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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Paper Session #265
Reviewing the Literature in Special Topic Areas
Sunday, May 26, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom A
Area: DDA
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Sarah Ivy (Florida State University)
Assessing the Function of Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors: A Review of the Literature
Domain: Basic Research
THEONI MANTZOROS (The Pennsylvania State University), Pamela Wolfe (The Pennsylvania State University)
Abstract: Some individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) may engage in a variety of inappropriate sexual behaviors (ISBs), including, but not limited to, touching or exposing of genitals, inappropriate touching of others, or public masturbation. The purpose of this review was to report on articles in the behavioral literature that examined the function of ISBs of individuals with DD. Ten articles with a total of ten participants were included in the review. Three studies utilized indirect methods of assessment, one study implemented a conditional probability analysis, five implemented a functional analysis, and one used combined methods of assessment. The function of the ISB was maintained by attention for two individuals, automatic-reinforcement for three, tangible for one, multiply controlled for two, and unclear results for two. It is often assumed that individuals who engage in ISBs do so for the purposes of automatic reinforcement, however, the research reveals that (a) the function of the ISBs varies, and (b) there is insufficient research in the area of ISB to gain a true understanding of the behavior and how to effectively treat ISBs using function-based interventions based on evidence-based practices. Limitations for practice and future research are discussed.

Systematic Review and Experimental Analysis of Behavioral Interventions to Reduce Restricted or Repetitive Behavior of Individuals With Visual Impairment and Deafblindness

Domain: Applied Research
SARAH IVY (Florida State University)

The rise of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the co-occurrence of visual impairment (VI) and intellectual disability suggest that restricted or repetitive behavior (RRB), a key diagnostic feature of ASD, and stereotypy in particular may be a growing concern for educators and families working with children with VI. Furthermore, previous reviews have suggested that the effectiveness of behavioral interventions to decrease RRB may be moderated by visual impairment. A comprehensive search of the single case literature resulted in 30 studies that reported results of 40 experiments involving at least one participant with VI to test a behavioral intervention to reduce RRB. Study quality, participant characteristics, components of intervention, intervention agents, setting, and specific target behaviors were coded to answer questions about what behavioral interventions were effective for whom and under what conditions. Results showed that nearly all participants had severe to profound intellectual disability, half of participants were deafblind, and only two participants had an ASD diagnosis. Furthermore, success rates were higher for participants with low vision (88.9%) than for participants with blindness (68.4%). Intervention was also more successful to reduce non-self-injurious behavior (81%) than self-injurious behavior (68.4%) and the success rate of interventions involving punishment (73.1%) were comparable to those that included punishment (73.1%). Following, a single case multi-element withdrawal design was used to test the additive effects of systematic prompting, reinforcement of incompatible behavior, and blocking on hand-related stereotypies and object manipulation of leisure items for a nine-year-old boy with deafblindness and a severe to profound intellectual disability. A functional relation was observed to show that hand-related stereotypy decreased due to prompting object manipulation and further decreased when object manipulation was reinforced with edibles. Adding the blocking component to the intervention had inconsistent positive effects on stereotypy, and a functional relation was not observed. Prompting alone did not appear to increase object manipulation until contingent reinforcement was added, and response blocking did not appear to have an additive effect to increase object manipulation.




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