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 #518
DDA Monday Poster Session: Odd-Numbered Posters
Monday, May 30, 2022
1:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Level; Exhibit Hall A
Chair: Bryant C. Silbaugh (Maraca Learning, Inc.)
91. Communicating and Attenuating Pain Using the Zones of Regulation within an ABA Framework
Area: DDA; Domain: Theory
ERICKA MULLINIX (Lexington Behavioral Health Services; Arizona State University)
Discussant: Morgan Scully (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Teaching emotional self-regulation is challenging for care providers. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum used widely by occupational therapists to teach emotional regulation. No evidence yet to support its efficacy exists. While the Zones curriculum provides guidance on progression of teaching skills and a plethora of teaching materials, there is no standard method of teaching within the curriculum. There is no guidance correcting errors, prompting hierarchy, or standardized instructions. Additionally, challenges in teaching emotional regulation are more pronounced given significant communication barriers. Many individuals with developmental disabilities have comorbid medical issues, including neurological and gastrointestinal complications such as epilepsy and fecal impaction, which can lead to negative emotional responding. Difficulty communicating pain has been reported to lead to lack of medical care, attributions of symptoms to behavioral issues, unnecessary medical care, and invasive medical procedures. This query explores a way to apply the curriculum with an applied behavior analytic framework, and examines if using stimulus equivalence and automaticity of reinforcement by pairing overt indicators of pain (e.g., precursors, overt symptoms of illness) with colors that correspond to the Zones. This might increase the ability to identify and communicate distressing emotions in order to receive appropriate interventions from caregivers.
93. A case evaluation of contingency contracting combined with acceptance and commitment therapy with a teenager with autism with severe aggression
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
LINDSEY AUDREY MARIE DENNIS (Emergent Learning Center), Raymond burke (Apex Regional Program), Steven L. Taylor (Apex Children's Center), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Taylor Janota (Emergent Learning Center), Elana Keissa Sickman (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Morgan Scully (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Identifying and working towards our values can be difficult, and this can be especially true for those individuals with challenging behaviors. The current case study involves a teenager who has high rates of aggression and low psychological flexibility whose value is to gain more access to his community. The purpose of this case study is to provide a synopsis of a 12-week protocol to increase psychological flexibility and decrease challenging behaviors for one teenager with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder and who also experiences social-emotional deficits. This student participated in a 12-week intervention which included a contingency plan and multiple intensive ACT therapy sessions across multiple settings and providers. This protocol also included imbedding ACT language at home and throughout his day at school. Results of this case study showed decreased instances of challenging behavior and increased psychological flexibility across two measures: CPFQ and AFQ-Y. Implications of the incorporation of ACT into treatment for those with challenging behaviors and psychological inflexibility are discussed for additional students.
95. A Parametric Analysis of Condition Lengths in a TBFA
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
HEATHER LEIGH PETRILLO (Salve Regina University, Pathways Strategic Learning Center), Jesse Perrin (Pathways), Andrea Giacobbe (Pathways), Cody Morris (Salve Regina University )
Discussant: Morgan Scully (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Trial-Based Functional Analysis (TBFA) is an experimental analysis consisting of a series of isolated conditions presented naturalistically in the form of trials to identify the function of problem behavior. Traditional TBFA trials are 1 to 2 minutes in length. However, trial lengths of 1 to 2 minutes might not be sufficient for problem behaviors with a delayed onset. The current study extended the existing research on TBFAs by increasing the duration of the trial length to 5-minutes. A parametric analysis was used to analyze the effectiveness of the trial lengths ranging from 1-minute to 5-minutes. The participant was a 14-year-old male diagnosed with ASD. The results of the parametric analysis showed that 70% of target behaviors occurred after 2 minutes elapsed. These findings suggest that utilizing 1 to 2-minute trial lengths were too brief to capture delayed onset problem behavior. IOA was calculated for all assessment trials with 100% agreement across those trials.
97. Replication and Extension of Outcomes from an Augmented Competing Stimulus Assessment
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
COURTNEY HANLIN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Michelle A. Frank-Crawford (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jasmeen Kaur (Kennedy Krieger institute ), Drew E. Piersma (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Morgan Scully (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: A competing stimulus assessment (CSA) is a pre-treatment assessment used to identify stimuli that reduce problem behavior through reinforcer competition or substitution. Hagopian, Rooker, and Zarcone (2015) evaluated a model for subtyping automatically maintained self-injurious behavior (ASIB) based on its sensitivity to changes in functional analysis conditions and the presence of self-restraint. The researchers found that the utility of the CSA in identifying effective competing stimuli (ECS) may vary based on subtype with significantly fewer ECS identified for those with the more treatment resistant subtypes, subtype-2 and -3. Augmenting the CSA (A-CSA) by including response promotion and response disruption tactics may be an effective way to identify or establish ECS (Hagopian et al., 2020). The current study replicated Hagopian et al. (2020) with new participants with subtype-2 (N = 5) and -3 (N = 6) ASIB and extended this research to individuals with subtype-1 (N = 13) ASIB. Results indicated that at least one ECS was identified in the free access condition for 84.6% of applications for subtype-1, 60% of applications for subtype-2, and 66.67% for subtype-3. Response promotion and disruption tactics were then evaluated for individuals for whom at least 2-3 ECSs was not identified. Following this, the free access condition was repeated; the number of ECS identified in the repeated free access condition increased for 5 of the 9 applications. Overall, results suggest that augmenting the CSA may not be necessary for most individuals with subtype-1 ASIB and they support the use of the A-CSA as an effective tool for identifying and establishing ECS for individuals with subtype-2 and -3 ASIB.
99. Assessment of Chewing in Children with Down Syndrome
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CHIARA FERRARI (University of Nevada Reno), Helena Lydon (National University of Ireland Galway), Keith E. Williams (Penn State Hershey Medical Center)
Discussant: Bryant C. Silbaugh (Maraca Learning, Inc.)
Abstract: The present study provides a component-composite protocol to assess chewing in four children with Down Syndrome. One baseline and four assessment meals were conducted across four textures of foods to investigate bite down, chew, and tongue lateralization as chewing components. Results showed that, at baseline, all participants ate low-textured food but no chewing components were observed. When assessing the components of chewing in isolation, two children displayed low rates of bite down and chew with food while none of the children engaged in tongue lateralization. Further assessment of the prerequisites of each chewing component found that two children displayed low rates of bite down and chew movements without food present in their mouth. In addition, Lateral Tongue Movement was observed for two children and Down Tongue Movement was observed for all children, while none of the children performed Up Tongue Movement. For the two children who did not perform Lateral Tongue Movement, packing was also observed. Possible implications of the findings for chewing interventions and future research will also be discussed.
101. A Treatment of Problem Behavior Using an Omnibus Mands Assessment: A Demonstration
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
SHELBY LYNNE QUIGLEY (Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis), Valeria Macuare (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Courtney C Hanlin (Kennedy Krieger Institute), John Falligant (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Brianna Laureano (Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Emily Ann Chesbrough (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Bryant C. Silbaugh (Maraca Learning, Inc.)
Abstract: The functional analysis (FA) methodology described by Iwata et al. (1982/1994) delineated a set of specific procedures to identify variables that influence the occurrence of problem behavior. When FA results produce undifferentiated outcomes, problem behavior may be multiply controlled (e.g., attention, tangibles, and escape) or maintained by idiosyncratic reinforcement contingencies (e.g., mands function). The present analysis describes the outcomes of an omnibus mands assessment following a number of undifferentiated FAs for a 12-year-old male who engaged in severe problem behavior. Results of this analysis showed that the participant would engage in problem behavior to gain access to adult compliance with mands and/or adult compliance with child-directed play. A treatment evaluation was then created to target this function of problem behavior and consisted of an omnibus functional communicative response, multiple schedule, extinction, non-contingent reinforcement, and positive reinforcement of alternative behavior. Clinical recommendations for practitioners and implications for future research will be discussed.
103. Quantitative Analysis of Atypical Antipsychotics and Severe Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
RYAN BENSON (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Bryant C. Silbaugh (Maraca Learning, Inc.)
Abstract: Cox et al. (2021) recently outlined a number of analytic methods (i.e., procedures for estimating effect size, conditional rates, and nonparametric partial correlation tests) that may help quantify the relative contributions of psychotropic medication and behavioral interventions on problem behavior among individuals with intellectual and developmental disorders. The purpose of the current study was to examine the generality of these methods by applying these procedures in a novel clinical context (i.e., a hospital-based inpatient unit for severe problem behavior) with two individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We extended the procedures described by Cox to include a more stringent sample that incorporates cases with more frequent, severe and treatment-resistant problem behavior, cases with medication increases and/or decreases, cases with at least one similar class of psychotropic medication in common (i.e., atypical antipsychotics), and cases with similar functional classes of problem behavior and treatment components. This work remains a proof of concept, but we replicated a number of the preliminary findings from Cox et al. Implications for future research and medication monitoring practices are discussed.
105. A Transition from Edible to Social Reinforcement in a School Based Setting
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CORY EVAN JOHNSON (Glenwood, Inc.), Emily Brook Longino (Glenwood, Inc.), Lauren Ashley Nordberg (Glenwood)
Discussant: Bryant C. Silbaugh (Maraca Learning, Inc.)

A common criticism of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and a fundamental tenet of assent-based learning is that edible reinforcement is "problematic" (Leaf et al. 2016). The Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Ethical Guidelines reference evaluating any harmful effects reinforcers might have on learners, such as sugar and caloric intake from edible reinforcement, which is commonly used in ABA. In our school setting, behavior analysts have evaluated the efficacy of edible, social, and leisure reinforcers on the stability of response rate for adolescent learners, often finding that social, non-edible reinforcers (YouTube videos, sensory toys, and praise) are more powerful than arbitrary edible reinforcement. This contradicts the findings of research by Butler & Graff (2021) where “for all participants, edible items were associated with the highest response rates during reinforcer assessments”. Our reinforcer assessment findings and work by Butler & Graff (2021) demonstrate that reinforcers should be tailored to be learner specific to produce the most desirable rates of responding in the least stigmatizing manner possible. Included data from learners’ reinforcer assessments support the hypothesis that social reinforcers compete with edible reinforcement for a high percentage of individuals served, and that for some learners responding decreases over time when edible reinforcers are used. References: Leaf, J.B. (2016) Applied behavior analysis is a science and, therefore, progressive. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 46 (2) pp. 720-731. Butler, C & Graff, R.B. (2021) Stability of preference and reinforcing efficacy of edible, leisure, and social attention stimuli. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 54 (2) pp. 684-699.

107. The Use of Caregiver-Implemented Visual Schedules to Teach Leisure Activities for Children with Developmental Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
SUZANNAH AVERY (Baylor University), Jessica Akers (Baylor University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Emily Paige Exline (Baylor University)
Discussant: Bryant C. Silbaugh (Maraca Learning, Inc.)
Abstract: Interventions that promote a shift in stimulus control from continuous adult support during instruction (e.g., frequent prompting and socially mediated reinforcement) to an alternative stimulus is important for increasing independence among children with developmental disabilities. Additionally, it is important for researchers to evaluate caregiver-implemented visual support interventions, due to the importance of caregiver-implemented interventions for the generalization and maintenance of treatment effects. The purpose of this poster is to evaluate whether caregiver-implemented visual schedules could be used to promote independent engagement of leisure activities in the home setting and the extent to which participants will continue to engage in the leisure activity when the caregiver was no longer present in the room. One 13-year-old with autism spectrum disorder participated in this study. We evaluated the efficacy of the intervention using a multiple probe design across leisure activities. The results indicated that caregivers could teach their child to follow visual schedules to complete leisure activities in the home setting and that participants would continue to engage with the leisure activity after the caregiver is no longer present. Data collection with a second participant is ongoing. Implications for practice and directions for future research will be discussed.



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