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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #215
Recent Advancements in the Measurement, Assessment, and Treatment of Challenging Behavior
Sunday, May 28, 2023
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Anthony Concepcion (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Anthony Concepcion, Ph.D.

Challenging behaviors emitted by individuals with autism and developmental disabilities can have detrimental consequences on quality of life for themselves and their caretakers. Although much is known regarding practices to create function-based interventions, many challenges in the treatment of challenging behavior remain. Therefore, it is imperative researchers continue to assess interventions to reduce challenging behavior, improve methods of analysis, and consider the social validity of interventions. This symposium consists of three presentations. Tiago and colleagues will demonstrate advancements in assessment and treatment of stereotypy and an extension of the subtyping model proposed by Hagopian et al. (2015) to stereotypic behavior. Bauer and colleagues will discuss challenges encountered with delay-tolerance training procedures and demonstrate a novel exchange program used to treat challenging behavior related to relinquishing items. Last, Sheppard and colleagues will present a comparison of the efficacy of momentary DRO and fixed-momentary DRO to reduce challenging behavior. Further, they will discuss caregiver preference and feasibility of the procedures.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): caregiver preference, functional analysis, problem behavior, Subtyping
Target Audience:

Audience members would benefit from prior experience implementing behavioral interventions for individuals with autism and/or developmental disabilities. Audience members would benefit from having prior competency in basic principles of applied behavior analysis and common assessments for assessing problem behavior.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify subtypes of automatically reinforced behavior thorough FA graphs and briefly describe the level of differentiation analysis. (2) Identify challenges to delay-tolerance training and describe an exchange program for increasing tolerance to delayed reinforcement. (3) Describe differences and similarities between momentary and fixed-momentary differential reinforcement of other behavior and discuss the importance of caregiver preference.
Subtyping stereotypy: Level of differentiation in the FA is predictive of responsiveness to treatment.
TIAGO SALES LARROUDÉ DE MAN (Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana/Western New England), William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children), Julia Lynne Touhey (New England Center for Children), Haley Steinhauser (Melmark New England; Regis College)
Abstract: The general purpose of this study was to determine whether the subtyping methods developed to analyze automatically-reinforced self-injury (SIB), described by Hagopian and colleagues (2015/2017), apply to stereotypy. The criterion lines were applied to FAs of stereotypy, and the levels of differentiation (LoD) between the alone/no interaction conditions and each of the other conditions types (i.e., play/control, demand, and attention) were calculated. Fifteen students diagnosed with autism, between 3 and 18 years old, and who engaged in stereotypy were exposed to the following: Functional Analysis (FA); Augmented-Competing Items Assessment (A-CSA); and, Treatment Analysis (TA). The TA consisted of two condition types: 1) access to alternative sources of reinforcement; and, 2) prompting of functional/contextual engagement. The LoD analyses suggested that the maximum LoD between the FA conditions was predictive of responsiveness to treatment in the TA (R2 0.79 and R2 score up to 0.91, with an expanded model that included the max LoD between FA conditions). We discuss what type of data our visual analysis inspects and what treatments were predicted as being effective by the subtyping model and LoD analyses.

Evaluating an Exchange Program for the Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Access to Tangibles

MELANIE BAUER (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas), Elizabeth Joy Houck (University of North Texas), Danielle Pelletier (University of North Texas), Aaron Joseph Sanchez (University of North Texas)

Previous studies, typically with children, have used delay-tolerance training to treat problem behavior maintained by access to tangibles. This often involves physical prompting and waiting rather than exchanging, two practices that may not be possible or relevant to adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). For many adults with ID in residential settings, exchanging items, rather than waiting per se, may be evocative for problem behavior. In the current study, we evaluated an exchange program to treat problem behavior maintained by access to tangibles for adults diagnosed with ID at a residential facility. We measured the latency to exchange low- and high-preference items following a request for the item and the individual’s problem behaviors. Results demonstrated that the exchange program increased relinquishing of an item while decreasing the rate of problem behavior. This analysis provides another method to treat problem behavior maintained by access to tangibles for adults without using physical prompting.

A Comparison of FM-DRO to VM-DRO to Reduce Challenging Behavior
CHRISTINA MARIE SHEPPARD (Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Grant Michael Ingram (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) is commonly used to reduce behavioral excesses. Interval DRO schedules involve delivery of reinforcement contingent upon the absence of the target behavior during an entire interval whereas momentary DRO schedules involve delivery of reinforcement contingent upon the absence of the target behavior at a given moment. Two variations of momentary DRO exist: fixed-momentary (FM) DRO and variable-momentary (VM) DRO. In the current study, we directly compared FM-DRO and VM-DRO to reduce challenging behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement exhibited by four children with autism spectrum disorder. The results show that both DRO schedules were equally effective to reduce challenging behavior. However, most caregivers rated the FM-DRO as easier to implement.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh