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 #434
DDA Monday PM
Monday, May 25, 2015
7:00 PM–9:00 PM
Exhibit Hall C (CC)
107. The Sensitivity to Aversive Stimulation Survey: An Individualized Anecdotal Assessment to Identify Potentially Aversive Stimuli
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTINA DELAPP (University of North Texas), Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas), Katy Atcheson (University of North Texas), Kathleen Dignan (University of North Texas)
Abstract: When working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, information about the types of stimuli, conditions, or situations that serve as aversive stimulation for those individuals may be important to obtain. Knowledge about specific sensitivities to aversive stimuli may be useful to avoid or manage contact with those stimuli, to train tolerance or appropriate avoidance/escape behaviors, or to identify stimuli that may occasion inappropriate avoidance/escape behaviors and inform treatment for those behaviors. Currently, few formal procedures exist to aid in the individualized identification of aversive stimuli. The Sensitivity to Aversive Stimulation Survey (SASS) is a tool that is designed to identify stimuli, situations, tasks, or activities that may function as aversive stimuli. The SASS is a rating scale that attempts to evaluate the effects of 24 common situations (e.g., brushing teeth, transitions) on affect, compliance, and severity of problem behavior if it occurs. Preliminary indicate that when the SASS was administered across five raters, moderate agreement on individualized sensitivities to aversive stimulation was obtained.

Evaluation of Behavioral Treatments for the Reduction of Problem Behavior During Routine Bathroom Visits

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
NABIL MEZHOUDI (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Cara L. Phillips (Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Aila K. Dommestrup (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jessica Garcia (Kennedy Krieger Institute, University of Maryland Baltimore County)

Problem behaviors, such as self-injury or aggression, exhibited by children with intellectual disabilities pose serious risks to the individual and their caregivers. These risks are greatly increased when an individual engages in problem behavior in certain environments. For example, bathrooms can represent a high-risk area in that there are many hard or slippery surfaces in a constricted space. Treatments for reducing problem behavior during bathroom visits are not frequently evaluated for individuals who engage in aberrant behavior across different settings. Therefore, individualized bathroom treatments were evaluated with three individuals diagnosed with Intellectual Disabilities to determine effective treatments that would reduce problem behavior during routine bathroom visits. Treatment components evaluated included noncontingent reinforcement (participants 1 and 3), differential reinforcement (participants 2 & 3), demand fading (participants 1 and 3), and task analysis (all participants). Results indicate that rates of problem behavior decreased significantly when compared to baseline levels for all 3 participants. Implications for the successful use of multiple treatment components targeting behavior that was resistant to change will be discussed.

109. Functional Analysis Screening for Multiple Topographies of Problem Behaviors
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARLESHA BELL (California State University, Northridge), Tara A. Fahmie (California State University, Northridge), Sandy Smith (Taking Steps Together Collaboration)
Abstract: A functional analysis (FA) is an experimental test to determine the function of an individual’s problem behavior. Based on the function of a behavior, an effective treatment is developed to reduce the problem behavior. Many individuals with intellectual disabilities engage in multiple topographies of problem behavior, which may be maintained by similar reinforcers (as in a response class) or different reinforcers. Determining the function of multiple topographies of problem behavior could pose a challenge for clinicians who must provide accurate FA results in an efficient manner. The purpose of this study is to determine whether collecting data on multiple topographies (i.e., non-target behaviors) during a standard FA, while only reinforcing a single topography (i.e., target behavior), will assist clinicians in screening for social or automatic functions of non-target behaviors.
110. Reducing Pica by Differentially Reinforcing the Exchange of the Inedible Item
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Abstract: The ingestion of inedible substances may result in serious medical complications including lead poisoning, intestinal obstruction, infection and even death. Pica has been described as being both treatment resistant and maintained in the absence of social consequences (Piazza, et. al. 1998). The current study involves a six-year-old male who engages in pica and was admitted to a residential treatment facility with elevated lead levels. A competing items assessment was completed and the results showed that edible items competed with pica far more effectively than tangible items. However, these items were not successful in effectively suppressing rates of pica when provided on a continuous schedule during five minute sessions. The current study examines the effectiveness of differentially reinforcing the exchange of inedible items with the edible items that had been shown to effectively compete with pica. This intervention was found to have reduced instances of pica to near zero levels across multiple inedible items.
111. Half the Work, All the Glory: Empirically-Derived Observation Durations for Single Stimulus Engagement Assessments
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JONATHAN R. MILLER (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University), Gregory Young (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Kelly Rootes-Murdy (Loyola University), John M. Huete (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Patricia F. Kurtz (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Duration-based preference assessments, such as single stimulus engagement (SSE) and competing stimulus assessments (CSA), have been used for nearly two decades. Using duration measurement provides additional information for predicting the reinforcing efficacy of stimuli, but also requires additional assessment time. Little guidance has been offered for establishing observation durations within assessments, which have varied from 30 s to 15 min. Maximizing predictive validity while minimizing assessment time is important for clinical utility. The present study determined empirically-derived observation durations by conducting a retrospective analysis of SSE/CSA data for nine individuals (ages 2-21) with intellectual/developmental disabilities treated in an outpatient behavioral clinic. Initial observation duration was 5 min, from which truncated durations of 1, 2, 3, and 4 min were evaluated. At each duration, high-preference items (those with engagement ≥80% of the top-ranked items) were identified. Subsequently, the time required to determine high-preference items within each duration was examined using analyses based on signal-detection theory. Results indicated that cumulative engagement at approximately 60% of an observation duration predicted the high-preference items identified at the end of that duration. These results suggest that observation durations of slightly longer than half of the intended access period may be sufficient for determining high-preference stimuli.

Assessing Increases in Problem Behavior during Competing Stimulus Assessments

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CARLOS SANCHEZ (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Griffin Rooker (The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Pamela L. Neidert (The University of Kansas), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Andrew Bonner (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Monica Lugo (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Competing stimulus assessments (CSAs) are a common means to identify stimuli that reduce the occurrence of problem behavior; however, in some cases problem behavior consistently increases during some CSA conditions. One possible explanation for this increase is that the behavior and stimulus may have a complementary relation. This research evaluated both the prevalence of increases in problem behavior during CSAs, as well as the probability of problem behavior and stimulus interaction co-occurring during these conditions. We examined the rate of problem behavior in the presence of each stimulus across 36 competing stimulus assessments (for 32 individuals with intellectual disabilities) to identify cases when problem behavior increased in the presence of particular stimuli (possibly suggesting a complementary relation). Problem behavior increased, when compared to the control condition, in the presence of at least one activity in 89.2% of assessments and on average across 3.7 of the stimuli included in those assessments. A descriptive assessment was then conducted during these sessions and in a subset of cases, problem behavior was highly correlated with stimulus interaction, suggesting a complementary relation.

113. Effects of Monitoring Procedures in a Mother of a Child Suspected with Developmental Disabilities Who Had Externalizing Behavior Problems in Parent-Child Interactions
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
HIROSHI ASAOKA (Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba), Fumiyuki Noro (University of Tsukuba)
Abstract: This study examined whether behavior problems decreased by improving the adequacy of recording the antecedents and consequences of behavior problems. A mother with a child of seventeen suspected with developmental disabilities participated in this study. As maternal characteristics, she was strong anxiety, excessive interference to a child. Disruptive behavior and violent language occurred in parent-child interactions. A single-subject experimental AB design with follow-up was used. During baseline, the mother recorded the antecedents and consequences of behavior problems after we explained how to conduct A-B-C recording. In the intervention, we provided positive and corrective feedback on maternal performance. To provide corrective feedback on A-B-C recording, we pointed out the correct recording of the antecedents and consequences associated with each occurrence of behavior problem. The results indicated that behavior problems decreased in relation to the adequacy of recording the antecedents and consequences, expect for the weeks in which there were events such as a regular examination. Furthermore, we considered the following as factors that promoted behavior modifications; (a) behavior problems always occurred in dyadic interaction, (b) there were a certain pattern and frequency of behavior problems, and (c) recording behavior was stably maintained.
114. Increasing Self-Drinking for Children with Feeding Disorders
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BRENNA CAVANAUGH (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kathryn M. Peterson (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Valerie M. Volkert (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jason R. Zeleny (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Self-drinking is an important skill for children to acquire as they transition from infancy to early childhood, as it promotes greater independence and continued nutritional intake and growth (Carruth & Skinner, 2002). Often children with feeding disorders lack the motivation to drink and do not progress to age-typical drinking in the absence of individualized treatment (Rivas et al., 2014). Unfortunately, the literature on self-drinking is scarce. One notable exception is a study by Collins, Gast, Wolery, Holcombe, and Leatherby (1991) during which, they demonstrated that physical guidance and descriptive verbal praise increased self-drinking for one child with intellectual disabilities and visual impairment. In the current investigation, we evaluated differential positive reinforcement to increase self-drinking for two children with feeding disorders. All sessions were conducted in the children’s homes via tele-health with their parents serving as feeders. Results showed that differential positive reinforcement with arbitrary tangible items increased self-drinking for both children in the absence of nonremoval of the cup. These results suggest that, for some children, differential reinforcement in the absence of nonremoval of the cup may be an effective intervention for increasing self-drinking.
115. Manipulating Response Effort for the Treatment of Pica Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
GREGORY R. MANCIL (Louisiana Tech University), Todd Haydon (University of Cincinnati  )
Abstract: Pica is a life-threatening behavior displayed by many individuals with developmental disabilities. This study was a systematic replication of the Piazza et al. (2002) study. In the current study, a functional analysis was done to demonstrate that the pica for all 4 participants was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Following functional analyses of pica, response-effort manipulations were conducted in which the effort to obtain pica or alternative items was varied systematically similar to the Piazza study. However, the following limitations were addressed: 1. This study was conducted in the natural environment for each participant; 2. We equated the level of effort for the low effort conditions for the participants. When effort to obtain alternative items were increased, pica increased in the low effort condition. In addition, increasing response effort for pica reduced pica behavior as compared to baseline. Also, pica was highest during low effort conditions when no alternative items were available. In conclusion, by keeping response effort levels for alternative items below that for pica items, results indicate clinically significant decreases in pica behavior. IOA was 95% across all conditions and reliability with each observer's ata was 100% across all observers.
116. A Protocol for Expanding Spontaneity of a Tablet-based Augmentative Communication System
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTIAN BENAVIDES (Beacon ABA Services), Jeff Schram (Beacon ABA Services), John Claude Ward-Horner (Beacon ABA Services)
Abstract: In recent years, the use of tablets and smartphones has become ubiquitous. The proliferation of these devices has provided a new platform for augmentative communication systems. Augementative and alternative communication (AAC) applications are widely available for tablets and smart phones, and are being downloaded with great frequency (Lubas, Mitchell, & DeLeo 2014). When applying tablet-based augmentative communication systems, it is important to recognize that technology alone, no matter how well crafted and presented, is not sufficient to produce functional communication repertoires in children with autism (McNaughton & Light 2013). The current study attempted to craft a training protocol to increase the spontaneous use of such a device. The training protocol used was patterned after phase 2 of the PECS protocol (Frost & Bondy 2002). Graduated guidance and contingent reinforcement was used to teach the use of the device in several environmental contexts. A multiple baseline across contexts design was used to assess the effects of the intervention. Results indicated that the intervention was successful in increasing the use of the device.
117. Collaboration between Applied Behavior Analysts and Physical Therapists May Improve Physical Therapy Treatment Outcomes for Children with Cerebral Palsy and Co-morbid Intellectual Disability
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
TARA M. SHEEHAN (Nova Southeastern University), Dahlia Magdy (Nova Southeastern University), Eric Levin (Nova Southeastern University), Stephanie Trauschke (Nova Southeastern University), Danielle Tarver (Nova Southeastern University), Sydney Webster (Nova Southeastern University)
Abstract: Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) present with motor movement problems and are typically prescribed physical therapy to help improve motor movements and coordination. Children who have CP and co-morbid Intellectual Disability (ID) may be resistant to, and non-compliant with physical therapy treatment. Collaboration between applied behavior analysts and physical therapists may improve treatment outcomes for children with CP and ID receiving physical therapy. The addition of applied behavior analysis technologies of preference assessments, contingent reinforcement, and precise measurement of target behaviors may improve the efficacy of standard physical therapy practice. The present case study demonstrates the response to treatment of a five-year-old child with CP and ID under standard physical therapy practices including physical exercise and contingent praise, and the addition of applied behavior analytic practices of contingent tangible reinforcement for participation in the physical therapy exercise. Results demonstrated that the addition of contingent tangible reinforcement to social praise improved physical therapy performance. Implications for collaborative practice between physical therapists and behavior analysts to improve treatment outcomes for children with CP and ID are presented.
118. A Generalization Assessment of Functional Communication Across Stimuli
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JULIA IANNACCONE (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Monica Urich (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional communication has been proven to be an effective treatment for problem behavior such as self-injury and aggression (Rooker, Jessel, Kurtz & Hagopian, 2013); however, these effects sometimes prove difficult to generalize (Falcomata & Wacker, 2013). The current study employed functional communication (pointing to a picture icon) and extinction to successfully reduce self-injury maintained by adult attention in a 5-year-old male diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a chromosomal disorder (16p13.11 microduplication syndrome). An assessment was conducted prior to treatment generalization to evaluate treatment effectiveness across social stimuli. Treatment effects were not observed in all conditions, with problem behavior resurging during divided attention conditions in which adults engaged in constant talking. Sequential modification, as described by Stokes and Baer (1977), was used to adjust the treatment to promote generalization. A second observer simultaneously but independently collected data for 45% of sessions and interobserver agreement averaged 96%. The current study provides a model for assessing and programming for effective treatment generalization across settings.

The Clinical Application of the Verbal Behavior Approach in a Child With Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Case Study

Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
SARAH CONNOLLY (Marcus Autism Center), Alice Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center), Molly Millians (Emory University School of Medicine), Richard Peterman (Kennestone Hospital)

Many of the same obstacles present for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder occur in individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Delayed referrals for diagnoses in both conditions postpone access to the potential gains that occur through early and intensive intervention (Blair, 2011; Dawson, 2008). The current case study describes the longitudinal assessment of a young child diagnosed with Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. The patient participated in an ABA-based Verbal Behavior treatment program to target communication impairments and functional skill deficits. Because ABA-based interventions have demonstrated efficacy in improving levels of functioning across various developmental disabilities (Sturmey, 2002), it was reasonable to assess the clinical utility of these same strategies when applied to a patient presenting with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and associated developmental delays. The current study relied on scientifically-based single subject design methods to measure treatment outcomes and to inform clinical decision making. Dependent measures in the study included standardized, norm-referenced assessments of cognitive and adaptive functioning, as well as behavioral data collected throughout treatment to measure gains across skill areas. The impact of treatment on global areas of functioning will be reported.

120. Traning and Generalized Effects Using Multiple Schedules With Natural and Contrived Stimuli Following FCT
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KENNETH SHAMLIAN (Universtiy of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Mark W. Steege (University of Southern Maine), Brenna Cavanaugh (Nova Southeastern University), Kristina Samour (Nova Southeastern University )
Abstract: Multiple studies have shown functional communication training (FCT) to be effective for replacing inappropriate behavior with an alternative communication response to obtain the same functional reinforcer. In addition, results of FCT studies for improving the practicality of their use in the natural environment have focused on teaching individuals to tolerate delays to reinforcement using multiple schedule arrangements with contrived discriminative stimuli as signals for its availability. More recently, researchers have evaluated similar training with naturally occurring discriminative stimuli (e.g., overt therapist behavior). Each type of discriminative stimulus, contrived and naturally occurring, has both benefits and limitations. The purposes of the current study were to: (1) further compare contrived and naturally occurring discriminative stimuli when initially thinning schedules of reinforcement following FCT, and (2) evaluate responding when those treatments are introduced to novel contexts that require more difficult discrimination of reinforcer availability. In the following study, two participants more rapidly acquired clear discriminative use of the functional communication response (FCR) with contrived stimuli during training and demonstrated more accurate responding with a contrived SD when generalizing the effects of FCT in novel contexts with topographically similar stimulus conditions. One participant acquired discriminative use of the FCR similarly with both contrived and naturally occurring stimuli during training. All three participants showed significant decreases in problem behavior across training conditions with individualized differences. Key Words: multiple schedules, functional communication training, generalization, discriminative stimuli.



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