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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #334
CE Offered: BACB
Brain Injury: Review of Behavior Analytic Interventions and a Case Demonstration
Sunday, May 26, 2019
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Vevey 1/2
Area: CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Anneka Hofschneider (Centre for Neuro Skills)
Discussant: Megan R. Heinicke (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Anneka Hofschneider, M.A.

This symposium will feature two papers pertaining to brain injury and treatment. The first paper will review effective behavior analytic applications and address potential areas of expansion for researchers and practitioners. The second paper will present a case study of a male individual diagnosed with both viral and autoimmune encephalitis presenting with significant problematic behaviors including sexual advances, suicidal ideation, engaging in physical altercations, and frequent crying. Results and limitations based on behavior analytic programming will be reviewed. Implications and future directions will be discussed for both papers.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): brain injury, encephalitis, neurological rehabilitation
Target Audience:

brain injury practitioners; applied researchers

Learning Objectives: First, attendees will be able to describe functional assessment and function-based intervention procedures that have been shown to effectively decrease challenging behavior in survivors of traumatic brain injury. Second, attendees will be able to identify medical and behavioral symptoms of viral and/or autoimmune encephalitis. Third, attendees will be able to describe behavior analytic strategies addressing treatment of encephalitis including medical and treatment complexities.

Behavioral Interventions for Reducing Maladaptive Behaviors in the Traumatic Brain Injury Community: Opportunities to Expand Behavior Analytic Practice

(Service Delivery)
LAUREN SERVELLON (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is estimated that 2.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that results in hospitalizations, long-term disability, and even death, with approximately 5.3 million men, women, and children currently living with a TBI-related disability. TBI occurs when there is sudden trauma or force upon the brain and can result in changes to behavior, emotion, motor and executive functioning. There is limited research supporting the use of behavioral approaches in the traumatic brain injury community, however existing research suggests that behavioral interventions are effective in decreasing maladaptive behaviors for traumatic brain injury survivors. This paper reviews research on behavioral interventions to reduce maladaptive behaviors in individuals with traumatic brain injury and suggests directions for expanding behavior analytic research and practice in this critically needed area.


Behavior Analytic Interventions for Treatment of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Meningeal Encephalitis and N-methyl-D-aspartate Receptor Encephalitis

(Service Delivery)
ANNEKA HOFSCHNEIDER (Centre for Neuro Skills), Chris Persel (Centre for Neuro Skills)

This paper reviews behavior analytic applications with a 34-year-old male diagnosed with both Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 1 meningeal encephalitis and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis in a post-acute Neurorehabilitation program. Neurobehavioral problems included socially inappropriate behaviors (i.e., sexually aberrant behaviors), excessive eating, initiating verbal and physical altercations, exiting therapeutic area, emotional lability (i.e., crying), and suicidal ideation. Treatment package included significant antecedent modifications, differential reinforcement of other behavior, contingent access to normalized setting, and brief over-correction procedures. Cooperation at admission improved from 47% to 100% at discharge. Socially inappropriate behaviors also improved from 63% at admission to 0% at discharge. Data and graphical analysis along with case specifics, insurance and treatment hindrance, and general limitations will be presented.




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