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 #389
CE Offered: BACB
Antecedent Interventions to Increase Toleration to Aversive Situations
Monday, May 25, 2015
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
007B (CC)
Area: EAB/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jill Marie Harper (Melmark New Englnad)
CE Instructor: Jill Marie Harper, Ph.D.

Behavioral interventions might consist of altering antecedent events, consequences, or both antecedents and consequences. This symposium consists of three data-based presentations that will focus on the manipulation of antecedent events to increase toleration to aversive situations. The first study evaluates the effects of preference and choice of products (tooth paste and tooth brush) on the completion of an oral-hygiene routine for individuals with developmental disabilities. The second study recruits undergraduate participants to examine tolerance of a recorded infant cry when distracting activities are either restricted or available. The final study analyzes pausing during transitions between tasks associated with relatively rich and lean schedules of reinforcement for three individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as the participants preference for the availability of schedule-correlated stimuli during such transitions. These three studies attempt to reduce the aversive characteristics and, therefore increase toleration to three distinct aversive situations through the use of antecedent interventions.

Keyword(s): Activity Transition, Antecedent Intervention, Choice Preference, Infant Care

Effects of Preference and Choice on Completion of an Oral Hygiene Task

KIMBERLY L. DUHANYAN (Melmark New England), Jill Marie Harper (Melmark New Englnad), Nicole Heal (Melmark New England)

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Health have identified a trend of poor oral hygiene in individuals with developmental disabilities and Down syndrome (Fenton, Hood, Holder, May, & Mouradian, 2003). Poor oral hygiene may result from difficulty acquiring necessary skills or interfering behavior during such tasks. Previous research has shown that choice making opportunities among task materials or reinforcers both increase performance and decrease challenging behavior. This study examined the effects of preference and choice of products on completion of, and levels of challenging behavior during an oral hygiene routine. Preference assessments were conducted to determine low- and high-preferred toothbrushes and toothpastes. Completion of the routine and levels of challenging behavior were then examined under low-preference no choice, high-preference choice, and high-preference no choice conditions within a mutlielement design. Initial data indicate similar rates of completion across the high-preference choice and high-preference no choice conditions, as compared to the low-preference no choice condition for two participants and similar levels of performance across the low-preference no choice, high-preference choice and high-preference no choice conditions for the second participant. Challenging behaviors were not observed during any conditions for either participant. Interobserver agreement was collected during 66.7% of sessions, and mean agreement was 97.9%.

Do Distracting Activities Increase Tolerance of an Infant Cry?
KATHRYN ROSE GLODOWSKI (Western New England University), Rachel H. Thompson (Western New England University), Erica Clayton (Western New England University), Cassandra Hilpert (Western New England University)
Abstract: Golton and St. James-Robert (1991) demonstrated young infants cry about 2 hours each day, and Michelsson et al. (1990) found that one episode of crying could last at least 30 min despite attempts to provide care. Experts recommend that caregivers engage in a distracting activity when an infant engages in prolonged periods of crying (Barr et al., 2009; Deyo et al., 2008), but no one has previously evaluated whether distracting activities are helpful for caregivers. We examined tolerance of a recorded cry when distracting activities were differentially available. We recruited 29 undergraduates to participate; 24 tolerated the recorded cry for more than 5 min without distracting activities. For the remaining participants, distracting activities increased tolerance of the recorded cry for 2 participants but had no effect for 3 participants. An independent observer collected data during at least 30% of sessions for each participant, and reliability ranged from 86% to 100%.
Pausing and Preference in Transitions between Relatively Rich and Lean Reinforcement Contexts
BERGLIND SVEINBJORNSDOTTIR (New England Center for Children), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Transitions between activities commonly are reported to be challenging for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Three young men with Autism Spectrum Disorders who were students at a residential school for children with autism served as participants in two translational studies of behavior in activity transitions. In Study 1 we measured pausing in transitions between tasks associated with relatively rich and lean schedules of reinforcement. Pausing was greatest in transitions from richer to leaner contexts, as compared with that in transitions from rich to rich, lean to lean, and lean to rich contexts. In Study 2 participants chose whether schedule-correlated stimuli would be presented. The upcoming lean schedule component, however, was inescapable. To date, one participant has demonstrated preference for a condition with no schedule-correlated stimuli in the transition from the richer to the leaner context. In this case, it appears that stimuli correlated with an upcoming lean schedule component were aversive. These studies are two in a line of research designed to provide recommendations for practitioners in selecting strategies for presenting activity transitions to their clients with developmental or intellectual disabilities.



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