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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #78
Working with Young Autistic Children
Saturday, September 3, 2022
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Liffey Hall 2
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Devon Michelle Ramey (Queen's University Belfast)
The Effects of Presession Pairing on the Idiosyncratic Mood Indicators of Young Autistic Children
Domain: Applied Research
DEVON MICHELLE RAMEY (Queen's University Belfast), Tuhina Agarwal (Trinity College Dublin)
Abstract: Improving quality of life (QoL) is the goal of behavior analytic services, but there are barriers to assessing the QoL of autistic children due to characteristics inherent in this condition. As happiness is considered a fundamental element of QoL, researchers have conventionally relied on behavioral indicators of mood to evaluate the QoL of disabled individuals. However, the use of traditional indices (e.g., smiling, crying) may be contraindicated for autistic individuals because they are known to engage in idiosyncratic mood indicators. In Study 1, we examined a novel approach for identifying and validating the unique mood indicators of young autistic children. It was found that individualized indices of happiness and unhappiness could be operationally defined and reliably measured among these children. Using an abbreviated process in Study 2, we operationally defined the idiosyncratic mood indicators of three preschool children on the autism spectrum. Through a multiple baseline design, we will examine the effects of a pairing procedure on the indices of happiness and unhappiness of these children. We hypothesize that the children will be happier and more engaged during discrete trial training sessions that immediately follow presession pairing. This study is ongoing, and the results will be reported in our presentation.

Reduce Catatonic Symptoms Through Negative Reinforcement Procedure in a Young Boy With Autism

Domain: Applied Research
NICOLA CEFALO (Data Driven ABA), Francesca Siciliano (Aliter - Cooperativa Sociale)

Difficulty in performing age-appropriate motor skills may limit the development of appropriate social, communication, behavioral, and cognitive skills. Although Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not associated with severe motor disturbances, there have been reports of catatonia symptoms such as markedly abnormal motor movement, extreme slowness in executing movement, increased passivity, freezing during motor movement, and difficulty initiating actions. The participant in this study is a 22-year-old boy with autism; he exhibits catatonic symptoms, which we describe as: • high response latency (e.g., 15 seconds to initiate to say his name when asked); • high duration in basic activities (e.g., 3-4 minutes to pour a glass of water); • low response rate in simple behaviors (e.g., responding four times per minute during tact training). We apply a negative reinforcement procedure using a token board to reduce duration and latency and increase the response rate. The intervention was applied to different types of behaviors and different settings. The intervention reduces the duration of the evaluated behaviors by at least 47%, up to a maximum of 84%, which means that the participant becomes two to six times faster. We demonstrate internal validity with different designs: ABAB; ABA; multiple baseline design. Fading of the intervention is evaluated.




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