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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #106
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluations of Compound Reinforcement Schedules Related to the Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior
Saturday, May 25, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 112 AB
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
Discussant: Kayla Randall (Georgia Southern University)
CE Instructor: Kayla Randall, Ph.D.

Practitioners have recognized the utility and success of compound reinforcement schedules, such as multiple and concurrent schedules, in the treatment of challenging behavior. This symposium provides evaluations of clinically relevant procedures conducted and/or evaluated within the context of compound reinforcement schedules. Specifically, in the first study, stimulus transfer procedures were evaluated within a multiple schedule arrangement as they related to schedule thinning during FCT-based intervention. In the second study, reinforcer dimensions were evaluated within the context of concurrent schedule arrangements to identify how concurrent-schedule based interventions (i.e., non extinction-based interventions) could be designed and to determine if differences existed across responses (arbitrary and clinically relevant) targeted. Results are discussed in the context of (a) what strategies allow for greater practicality of intervention implementation, and (b) how concurrent schedules can be utilized to guide intervention design. Dr. Kayla Randall will provide discussion of the projects and suggestions for future directions this and similar research can pursue.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behavior, Concurrent schedule, developmental disabilities, multiple schedule
Target Audience:

intermediate practitioners and researcher

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe the utility of compound schedules as a basis for evaluation of intervention and assessment variables. 2. Compare the effects of assessments conducted with target behavior and challenging behavior. 3. Differentiate between the use of arbitrary and naturally occurring stimuli in the process of schedule thinning.

Incorporating Naturally Occurring Discriminative Stimuli Within Multiple Schedule Arrangements: An Evaluation of Two Instructional Methods

JORDAN DEBRINE (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Seth Walker (Trumpet Behavioral Health)

We evaluated two methods to increase the generality of functional communication training (FCT) by incorporating naturally occurring stimuli within a multiple schedule thinning arrangement. In the present study, we used a stimulus control transfer procedure to determine the degree to which discriminated responding can be transferred from arbitrary to naturally occurring stimuli while maintaining high levels of functional communication and low rates of destructive behavior. Following the acquisition of discriminative control in the presence of an arbitrary stimulus, we transferred discriminative properties to naturally occurring activities that signal the unavailability of reinforcement. We compared rates of acquisition of discriminated functional communication responses and rates of destructive behavior using the stimulus control transfer procedure to direct discrimination training of naturally occurring stimuli. Results of the evaluation support the efficacy of both teaching strategies; however, directly teaching discrimination resulted in higher levels of discriminated responding, lower rates of destructive behavior, and fewer sessions to reach mastery criteria relative to stimulus fading.


Comparison of Reinforcement Paramater Heirarchy Assessments With Arbitary and Clinically Relevant Behavior

ROSE MORLINO (May Institute), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)

Although extinction is a common and effective treatment component included in behavior reduction procedures, adverse side effects may make its inclusion impractical to implement. Treatments that include concurrent schedule arrangements may provide an alternative to extinction. A review by Trump et al. (2020) found that concurrent schedules without extinction interventions were successful in reducing challenging behavior, but the results were idiosyncratic. These results might be due to different parameter sensitivities across participants. Kunnavatana et al. (2018) assessed individual and relative sensitivity to the reinforcement parameters used in concurrent schedule-based interventions to determine a parameter hierarchy prior to developing an intervention for challenging behavior. However, they used arbitrary behaviors during the assessment instead of clinically relevant behaviors. Thus, the current study compared the results of a parameter hierarchy assessment with arbitrary behaviors (i.e., button pressing) to a parameter hierarchy assessment with clinically relevant behaviors (i.e., communication and challenging behavior) to determine if the results would align. Three elementary-aged children with special education eligibilities for autism or significant developmental delay participated in this study. Results show no alignment between the two assessments across participants. Despite the lack of alignment, an effective intervention to reduce challenging behavior was identified for two participants.




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