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 #60
CE Offered: BACB
Considerations for Treatment of Repetitive Behavior
Saturday, May 23, 2015
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom C1 (CC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nicole DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Discussant: William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Nicole DeRosa, Psy.D.
Abstract: Repetitive behavior is a core symptom of autism spectrum disorders and, as such, the assessment and treatment of these behaviors continues to be the focus of much applied research. The current symposium adds to the growing body of research related to the variables that impact treatment outcomes for reducing various forms of repetitive behavior. The first presentation evaluates the use of empirically derived consequences for appropriate vocalizations and vocal stereotypy during Response Interruption and Redirection (RIRD). Additionally, the study examines the operant mechanisms responsible for RIRD’s effectiveness through component analyses. The second presentation evaluates the use of preferred and non-preferred tasks, identified via a preference assessment, on the effectiveness of RIRD during treatment for vocal stereotypy. The third presentation evaluates the efficacy of two different treatments for motor stereotypy (i.e., relative reduction in behavior) when controlling for the duration of treatment implementation. The final presentation evaluates the occurrence of stereotypy and appropriate item engagement under multiple and chained schedules. Furthermore, a concurrent chains analysis was implemented to identify participant preference for a particular schedule. Dr. Bill Ahearn will discuss the implications of these studies as they relate to broader issues in the treatment of repetitive behavior.
Keyword(s): Empirically-derived outcomes, Stereotypy
Evaluating Response Interruption and Redirection (RIRD) using Empirically-Derived Consequences
CATHERINE K. MARTINEZ (Florida Institute of Technology), Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The effectiveness of RIRD to decrease vocal stereotypy (VS) in children with autism has strong support in the literature, and some studies have demonstrated concurrent increases in appropriate vocalizations (AV). However, no studies evaluated praise alone as a reinforcer for AV, or used systematic methods to identify either reinforcers for AV or redirection tasks for VS. The current study sought to evaluate RIRD when using empirically-derived consequences for both AV and VS, by conducting reinforcer assessments and stimulus avoidance assessments, and subsequently, examining the effects of contingent delivery of the identified consequences. Additionally, in an effort to determine the operant mechanisms responsible for RIRD’s effectiveness, component analyses were conducted to determine the additive effects of reinforcement and redirection. In general, results indicated that reinforcement was insufficient to produce decreases in VS or increases in AV, and redirection was the critical component. Implications for practitioners and areas for future research will be discussed.

Evaluation of Task Preference Assessments to Identify Response Interruption Redirection Tasks for the Treatment of Vocal Stereotypy

KATELYN SELVER (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center Rutgers University), Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center Rutgers University ), Mariana Torres-Viso (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Rebecca Schulman (Rutgers University), Matthew L. Edelstein (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center Rutgers University)

Previous research has shown that response interruption and redirection (RIRD) is an effective intervention for automatically reinforced vocal stereotypy (e.g., Ahearn et al., 2007). Research on the underlying mechanisms of RIRD has indicated that the procedure functions as a punisher for vocal stereotypy. Target demands for RIRD are often arbitrarily chosen. However, if certain tasks do not function as punishers, then RIRD may not be an effective intervention. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate RIRD using tasks identified as preferred or non-preferred via task preference assessments. Four individuals who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and engaged in vocal stereotypy participated. Functional analyses showed that vocal stereotypy was maintained by automatic reinforcement for all participants. We then conducted task preference assessments for each participant to determine high (selected at least 80% of the time) and low preference tasks (selected less than 20% of the time). We then evaluated RIRD using high preference tasks and RIRD using low preference tasks. For four participants, tasks identified as preferred did not significantly reduce vocal stereotypy. However, tasks identified as non-preferred resulted in decreases in vocal stereotypy. The results indicate that task preference assessments should be conducted prior to using RIRD.


An Evaluation of Treatment Outcomes for the Reduction of Motor Stereotypy

ALLISON J. MORLEY (Syracuse University), Nicole DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Matthew Novak (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Erica Moolenschot (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Henry S. Roane (SUNY Upstate Medical University)

Previous research has evaluated the effectiveness of various treatments for reducing the occurrence of vocal and motor stereotypy. Recent research has indicated that data analysis may play a role in determining the actual effectiveness of different treatments for vocal stereotypy. The purpose of the present research is to assess the efficacy of both a response blocking procedure (i.e., hands-down) and Response Interruption and Re-Direction (RIRD) on the reduction of motor stereotypy for three individuals with autism. All analyses were conducted in a multielement design, and interobserver agreement data were collected across 33% of all sessions (averaging over 90% for all relevant variables). Results were examined when the duration of administration was (or was not) included in the calculation of response rate. Results also were evaluated based on (a) reduction in stereotypy relative to baseline, (b) total duration of treatment implementation, and (c) total session duration. Overall, when corrected for the duration of implementation, the hands-down procedure produced a greater reduction in stereotypy relative to the RIRD procedure. Additionally, the total hands down implementation and session times were lower for two of the three participants. Clinical implications of these results will be discussed.

A Comparison of Multiple versus Chained Schedules on Rates of Stereotypy and Item Engagement
JESSICA SLATON (Western New England University), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University)
Abstract: We evaluated rates of automatically-reinforced stereotypy and item engagement in a multielement design with two adolescents with autism under multiple and chained schedules. Each schedule included components during which stereotypy was blocked (S-) or allowed (S+), and colored cards were used as schedule-correlated stimuli. We measured rates of stereotypy and item engagement during S+ and S- components, as well as the percentage of component elapsed before the first instance of stereotypy and item engagement. During the S- component of the chained schedule, tokens were provided for each discrete item manipulated (e.g. each bead strung). Component changeover occurred when a certain amount of tokens were earned, and this amount was progressively increased across sessions. The durations of the S- components in the multiple schedule were then yoked to those in the previous chained schedule session. Less stereotypy and more consistent item engagement was observed during chained schedule sessions, and more time elapsed before the first instance of stereotypy in chained schedule sessions. A subsequent concurrent chains analysis revealed participant preference for the chained schedule. The importance of contingent alternation of schedule-correlated stimuli when attempting to gain stimulus control of stereotypy will be discussed.



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