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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Paper Session #62
Strategies to Increase Adaptive and Appropriate Behaviors in Adolescents and Adults With Developmental Disabilities
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Room 102
Area: DDA
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Federica Berardo (TICE Live and Learn)

Reducing Staff Support for Adults With Developmental Disabilities: Using Technology to Support Adaptive Living Skills

Domain: Applied Research
COURTNEY DENISE BISHOP (Brock University ), Lisa Whittingham (Brock University), Rebecca Ensor (Brock University ), Tricia Corinne Vause (Brock University), Kimberly Maich (Atlantic Provinces Applied Behaviour Analysis), Priscilla Burnham Riosa (Brock University), Deanna Flagg (Community Living Haldimand)

Individuals with developmental disabilities are more likely to experience social exclusion as a result of impairments in individual functioning and adaptive living skills, and because of the presence of direct support workers (Hall, 2016). Technology can reduce staff support, increase skill development and improve independence (Owuor et al., 2018). This project introduced iPad or iPhone technology and specialized apps to 12 adults with intellectual disabilities living in a community setting. Target skills associated with improving independence (e.g., employment skills, budgeting and banking) were identified and matched to a specialized app (e.g., Stepbystep, Intellist, Monefy). Chaining and prompting were used to teach the independent use of technology and to fade direct staff supports. Four concurrent multiple-baseline across participants designs were used to track individual progress and to illustrate the effective introduction of technology and apps, as a tool to reduce direct staff support and to increase independence in community settings. Duration data on the amount of support provided and the total task time were collected, and a percentage of direct support was calculated and tracked using multiple probes across participants. Percentage of direct support ranged between 30-100% during baseline and was successfully reduced to 0% upon the introduction of technology.

Interventions to Improve the Conversational Skills of Adolescents with Developmental Disability in a Group Setting
Domain: Applied Research
FEDERICA BERARDO (TICE Live and Learn; University of Parma), Luca Vascelli (TICE Live and Learn), Silvia Iacomini (TICE Live and Learn), Antonino Ganci (TICE Live and Learn)
Abstract: Adolescents with developmental disability often struggle with developing social relationships. Learning appropriate conversational skills can be an important first step to promote interaction with peers. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the teaching procedures could be used to teach conversational skills to three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability ages 14–18 years old. The additional purpose of the paper was to describe the all process that leaded to define the skill components describing the conversational skills in order to identificate the most functional intervention to implement in a group setting. The first study evaluated the effects of modeling and contingent feedback on the acquisition of conversational skills (to initiate conversation and to respond to questions). A multiple probe design across participants was implemented. Results suggest the need to increment the numbers conversational skills for each participant in particular to initiate conversation. For this reason the second study evaluated the effects of video-based group instruction on extending conversation. Extending conversation was defined as: eyes oriented toward the peer, vocal acknowledged of the original statement within 3 s, emission of a question to learn more about event or item (Stauch, Plavnick, Sankar, & Gallagher, 2018). A multiple probe design across participants was implemented. Results revealed an increase of conversational skills for two out of three participants. In the third study we evaluated the effects of modeling and contingent feedback on conversational skills defined as: Initiation and Response (Follow-Up Question, Comment, Obligatory Response, Other-requests, Gestural feedback) (Bambara et. all., 2018). A multiple probe design across participants was implemented. Results revealed an increase in performance for all the participants in particular for the response skills. This study provides additional evidence related to the importance of defining a complex ability like the conversational skill and to design intervention that could better be implemented for adolescents with developmental disability in a group setting.

Token Economies Used for Adults With Intellectual Disabilities: A Review of the Literature

Domain: Service Delivery
MARREN MARIE LEON-BARAJAS (The University of Kansas)

Token economies are used in a variety of settings for a range of populations. For example, token economies have been used with patients in psychiatric treatment facilities (e.g., Baker, Hall, Hutchinson, & Bridge, 2018), children in educational settings (e.g., Shillingsburg, Lomas, & Bradley, 2012), delinquents in detention centers (e.g., Phillips, Phillips, Fixsen, & Wolf, 1971), incarcerated individuals in prisons (e.g., Milan, Wood, & McKee, 1979), and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in residential settings (e.g., Reese, Sherman, & Sheldon, 1998). Given that the broad aim of token economies is to decrease problem behavior and increase adaptive behavior, better client outcomes rely on the implementation of these token economies to be carried out with high fidelity (Bailey, Gross, & Cotton, 2011). Staff implementation of token economies is one of the most noted barriers in their effectiveness (e.g., Bailey, Gross, & Cotton, 2011; Bassett & Blanchard, 1977; Drabman & Tucker, 1974). Thus, the purpose of this talk is to review the literature using token economies with this population and the importance of reporting fidelity measures used with adults with IDD. Recommendations for future research to inform the implementation of token economies will be discussed.


Increasing Community Capacity to Address Problematic Behaviour in Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Domain: Service Delivery
LAURA E. MULLINS (Brock University), Pauline Le-Drew (Regional Support Associates), Gail Clark (Regional Support Associates)

Increased complexity of support needs of persons with developmental disabilities (DD) living in the community and improved governance for agencies supporting adults engaging in challenging behaviour has increased demand for clinical behavioural services in Ontario. Waitlists have increased as clinical providers are required to help those most in need. In response, Regional Support Associates, a Ministry funded clinical provider for adults with DD, developed the Community Capacity Development Initiative (CCDI). CCDI was designed to complement RSA services while simultaneously building capacity within Developmental Service Agencies (DSA). CCDI is a comprehensive training focused on increasing DSA staff's ability to address problematic behaviours through the completion of a Functional Behaviour Assessment and the development of a Behaviour Support Plan. Results for a scoping review drawing from Organizational Behaviour Management and Implementation Sciences, this presentation will review factors influencing DSA's ability to increase capacity (e.g., skill acquisition, treatment adherence, generalization and maintenance). Some relevant factors include environmental factors, organizational resources, leadership style, training approaches (e.g., BST and multiple exemplars), the complexity of interventions and relationship with change agents. An overview of the CCDI training model included the training approach and efforts incorporated to address factors influencing capacity development will also be reviewed.




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