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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #226
CE Offered: BACB
Current Applications of ABA with Military Service Members and Veterans
Sunday, May 24, 2015
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
213AB (CC)
Area: PRA/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kent Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)
Discussant: Megan Miller (The Ohio State University)
CE Instructor: Kent Corso, Psy.D.

Suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury remain the hallmark wounds of the War on Terror. Common across all of these problems is a degradation in functioning in any of the following areas: occupational, interpersonal, communication, cognitive performance. Although cognitive and behavioral treatments which address these functional impairments have been developed and broadly disseminated across the Department of Defense or the Department of Veteran Affairs, applied behavior analysis (ABA) remains unknown across most mental health and neuropsychological points of care within the Military Health System (MHS). Four research and practice initiatives will be discussed during this symposium including one-minute-timing and standard celeration charting of problematic private events, the development of a verbal operant learning channel instrument for veterans and service members with TBI, using modeling to examine training outcomes of veteran law enforcement officers versus non veteran law enforcement officers, and the application of the single case research design and standard celeration charting to improve suicide prevention program evaluation. Collectively, these projects illustrate how ABA can and will continue to be useful for helping this population.

Keyword(s): military/veteran, PTSD, suicide, verbal behavior
Standard Celeration and One-Minute Timing: Changing Inner Behaviors of the Service Members and Veterans
ABIGAIL B. CALKIN (Calkin Consulting Center)
Abstract: Soldiers went to war and veterans came home. All are changed by their experiences, with roughly 20% of them damaged beyond what society considers normal. The military continues to search for ways to help rehabilitate these men and women, enlisted or officers. Behavior analysis techniques can be useful, particularly the standard celeration chart (SCC) combined with the one-minute timing to impact inner behaviors. There are examples of this techniques working to change the effects and affects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Appearing deceptively simple, we have over 1,000 charts to show that we can change inner behaviors of thoughts, feelings, and urges by counting, charting, and on many occasions, by introducing antecedent or a possible consequent event to change an undesirable behavior. Beginning with examples of urges, a respondent behavior, and progressing to thoughts and feelings, this presentation will show that an individual can change private, self-destructive behaviors. Data presented includes charts showing the effectiveness of the combination of the SCC and the one-minute timing on inner behaviors in troubled individuals. Other data include statistics of the PTSD population from our various ears of the past 100 years. Conclusions include thoughts and plans for what to do next.

Video Simulation Training in Law Enforcement: Veterans versus Non-veterans Performance

James Meador (Graduate student), KENT CORSO (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)

The law enforcement (LE) field generally accepts video simulation as one of the gold standard methods for teaching officers to handle lethal situations and use of force appropriately. The training relies on video contingencies which LE officers interact with, but the training also relies on rule-governed contingencies, and didactic instruction. Despite the psychological research on training in general, little empirical research exists on simulator training in the law enforcement community (Bennell, 2007). Considering the importance of contingency-governed behavior versus these other methods of learning (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Sidman, 1989), this gold standard training method for the LE field warrants some exploration by the field of applied behavior analysis. Since one study found that the greatest magnitude of learning occurs in the earliest stages of simulation training (Justice and Safety center, 2002), the author tested modelling techniques prior to video simulation LE training, and found that modeling yielded higher performance and faster engagement with the training module than teaching as usual. The author expands his analysis of this work to evaluate performance of veterans versus non-veterans in video simulation LE training. Findings and implications for future ABA integration in LE training are discussed.

The Development of an Instrument that Assesses the Verbal Operants of Military Service Members and Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury: An Update on the VOCAL-MilVet
ALEXANDER BRITT (George Mason University), Kent Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC), Theodore A. Hoch (George Mason University), Rekha Sharma (George Mason University), Adam Dreyfus (Sarah Dooley Center), Mark R. Clingan (WVU - CED Retired)
Abstract: The Verbal Operant Channel Assessment of Language for Military and Veterans (VOCAL-MilVet) is an instrument which assesses the verbal repertoires of military and non-military adult survivors of acquired brain injury, stroke, TBI, or other neurological assault. VOCAL-MilVet shares a similar format as the Behavioral Language Assessment and the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (Sundberg & Partington, 1998), which offers precise assessment of verbal repertoires and yield precise instruction in verbal repertoires for children and adults with autism and other disabilities, and revolutionized how verbal behavior is assessed and taught for these populations. Considering that the wars since 9/11 have resulted in over 253,000 traumatic brain injuries (TBI; Congressional Research Service, 2013) revolutionizing how verbal behavior is assessed and taught in the military and veteran population would also be beneficial. Methods for assessment and remediation of verbal repertoires for these adults is currently limited to speech and language pathology services. Actually, no behavior analytic services are even available officially or unofficially within the Department of Defense or the Department of Veteran Affairs. We describe the process of item development, and share matching to sample task content, while also describing the challenges and progress associated with this instrument’s development.
Suicide Prevention Program Outcome Evaluation using the Standard Celeration Chart and Single-Case Research Design
KENT CORSO (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)
Abstract: In 2010 U.S. civilian suicides equaled 38,364—the total U.S. population was 308,745,538, which equals a crude rate of 12.4. Since 2001 military suicides have increased, and in 2010 equaled 17.4, which is considerably higher than the civilian rate (National Center for Telehealth and Technology, 2011). The author charts military suicides since 9/11 across multiple military services and displays these trends. Clearly the SCC can be used as part of any treatment (i.e., to track the rate at which suicidal symptoms change prior to a death by suicide), which would bolster current methods used in contemporary suicidology. Yet, utilizing the SSC as a program outcome evaluation tool for military suicide prevention programs fulfills an unaddressed need. The Defense Department as of 2013 spent 107 million dollars on suicide prevention (Rand, 2014), but no military service currently conducts formal program outcome evaluation other than the rudimentary tracking suicides overtime and drawing conclusions annually. The author describes using the SSC as a program outcome evaluation tool for military suicide prevention programs. Single case research design is leveraged to overcome limitations of statistical power in examining suicide trends. Current methods, challenges, and progress of this work are discussed.



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