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

Event Details

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Poster Session #277
DDA Sunday Poster Session: Odd-Numbered Posters
Sunday, May 29, 2022
1:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Level; Exhibit Hall A
Chair: Estefania Carla Alarcon Moya (Florida Institute of Technology; CeABA Chile)
95. An Evaluation of Trial-Based Precursor Identification Methods
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
SETH WALKER (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Jordan DeBrine (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Estefania Carla Alarcon Moya (Florida Institute of Technology; CeABA Chile)
Abstract: Identifying the functional reinforcer maintaining challenging behavior is critical to achieving effective treatment outcomes. Some severe topographies of challenging behavior may be dangerous to evoke, even in very controlled settings. To address issues of safety related to assessing severe topographies of challenging behavior, some recommend using precursor functional analysis technology. A precursor functional analysis consists of identifying and assessing less severe topographies of challenging behavior to inform treatment for more severe topographies of challenging behavior. Although the precursor functional analysis methods are regularly recommended, there are limited replications of trial-based precursor identification methods in the literature. In this evaluation, we sought to analyze the stability of conditional probabilities derived from the precursor analysis across observations. We also sought to determine how effective the trial-based precursor identification methods were at identifying members of the functional response class. We present two cases where we used trial-based methods to identify precursors to severe challenging behavior. We confirmed our precursor functional analyses with a functional analysis of the severe topography and used an extinction analysis to confirm precursor and severe topography response class membership.
97. Evaluation of a Levels System to Address Food Refusal for Adolescents
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MALLIE DONALD (Mississippi State University ), Mary McCarley (Mississippi State University ), Shundrell McMullan (Mississippi State University ), Rita Marie Druffner (Mississippi State University), Hallie Smith (Mississippi State University ), Hailey Ripple (Mississippi State University)
Discussant: Estefania Carla Alarcon Moya (Florida Institute of Technology; CeABA Chile)
Abstract: A levels system includes a combination of behavioral strategies with the goal of increasing appropriate behaviors and decreasing problem behaviors (Bauer et al., 1986; Hagopian et al., 2003). Specifically, a pre-determined behavioral criterion is set, and the participant is assigned to a specified ‘level’ allowing access to or restriction of a variety of reinforcers based on their ability to meet the criterion. While the use of levels systems has been explored to target various problem behaviors, they have not been evaluated for the treatment of food refusal. The current study included a typically developing 11-year-old female with a history of medical concerns resulting in delayed oral-motor skill development and a 15-year-old female with autism spectrum disorder, both who presented with food refusal. A reversal design illustrated that during baseline conditions food consumption was variable and low. However, during treatment conditions, both participants consistently consumed a higher volume (or the entire volume) of both preferred and non-preferred foods. Overall, results are very promising and lead to the expansion of treatment options for food refusal, particularly for adolescents. Follow-up data collected thus far also indicate maintenance of treatment gains.
99. A Preliminary Evaluation of Protests and Function Identification during Functional Analyses
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
OLIVIA SCATTERGOOD (Rowan University), Christian Grant (Rowan University), Jenna E Richards (Rowan University), Giovanna Salvatore (Rowan University), Christina Simmons (Rowan University)
Discussant: Estefania Carla Alarcon Moya (Florida Institute of Technology; CeABA Chile)
Abstract: Functional analysis (FA) methods, as described by Iwata et al. (1982/1994), have been widely used in the field of applied behavior analysis to identify reinforcers that maintain challenging behaviors and to inform subsequent function-based treatments. During FAs, clinicians typically reinforce target challenging behaviors while not responding to other topographies of behavior. Research has demonstrated that precursors (i.e., behaviors reliably occurring prior to target behavior) can be reinforced during FAs to identify the function of target behavior, while decreasing the occurrence of severe target behavior (Smith & Churchill, 2002). Although researchers have included protests as target behaviors during FAs, research has not specifically examined the occurrence of protests as a secondary behavior across multielement FA conditions. In this study, we investigated the rate of vocal and nonvocal protests across FA conditions, correlation between protests and target challenging behavior, and identification of function with protests versus target challenging behavior using visual inspection criteria (Roane et al., 2013). Preliminary results with four participants with developmental disabilities indicate that protests occurred for all participants, with highest rates of protests in escape conditions. Protests were only correlated with function identification for two participants. We discuss ethical implications of protest behavior and participant assent during FAs.
101. The Role of Staff when Prompting and Reinforcing Social Connection Behaviours of Persons with Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KATHARINE KALINOWSKI (University of Manitoba; St. Amant Research Centre; Manitoba Association for Behaviour Analysis ), Toby Martin (University of Manitoba; St. Amant Research Centre ), Stefaniia Martsynkevych (University of Manitoba; St. Amant Research Centre), Johnson Li (University of Manitoba)
Discussant: Estefania Carla Alarcon Moya (Florida Institute of Technology; CeABA Chile)

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are at an increased risk to experiencing limited social network size, dependency on paid support staff and family members, as well as behavioural deficits and excesses that serve as barriers to social inclusion. Research has identified staff behaviours that facilitate and maintain social inclusion in the lives of individuals with IDDs, but few have analyzed immediate, direct, and sustained observation of actual staff behaviours when supporting such endeavors. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to learn from staff what they do to support social interactions by analyzing sustained self-observations of staff behaviour when supporting clients towards social inclusion. This study analyzed anonymized service data where staff indicate whether they prompted, reinforced, or provided other support during social interactions of clients. Data was requested from St.Amant, a community-based service provider. Staff and clients were from St.Amant’s Community Residential Program (CRP); a series of community homes that support adults with IDDs live in the community. Data was analyzed descriptively and inferentially, to determine the prevalence, frequency, and relationships of various staff prompting behaviours. This study aims to further the knowledge of the role of staff when supporting social inclusion of individuals they support.

103. Generalization of Treatment Effects Following Functional Communication Training
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARGARET JANE MACDONALD (Vanderbilt University), Cassandra Standish (Vanderbilt University), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University)
Discussant: Rodrigo Vianna de Almeida (University of Ulster)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is a common intervention aimed to decrease problem behavior by teaching an alternative, functional communicative response. Notwithstanding, there are few studies evaluating the generalization of FCT or the specific programming needed to promote generalized results. The purpose of the current study was to answer the following questions: (a) will FCT treatment effects established by one implementer in one training context generalize to a novel implementer in an untrained context? (b) in cases in which generalization of treatment effects does not occur following FCT, to what extent will a generalization training package (i.e., EO tolerance training, schedule leaning, multiple schedules, and sequential modification) promote generalization to a novel implementer in an untrained context? Results indicate little to no generalization occurring across both problem behavior and manding. This indicates that there may be a need to directly train naturalistic interventionists in natural settings to ensure the treatment effects transfer the natural setting.
105. Assessment and Treatment of Self-Injurious Behavior: The Influence of an Idiosyncratic Variable
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
NICOLE M. DEROSA (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Iris Garza (St. John's University), Tahanie Mahmoud (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Allison Finley (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Discussant: Rodrigo Vianna de Almeida (University of Ulster)
Abstract: In the absence of relevant antecedent or consequent variables the outcomes of functional analyses may be inconclusive. However, at times the relevant variables may be challenging to identify and/or idiosyncratic. In the current study, we implemented a standard functional analysis (FA; Iwata et al., 1982/1994) for the self-injurious behavior (SIB) of an individual diagnosed with an intellectual and developmental disability, which produced inconclusive findings. Next, we implemented a modified FA based on the initial FA outcomes and observations in the child’s home that suggested the potential relevance of an idiosyncratic variable (i.e., presence/absence of clothes), which produced differentiated outcomes. Based on the modified FA results, a treatment package was developed that effectively reduced the occurrence of SIB. Furthermore, reductions in SIB maintained when 1) the intrusiveness of the treatment was reduced, 2) the caregiver was faded in to implement the treatment package, and 3) the treatment was generalized to a new setting. The clinical implications and relevance of effectively and efficiently identifying potential idiosyncratic variables that influence the occurrence of challenging forms of behavior will be discussed.
109. Mothers Stress During COVID-19 Pandemic Effects Child Fear in Kids with Developmental Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Basic Research
SHEOW YUN SIE (Queens College, City University of New York), Reena Maharaj (Queens College, the City University of New York), Emily Nelson (Queens College, the City University of New York), Johnny Lopez (Queens College, the City University of New York), Catherine Heitz (Queens College, the City University of New York), Yoko Nomura (Queens College, the City University of New York Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY )
Discussant: Rodrigo Vianna de Almeida (University of Ulster)
Abstract: Little is known about how COVID-19 lockdown affected children with developmental disabilities. The study explores whether maternal stress during lockdown is associated with the level of fear among children with and without developmental disabilities. A sample of 117 mothers and their children was recruited. Participants completed an online survey which assessed COVID-19 related post-traumatic stress levels and children’s worries post-lockdown. Child’s development disability status was ascertained via a structured diagnostic interview. Factorial ANOVA was conducted to compare the main effects of mothers' stress and child’s developmental disabilities status, and the interaction of the two on child’s fear following COVID-19. The results showed a significant main effect of mothers’ stress, but not the developmental disability status, and no notable differences by the interaction of the two risk factors. A stratified analysis by sex of the child showed that only among the girls, there was a significant main effect for mothers’ stress. Notably, there was an elevated level of fear among boys without developmental disabilities, but an elevated level of fear was observed among girls with developmental disabilities. These findings reveal the differential adverse experiences of boys and girls in relation to COVID-19 and highlights the importance of the mothers’ well-being.



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