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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W59
CE Offered: BACB
Automatic Reinforcement: Applying the Literature and Individual Considerations to Assessment and Treatment Strategies
Friday, May 27, 2022
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 258B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Haley Steinhauser, Ph.D.
HALEY STEINHAUSER (Melmark New England; Regis College), WILLIAM H. AHEARN (New England Center for Children)
Description: The assessment and treatment of automatically reinforced challenging behavior poses unique practical limitations for clinicians due to the inaccessibility of the maintaining consequences (Vollmer, 1994). Over the years, the behavior analytic literature evaluating assessment and treatment strategies for behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement has evolved. Several treatment approaches have involved providing other sources of presumably competing reinforcement (e.g., Piazza et al., 1998/200; Jennet et al., 2011, Hagopian et al., 2020) and others have involved contingently prompting alternative responses both with and without arranging for reinforcement for them (i.e., redirection; e.g., contingent tasks, overcorrection, response interruption and redirection). Likewise, these procedures are evolving and becoming more refined over time. This workshop-style presentation will first synthesize this evolving literature and highlight what we currently know. Then, we will provide both practical and ethical considerations based on this literature for clinicians to bring back to their clinical practice.
Learning Objectives: (1) Describe empirically supported procedures for treating automatically reinforced challenging behavior (2) Identify considerations for the functional assessment of behavior that is presumably maintained by automatic reinforcement. (3) Outline clinical considerations for treatment package development when targeting automatically reinforced challenging behavior.
Activities: The workshop will involve initial lecture with supplemental videos, individual guided practice, and opportunities for small group activities and discussions.
Audience: Attendees should have some experience with functional analysis and familiarity with the concept of automatic reinforcement.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): automatic reinforcement, redirection



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