, exercise video, control, and outdoor toys). Data were collected on participants’ movements (i.e., moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), slow movement, stationary, and motionless), activity engagement, and problem behavior. Additionally, a multielement functional analysis of challenging behavior was conducted. The current study aims to identify which variables can increase physical activity in this population and how the variables affect problem behavior. Researchers identified a higher rate of MVPA in one or more conditions when compared to control and other conditions. Challenging behavior did not occur during physical activity sessions for some participants.
112. Increasing cooperation in a child with Down syndrome through interview-informed synthesized analyses and treatment
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ANGELA M BRYSON (Building Blocks Behavior Consultants), Mila Zea (Building Blocks Behavior Consultants, Inc. )
Discussant: Maeve G. Donnelly (Northeastern University)
Abstract: Early intervention of challenging behaviors like aggression and self-injury can prevent future and more serious behaviors from becoming established. The interview-informed synthesize contingency analysis (IISCA) was created to determine the establishing operations which evoke an individuals’ problem behavior and the behaviors’ maintaining contingencies. Practitioners utilize the IISCA to develop and implement a systematic skill-building approach teaching functional communication, accepting denials and reinforcing appropriate and cooperative behaviors across various contexts. Past research suggests this combination of a contingency analysis and progressive intervention was a reliable process for decreasing problem behavior. In this single case study, we replicated the IISCA and skill-based treatment to increase cooperation and decrease self-injurious problem behavior in adult-led tasks by an individual with Down syndrome. The results of the study found the IISCA was reliable in assessing the maintaining contingencies influencing problem behavior and the following skill-based treatment significantly decreased self-injurious and aggressive behaviors during adult-led tasks. Social validity of this intervention was achieved through generalizing skills to caregivers and cooperating with self-care tasks in the home.
114. An Analysis of Teaching Choice-Making Behavior and Communication Modalities to Individuals with Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ALLISON QUICHO (Endicott College), Kimberly Marshall (University of Oregon; Endicott College), Jessica Piazza (Endicott College), Lisa Tereshko (Endicott College)
Discussant: Maeve G. Donnelly (Northeastern University)
Abstract: When choice is implemented in interventions, interventionists have found a decrease in challenging behavior, increase in affect, and increase in participation in individuals with severe disabilities (Reutebuch et al., 2015). The present literature review evaluated how behavioral technology is being used to teach choice-making behaviors and assessed what communication modalities were helpful in conveying an individual’s choice. A literature review was conducted using the PRISMA model. As a result, 33 articles were analyzed. The researcher evaluated participant characteristics, communication modality, teaching procedures, and general outcomes. Results indicated that the most frequently used teaching procedure was most-to-least prompting. In addition, many interventionists are using High-Tech AAC to teach choice-making behavior. Most of the studies received a rating of fairly effective, in which studies were at least technologically sound and may include one additional measure such as social validity, maintenance or generalization. Implications of these findings were evaluated based on their contribution to the dissemination of behavioral technology and adherence to ethical guidelines.
116. Comparing Existing and Novel Functional Communicative Responses on Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ELISE ZARCARO (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, Salve Regina University), Jesse Perrin (Pathways), Andrea Giacobbe (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Cody Morris (Salve Regina University )
Discussant: Maeve G. Donnelly (Northeastern University)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is a differential reinforcement procedure in which a client is taught a functional communicative response (FCR) that results in the same reinforcer as the problem behavior. Previous research has shown that higher rates of problem behavior are associated when utilizing existing FCR’s during FCT. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of existing and novel FCR’s on problem behavior and client preference for an FCR. A 14-year-old male diagnosed with ASD participated in this study. FCR training sessions were conducted by alternating between the existing and novel FCR’s in a multielement design while measuring the frequency of problem behavior. A concurrent operants schedule (COA) was used to assess client preferences of the FCR. The COA consisted of FCR’s being presented and made available simultaneously. Problem behavior during the existing FCR was highly variable, whereas problem behavior during the novel FCR was significantly more stable. Additionally, the results indicated that the participant selected the existing FCR 100% of opportunities. IOA was calculated for 50% of sessions between FCR training and the COA with a total count agreement to 100%.



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