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.

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50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details


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Poster Session #484J
DDA Monday Poster Session
Monday, May 27, 2024
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, Exhibit Hall A
Chair: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
105. An Evaluation of Extended Implementation and Social Interaction During the Step it UP! Game in Adults With Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
REBECCA SEWARD (SIU), Ryan N. Redner (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract:

People with disabilities do not engage in recommended levels of physical activity. The purpose of the present experiments was to systematically replicate Step it UP! interventions (Seward & Redner, 2023; Normand & Burji, 2020; Nieto & Wiskow, 2020) with adults with disabilities. Participants were divided into two competing teams, and the team with the highest step count participated in a prize drawing. Experiment 1 (N=9) evaluated the efficacy of an extended version Step it UP! Game that included additional and longer sessions. Experiment 2 (N=8) evaluated the addition of contingent adult attention during the Step it UP! Game. Baseline, Step it UP!, and Step it UP! plus interaction sessions were evaluated in an alternating treatment design. The Step it UP! Game was effective with additional and longer sessions and all participants took more steps during Step it UP! Game sessions. Adding adult interaction to the Step it UP! Game did not increase the effectiveness of the intervention.

 
106. Investigating the Relationship Between Self-Confidence and Burnout for Professionals Supporting Adults With Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Engaging in Challenging Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
KAYLA M. M. CORMIER (Brock University), Laura E. Mullins (Brock University)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract:

Professionals who support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who engage in challenging behavior (CB) are at risk for burnout, which can negatively impact the quality of support provided to service users. However, the role that self-confidence plays in the development of burnout for this population is unclear. An online survey was completed by 202 professionals with various roles around Ontario who support adults with IDD engaging in CB. Participants included direct support professionals (n = 156) and leaders in direct support (n = 46). The survey contained the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a self-confidence instrument, and both open- and closed-ended questions about demographic, organizational, and client-related variables. Quantitative results suggest that participants consider several variables (e.g., support in the workplace, type of CB) to influence their self-confidence in responding to CB. Preliminary correlational analyses propose that significant relationships exist between self-confidence and more than one dimension of burnout, but supporting linear regression results are pending. Results may increase our understanding of the relationship between self-confidence and burnout. Additionally, results may inform pertinent organizational and training targets to improve self-confidence of professionals providing support to adults with IDD in the developmental services sector, including in behavior analytic services.

 
Diversity submission 107. A Decade of Disparity: Advocacy for Inclusion in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
SAM JAMES PATRICK (Hunter College), Salvador Ruiz (Hunter College, CUNY)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract: In the realm of behavioral research, the pursuit of knowledge and progress is an ongoing journey. Yet, as we peer into the last decade of clinical studies, a stark reality emerges – the notable absence of adults with disabilities as active participants in research. This poster serves as a spotlight on this critical gap, shedding light on the underrepresentation that has persisted in the past ten years of our flagship Journal, the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis with Adults with disabilities only accounting for 7.28% out of all participants. Secondly, this poster also highlights the lack of racial diversity present in the same studies, 84.52% of participants individually coded did not identify their race. When combined with the 10.13% identified as white, this leaves 5.35% for all other races. Our exploration delves into the implications of this imbalance, urging a collective examination of the reasons behind the scarcity of adults with disabilities in research. Beyond the numbers, this poster calls attention to the untold stories, unmet needs, and the imperative for inclusivity in pursuing comprehensive, equitable behavioral interventions.
 
108. Quality of Life and Behavior Analysis; Literature, Perspectives, and Practices
Area: DDA; Domain: Theory
AARON CHECK (University of South Carolina)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract:

Behavior analysts are required and ethically responsible to provide services to address socially significant behavior with the ultimate intent of improving long-term outcomes such as an individual’s quality of life (QoL). QoL is a complex social construct, sensitive to context and circumstances at both individual and environmental levels (Schalock & Verdugo, 2002). There are research-based frameworks and a variety of assessments comprised of universal domains and indicators for practitioners to utilize when attempting to define and assess the construct for their clients. Commitment on the part of a practitioner to use available QoL frameworks and assessments to guide delivery of services may help ensure those services address relevant, socially significant behaviors and improve QoL for the individuals being served (Schwartz & Kelly, 2021). The presenter will share results of a recent systematic literature review investigating single-case behavior analytic research claiming to address QoL. This review will provide insight into the skills behavior analysts are targeting when aiming to improve QoL as well as what efforts are being taken to ensure they have in fact achieved that goal. Second, the presenter will describe results of a nationwide survey exploring behavior analysts’ perspectives and practices related to social validity and QoL.

 
109. Investigation of Potential False Positive Outcomes in Synthesized Contingency Assessments
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH PARTHUM (Mount Saint Mary's University), Griffin Rooker (Mount St. Mary's University), Kwadwo O. Britwum (Mount Saint Mary's University)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract: In a traditional interview informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA; Hanley, 2014) indirect assessments are employed to identify reinforcers that may be maintaining problem behavior. Interventionists then combine potential maintaining variables in a single test condition and conduct a systematic assessment where problem behavior is measured. If it occurs, problem behavior is understood to be maintained by that synthesized contingency. In the current study, we aimed to evaluate if a single maintaining function could also be garnered from such an assessment. Putative functional reinforcers were divided into three synthesized contingencies, Attention/Demand, Attention/Tangible, and Demand/Tangible. These conditions were run in rotation, along with a control condition where participants had free access to putative reinforcers. The percentage of intervals in which problem behavior in each condition occurred was measured, such that if behavior occurred in two of three synthesized contingencies that contained the same variable (e.g., access to tangibles), by process of elimination, a single function could be deduced. A single function was identified through use of the IISCA model for one of three participants. Implications for use of the assessment are discussed.
 
110. An Evaluation of Cross-Function Stimuli in the Treatment of Automatically Maintained Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
PO-KAI HUANG (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract:

Sensory-integration therapy (SIT) is sometimes recommended for individuals who emit problem behavior. Within the behavior-analytic literature, researchers have not found SIT to produce meaningful changes in problem and there is some evidence that SIT can make some problem behavior worse. Although SIT involves access to stimuli, which can be an effective intervention, there may be a mis-match between the stimuli selected for SIT and stimuli that produce stimulation similar to problem behavior. Additionally, when problem behavior is multiply maintained, it may be possible to use noncontingent access to a single stimulus to treat problem behavior in multiple functional contexts. In the research, following ineffective SIT, we evaluated the effects of access to tangible items on the participant's problem behaviors that were maintained by automatic reinforcement and social positive reinforcement in the form of access to tangible items. The results showed that tangible item that evoked problem behavior could be effectively used to suppress problem behavior regardless of functional context. This suggests that cross-function stimuli, even if they do not produce the same stimulation as problem behavior, could effectively treat problem behavior.

 
111. The Effects of an Automatic Removal of Access Arrangement for Tangible Maintained Challenging Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JESSE PERRIN (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center; Salve Regina University), Shayne Rivard (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center; Salve Regina University ), Jacqueline Wilson (Salve Regina Uinversity), Cody Morris (Salve Regina University )
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract: Functional Communication Training (FCT) has been noted to be the most published behavior analytic intervention for reducing challenging behavior. FCT for tangibly maintained challenging behavior may require the safe removal of the tangible item in some situations. However, there has been a lack of guidance within the literature as to how to remove tangibles in treatment contexts. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate an automatic timed shut off on an iPad (tangible) in comparison to staff requesting the item on the latency of challenging behavior in a client with tangibly maintained challenging behavior. The participant was a 14-year-old white male diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) whose challenging behavior was aggression. A multielement design was utilized to evaluate treatment of removing tangibles from this client. Results showed that the latency for the client to engage in aggression did not occur during the time of the sessions when the auto-shut off condition was implemented. An exact-count IOA of 100% was obtained from two independent reviewers for 75% of the trials. Treatment integrity was taken for 50% of the total amount of trials conducted. Treatment integrity for the six conditions was 100%.
 
112. Assessment and Treatment of Dangerous Acts Maintained By Automatic Reinforcement
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CASSIE FECK (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Aila K. Dommestrup (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Daniel Kwak (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Natalie Talley (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract: Dangerous climbing is rarely the primary behavior of concern for children with developmental disabilities that engage in challenging behaviors. Furthermore, functional analyses (FA)are completed less often on dangerous climbing, but previous literature suggests dangerous climbing behavior can be maintained by social and nonsocial factors. Thus, function-based interventions have the potential to reduce dangerous climbing. This study sought to replicate previous literature to evaluate function-based interventions for dangerous climbing. The participant was an 8-year old white male with diagnoses of Autism, Severe Intellectual Disability and ADHD. Results of a multielement FA with an extended alone series indicated that dangerous climbing was maintained by automatic reinforcement. An augmented competing stimulus assessment identified 2 matched and 2 unmatched competing stimuli for dangerous climbing. Treatment with competing stimuli was evaluated using an alternating treatments design with a reversal. The matched stimuli were most effective at reducing duration of dangerous climbing. Results replicated previous findings that matched stimuli can reduce dangerous climbing, and suggest functional analyses to inform function-based intervention can reduce the duration of dangerous climbing. Implications for treatment of automatically maintained dangerous climbing behavior are discussed.
 
113. Registered Behavior Technicians' Perspectives on Behavioral Service Provision, Training, Supervision, and Workplace Conditions
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ALEXANDRA RAMIREZ (University of Miami), Yanerys Leon (University of Miami), Janelle Kirstie Bacotti (University of Miami), Nicole Gravina (University of Florida), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida), Kacie McGarry (University of Florida), Jessica Nastasi (University of Florida)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract:

Despite the increase of Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) in the United States, the demand for qualified behavioral providers continues to outpace the supply. Previous research has demonstrated that approximately 70% of all counties in the United States had at least one RBT, however, many of these counties (n= 623) had no supervising Board Certified Behavior Analysts (Yingling et al., 2023). It is important to identify factors contributing to the lack of RBTs. We distributed an electronic survey to RBTs providing applied behavior analysis services across 19 counties in Florida. The survey included questions about the respondents a) training, b) supervision, c) working conditions, d) job satisfaction, and e) intention to leave their current job. Overall, results indicated that insufficient training in challenging behavior and skill acquisition, working conditions, satisfaction with pay, and the requirement to complete unpaid tasks outside of work were related to job satisfaction, intention to leave, and burnout. Recommendations based on the findings of this survey aim to improve overall access to behavioral services by encompassing factors such as job-employee fit, supportive work environments, strong supervision, training, and fair compensation.

 
114. Teaching Job Decision-Making to College Students With Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KALEY ADAMS (Florida Atlantic University), Charles Dukes (Florida Atlantic University)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract:

Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have historically low employment and retention rates. These disparities in employment can be partially attributed to job placements and minimal opportunities to cultivate employment skills. It is common for this population to be employed in entry level positions or in jobs that are not of interest to the individual, decreasing the likelihood of job retention. Through a multiple probe across participants design, this study evaluated the effects of an intervention package consisting of behavior skills training and an acronym (ELSE+) on job decision-making skills of college students with IDD. Data indicate the strong effectiveness of the intervention package to increase the participants’ ability to make decisions about good job fit, maintenance of the skills once the intervention was removed, and generalization of the skills to novel stimuli (a different job search website). The intervention’s goals, procedures, and outcomes were socially significant. This study has implications on decision-making and employment for this population and for people who support employment efforts of these individuals regarding the need for explicit instruction of decision-making skills through BST.

 
115. I CAN-B Money Savvy! Teaching Adults With Intellectual Disabilities to Make Purchasing Decisions Online
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KALEY ADAMS (Florida Atlantic University), Rangasamy Ramasamy (Florida Atlantic University)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract:

Online shopping is a common feature of modern adult life made easy through targeted advertisements, a large buy now button, and pre-entered credit card information. However, these features do not support making purchasing decisions based on what is best for the individual. Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) need explicit instruction on how to make informed decisions regarding online purchases. Four adults with IDD currently employed participated in this study. A multiple probe across participants design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. This poster presents a dissertation study conducted in Spring 2024. IRB approval has been attained and data collection is ongoing. Based on results of previous studies, we anticipate participants of this study will acquire, generalize, and maintain the decision-making skills through the intervention package. Implications for practice and future research and limitations will be discussed and expanded upon from the previous and current study.

 
116. A Function-Informed Approach to Caregiver Training for a Child With Severe Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
MARY KATHERINE GERRARD (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/ Kennedy Krieger Institute), Elizabeth Paige Thuman (Kennedy Krieger Institute; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Andrew White (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Craig Strohmeier (Kennedy Krieger Institute; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract:

Caregiver training programs for children with developmental disabilities and disruptive behaviors typically target child-caregiver interactions, with the majority focusing on the prevention and reduction of mild to moderate behavioral challenges (e.g., behavioral parent training; parent-child interaction therapy). While these training programs may be effective, the interventions are not typically derived from a function-based perspective and, therefore, may have less relevance for professionals working with caregivers of children who demonstrate severe behavior. The purpose of this case study is to illustrate a function-informed, individualized approach to caregiver training within an outpatient clinic for children with severe behavior. A functional analysis was implemented to determine the primary function of the child’s severe behavior. Indirect and descriptive assessment data were used to identify additional parent behaviors that may have also played a role in reinforcing severe behavior. All three sources of data (indirect and descriptive assessment, and functional analysis) informed a function-based caregiver training intervention. Skills training targeted caregiver behaviors related to extinction for challenging behavior and reinforcement for alternative behavior. We evaluated the skills training in a multiple baseline design across contexts and report outcomes in terms of both caregiver and child behavior changes.

 
117. Modified Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy: Interdisciplinary Approach for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KIERSTEN STRICKLAND (USF; UFCAN), Justin Boyan Han (University of Florida), Kacie McGarry (University of Florida), Andrea Guastello (University of Florida), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida), Takahiro Soda (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic disorder that is characterized by intrusive private events (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors related to these private events (compulsions) that impact roughly two to three percent of the population in their lifetime (Fontenelle et al., 2006). Typical treatment for behaviors related to obsessive-compulsive disorder includes psychotherapy techniques through cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, and pharmacotherapy through the prescription of serotonin reuptake inhibitor (Koran et al., 2007). While there is ample research demonstrating the effectiveness and efficacy of these treatments for obsessive-compulsive behaviors, the psychotherapy methodology mentioned relies heavily on verbal behavior and has limited applications for individuals without the verbal repertoire to engage with said therapy methods. Nevertheless, both cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention therapy have treatment components that can be modified through environmental manipulations that are typically done in the field of behavior analysis. To date, limited research has examined the treatment of obsessive-compulsive behaviors for individuals with intellectual disabilities with limited verbal behavior repertoire. This project is a collaboration between behavior analysts, psychologists, and psychiatrists on a case demonstration for a modified ERP treatment for a 15-year-old individual who engages in multiple OCD-related behaviors through single case design. Implications and results are discussed.

 
119. Functional Communication Training Strategies That Work: Using Progressive Variable-Ratio (VR) Schedules and Other Strategies to Manage Demand Fading and Prevent Resurgence
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
DAVID W. SIDENER (Roots ABA), Jennifer Skundrich (Roots ABA), Vincent Gencarelli (Roots ABA)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract:

This poster describes the evaluation of an intensive analysis and function-based treatment package to address severe, disruptive behavior exhibited by youths with ASD and intellectual developmental disorder. Most of the youth included in the present study have been removed from more than one school program due to the severity of their disruptive behavior. A core component of our assessment was a highly-individualized, analog functional analysis, which we conducted until we found evidence of one or more functions. Next, we evaluated function-based treatment. Core effective treatment strategies included starting with a rich schedule of reinforcement, accessed via minimally-effortful, communicative responses, often simply tapping a card. After the new manding form occurred consistently and disruptive behavior remained low, minimal additional demands were presented and cued by progressive, VR token boards. The VR schedule inherently included variability and may have made it easier to surreptitiously expand response requirements, which we did very gradually in a manner we came to call “micro-demand fading.” Results from the first five learners in this program show an average reduction of greater than 99% of severe, disruptive behavior.

 
120. Investigating Our Terminology: Understanding the Frequency of Potentially Problematic Words Used in Behavior Analytic Journals
Area: DDA; Domain: Theory
JULIANNE MARIE OLIVIERI (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Brianna M. Anderson (Brock University)
Abstract: Research has shown societal aversion to common, behavior analytic terms, connoting different meanings in technical and nontechnical environments. One example is the word “discrimination”: in behavior analysis, this term describes differentiation between stimuli, whereas non-behavior analytic usage often describes the prejudiced treatment of marginalized people. To better understand the conditions under which behavior analysts use these words, we conducted a literary analysis of the frequency and context of five potentially problematic terms, in publication titles of five behavior analytic journals. All issues of each journal until the end of 2023 were included in this study. We searched for the following words (and their variations): “control”, “compliance”, “punishment”, “manipulation”, and “discrimination,” based on a history of public aversion (Foxxx, 1996). The word “control” has the largest cumulative usage across all journals, whereas “manipulation” has the least frequent usage. Terms were less frequent than expected; excluding “control,” all terms had less than 100 cumulative occurrences in all issues of one journal. Preliminary analysis suggests that frequency and context of term usage is influenced by commonly published authors and the term’s generalizability. Further analyses are recommended to understand these terms’ frequency within seminal, behavior analytic texts for students of behavior analysis.
 
121. Behavioral Practitioners’ Perspectives on Restraint and Physical Guidance for Clients Who Engage in Challenging Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Theory
EMMA D'ENTREMONT (Rowan University), Abigail Moretti (Rowan University), Christina Simmons (Rowan University)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
Abstract:

Practitioners delivering behavior analytic services may encounter unsafe and interfering behaviors such as self-injury and aggression. The aim of this study is to understand the use of hands-on procedures, including restraint and physical guidance, in the field of behavior analysis. A preliminary national sample of 158 behavioral practitioners (RBT, BCaBA, BCBA, BCBA-D) completed an online survey that included Likert-scale, open-ended, and check box options regarding their experiences with physical restraint, mechanical restraint, and physical guidance, including their training, comfort, and confidence; client responses; and alternative options. Results indicate that 60% of participants used physical restraint within the last year, primarily for aggressive or dangerous behavior, whereas fewer implemented mechanical restraint (23%), primarily for self-injury. The majority of participants reported adverse client responses following restraint (86%), most commonly physically resisting, vocal responses, and emotional responses. Although all participants had received training in physical guidance and nearly all indicated using physical guidance, 86% reported working with a client whose behavior indicated that they disliked physical guidance. Whereas 71% reported confidence using physical guidance, the majority were unable to identify alternative procedures. Results indicate the need for training in alternatives to restraint and physical guidance, and honoring client preferences regarding physical touch.

 
 

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