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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #19
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment and Treatment of Restricted and Repetitive Behavior
Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
305 (TCC)
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Stacie Bancroft (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Stacie Bancroft, Ph.D.
Abstract: Abstracts for talks submitted individually
Increasing Variability During Play for Children With Autism
STACIE BANCROFT (New England Center for Children), Rachel H. Thompson (Western New England Universtiy), Nate Rodriguez (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Invariable or repetitive behavior is a defining feature of autism and can often emerge during the play time of children with this diagnosis. In some situations invariable play may limit learning opportunities and delay developmental growth. Results of basic and applied research suggest that reinforcement of variable responding may be a viable intervention strategy for use with individuals diagnosed with autism. Three children diagnosed with autism participated in the current study. Each of the children demonstrated a type of invariable selection of play materials during play time activities. We implemented lag schedules of reinforcement to increase variability and added additional procedures (e.g., blocking, added discriminative stimuli, intensive training sessions) when necessary. Although variable responding was achieved for all three participants, varying levels of intervention were required for each participant. Generalization of effects across activities was found for one participant, whereas effects did not generalize for the remaining participants. The results of the current study support previous findings in which variable responding was shown to be sensitive to reinforcement. Additionally, we demonstrated practical solutions for increasing variability in play item selection when lag schedules alone are or are not effective.

Functional Analysis and Treatment of Perseverative Behavior

DAVID E. KUHN (Westchester Institute for Human Development), Stephanie A. Contrucci Kuhn (Westchester Institute for Human Devleopment), Patricia A. Moss-Lourenco (Westchester Institute for Human Development), Nicole Pearson (Westchester Institute for Human Development)

Stereotypic and/or restricted patterns of behavior are defining characteristics of autism spectrum disorders. Within this cluster is a group of behavior referred to as perseverative speech referring to the repetition of the same word, phrase or topic when it is no longer appropriate to continue speaking (about that topic). The demonstration of these behaviors can significantly interfere with the development of appropriate social and communication skills. In the current study, two participants (ages 9yrs and 21yrs) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders were referred for the assessment and treatment of persistent perseverative speech. Initially, functional analyses were conducted with each participant. It is often assumed that these behaviors persist independent of social consequences. For one participant the results of the functional analysis confirmed this assumption; however, results with the second participant demonstrated that contingent delivery of social attention maintained the perseverative speech. For each participant function-based treatments were developed where-in perseverative speech was reduced and appropriate speech increased. Results of this study support the utility of conducting functional analyses regardless of prior assumptions based on response topography, and add to existing research on the effectiveness of function-based interventions on behaviors identified as symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.


Evaluating the Use of a Multiple Schedule for Identifying Treatment Effects and Motivational Effects

DELNA H. BHARUCHA (New England Center for Children), Julie Elizabeth McKendry (New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)

Many traditional treatment evaluations, such as withdrawal designs, are time and labor intensive. One purpose of this study was to evaluate the multiple schedule as a method to rapidly identify treatment effects when implementing response interruption for stereotypic behavior. Additionally, given that it has been suggested that response blocking can function as an establishing operation for stereotypy (Rapp, 2006), this study also examined whether consistent motivative effects were obtained in baseline components following components in which response interruption was implemented. Participants were males diagnosed with autism whose stereotypy was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Multiple schedules were arranged in which BL and response interruption components were alternated. Two types of response interruption were used for each participant. The multiple schedule analyses were then compared to the results of a withdrawal design comparison of the same conditions (i.e., ABABACAC). IOA was collected for 33% of sessions and was always above 90%. Treatment effects were detected via a proportional analysis of the treatment relative to the baseline conditions for the multiple schedule analysis. More profound treatment effects were obtained during the ABABACAC comparisons. Abolishing operations were seen in the RIRDm and RIRDv components, while establishing operation effects were seen with the RI component.




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