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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Poster Session #426
DDA Monday evening poster session
Monday, May 28, 2012
7:00 PM–9:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)
1. Case Study: Analysis of Self-Injurious Behaviorin a 9-year old Female with Autism and Cerebral Palsy
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
SARAH JANE SILVERS (Applied Behavior Center for Autism), Alison Anderson (Applied Behavior Center for Autism)
Abstract: Research indicates that functional analysis may lead to effective behavioral interventions more often than other behavior assessment methods. However, functional analysis is not always feasible or desirable for practitioners in the clinical setting. Due to restraints on resources and ethical considerations, practitioners often need to rely on descriptive assessment and indirect assessment methods. The present study examined the efficacy of using antecedent-behavior-consequence narrative recording to develop hypotheses regarding the function of self-injurious behavior (i.e. hair pulling) in a 9-year old female diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism. Analysis of the antecedent-behavior-consequence narrative recording data and other descriptive methods indicated that the self-injurious behavior may be maintained by negative reinforcement in the form of escaping task demands and positive reinforcement in the form of attention from direct care staff. The impact and limitations of this data analysis on the development and efficacy of a subsequent behavior intervention plan will be discussed.
2. Comparison of Verbal, Pictorial, and Video Preference Assessment Formats
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles), Randy Campbell (SEEK Education, Inc.), GRACE C.E. CHANG (SEEK Education, Inc.)
Abstract: Conducting preference assessments is a vital procedure for the development and implementation of effective behavior change programs. However, providing access to a protracted activity during such assessments is not always feasible, especially when faced with time and/or contextual constraints (e.g., taking client to an amusement park). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of three preference assessment formats for protracted activities: verbal assessment during which participants were asked to choose what they prefer from various activities; pictorial assessment during which participants were asked to choose between pictures of various activities, and video assessment during which participants were viewed a video clip of the activity upon selection. Discussion and implications of the reliability of the three preference assessment formats for protracted activities will be discussed along with some conclusions regarding the most reliable format based upon participant characteristics.
3. Clarifying Functional Analysis Outcomes in an Individual Exhibiting Multiple Topographies of Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CRYSTAL THOMAS (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Griffin Rooker (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Heather K. Jennett (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Iser Guillermo DeLeon (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Justin Boyd (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: It is well-established that the use of a functional analysis (e.g., Iwata et al., 1982/1994) can lead to the development of effective treatments for individuals with intellectual disabilities. For most individuals who engage in multiple topographies of problem behavior, conducting a functional analysis by providing consequences for all topographies has found to be an appropriate and efficient practice (Derby et al., 1994, 2000). However, if the individual engages in high-rate behavior, other lower-rate behaviors may be reduced because the high-rate behavior contacts the contingency more often. Therefore, in some cases, it may be necessary to conduct a functional analysis in which each topography of problem behavior receives differential consequences separately. In the current study, two concurrent functional analyses were conducted with a 16 year old male diagnosed with autism and severe intellectual disability who was admitted to an inpatient unit for the assessment and treatment of head banging, self-injury, aggression, and disruptive behavior. In one functional analysis, all topographies of problem behavior received consequences. In the other functional analysis, differential consequences were provided for an individual topography at a time while all other problem behaviors received no consequences. Results indicate that, for two topographies of problem behavior, the functions may have been masked when providing consequences for multiple topographies at once. These results are discussed in relation to masked functions (Asmus et al., 2003) and response class hierarchies (Smith & Churchill, 2002). Implications of this methodology are discussed.
4. Teaching Young Adults with Disabilities to Respond Appropriately to Lures from Strangers
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARISA H. FISHER (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center), Meghan M. Burke (Vanderbilt University), Megan M. Griffin (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: The dangers posed by strangers toward children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are not often addressed in school or research settings, though individuals with IDD are at greater risk of abuse and exploitation. To address the lack of interventions, this study evaluated the effectiveness of a 2-phase intervention teaching 5 young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to respond appropriately to lures from strangers. Participants were 4 males and 1 female between the ages of 20-23. Phase 1 behavior skills training (BST) was used to teach participants to say no, walk away, and tell an adult in response to a lure from a stranger and Phase 2 BST was conducted in situ. Movement away from the confederate stranger was measured during baseline, generalization, and maintenance through in situ assessments. Prior to training, participants did not walk away from strangers. Skills were quickly acquired during Phase 1 role-play; yet, participants did not consistently walk away from strangers during in situ assessments. All participants walked away from strangers after Phase 2, and skills maintained up to 3 months after training. Clinical implications and future research are discussed.
5. Instructional Programming for Prereading Skills: Effects of Delayed Matching-to-Sample and Letter-Identification Training on Naming of the Letters B and D
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
YUSUKE HAYASHI (University of Kansas), Sarah Hall (University of Kansas), Sheila Shuan Tsau (University of Kansas), Kathryn Saunders (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The current study examined emergent naming of lower-case letters b and d following computerized delayed matching-to-sample (DMTS) and receptive letter-identification training. During the pretest, three adults with intellectual disabilities named the letters p and q correctly but not b and d. To train the successive discrimination of the printed letters--a critical component of letter-naming--they were first trained on a 0-s identity DMTS task with the letters b and d. They were then trained on a receptive letter-identification task in which they selected the printed letter b or the printed letter d upon hearing the spoken letter name. During the posttest following the training, all participants named the letters b and d more accurately than during the pretest. One participant showed intermediate accuracy, and thus he was retrained on the DMTS and letter-identification tasks. Accuracy improved during the test following the retraining, in which he was instructed to point to the right and left in the presence of the printed letters b and d, respectively. The high accuracy was maintained when the instruction was discontinued. The results suggest that the computerized DMTS and receptive-letter identification training is a valuable addition to the development of instructional programming for letter naming.
6. Relations Among Preference, Response Rate, and Break Point When Using a Progressive Ratio Schedule
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
TOBY L. MARTIN (St. Amant Research Centre), Carly Chand (University of Manitoba), Lilian Saltel (University of Manitoba), Pamela Kelso (University of Manitoba), C. T. Yu (St. Amant Research Centre, University of Manitoba)
Abstract: We investigated how well break points and response rates, obtained under a progressive ratio (PR) schedule of delivering food or activities, agree with each other and with preference levels obtained from paired-stimulus (PS) preference assessments (Fisher et al., 1992). Three adults with severe developmental disabilities received, in order: a PS preference assessment for six food items or leisure activity items; up to 29 sessions of switch-pressing to receive the same items on a PR schedule in an ABAB reversal design; and a second PS preference assessment for the same items. Percent preference for items were averaged across the two assessments. During PR schedule sessions, the number of responses required for item delivery started at 1 and increased by 1 after each reinforcement. Sessions were terminated after 1 minute with no responses. The highest completed ratio in a session was the break point and the mean was computed across the three sessions. Response rate (per minute) was also computed per session. Preference level as measured by relative selection frequency generally predicted the relative reinforcing effectiveness of items, but break point and response rates diverged as measures of reinforcing effectiveness in ways that may have clinical and research implications.
7. Comparison of Related Incidental Information vs. Nonrelated Incidental Information
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
AMY SPRIGGS (University of Kentucky)
Abstract: Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of providing incidental information while teaching various types of skills to children with disabilities. Providing non-target information during systematic instruction can increase the amount of information students learn. Research in this area is expanding to evaluate the types of incidental information that can be learned (e.g., targets that are un-related to skills being taught; difficulty of incidental information being provided). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the benefits of including incidental information while teaching three kindergarten students with disabilities basic math facts (numbers, shapes, and addition). Results were evaluated via an adapted alternating treatments design for acquisition of target skills and via pre/post-test for acquisition of incidental information. Results indicated all students learned target information regardless of type of incidental (related vs. non-related) that followed each trial; results also indicated that students were able to learn at least some related incidental targets and some students were able to learn non-related incidental targets. This study is currently being replicated in elementary and high school classes while teaching core-content information that will be assessed via alternate assessment. Results are expected to be complete prior to May; graphic results included are for the first study only.
8. Evaluating the Efficacy of Auditory and Visual Signals on Functional Communication under Escape Conditions
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARISSA B. ALLEN (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jonathan C. Baker (Southern Illinois University), Nicole Heal (Melmark New England), Jodi Elizabeth Nuernberger (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Kristina Vargo (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
Abstract: Individuals with developmental disabilities often have limited verbal repertoires and may engage in maladaptive behaviors in lieu of appropriate behaviors to access preferred stimuli. Functional Communication Training (FCT), although an efficacious treatment to reduce occurrences of maladaptive behavior, may result in unmanageable rates of the communicative response. Research has shown that gradually introducing a multiple schedule of reinforcement can ameliorate these high rates. To date, no studies have attempted the gradual introduction of a multiple schedule with behavior sensitive to negative reinforcement. Moreover, although evidence exists in the basic literature for the use of auditory stimuli as discriminative stimuli for the components of a multiple schedule, there is a paucity of applied research on multiple schedules with auditory signals. In the current study, 2 participants with developmental disabilities and intact vision and hearing received FCT to teach a functionally communicative response (e.g., touching a break card). Once the participants acquired the response, they were exposed to a multiple schedule condition, in which either auditory or visual signals were arranged to signal the components, and a mixed schedule (control) condition in which neither component was signaled.
9. Functional Analysis of Episodic Problem Behavior Correlated with Recurrent Manic Behavior Associated with Bipolar Disorder
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARISSA B. ALLEN (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jonathan C. Baker (Southern Illinois University), Nicole Heal (Melmark New England), Jodi Elizabeth Nuernberger (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Kristina Vargo (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
Abstract: A functional analysis examined the consequences that maintained episodic problem behavior and the relation between those consequences and the presence of manic behaviors (e.g., elevated speech) for a woman with Bipolar Disorder and a moderate intellectual disability. The functional analysis demonstrated a relation between differential response patterns between attention and control sessions and manic behavior data. Higher response rates were observed in the attention condition when mania was present than in the attention condition when mania was absent. Thus, results indicated that problem behavior occurred almost exclusively only during days in which manic behaviors occurred prior to sessions. This suggests that on those days, an establishing operation was in place that increased the reinforcing effectiveness of attention and evoked behaviors that resulted in attention. This finding was depicted by the higher rates of problem behavior during the attention mania sessions relative to the control mania sessions, and near zero rates of problem behavior during the attention no mania sessions and the control no mania sessions.
10. Evaluation of Independent, Full Physical Alternating Prompting Hierarchy
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
NATALIA GARRIDO (University of Nevada, Reno), Holly Seniuk (University of Nevada, Reno), Sarah M. Richling (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Discrete Trials Teaching as used with individuals with developmental disabilities may often utilize most to least or least to most prompting hierarchies. However, there are critiques and advantages related to both hierarchies. With most to least prompting there may be an increase in prompt dependency on the part of the client; but prompting is faster and there may not be an opportunity for clients to engage in problematic behavior associated with incorrect responding. With least to most prompting the client may learn what the correct response is to an instruction; they may also learn what behaviors are excluded from correct responses. Using an alternating hierarchy between independent opportunities and full physical prompts may decrease acquisition time as well as allow the client to come into contact with incorrect responses. It is hypothesized that an independent, full physical alternating prompting hierarchy may act as an alternative prompting method and may result in quicker acquisition rates amongst individuals with developmental disabilities.
11. Comparison of Preference and Reinforcer Assessments
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Natalia Garrido (University of Nevada, Reno), Sarah M. Richling (University of Nevada, Reno), Holly Seniuk (University of Nevada, Reno), VICKI MORENO (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The terms preference assessment and reinforcer assessment may be used interchangeably in applied settings. However, these two assessment methodologies do not necessarily provide the same information. Preference assessments result in a hierarchical position of a preferred item relative to the other items assessed. Preference assessments to do not provide information regarding the reinforcing value of that item. Reinforcer assessments, however, provide an indication of the reinforcing value of an item at the time during which it is assessed. Preference assessments are often conducted with individuals with developmental disabilities in applied settings. However, preference assessments may be misleading as to the potential effectiveness of the reinforcers used. Preference assessments may be affected by a number of variables that may not be related to the reinforcing value of the stimulus. Reinforcer assessments may provide a more accurate selection of stimuli to be used as reinforcers for facilitation the acquisition of behavior. It is hypothesized that reinforcer assessments may act as a more accurate indicator of the reinforcing effectiveness of stimuli under various conditions.
12. Further Comparisons of Verbal, Pictorial, and Tangible Stimulus Preference Assessments
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
AINSLEY THOMPSON (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Molly Gemp (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Elizabeth Commins (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Amanda Goetzel (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Previous literature has provided mixed results for the consistency of verbal and pictorial preference assessments in comparison to tangible preference assessments (Northup, George, Jones, Broussard, & Vollmer, 1996; Higbee, Carr, and Harrison, 1999; Hanley, Iwata, and Lindberg, 1999; Cohen-Almeida, Graff, & Ahearn, 2000, Conyers et al, 2002). Tangible paired-choice stimulus preference assessments were compared to verbal and pictorial paired-choice assessments for three individuals with mild to moderate intellectual disability. Consistent ranking for 80% of the edible items was observed for 2 out of 3 individuals across the tangible and verbal assessments. However, rankings were significantly differentiated in one case (100% versus 27% times chosen). Consistent ranking for 70-90% of the edible items was observed for all 3 individuals across the tangible and pictorial assessments, with at least 75% of the most highly preferred items remaining consistent for all participants. Inconsistent responding was most frequently observed between lesser preferred items across both assessments (verbal and pictorial choices were higher than actual tangible choice). These findings support the use of pictorial preference assessments for children with appropriate discrimination skills when time and materials are limited.
13. The Effects of Self-Monitoring and Recruiting Teacher Attention on the Accuracy of Pre-Vocational Tasks by Middle School Students with Moderate to Intensive Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTINA ANNE ROUSE (The Ohio State University), Julie Everhart (Westerville City Schools), Sheila R. Alber-Morgan (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Self-monitoring and recruiting reinforcement are two evidence-based practices that can increase independent functioning for a range of diverse learners, including children with moderate to intensive disabilities. This study was designed to examine the combined effects of self-monitoring and recruiting reinforcement on the accuracy with which middle school students with moderate to intensive disabilities performed prevocational tasks (e.g., hanging shirts and sorting them by size, organizing mail by zip code, measuring liquids in cups and ounces). Specifically, the special education teacher taught two sixth grade boys to use a series of picture prompts to self-monitor their performance of each step in a prevocational task. Students were taught to self-assess their performance by comparing their completed work to a photograph, and then appropriately signal the teacher to obtain feedback and praise. The special education teacher used modeling, guided practice, and corrective feedback during training. A multiple baseline across behaviors design demonstrated that self-monitoring and recruiting reinforcement was functionally related to increased competence of pre-vocational skills as measured by the percentage of steps completed accurately.
14. Avoidance Contingencies and the Treatment of Explosive Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CAITLIN J. FULTON (Munroe Meyer Institute), Nicole M. Rodriguez (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Nicole DeRosa (University of Southern Maine)
Abstract: Anecdotal observations suggested that the problem behavior of an 8-year-old boy (Jon) diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder may also be evoked by disruptions to the arrangement of his preferred play materials, Legos. Two conditions were compared in the initial analysis: one in which the therapist either added a piece or removed a piece from Jons Lego construction every 30 s and one in which Jon had access to uninterrupted play. Because Jons initial response following the therapists disruptions was to throw and destroy his Lego constructions, the therapist was never able to restore the environment contingent on problem behavior; Jons destruction of his Lego constructions also made it impossible for the therapist to continue to present the EO, suggesting that avoidance maintained problem behavior. Jon was taught a functional communication response for avoidance and escape. Because extinction could not be programmed and disruptions to play materials are sometimes inevitable, we also developed a treatment consisting of differential reinforcement of other behavior and schedule thinning. By the end of treatment, Jon consistently tolerated 17 disruptions per session without engaging in problem behavior.
15. Functional Communication Training With and Without Alternative Reinforcement and Punishment: An Analysis of 42 Applications
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
FARIS KRONFLI (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Griffin Rooker (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Joshua Jessel (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Patricia F. Kurtz (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is a well-established treatment for problem behavior displayed by individuals with intellectual disabilities. The current study summarizes 42 applications of FCT from 38 cases where FCT was used. The goal is to extend and update a previous review by Hagopian, Fisher, Sullivan, Acqusito, & LeBlanc, 1998. Hagopian et al. found that extinction was a necessary component of FCT, but that punishment was also necessary to further reduce levels of problem behavior in some cases. The current study examines more recent cases where FCT was applied with alternative reinforcement components (e.g., noncontingent reinforcement and differential reinforcement). Results indicate that FCT plus alternative reinforcement was more effective than FCT alone, and that punishment procedures were used less often.



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