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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Poster Session #92
PRA Saturday PM
Saturday, May 23, 2015
5:00 PM–7:00 PM
Exhibit Hall C (CC)
116. An Evaluation of the Relation Between Problem Behavior and Self-Restraint
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
KELLY DULAK (Bancroft), Sonam Dubal (Bancroft), Tracy L. Kettering (Bancroft)
Abstract: There are a number of possible functional relations between self-injurious behavior (SIB) and self-restraint in individuals with developmental disabilities who engage in both response classes. Smith, Iwata, Vollmer, & Pace (1992) suggested three possibilities: (1) SIB and self-restraint are members of the same response class; (2) self-restraint is negatively reinforced by providing escape from SIB; or (3) SIB and self-restraint are functionally independent. Rooker and Roscoe (2005) proposed a fourth possibility: (4) SIB is reinforced by access to self-restraint. Their study demonstrated higher SIB when self-restraint was contingent on SIB than when self-restraint was available noncontingently. An alternative explanation of their results is (5) that self-restraint creates an abolishing operation (AO), effectively decreasing the reinforcing value of SIB. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the use of an extinction procedure to determine if self-restraint was a reinforcer for SIB or whether self-restraint produced lower rates of SIB as an AO for two children diagnosed with autism. For both participants, contingent access to self-restraint produced high rates of SIB during functional analyses and self-restraint analyses. Rates of SIB were lower during the extinction phases of the self-restraint assessment, suggesting that SIB was maintained by access to self-restraint.
117. The Effects of Behavioral Skills Training and Graphic Feedback on Staff Implementation of Pre-Session Pairing
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Ashley Lugo (Munroe Meyer Institute), MELISSA L. KING (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Paige McArdle (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute), Laura L. Needelman (University of Southern Mississippi), Therese L. Mathews (UNMC)
Abstract: Pre-session pairing is a procedure designed to promote interactions between a therapist and client. Recommended procedures have included a therapist delivering preferred tangible items and/or activities to a client prior to introducing demands. Literature on the verbal behavior approach to teaching language suggests using pre-session pairing at the onset of treatment (Barbera, 2007; Sundberg & Partington, 1998). However, no known study to date has developed or experimentally evaluated the procedure for pre-session pairing. The current project had three objectives: a) to develop a pre-session pairing procedure b) to develop and evaluate a staff training protocol to teach pre-session pairing, and c) evaluate a maintenance plan to promote the implementation of pre-session pairing with integrity (McMahon & Forehand, 2003; Barbera, 2007; Sundberg & Partington, 1998). The pre-session pairing procedure was adapted from existing literature on behavioral parent training and the verbal behavior approach. Behavioral skills training and performance feedback was used to teach staff to correctly implement steps of pre-session pairing and increase the use of pre-session pairing skills during session, respectively. Details regarding the development of the pre-session pairing protocol and data from the training and maintenance phases will be presented. Preliminary results indicate that participants were able to acquire some pre-session pairing skills with the use of a baseline checklist. However, participants required behavioral skills training and performance feedback to meet implementation criteria.
118. The Effects of Acquisition of a Visual Activity Schedule on Functional Toy Play and Problem Behavior
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
HEATHER FRUGOLI (Beacon ABA Services), Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: Visual activity schedules (VAS) are commonly used instructional interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Visual schedules can include picture schedules, written lists, picture or text prompts as well as schedules using apps on tablet devices. They are often implemented across multiple environments and conditions, and may be used with or without direct teaching. The effectiveness of these interventions on acquisition of the targeted skills has been well documented. However, anecdotal evidence has suggested collateral gains in learner independence as well as reductions in problem behavior. A multiple baseline design and pre/post test data were used to evaluate the effects of the acquisition of a visual activity schedule on the use of physical prompts and rates of interfering behavior. Results suggest that acquisition of the VAS was correlated with reductions in problem behavior as well as increased independence in both targeted and non targeted play conditions.
119. Token-earn vs. Token-Loss Contingencies: Effects on Problem Behavior
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
LAURYN TOBY TOBY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Timothy Edward Gray (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Theodosia R. Paclawskyj (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Token systems are common methods of decreasing problem behavior and increasing appropriate behaviors (Kazdin, 1982). There are many variations on token system packages, yet specific features of these have not been extensively studied. For example, only a few studies have compared the effectiveness of token-earn versus token-loss contingencies. Instead of earning tokens contingent upon the absence of target behavior, in token-loss procedures children start with a certain number of tokens and then lose them contingent upon each instance of target behavior. At the present time, these types of systems have been evaluated primarily in classroom settings using groups of typically-developing students (e.g., Conyers et al., 2004; Donaldson, DeLeon, Fisher, & Kahng, 2014; Kaufman & O’Leary, 1972; Iwata & Bailey, 1974). Results of these studies are mixed; some have found that both contingencies are equally effective at reducing disruptive behavior and increasing on-task behavior; however, more recent investigations have found that the token loss contingencies actually proved to be more effective over time (Conyers et al., 2004), and also were more preferred by both students and teachers (Donaldson, DeLeon, Fisher, & Kahng, 2014). Further complicating matters, the use of response cost procedures is typically criticized when compared to reinforcement-based treatment methods. However, the validity of such response cost procedures may increase if it can be better paired with reinforcement procedures. In addition, the utility of token-loss contingencies with special populations has not been previously investigated. In the current study, a token-loss contingency with specified criteria for re-earning tokens was implemented in order to decrease the problem behavior (aggression, self-injury, disruptions) of two girls with autism and moderate intellectual disability. Initial attempts at a DRO (token-earn) system yielded variable results; upon switching to a response cost with specified token re-earn criteria, a significant reduction in problem behavior from baseline levels was observed in both cases. Additionally, anecdotal reports from caregivers indicated a clear preference for the token-loss system over the token-earn system, citing ease of implementation as a significant benefit of the token-loss system. Implications and future directions are discussed.
120. Parent consultation to reduce the frequency of functional constipation in a child with autism
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Abstract: Constipation is conceptualized as the postponement of/or trouble with bowel movement for at least a two week period. Constipation can be classified into the organic and functional subtypes. Functional constipation can be attributed to refusal to defecate due to previous incidents of painful defecating. Constipation is widespread among preschool and school aged children and is especially common among children with developmental disabilities. This poster will provide information on the cause and continual occurrence of constipation in a 5 year old male with autism and how this function was linked to an evidence based intervention. The intervention plan comprised of parent education, token economy, scheduled toilet sittings as well as dietary changes. Additionally, information on how collaborative parent consultation techniques were used in the design and implementation of the intervention will be provided. Participants will develop a greater knowledge of pediatric constipation in children with developmental disabilities and collaborative consultation techniques.
121. A Review of the use of Punishment to Treat Aggression
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
EDWARD PAGE (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: The use of a behavior reduction procedure (i.e., punishment) is typically reserved for extreme challenging behaviors such as aggression. There are a number of procedures that can be used to reduce aggressive behaviors ranging from timeout to overcorrection. The purpose of this study was to determine what punishment procedures have been used to treat aggression in people with intellectual disabilities (ID), which decades they were most prevalent, who implemented the procedures, and where they were conducted. An exhaustive review of the literature was completed which identified 30 articles. The results of the study indicated that punishment procedures were effective in reducing aggressive behaviors, most often direct care staff were running these programs and that these programs were conducted in schools, and finally that the use of punishment procedures to treat aggression were most prevalent 1980’s and their use has declined overtime.
122. Effects of Reinforcement Manipulation on Preference for Work Schedules
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
AMY MUEHLBERGER (Beacon ABA Services), John Claude Ward-Horner (Beacon ABA Services), Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: Effective reinforcement delivery is critical to the success of all instruction and has been much studied. However, a clearer understanding of individual specific variables influencing reinforcement efficacy and teaching efficiency is essential to maximizing learning. Knowing an individuals preference for a specific distribution of reinforcement during discrete trial training would be useful information when designing programming for students, particularly since data has suggested that learner choice is correlated with better learning outcomes. Existing literature that has reviewed the topic of concurrent-operants on the distribution of and efficacy of reinforcement, as in Fienup, Ahlers and Pace, 2011 and DeLeon, Iwata, Goh, & Worsdell, 1997) suggest that continuous work schedules with reinforcement provided at the end was preferred over schedules that interspersed preferred activities. Previous research has shown this with older students (Ward-Horner, Pittenger, Pace and Fienup (2014). It is not known if this finding would be consistent with younger learners. The current study replicated previous findings and extended them to assess other effects of reinforcement such as the addition of social reinforcement combined with access to a chosen activity, with 4-6 year old learners with a diagnosis of ASD.
123. Towards a Functional Analysis of “Prompt Dependency”
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
PAULO GUILHARDI (Beacon ABA Services), Jennifer Smith (Beacon ABA Services), Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: Prompt dependency is a term used to describe a characteristic inherent to an individual often labeled as “prompt dependent”. Prompt dependency is described when correct responses only appear when the controlling prompt is presented during skill acquisition. Prompt dependency can be affected by differential reinforcement of independent vs. prompted responses by manipulations of the rate and quality of arbitrary reinforcements. The current study attempted to identify and describe an avoidance contingency that establishes and maintains prompt dependency. That is, refraining from emitting a known response until a prompt is delivered. A 5-year old girl diagnosed with ASD was exposed to trials in which (1) an instruction was delivered, (2) a choice between responding independently or with a physical prompt was made, (3) independent or prompted response was made, and (4) consequences were delivered. Two conditions differed in the consequence delivered following prompted responses (Aversive and No-Aversive Conditions). The aversive stimulus was verbal error correction and “help” delivered by parent in the natural environment. Data indicate that the participant consistently chose to respond independently when praise was delivered following both independent and prompted choices, but chose the prompt condition when the aversive stimulus was introduced following independent responses (ABA design).
124. The Effects of Staff Preference on Functional Analyses
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
LATOYA KINARD (Bancroft), Sean Smith (Bancroft), Nicole Sullivan (Bancroft), Jonathon Metz (Bancroft), Patrick Thulen (Bancroft), Tracy L. Kettering (Bancroft)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that the presence of specific stimuli, such as particular toys or people, may evoke problem behavior and influence the amount of differentiation that can be observed during a functional analysis (Tiger et al. 2009). Specifically, Ringdahl et al. (2000) demonstrated that differentiated functional analysis results could only be obtained when a caregiver served as therapist while the rates of problem behavior would remain lower and less differentiated when a staff member served as therapist. The current research extends the work of Ringdahl et al. (2000) by comparing the effects of using highly preferred and less preferred staff members when conducting functional analyses. Preference assessments were conducted using staff photographs for individuals with developmental disabilities and severe problem behavior in a residential treatment setting. Functional analyses were then conducted with both high-preferred and low-preferred staff members. The results of this analysis confirm that idiosyncratic staff preferences may influence FA results and also demonstrate that escape from lowly preferred staff members alone may maintain high rates of problem behavior.

Effects of Different High-Probability Request Sequences in Increasing Compliance

Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
CHRISTINA KYRIACOU (University of West Florida), D. Reed Bechtel (Univeersity of West Florida), Sue Heatter (University of West Florida), Leasha Barry (University of West Florida)

High-probability (high-p) request sequence has been used widely as an antecedent intervention to increase compliance with medical examinations, food acceptance, transition, and social behaviors, as well as to decrease challenging behavior such as aggression and self-injury. Recent reports have suggested its effectiveness in increasing compliance when the sequence was comprised by high-p requests that were relevant to the target behavior. The present study extended previous research on four different high-p request sequences, comparing task related to non-task related sequences in combination with programmed reinforcement to increase compliance in one 6-year-old boy diagnosed with Chromosome Ring 14 syndrome. A multielement design (Figure 2) was used to compare the effects of the four high-p request sequences on participant's compliance with regard to drawing. Interobserver reliability averaged 85%; treatment integrity averaged ???100% for baseline and 92.8% (range 87.5%-100%) for the intervention phases. Results demonstrated higher compliance to the low-p request after the delivery of the task related request sequences (Figure 1) than the non-task related sequences. More specifically, the highest level of compliance occurred following the delivery of the 3 task related high-p request sequence. A social validity assessment was performed. The results and implications of the current study for applied use and future research are discussed.


A Failure to Replicate: Response Generalization in Preference Assessment Research

Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
SUSAN A. RAPOZA-HOULE (Beacon ABA Services), Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services), Laura J. Dantona (Beacon ABA Services)

Previous research has demonstrated a number of ways that staff can be taught to effectively conduct stimulus preference assessments such as Free Operant (FO), Paired Stimulus, and Multiple Stimulus Without Replacement (MSWO), Weldy, Rapp and Capicosa (2014) and Roscoe and Fisher (2008). These procedures have typically used an alternating treatments design to evaluate the effects of training on one method of conducting preference assessments on performance. In these studies experienced staff received training on one method and then the effects on both methods were evaluated. In these published studies no response generalization from one assessment condition occurred in the other assessment condition. In the current study a similar alternating treatments design was used to evaluate the effects of video modeling as a training technique (for efficiency and logistical advantages) to teach FO and MSWO assessments. However data from three subjects failed to demonstrate experimental control. This was likely due to improved performance of all subjects in both conditions after training in only one assessment procedure. These results differ from the previous studies cite above where response generalization was not observed. Results are discussed in terms of advantages of response generalization occurring and materials that may support its occurrence.

Keyword(s): Poster



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