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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #250
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Sustainability of Treatments for Problem Behavior
Sunday, May 28, 2023
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sydney Arthur (Georgia Southern University)
Discussant: Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Adam M. Briggs, Ph.D.
Abstract: Interventions that incorporate differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) aim to replace problem behavior such as aggression and self-injurious behavior with an appropriate behavior such as functional communication. These types of interventions (e.g., functional communication training; FCT) have been demonstrated to be efficacious across a wide variety of behaviors, populations, and settings; however, these interventions are not without limitations or challenges. Issues may arise during these interventions such as when therapists initiate training of alternative functional communication, when additional compliance procedures are incorporated into FCT, when FCT is extended to mirror more natural contexts (e.g., reinforcement-schedule thinning), or when problem behavior is maintained by automatic reinforcement. Thus, the continued search for improving and refining DRA interventions is warranted. This symposium will present on ways to improve sustainability of DRA treatments for problem behavior. In this symposium, Ms. Davis will present a Systematic Literature Review on FCT pretaining, Ms. Pelletier will present An Evaluation of Sensory Integration Techniques on Automatic Maintenance on Problem Behavior, Ms. Nercesian will present on Procedural Refinements during Delay Tolerance, Dr. Mauzy will present on the Evaluation of Returning Preferred Items during S-Delta Components. Dr. Adam Briggs will discuss implications.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Automatic Behavior, DRA, FCT, Problem Behavior
Target Audience: BCBA's who practice FCT and/or treatments for problem behavior
Learning Objectives: 1) Audience members will identify types of DRA interventions 2) Audience members will name at least 2 considerations when conducting DRA treatments 3) Audience members will describe challenges that may be encountered during DRA interventions

A Systematic Literature Review on Functional Communication Pretraining Procedures

KAYLA RANDALL (Georgia Southern University), Jackee' Davis (Georgia Southern University), Katherine Brown (Utah State University), Ryan Kimball (University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT)), Samantha Nercesian (Utah State Univeristy), Caroline Bach (Georgia Southern University)

Functional communication training (FCT) is a common differential reinforcement of alternative behavior procedure to establish a functional communication response (FCR) as an alternative to destructive behavior. The initial teaching phase, sometimes referred to as FCT pretraining, is critical because it marks the beginning of clinicians teaching an FCR. In addition, this phase is often the first time clinicians place destructive behavior on extinction. Precisely conducting FCT pretraining is critical given high-levels of FCR fluency are related to generality and maintenance of the response, and extinction for destructive behavior. Despite the importance of FCT pretraining, no synthesis of the FCT pretraining literature currently exists. We conducted a systematic literature review to determine procedures used during FCT pretraining. We identified 21 articles that included a description of FCT pretraining. Results overwhelmingly indicate methods used to teach the FCR during FCT pretraining are often underreported or omitted altogether. In this presentation, we will share our findings, discuss implications, and provide future directions for future research.

A Review of a Differential-Reinforcement Intervention to Increase Compliance and Decrease Problem Behavior Related to Tangible Restriction
COURTNEY MAUZY (University of Georgia), Sarah Slocum (Marcus Autism Center and Emory School of Medicine)
Abstract: Individuals who demonstrate problem behavior maintained by access to tangibles often exhibit noncompliance during times when caregivers attempt to restrict the tangible item (Kalb and Loeber; 2003). Differential reinforcement for compliance is a frequently used and empirically supported intervention for the treatment of problem behavior maintained by social-negative reinforcement (i.e., escape or avoidance; Petscher et al., 2009). However, little research has attempted to implement these procedures to increase compliance and decrease problem behavior surrounding tangible restriction. We reviewed a compliance training procedure (i.e., differential reinforcement of compliance) implemented with several individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who engaged in severe problem behavior surrounding the act of restricting preferred tangible items. Preliminary results indicate some success in increasing compliance and decreasing problem behavior, thus highlighting the need for further research and more in-depth analyses of compliance training procedures applied to tangible restriction.
Procedural Refinements During Delay Tolerance Training
SAMANTHA NERCESIAN (Utah State Univeristy), Katherine Brown (Utah State University)
Abstract: Delay tolerance interventions are commonly used after functional communication training to teach an individual to tolerate delays and denials to access functional reinforcers. Two common approaches to teach delay tolerance are contingency-based progressive delays (CBPD) and multiple schedules. A previous study that compared these approaches found multiple schedules were more effective at teaching delay tolerance relative to CBPD (Brown et al., 2021). To further the research from Brown et al. (2021), we compared standard CBPD procedures to CBPD procedures with components of a multiple schedule to determine if the additional components increase the efficacy of the procedure. In the current study we had participants for whom CBPD was ineffective at maintaining reductions in destructive behavior and discriminated use of FCRs. As such, we examined if embedding discriminating stimuli in the form of red/green cards during CBPD sessions would improve treatment efficacy and if these stimuli could subsequently be faded from the treatment. The findings of this study have direct implications on procedural modifications to improve the efficacy of delay tolerance interventions and systematically remove discriminative stimuli to promote generalization outside clinical contexts.

An Evaluation of Sensory Integration Techniques on Automatic Maintained Problem Behavior

Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas), DANIELLE PELLETIER (University of North Texas), Elizabeth Joy Houck (University of North Texas), Melanie Bauer (University of North Texas), Aaron Joseph Sanchez (University of North Texas), Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)

Sensory integration techniques are a common treatment procedure among occupational therapists. The goal is to “apply” input that competes with input from problem behavior. Although this is a commonly recommended intervention, there is limited empirical evaluation with adults with intellectual disabilities. Therefore, we evaluated the effectiveness of occupational therapist-suggested sensory stimuli on the automatically maintained problem behavior of adults. Specifically, we compared the effects of non-contingent access to sensory stimuli and non-contingent access to highly preferred stimuli on the rate of problem behavior. Results suggested that, relative to highly preferred stimuli, sensory stimuli had either a limited effect on problem behavior, or in some cases, were correlated with increases in problem behavior. This suggests that sensory stimuli may not produce the same automatic stimulation as problem behavior. We will discuss implications for treatment, including methods for better identifying stimuli for use in the treatment of automatically maintained problem behavior.




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