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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #139
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in the Treatment of Stereotypy in Persons With Autism
Saturday, May 29, 2021
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini, Ph.D.

This symposium includes three papers describing treatments effective at reducing stereotypy for individuals with autism. The first paper evaluated the impacted of matching stimulation, a commonly used intervention for vocal stereotypy, on levels of stereotypy and acquisition of receptive skills. Although both the second and third papers included discrimination training, procedures differed across the studies. The second paper employed a multiple-schedule arrangement to bring stereotypy under stimulus control of a sleeve worn on the arm. The third paper directly compared the use of a multiple-schedule and a chained-schedule arrangement during discrimination training. In addition, in this paper colored cards were used to signal the components of each schedule. Stereotypy decreased across all three papers. Results of the first paper indicated that continuous access to music did not hinder skill acquisition and results of the second and third papers indicated that the use of multiple-schedules and chained-schedules may led to stimulus control over stereotypy.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): chained-schedule, matched stimulation, multiple-schedule, stereotypy
Target Audience:

BCBAs, BCaBA, clinicians and/or teachers with some background in ABA

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe how to use matched stimulation to decrease stereotypy (2) describe how to implement discrimination training using multiple schedules (3) describe how to implement discrimination training using chained schedules
An Evaluation of the Effects of Matched Stimulation on Stereotypy and Skill Acquisition
Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida), Natalie Mandel (University of South Florida), Hannah Lynn MacNaul (University of Texas at San Antonio), ALYSSA ROJAS (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Stereotypy can impact skill acquisition by leading to increased inaccuracy or slower task completion (e.g., Koegel & Covert, 1972). Results of previous research suggest that access to matched stimulation can reduce vocal stereotypy (e.g., Lanovaz et al., 2012). This study evaluated the effects of matched stimulation in the form of music on vocal stereotypy, the speed of acquisition of receptive skills (i.e., following instructions), and latency to complete a mastered task. The study included three conditions, music played via a stereo, music played via headphones worn by the participant, and a control condition during which music was not available. The participant in this study was a 13-year-old male diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder who engaged in high levels of vocal stereotypy. Results indicated that music delivered through headphones led to greater suppression of stereotypy, the least amount of sessions to mastery of the discrimination task, and did not drastically increase latency to responding. Additionally, the participant preferred the headphone condition.

Implementing a Multiple Schedule With Response Interruption and Redirection to Reduce Stereotypy in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASHLEY CALLAHAN (Caldwell University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Meghan Deshais (Caldwell University), Heather Pane (Caldwell University), Priya P Patil (Caldwell University)

Research has identified a variety of effective interventions for treating motor and vocal stereotypy, including noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO), and positive punishment. In the current study, a multiple schedule was used to bring motor and/or vocal stereotypy under stimulus control of a sleeve worn on the arm. In the “no stereotypy” component, the sleeve was worn, and stereotypy resulted in response interruption and redirection (RIRD). During the “free access” component, the sleeve was not worn, and free access to stereotypy was provided. Following discrimination training, the no stereotypy component was systematically increased, and the free access component gradually decreased. Generalization was programmed for by conducting sessions during two within-category activities; generalization was assessed by probing a novel activity. Maintenance was programmed for via systematic fading of the sleeve to a bracelet and assessed during a follow-up probe for one participant. Results showed a decrease in stereotypy across all participants. RIRD frequency remained high for Kevin, variable for Joe, and low for Nick. Generalization showed decreases in stereotypy from baseline sessions across all participants. Two week follow up probes were conducted for Kevin and low levels of stereotypy were observed. Social validity results showed high social acceptability of the goals, procedures, and outcomes.


Establishing Stimulus Control of Motor Stereotypy in an Adolescent With Autism

CAROLINE FEARNLEY (The New England Center for Children; Western New England University ), Cammarie Johnson (The New England Center for Children; Western New England University; Simmons University)

Multiple-schedule (MS) and chained-schedule (CS) arrangements were used in a multielement and reversal design to compare baseline measures of stereotypy to treatment levels in a 17-year-old boy diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Both schedules contained one component with contingencies to decrease stereotypy (S-), and another component with contingencies that allowed for the occurrence of stereotypy (S+). Specific colored cards were associated with each component of each schedule. Interobserver agreement and procedural integrity data, collected in at least 33% of all sessions, exceeded 95%. The results showed differential latencies to first response and levels of stereotypy in the S+ and S- components of both schedules, indicative of stimulus control over stereotypy. Whereas previous researchers have suggested that CS is more effective than MS (e.g., Slaton & Hanley, 2016), this study was a direct comparison of the two schedules and did not show evidence of one schedule being more effective than the other. Generality probes were conducted in a new context (completing academic work) and with the use of a DRO and differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) procedure and showed that the colored cards continued to exert control over stereotypy, to a degree similar to treatment.




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