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 #134
Studies on Development
Saturday, September 3, 2022
4:00 PM–4:25 PM
Meeting Level 2; Wicklow Hall 2A
Area: DDA
Chair: Heather Ann Armstrong (Ulster University)

CANCELLED: Application of Applied Behavior Analysis to Improve Infant Development: Literature Review and Lessons Learned From a Pilot Study

Domain: Service Delivery
EVELYN AMANDA DIGANGI (Arizona State University), Samuel DiGangi (Arizona State University)

This session focuses on the application of applied behavior analysis with infants under age 1, with and without disabilities. Particularly given the importance of early development on later learning or behavior challenges, interventions aimed at improving development during the first year of life is a socially significant area of intervention focus. However, infant-specific ABA research is relatively limited, though promising. The presenters will present a synthesis of ABA research involving infants and suggestions for future research. Additionally, a description of a pilot feasibility study will be shared. Participants in the study were infants ages 4-12 months old with Down syndrome. This feasibility study found skill gains were directly related to amount of parent involvement. We will share specific skills targeted, how those skills were identified, technologies used (e.g., contriving the motivational operant, play-based DTT, shaping, etc.), and share suggestions for expanding practice and research to infants with or at risk for other developmental disabilities or delays.


Key Skills and the Development of Challenging Behaviour in Children who have an Intellectual Disability

Domain: Applied Research
HEATHER ANN ARMSTRONG (Ulster University), Louise D Denne (University of Warwick), Tom Bailey (University of Warwick)

Studies have highlighted that children who have an intellectual disability are at increased risk of displaying behaviour that challenges. Previous research has considered various risk factors associated with the development of such behaviour (e.g. a child’s age, gender, diagnosis). This study extended the literature by drawing on behavioural science to argue that the lack of certain key skills could be an important risk factor for the development of challenging behaviour. The study recruited 144 pupils at a primary special school in England. The Problem Behaviour Inventory - Short Form – Schools was used as the measure for challenging behaviour and the Essential Eight questionnaire (Essential for Living) as the measure of key skills. Both questionnaires were completed for all participants. The results from the study showed that the pupil’s scores on the Essential Eight questionnaire correctly classified 83% of pupils as having challenging behaviour. In addition, they also showed that pupils with the lowest skills had a 93% chance of having challenging behaviour, those with the highest skills had a 13% chance. The results from this study suggest that the lack of certain key skills is an important risk factor for the development of challenging behaviour.




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