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

Previous Page


Poster Session #184
DDA Poster Session 2
Sunday, May 27, 2012
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)

Reliability and Validity Analysis of the Indirect Functional Assessment

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MEI LING JOEY CHEN (California State University, Los Angeles), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)

The first step in identifying behavioral function related to problem behavior is the implementation of an anecdotal assessment. A number of structured assessments have been developed (e.g., MAS, QABF, FAST, etc.). One common problem has been their poor reliability and validity. In an effort to overcome these limitations, the Indirect Functional Assessment was developed utilizing psychometric methodologies and evaluated in an analog analysis (Christensen et al., 2002). However, up until now it had not been evaluated in practice. In the current study, graduate students enrolled in a fieldwork class participated. One of the requirements for the class is to complete a Functional Behavioral Assessment utilizing2 indirect assessments across2 informants, a descriptive assessment, and a functional analysis. Both reliability and validity analyses were conducted across these assessments. Results demonstrate high inter-rater reliability of the IFA, strong reliability with the FAST, good reliability with the descriptive assessment, and strong validity as measured by agreement of function with the functional analysis. Implications and future directions will be discussed.


Evaluation of Motivating Operations for Escape Maintained Problem Behavior

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ALYSSA N. SUESS (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University Of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa)

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects that specific types of demands had on escape maintained problem behavior. The participant was a 7-year-old male diagnosed with Charge syndrome. His primary communication was sign language with emerging vocal communication. All procedures were conducted in an outpatient clinic. Interobserver agreement was assessed across 38% of sessions and averaged 94%. During Phase 1, a brief functional analysis, was conducted within a multielement design. Results (Figure 1, left panel) suggested that problem behavior was maintained by negative reinforcement. During Phase 2, an antecedent analysis was conducted within a multielement design to evaluate specific conditions that occasioned problem behavior during demands. Conditions included demand with dictation, demand with copying, and demand with copying and guided compliance. Results (right panel) showed that high levels of problem behavior occurred during both demand with copying conditions and problem behavior occurred at zero or near zero levels during the demand with dictation condition. These results suggested that specific antecedent variables altered the participant's motivation to engage in problem behavior during demands. Blending functional and antecedent analyses may prove useful in determining variables that occasion or reduce problem behavior maintained by specific types of demands.


Isolation of the Variables Maintaining Aberrant Responding in the Demand Condition of a Functional Analysis

Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
MEGAN B. BLACK (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Natalie Rolider (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Mandy M. Triggs (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Functional analyses [FA; Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994)] are conducted to identify environmental variables that maintain aberrant behavior. Current literature supports the use of a fixed sequence of conditions in a multi-element FA (Iwata, Pace et al., 1994; Hammond, Iwata, Rooker, Fritz, & Bloom, 2011) in order to enhance establishing operations (EO) by taking advantage of preceding conditions. Specifically, experiencing the demand condition following the toy play condition may make escape from demands more reinforcing. However, it is possible that elevated rates of problem behavior may occur in a demand condition if an individual exhibits problem behavior maintained by positive reinforcement in the form of access to tangibles. Removal of tangibles following the toy play condition may occasion problem behavior in the demand condition. We conducted a multi-element FA to identify environmental variables that maintained one individuals problem behavior (SIB and aggression). Rates of problem behavior were elevated and undifferentiated across test conditions. A within-session analysis of problem behavior during the demand condition suggested that problem behavior was unrelated to the presentation or removal of demands. The purpose of the current investigation was to isolate the variables that produced elevated levels of problem behavior in the demand condition of an FA. Further manipulations following a multielement design determined that the individuals problem behavior was not maintained by negative reinforcement in the form of escape from demands. Rather, the individuals problem behavior in demand contexts was associated with loss of positive reinforcers (e.g., rich to lean schedule of reinforcement; Williams, 2011)


Using Video Modeling to Teach Card Game Rule toChildren With Autism: "Concentration" and "Baba-Nuki (Japanese Old Fish)"

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
TAKUYA ENOMOTO (Meisei University), Koji Takeuchi (Meisei University)

This study examined the effect of video modeling from acquisition of the card game rule. The participant was a 7-year-old child with autism. He was a second grader in an elementary school, and studies in the special support class. The card games that to teach a rule were a "Concentration" and "Baba-Nuki (Japanese Old Fish)". Target behavior was defined as appropriate card game performance (ex. Two cards are turned over. It will get, if a mark is the same. An one-sheet card is got from a partner). This study consisted of 4 phases: a baseline, Intervention 1, Intervention 2, and a probe. In the baseline, the patient played two kinds of card games with the experimenter. Before playing a card game, the manual that consisted of a photograph and a text was used in the Intervention 1. In the Intervention 2, the video modeling procedure that is playing the card game was used. The probe was conducted to the same conditions asthe baseline. The result—target behavior increased by the manual and video modeling. Therefore, it was suggested that a manual and video modeling are effective for acquisition of a card game rule. Especially, video modeling saw the increase in target behavior. The present study discussed the difference of the behavior chain of the manual and video modeling.


Latency Functional Analysis of Problem Behavior

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JANNETTE PUISSEAUX (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole Lynn Hausman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Mackenzie Wyatt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Megan B. Black (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

It can be difficult to determine the function of problem behavior when behavior persists at low and variable levels during functional analyses. One dimension of the response that may be useful in these cases is the latency from the onset of a stimulus, such as the beginning of a session, to the first response (Thomason-Sassi, Iwata, Neidert, & Roscoe, 2011). In the current study, a functional analysis was conducted for a child who engaged in severe problem behavior. After observing low levels of problem behavior in the initial functional analysis, a functional analysis based on latency measures was initiated. All sessions were terminated immediately after the delivery of the consequence for problem behavior during the test conditions or 1 minute after the occurrence of problem behavior in the toy play condition. Results from the latency functional analysis showed that problem behavior was multiply maintained by positive and negative reinforcement.


Training of a Social Referencing Skill to a Child With Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KAZUNARI HASHIMOTO (Hyogo University of Teacher Education), Hiroshi Ono (Hyogo University of Teacher Education)

Social referencing is defined as a process of using other person's conception for one's own understanding of a situation (Feinman, 1983). However, only a few studies have been conducted to teach social referencing to children with developmental disabilities (exclusively autism) and these studies did not address the effects of whether the situation was ambiguous or not. The current study was conducted as a preliminary investigation targeting children with autism who often lack social referencing. A boy with pervasive developmental disorder participated who was reported to look at his mother's face when he was not sure of correct responses during discrete trial training. He was trained (a) to open a can and get a token if the experimenter smiled, and (b) not to open the can but to put it in a box when the experimenter grimaced. After he learned to exhibit social referencing, the can was replaced with a transparent box (i.e. simulating a nonambiguous situation) that did not require referencing for correct responding. Accordingly, the rate of referencing slightly went down, indicating the possibly of stimulus control of referencing. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of behavioral conception of social referencing (Gewirtz & Peláez-Nogueras, 1992).


Two Competing Functions Work Together to Create One Complementary Treatment

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY STROMBERG (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Ainsley Thompson (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Bailey Scherbak (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lena Vaughn Willse (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

When children have multiple functions maintaining problem behavior, it can be extremely difficult to develop a treatment that addresses each one, particularly when those functions can result in competing forms of reinforcement. In this study, an adolescent female with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities living on an inpatient unit participated. A functional analysis was completed and the results indicated that her problem behaviors were sensitive to escape from demands as a maintaining consequence. A mands assessment was also completed which indicated that interacting with adult caregivers in her preferred manner of play was also a maintaining variable for her problem behaviors. Treatment involved systematically increasing the number of demands placed on her while earning time that she could engage with the therapist in her preferred manner of play. A card was used to signal when it was the child's way or the therapist's Way. Escape extinction was in place for all problem behaviors. The amount of time spent in therapist's way was faded so that time completing demands was equal to time the participant had "her way." Treatment was generalized throughout the child's day on the unit and then to her home with her mother serving as therapist.


The Peer Partner Project: Increasing Peer Interactions for Students With Disabilities Using Peer Support Strategies

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
TIFFANY BORN (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Lindsay Riesch (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Rebecca Shalev (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Jennifer M. Asmus (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Erik Carter (Vanderbilt University)

Peer support strategies provide general education peers with training to support their classmates with disabilities to engage in class activities and socially interact with classmates. This study presents data from an ongoing randomized control trial examining the effectiveness of peer support strategies and peer networks for high school students with disabilities. The data presented shows the number of interactions with general education peers observed in the classroom prior to and near the end of implementation of the peer support strategies. Initiations and responses by general education peers to the focus student with disabilities and vice versa were recorded during three class-length observations before beginning intervention and three class-length observations following intervention. Peer comparison data was also collected during both waves. In addition to data on interactions, observation data was also collected on instructional format in the classroom, proximity to peers and direct support staff, and engagement in class activities. Preliminary results suggest that peer supports strategies led to significantly more peer interactions for students with disabilities.


The Assessment of False-Positive Outcomes During Multiple Functional Analyses of a Child With an Intellectual Disability

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JOSHUA JESSEL (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole Lynn Hausman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lily Darnell (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Functional analyses (Iwata et al., 1982/1994) have become standard of care for the empirical assessment of common environmental events that may maintain the maladaptive behavior of those diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. However, if these contingencies do not naturally exist, exposure to immediately dense schedules of relative consequences in each condition may adventitiously establish a relation. The participant was an 11-year-old boy with an intellectual disability who was admitted to an inpatient unit for the assessment and treatment of severe problem behaviors. Multiple functional analyses were conducted for each topography (i.e., self-injury, disruption, aggression, spitting). High and stable rates of problem behavior occurred immediately in the attention condition across response topographies suggesting a clear functional response class maintained by attention. However, rates of aggression and spitting had a slow increase in the demand conditions. Within-session and probability analyses suggest that low rates of idiosyncratic response variability of the target problem behavior during the initial demand conditions could have adventitiously contacted negative reinforcement, slowly strengthening the novel relation.


The Peer Partner Project: Increasing Peer Interactions for Students With Disabilities Using Peer Networks

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
LORI BETH VINCENT (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Gregory Lyons (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Jennifer M. Asmus (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Erik Carter (Vanderbilt University)

Peer network strategies include identifying a group of general education students who will meet weekly with a student with a disability and interact with the student throughout the week in the hallways, lunchroom, and outside of school. This study presents data from an ongoing randomized control trial examining the effectiveness of peer networks and peer support strategies for high school students with disabilities. The data presented shows the number of weekly interactions with peers reported by students during implementation of the peer network and the data from pre- and post-intervention teacher questionnaires on the number of peers with whom each student with a disability interacts and the frequency of these interactions. Additionally, teachers provided information about how long the students have known the peers with whom they interact and whether or not this peer also has a disability. Preliminary results suggest that peer networks led students with disabilities to have more interactions with general education peers at school.


The Effect of Differential Consequences for Off-Task Behavior

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MATTHEW F. HIMMIGHOEFER (Evergreen Center), Jennifer M. Silber (Evergreen Center), Robert K. Ross (BEACON Services)

When completing task work, students' off-task behavior is often maintained by attention from staff who are attempting to redirect students back to task. Fisher et al. (1996) showed that verbal statements from staff were highly reinforcing for students who engaged in destructive behavior. Therefore, it is important to eliminate attention for maladaptive behaviors and provide attention for replacement behaviors. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of verbal versus visual prompting on the off-task behavior of a 17-year-old student with Asperger syndrome. A functional behavior assessment was conducted and conditional probabilities were calculated. The results indicated that the student was much more likely to receive attention when he was off-task (82% of intervals) than when he was on-task (6% of intervals). Using an alternating treatments design, verbal prompting, in which the student received verbal attention contingent on off-task behavior, and visual prompting, in which the student was prompted using a point cue and earned high quality verbal attention upon completion of the task, were compared. Initial results indicate that the number of prompts needed for this student to stay on task was lower in the visual prompting condition. Implications of these results and limitations will be discussed.


The Effects of Visual Supports on Transition Latencies With Kindergarten Students

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Rachel Brown (Whitworth University), BETTY FRY WILLIAMS (Whitworth University), Barbara Sanders (Whitworth University)

This study determined the effects of two kinds of visual supports, visual schedules and Social Stories TM, on students' latency time in making classroom transitions for three children in a general education kindergarten. During the first intervention, the participants were provided with visual picture schedules, showing pictures of each step they needed to complete to transition promptly from one activity to another. During the second intervention, a Social Story TM visual support was used. The Social Story TM had words and pictures about how transitions should be done, when they should be done, how a student could get help, how the teacher would feel, and how the student would feel when transitioning successfully. The average latency for a kindergarten with appropriate responding increased only slightly with the visual supports, while the average latencies for 2 students with problematic, long responses to transitions decreased substantially under both the visual schedule and the Social Story TM conditions. Overall both interventions were effective in reducing latencies with students who demonstrated long latencies, but may have increased slightly the latency for a student who was already performing well.


Reduction of Teasing Through Earning Access to Teasing

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
RYAN GOVER (Evergreen Center), Jennifer M. Silber (Evergreen Center), Jason T. Zeigler (Evergreen Center), Orin Frost (Evergreen Center)

The purpose of this study was to decrease the frequency of teasing by a 16-year-old male diagnosed with Down syndrome. This participant attends a residential school for students with developmental disabilities and resides with 7 other males. At baseline, the student engaged in high rates of teasing per day and targeted both staff members and the other students. A functional behavior assessment (FBA) was conducted and results indicated that the student received attention from students or staff members following 72% of teasing occurrences, suggesting that teasing was maintained by verbal attention. The FBA also indicated that the student was ignored following the other 27% of teasing occurrences. Using a reversal design, the student will have an opportunity to earn access to teasing contingent on the absence of teasing throughout his day. The student will be able to choose from a variety of staff members and students whom he can tease for a set amount of time, during which his chosen target will provide verbal attention to his teasing. Results, implications, limitations, and future research will be discussed.


A Comparison of Acquisition of Communicative Behavior in the Form of Three Modalities for a Toddler With Angelman Syndrome

Area: DDA; Domain: Basic Research
Joe Reichle (University of Minnesota), Jolene Hyppa Martin (University of Minnesota), ADELE DIMIAN (University of Minnesota), Moira Chen (University of Minnesota)

Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with molecular genetic defects and is characterized by a virtual absence of speech, language disorder, abnormal gait, coordination difficulties, happy demeanor, tongue protrusion, and seizure disorder. Among 23 studies identified by a systematic review of 3 electronic databases, only 2 involved communication interventions for individuals with AS (Calculator, 2002; Strachan et al., 2009; Summers & Szatmari, 2009). Given the severity of communication impairments associated with AS, there is a paucity of studies on communication interventions. The purpose of the present study was to compare the acquisition and use of 3 modes of communication (gestural, graphic and vocal) in 1 21-month-old with AS. A single subject alternating treatment design was utilized with discrete trial training to teach communicative behavior in terms of a production task for each mode of communication. Results suggest that graphic and gestural modes were superior to vocal mode for this toddler. Graphic was the most accurate across a comparison of 3 specific symbols, but a general gesture was superior to a specific graphic symbol. The current findings support the research indicating that individuals with AS can use more than 1 communicative mode and highlights the limitations in using vocal mode for these individuals. Future research, at a minimum, should explore the role of specific versus general symbols with this population and seek predictors of success in a communication mode.


Relationship Between Topography and Function of Severe Behavior

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
SARA MAHAN (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center), Natalie A. Parks (Marcus Autism Center), Andrea R. Reavis (Marcus Autism Center)

Functional assessment is a common method of identifying variables maintaining challenging behavior. In a review of the literature on functional analysis, Hanley, Iwata,and McCord (2003) suggested that, although published functional analyses tended to show certain relationships between topography and function (e.g., stereotypy was most frequently maintained by automatic reinforcement), in general, "function cannot be predicted by topography." However, their conclusion is limited by the fact that it is based upon a review of published studies, which may introduce certain biases. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between function identified by Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF; an indirect functional assessment) and the topography of challenging behavior. To date, 24 children and adolescents with developmental disabilities have served as participants yielding 43 total challenging behaviors. Kruskal Wallis tests of significance were conducted and preliminary results indicated that there were no significant differences among topographies of challenging behavior (i.e., self-injury, aggression, disruption) on function (i.e., attention, escape, tangible, nonsocial, physical). Thus, preliminary results support the conclusion of Hanley et al. that topography of challenging behavior is not a good predictor of function.


The Effect of Video Modeling on Social Skills of Children With Asperger Syndrome and High-functioning Autism

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
NATSUMI ISHIKAWA (Keio University), Jun'ichi Yamamoto (Keio University)

One of the hallmark symptoms of Asperger syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA) is the impairment in the development of social interaction skills. Social skills deficits include difficulties to maintain conversation with friends and impairments in the use of nonverbal behaviors, such as eye contacts, body postures. This study examined the effectiveness of a social skill intervention for individual targeting greeting, presentation skill, and initiating and responding to interactions with seven elementary-aged children with AS and HFA. They were assessed with pre-treatment and post treatment measures on Social Skills Improvement System(SSIS), The Matson Evaluation of Social Skill with Youngsters, and direct observation. In a baseline session, childrens target behaviors were observed. During the intervention, children were designed to take video monitoring and role-playing with adults. A multiple baseline design across behaviors was used for the present study. Results indicated that children have difficulties of facial expression while body posture in the greeting, and in the conversation, they have difficulties of maintaining the conversation. The video modeling intervention was effective in improving nonverbal behavior in greeting and conversation skills. Future research is required to test the durability of treatment.


Teaching a Child With Developmental Disabilities to Tolerate a Two-Day Ambulatory Electroencephalogram

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KERRI C. SUITER (Marcus Autism Center), Natalie A. Parks (Marcus Autism Center), Seth B. Clark (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center)

Medical procedures are often invasive and frightening for children and can lead to a variety of avoidant behaviors (Slifer, Avis, & Frutchey, 2008; DeMore, Cataldo, Tierney, & Slifer, 2009). Most studies have focused on teaching children with mild disruptive or avoidant behavior (Allen & Stokes, 1987; Shabani & Fisher, 2006), but not children who engage in severe problem behavior. The purpose of the current investigation was to teach a child with developmental disabilities who had a history of severe problem behavior to complete an ambulatory EEG by increasing tolerance of the equipment and decreasing problem behavior related to the procedure. Treatment to reduce problem behavior consisted of functional communication, a multiple schedule, and an overcorrection procedure. Training consisted of fading in the EEG equipment by first, placing a hat and a fanny pack with weights on Albert for one day and then wires and gauze were added. Through training, the number of times Albert attempted to touch the equipment decreased and the 48-hour EEG was successfully completed. While Albert did touch the equipment more frequently during the 48-hour EEG, he only removed two wires, which were reattached. With this treatment, valid results were obtained with Albert for the first time.


An Evaluation of Resurgence of Appropriate Communicative Responses in Children With Developmental Disabilities

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KATHERINE HOFFMAN (University of Texas), Terry S. Falcomata (University of Texas at Austin)

The current study extended the literature on resurgence by demonstrating the phenomenon with a novel response in the form of appropriate communication in individuals with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the conditions under which resurgence of appropriate communicative responses (mands) would occur with children with developmental disabilities. The experimental preparation consisted of a sequence of conditions that included (a) the reinforcement of1 mand (i.e., microswitch activation or card exchange) on a fixed ratio 1 schedule, (b) an extinction condition in which the mand was no longer reinforced, (c) the reinforcement of a second mand (i.e., microswitch activation or card exchange) on a fixed ratio 1 schedule, and (d) a test for resurgence of the first mand, which consisted of placing the second mand on extinction. Interobserver agreement was collected during 33% of sessions and agreement averaged at least 95% across participants. The results demonstrated resurgence of mands during2 out of3 tests for resurgence for one participant. Resurgence of mands was demonstrated during all three tests for resurgence with the second participant. These results have clinical implications in that they represent a potential model for preventing behavioral lapses during challenges to treatment.


Use of Latency to Problem Behavior in the Assessment and Treatment of Severe Self-Injurious Behavior

Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Christopher J. Perrin (Melmark, Inc.), KATE LANGSTON (Melmark, Inc.), Sheila Klick (Melmark, Inc.), Amy Fredrick (Melmark, Inc.), Caryn Richardson (Melmark, Inc.), Amanda Kowalski (Melmark, Inc.), Elizabeth Dayton (Melmark, Inc.)

A common index of response strength used in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior is rate of responding (e.g., Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1994). However, repeated occurrences of a problem behavior during a session may be either impractical or unsafe such as in the case of vomiting, elopement, or severe forms of self-injurious behavior. One area that has received increasing attention in applied literature is the use of response latency during assessments (e.g., Call, Pabico, & Lomas, 2009; Zarcone, Crosland, Fisher, Worsdell, & Herman, 1999). In a recent study, Thomason-Sassi, Iwata, Neidhart, & Roscoe (2011) demonstrated the utility of response latency during functional analysis of severe problem behavior. The purpose of the current study was to extend research on the use of latency measures as an index of response strength during assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior. During the functional analysis, latency to the occurrence of self-injurious behavior was used as the primary measure. Both latency and rate of responding were measured during the subsequent functional communication training analysis.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh