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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #72
CE Offered: BACB
Offering Clients Choice of Instructional Strategy and Behavior Reduction Parameters With Concurrent Operant and Concurrent Chain Procedures
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon G
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Discussant: Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Kathryn M. Kestner, Ph.D.

Presenting choices to nonvocal and early verbal learners is frequently achieved by arranging concurrent choices wherein two or more stimuli are put in front of the learner with the prompt “choose.” The paired-stimulus preference assessment is one example of a paired-choice arrangement. Some choices, such as the choice of intervention or choice of music to listen to, present challenges as they cannot be easily represented by an item or icon. The first presentation will describe a concurrent chain procedure for offering choice between errorless instruction and error correction within the Picture Exchange Communication System and a receptive identification task. We will report data on the relative efficiency of these instructional strategies and client preference for instructional strategy. The second presentation will report the effects of presenting choice of music via an iPad on vocal stereotypy. Data will be reported on the effects of music- and song-level interactions. Our discussant, who has in-depth experience in basic and applied research on choice and concurrent operants, will then provide her comments and considerations.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Concurrent operant, Error correction, Errorless, Vocal stereotypy
Target Audience:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Define concurrent operant and concurrent chain procedures and describe recent applied studies utilizing these procedures 2) Describe a procedure for assessing client preference between these errorless learning and error correction strategies 3) Describe a procedure for applying concurrent choice arrangements to reduce vocal stereotypy
Assessing Client Preference for Errorless or Error Correction Procedures Within the Picture Exchange Communication System
(Applied Research)
DAVID BRIAN FAIRCHILD (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Abstract: Following food and color preference assessments, we taught three children with autism to select a picture icon, place the icon on a strip, and deliver the strip to the experimenter in exchange for the backup food item as an early step in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Following paired stimulus preference assessments, two food items were taught using errorless learning procedures and two food items were taught using error correction procedures. Prior to each trial, the participant touched a color card to initiate the trial. During preference evaluation, both color cards were presented and the color selected initiated trials of the corresponding instruction type and food items. We ran preference assessments followed by receptive identification trials with arbitrary stimuli to test whether the selection response was controlled by motivating operations related to the food items. Preference for instructional strategy emerged for one of three participants and remained stable during receptive identification training. For two participants the instructional strategies were equally effective and efficient and for one participant neither strategy was effective. This study demonstrates a simple procedure that can be used to assess participant choice for instructional strategy without increasing training time or effort, but more research is needed.

Evaluation of a Concurrent Choice Arrangement for Music on Vocal Stereotypy in Children With Autism

(Applied Research)
BECCA YURE (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Susan D. Flynn (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

We conducted a preference assessment that included musical stimuli and, for those that selected music, we examined the effects of presenting musical stimuli via an iPad on sensory-maintained vocal stereotypy in three children with autism. Pressing an icon resulted in the corresponding song playing through headphones and the participant could change the song by pressing a different button at any time. Data were analyzed across condition type (music vs. no music) and song type. This intervention produced a reduction of vocal stereotypic behavior three of three participants, with socially significant decreases for at least one participant. Future research will be discussed to include the assessment of specific stimulation maintaining vocal stereotypy, competing stimulation, and the role of concurrent choice for substitutable reinforcers to treat automatically-maintained behavior.




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