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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #499
Sexual Behavior Assessments and Sex Education
Monday, May 28, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom C
Area: PRA/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Shane Spiker (New Architects)

Historically sex education has been a delicate topic, and both education on healthy sexual behaviors and attitudes, as well as interventions for dangerous or problematic sexual behaviors, are often overlooked. This symposium presents social validity research on parent preferences and needs for sex education, recommendations for conducting functional assessments and functional analyses for sexual behaviors, and data on the effects of creative and interactive sex education on relationship satisfaction. Presenters will discuss resulting data and their implications as applicable, as well as directions for future research, instruction, and applied projects.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): functional analysis, functional assessment, sexual behavior, social validity
The Importance of Sexuality Education for Children With and Without Intellectual Disabilities: What Parents Think
(Applied Research)
SORAH STEIN (Partnership for Behavior Change)
Abstract: Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience much higher rates of forced sexual interactions than non-disabled individuals, with incidence ranges from 44% in children (Briggs, 2006; Kvamm, 2004; van der Put, Asscher, Wissink, & Stams, 2013) to 83% in adults (Johnson & Sigler, 2000). These incidents may be perpetrated by others with disabilities (Langeven & Curnoe, 2007; van der Put et al., 2013) or, more frequently, by caregivers or others known to the individual (Morano, 2001; Wissink, van Vugt, Mooned, Stams, & Hendricks, 2015). This may be the case because individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)—especially those with very low IQs—tend to receive little by way of sex education. This study assessed parental beliefs of sexuality education needs of children with and without disabilities through an online survey comprised of questions about the parents, their child, and their attitudes about their child's sexuality. Findings are discussed in the context of implications for intervention and increasing options for sexuality education for learners with IDD.

Relationship Satisfaction Among Adults With Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities: Effects of Sexual Education

(Applied Research)
ALLISON HERBERT (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Fawna Stockwell (Upswing Advocates)

Due to the lack of formal sex education and misconceptions regarding their abilities, rights, and level of functioning, adults with various developmental disabilities (DD) and intellectual disabilities (ID) face a unique situation when navigating sexual and intimate relationships. In the presented study participants and their romantic partners (ages 36-55 years old) completed a pre-and post-test Scale of Intimacy Assessment to measure the overall satisfaction of their relationship. Then participants participated in social/sexual skills training in the context of a board game, Sorry!, and skills were evaluated based on their correct and incorrect responses. Results showed that all of the players who participated in the social skills training by playing the Sorry! Board game increased their correct responses over the course of the study. However, there was not a significant increase following the implementation of training relative to the baseline probes. Findings of the study will be discussed in the context of sex education and efficacy.


Using Functional Assessments to Promote Healthy Sexual Behavior

(Service Delivery)
BARBARA GROSS ( Empowered: A Center for Sexuality)

Sexual stimulation is a primary reinforcer, yet often education and behavior analytic services fail to address sexual behavior. Effective interventions must be developed to resolve sexual behaviors which put the client's health or safety at risk, while promoting healthy sexual behaviors and attitudes. Functional assessment or functional analysis should be conducted, but behavior analysts may not have expertise or feel comfortable with addressing sexual behavior. Further, research on functional assessment for sexual behaviors may be hard to find. This presentation will offer recommendations for how to objectively define a variety of maladaptive sexual behaviors, examples of design and implementation of functional assessment or functional analysis for sexual behaviors, suggestions for how to handle staff and/or family training for implementation of behavior change plans, and, finally, will offer examples of outcomes based on functional assessment for sexual behaviors. References to research on functional assessment of sexual behavior will also be included.




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